​For Building Managers, Office Building Lobbies Become Marketable Assets

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Activate your lobby.

An office building lobby can be more than just a simple pass-through: it can become a functional space that enriches the tenant experience.

“At JDJ Architects, we are seeing more requests to retrofit building lobbies with a design that moves away from a grand and austere environment to become a more welcoming, vibrant and highly-utilized space,” says James Jordan, principal. 

With advances in mobile and wireless technology and the strong integration of open space plans, employees and guests are increasingly using the lobby to make personal calls or for small gatherings. “The lobby has been transformed from a space to wait to a space to connect,” says Jordan.

Building managers are now looking at a lobby as an asset, providing tenants with space outside normal working hours for small group gatherings. Well-designed, attractive lobbies also can attract complementary businesses to the building, such as coffee shops and restaurants, adding value for existing tenants and enticing new ones.

A successful lobby redesign requires a thoughtful blend of interior design ideas with operational needs. For example, traffic patterns should be carefully considered to include checking guests in and out at the security desk while providing a friendly environment for visitors. Better wireless technology also requires upgrades in high-speed Internet and network connections and an update in electrical points should provide adequate charging stations to eliminate the need for cords and wires. 

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How to start? “Building managers with tight budgets might begin with small steps,” says Jordan. “Simply updating the furniture layout to create separate spaces for quiet conversation and semi-private gatherings can result in a more welcoming setting.” 

And although office building lobby designs recently have taken cues from new boutique hotel lobbies, Jordan cautions building managers that a lobby refresh that uses well thought-out, timeless design elements will outlast expensive trends.