Next25

In our 25 years, we’ve learned the value of give and take
in any relationship. In celebration of our anniversary, we highlight
our lessons learned and apply them to the future.

LESSONS NUMBER

01

Learn the Local Language.

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Fluency in a local language
is key to navigating the local (i.e., cultural) landscape. 

UW-Madison students expect their voice to count. With a unique culture, Madison students form not one design committee, but fourteen. The intense student and community engagement helped produce a building that speaks fluent Madison, reflecting the core identity of the city and the university. 

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University of WIsconsin - Madison
Union South
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

02

Create Chance Encounters.

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Good things from all directions. 

Learning is a series of creative encounters, a search for discovery, connection, and meaning. Workshop's concept for Sai University in India imagined an academic journey as a series of enfolded intellectual and social experiences where knowledge overlaps and learning begins with peripheral participation and progresses as one moves toward the center. 

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Sai University
Campus Master Plan and Design
Chennai, India
For more information about the project > 

LESSONS NUMBER

03

Experience is the Product.

Our measure of success is not the awards on the shelf, but the smiles on the faces of those for whom we design.

LESSONS NUMBER

04

It’s the Big Things and the Little Things.

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Small moments make
big experiences.

For the viewer, experience is continuous. Careful choreography of those small moments working together make a big impact.

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Oakland University
Student Union
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

05

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes.

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First person experience is the single most helpful way for us to understand who our clients our.

For Florida State University, Market Wednesday is Oglesby Union’s unique, weekly signature event. The only way to really understand the community building event is to experience it for yourself.. 

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Florida State University
Oglesby Union
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

06

Stretch More.

The importance of agility and flexibility (mentally and physically) can never be overstated.

LESSONS NUMBER

07

Respect is Resilient.

We fight for the things we love. Let's work to build things that we love to last.

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The emotional connections we feel - safety, trust, and belonging - are felt with your best friend or your favorite coffee shop. The restoration of the beloved Michigan Union is a perfect example. The new heart of is the building is a spectacular glass-covered courtyard. Once underused and exposed to the elements, it is now a four-season space that breathes new life in this setting.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Michigan Union
Ann Arbor, MI

LESSONS NUMBER

08

(Nothing Goes Here)

Not every thought, page, wall, or room needs to be filled. A little space makes room for something new.

LESSONS NUMBER

09

No Shortcuts.

Be genuine and true to yourself because everyone can sniff out a fake.

LESSONS NUMBER

10

Be the Change
You Seek.

We've chosen higher education because it is still one of the most impactful ways to change a person's life trajectory.

LESSONS NUMBER

11

Work Better Hours.

Time is precious. 
Make each hour count.

LESSONS NUMBER

12

We are Experts.*

*Our expertise is activated only when we engage with you.

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The more we work together, the more we know about the challenges you face, and the more we can provide solid solutions. While our past experience can help us make educated decisions, we are most effective when we apply that experience to your unique circumstances.

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University of Nevada - Las Vegas
New Student Union Master Plan
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

13

Stay Scrappy.

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We are, at heart, makers. Whether it’s furniture or buildings, our work is an iterative design process. It's the drive to experiment and improve that keeps our hearts happy and heads in the game.

Sometimes projects call for more than off-the-shelf solutions. For Carthage College, Workshop created a billowing wood slat panel system to cover the utilities that ran along the ceiling of the main space. The picture shows how we rolled up our sleeves to create a proof of concept for the College.

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Carthage College
New Student Housing
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

14

Make Mistakes
Faster.

Samuel Becket said, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better."

LESSONS NUMBER

15

Big Things
Come in Small
Packages.

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Big problems are not always solved with a big answer. A light touch is better than a heavy hand.

A centralized, big-box solution simply wouldn’t work for Georgia Tech’s new Campus Center. Instead, creating a series of smaller buildings distributed along an experiential pathway was the right solution for this campus’s busy students.

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Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech Campus Center
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

16

Be Genuine. 

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In design, each decision reflects your brand. Taking the time to speak your brand fluently in order to discover unique ways to express it is an exciting challenge.

For Marquette, the environmental graphics delicately balanced expressing their Jesuit mission without alienating other faiths. 

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Marquette University
The Commons
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

17

Listen - Just Listen. 

LESSONS NUMBER

18

More Heart. 

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Workshop is a proud to be part of the B Corp community. As a B Corp, we believe in using business as a force for good.  

 

We have recently completed the initial rollout of the Homes 4 the Homeless brand and our first community in Newark, New Jersey. 

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Homes 4 the Homeless
Brand Development and Shelter Consulting
For more information about the project >

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For more information about B Corporations >

LESSONS NUMBER

19

You Have the Answers. 

Union Annex

Sometimes, many times, the answer is directly in front of us. It simply requires fresh eyes on an old problem.

 

For Purdue University, the Stewart Center was unofficially used as programmatic overflow for the Purdue Memorial Union. In time, the Stewart Center was known as the Union Annex. Workshop made this relationship more formal by permanently moving typical Union functions to it.

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Purdue University
Purdue Memorial Union Masterplan
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

20

Avoid Fields.
Jump Fences. 

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The value of knowledge cross-pollination is well documented. Our expertise in people is as valuable as our expertise in places.

 

For 25 years, Workshop has focused on higher education projects. In that time, we've interviewed thousands of students to discover what they're looking for in their social and study spaces. Knowledge about student life spaces can easily pivot to the workplace as corporations compete to attract and retain young talent.

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Carma Laboratories
Corporate Headquarters
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

21

Solve Problems As You Go -
No Matter How Small. 

Small problems turn into big problems if left unresolved.

LESSONS NUMBER

22

Leave Your Expectations at the Door. 

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No project is the same. Each organization is unique. 


We have learned to approach projects with a clean slate. We believe the communities we talk to hold the key to the solution. Listening. Understanding. Seeing their world from their perspective will lead to innovative and unique solutions that are rooted in their needs. As Oakland University, grew many of its students could never find a proper touch down space in their crowded student center. Our solution created ample gathering places for students and a generous social heart for the campus.

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Oakland University
Oakland Center
For more information about the project >

LESSONS NUMBER

23

Everyone Wants
to Belong. 

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Sense of Belonging is one of the key indicators of a student’s (or employee’s) success and community growth.

This basic need for all people is so simple, yet so easy to overlook. Community building is just that - building. It begins with safety, both physical and emotional which is followed by involvement and inclusion. Only then, can trust build and community to grow. 

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St. Olaf College
Ole Avenue Housing Development
For more information about this project >

LESSONS NUMBER

24

The Smallest Voices Say the Biggest Things. 

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We can’t create inclusive environments if we only listen to people who are already engaged. You have to connect with those who aren’t. They have so much to say.

Experience has taught us the importance of seeing each campus and hearing each voice as unique - from the most involved to the ones who would never attend a focus group. Community buildings of all shapes, sizes and industries must serve the whole community. It is especially important to reach out to underrepresented minorities and the marginalized and to appreciate them for their lived experience. 

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Northern Illinois University
Holmes Student Center
For more information about this project >

LESSONS NUMBER

25

Look Ahead. 

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The past is interesting.
The future is exciting.

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201 E Pittsburgh Avenue, Suite 301
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Call us 414.272.8822

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All Rights Reserved. All Wrongs Reversed.