Modernization transforms vacant floor in Metra’s 547 West Jackson building into light-filled, ADA accessible Pace offices
Pace, the suburban bus division of the Regional Transportation Authority, ran its Chicago operations from the tenth floor of Metra commuter rail’s headquarters at 547 West Jackson Boulevard. Many interior walls and an inefficient layout gave the eighties-era office a closed-off feel.
Recently, Pace employees moved two floors below, where they were greeted with a contemporary office environment complete with light-filled gathering areas and views outside from virtually anywhere within the 15,500-square-foot space.
The build-out, designed by Legat Architects and constructed by Friedler Construction, converts vacated office space into Pace’s new headquarters. The design enhances efficiency, encourages collaboration, and reinforces the organization’s focus on accessibility.
The difference is apparent as soon as you step off the elevator—a small seating area has a carpet pattern that draws attention to an automatic glass door, which welcomes guests to the ADA-compliant office and signals Pace’s focus on barrier-free practices.
The space includes 38 80-square-foot cubicles and private offices, as well as one large and two small conference rooms. A lounge with booth, high-top, and table seating options displays downtown Chicago. The revived office also includes a space that’s new to Pace: a 50-person training room that doubles as an incident command center.
“We wanted to give employees an opportunity to work outside their cubicles,” said Bejil Thomas, associate with Legat. “There are many breakout spaces and workrooms throughout the office, as well as hoteling space for those without permanent desks.”
An open layout and internal glass walls fill the office with light and views. The conference room, for instance, offers views across the corridor, through the break room, and to the exterior windows. Most private spaces have their own windows, and the glass that tops cubicles helps further diffuse daylight into the office.
In the old space, employees had difficulty putting together booklets—the assembly space was too small and printers were too far apart. The new space solves the problem with a spacious open work area with printers grouped around two large tables.
The interior design adheres to Pace standards in finishes, colors, and furniture. For example, the color teal, part of Pace’s palette, appears in the carpet, paint, and fabric. Additionally, many fabrics have circle elements inspired by the Pace logo.
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