B.R. Fries & Associates has announced the completion of the East Coast headquarters of Pandora Media, for which it provided construction management (CM) services.
The workplace specialist has managed all aspects of building out Pandora Media’s new, 50,000 s/f, two-floor corporate offices, including the fabrication and installation of a variety of custom-designed elements and extensive glass partitions and wood millwork.
The offices, which accommodate 300 staff on two interconnected floors in the 1920s office tower, also required the installation of Pandora’s extensive audio/visual systems and live music performance spaces.
“We’re pleased to be involved in projects like the Pandora Media New York office where cutting-edge workplace concepts merge with a focus on high-quality construction,” said Barry Fries, CEO and founder of B.R. Fries, which has worked with such blue-chip clients as NBC Universal, Xerox and Coca-Cola. “These high-tech projects demand exceptional problem-solving skills and a high level of craft, all in the context of the emerging millennial workforce, and that makes it very different from traditional offices.”
The project architect is ABA Studio / Andrew Bartle Architects of New York, and the team worked with WG Project Management, the owner’s representative.
According to Bill Brody, vice president of B.R. Fries, “Unique to Pandora’s culture and the abstract, spatial experience of the Internet, there are multiple spaces for music performances, large gatherings, and ‘all hands’ meetings.”
A large variety of loosely structured spaces contrast with small, private meeting rooms dubbed “phone booths” – a setup typical of new workplace trends and the strong preference for social interaction in media and Internet companies, Brody added.
B.R. Fries worked closely with the architects and Pandora Media leadership while taking advantage of the latest computer-aided technologies for layout, manufacturing and construction of the offices’ unique shapes, materials and wood assemblies.
While the team faced many challenges in installing a state-of-the-art multimedia office facility in a classic New York City office building, 125 Park Avenue at 42nd Street, B.R. Fries delivered the project to Pandora Media on time and within their budget.
A leader in Internet radio, Pandora is already leveraging their new midtown workplace to build sales and expand its user base, according to company officials.
“Pandora’s work environment reflects both the company’s social understanding, which recognizes both the individual and the collective, as well as its desire for productivity and efficiency,” said Andrew B. Bartle, AIA. For example, Pandora’s open-plan office layout fits 150 people on each floor – a greater occupancy per floor than is typical for a building of this size.
“Pandora comfortably achieves this seat count while remaining sensitive to the very real need for each individual’s personal privacy. These two goals are accomplished using ideas like the small ‘phone booths’ for sensitive calls and one-on-one meetings, along with flexible spaces for music performances and ‘all hands’ meetings.”
According to Steve Waehler, RA, principal of the owner’s rep firm WG Project Management, New York, “A key to success in managing innovative high-tech offices like these is to establish control over as many variables as possible, as early as possible. As a result, Pandora was able to maintain control of the complex technical issues involved with their new workplace, closely shape the overall project direction on a day-to-day basis, and ultimately meet the challenges of logistics, schedule and budget.”
In addition to using digital construction techniques, the project team used a proven organizational system that benefits high‐tech workplace clients like Pandora. A close network of fabrication shops, wood and glass artisans and seasoned trades brought ideas old and new to the ABA Studio design. B.R. Fries has a longstanding relationship with ABA – and the owner’s liaison, WG Project Management – which helped galvanize attention on executing Pandora’s vision, rather than cost reduction through value engineering.