Holland America

Holland America Group Headquarters by SkB Architects




Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

To bring Holland America Group’s brands—Holland America, Princess, and Seabourn—into closer alignment and increase operational efficiencies, the company sought to consolidate operations within a single facility. Securing a five-story, 150,000-square-foot building near Seattle’s waterfront (a building that was still in design), provided the opportunity to realize their vision in built form.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

Adjacent waiting areas provide comfortable seating decorated with subtle cues to travel, including a compass rose etched into the center of the atrium’s concrete floor. A digital, wall-sized global positioning display provides up-to-date locations of the company’s fleet, while brass nautical clocks in the sitting area reference the company’s ports of call.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

Previously siloed and scattered throughout the city, the new headquarters is conceived as an open-office environment, encouraging communication and collaboration between the company’s brands and their 950 employees. Critical to the workplace design strategy is the concept, “alone together,” an approach to space that acknowledges a person’s natural desire to work independently, yet be near others.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

A robust variety of meeting and social gathering spaces supports this idea, as well as a technology network that ensures full connectivity throughout the building. Changes to the building itself, which was originally designed for multiple tenants, included opening the atrium to each of the floors, and inserting a catwalk that floats through the atrium, to better connect employees to each other and to the city and Puget Sound.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

The open, five-story atrium brings daylight deep into the building interior and enables circulation between floors to become a visible and desirable form of movement for employees. Open to each floor, an interconnecting stair—composed of teak stair treads and handrails, wood paneling, and glass railings—dramatically connects the floors and symbolically links the brands within the company.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

A four-story-tall feature wall, featuring abstracted portholes aligning with each floor of the building, partially clads one side of the atrium. From the lobby, the rhythm of the portholes draws the eye upwards to take in the entire volume of the space, while the portholes themselves frame views of Elliott Bay and provide visual orientation throughout the office.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

Light fixtures, placed at one-fathom intervals, wash the feature wall with light and serve as a nuanced reminder to the maritime nature of the business. A water feature flows from a pool on the second floor down to the lobby, providing a subtle auditory reference to the brand. Blurring the line between hospitality and work, furnishings are both comfortable and informal.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

Hubs, located on each floor, provide a range of seating options to satisfy the desire for social engagement, while more isolated touchdown areas provide opportunities for quiet reflection. Hotel-esque settings suitable for impromptu meetings and alternative work places are the norm. The entire office is treated as a merger of work and hospitality, a literal and figurative testing ground where staff are encouraged to seek out the best possible work environments.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

Circulation paths integrate cozy eddies where staff can meet in formal and informal Circulation paths integrate cozy eddies where staff can meet in formal and informal settings. Fixed workstations feature customizable, personal storage elements. Daylight, from the atrium and expansive glazing, is in ample supply throughout the office, while building amenities such as locker rooms and showers, are generous.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann

The cafe, located at the top of the building, affords a prime view of Elliott Bay—where company ships regularly put into port—a place where all staff are able to enjoy the best seat in the house. Source by SkB Architects.

Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann
  • Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Architect: SkB Architects
  • Project Team: Kyle Gaffney, Shannon Gaffney
  • Project Manager: Erika Biggs
  • Building architecture: Perkins & Will
  • Tenant Improvement Contractor: Unimark
  • Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Jeremy Bittermann, Courtesy of SkB Architects
Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann
Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann
Holland America
Photo © Jeremy Bittermann
Holland America
Level 02 Floor Plan
Holland America
Level 04 Floor Plan
Holland America
Level 06 Floor Plan

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