Arcadis Gives Appian a Timeless, Hybrid Workspace

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Emma Weckerling
Emma Weckerling
Emma is the Managing Editor of Work Design Magazine.

Arcadis designed an expansion floor for Appian within a neighboring office tower that embodies the future of work—a hybrid office space that is both welcoming and timeless.

Project Overview:

  • Design Firm: CRTKL / Arcadis
  • Client: Appian
  • Completion Date: January 2023
  • Location: McLean, VA, USA
  • Size: 35,000 sqft

CRTKL, the firm which now forms part of Arcadis, designed Appian’s McLean headquarters in 2019 to reflect a fresh, collaborative approach to office work while still reflecting their strength as an industry leader. As Appian continued to grow, they engaged CRTKL to design an expansion floor in the neighboring office tower. The design of this new floor was started pre-pandemic and soon put on hold due to the changing nature of work. In 2021, Appian restarted the project. They challenged CRTKL to take a new look at the design with a focus on creating a hybrid office that would withstand future disruptors and create a space that encouraged employees to return to the office.

Photography credit – Garrett Rowland

In keeping with employees’ desires in a post-pandemic office environment, the design strove to create an engaging and welcoming space through hospitality features, key brand elements, incorporation of nature, and flexible workspaces throughout. Elements of hospitality are displayed in the clubhouse which features patterned flooring, panelized millwork, coffered ceilings, and custom curving banquette seating. The clubhouse and café open to a large outdoor terrace for work and social gatherings, creating a desired indoor/outdoor work environment. The café provides staff with snacks such as gourmet coffees and a frozen yogurt bar complete with dispensers full of cereal and other sweet toppings.

The corner of the clubhouse is anchored by a wooden “tree” with cascading layers of preserved moss. The tree’s canopy is made of acoustical and wood baffles with intermittent sparkle lights reminiscent of jars filled with fireflies, and the use of gobo lights gives the effect of dappled light through the tree branches. The clubhouse also has large picnic tables that offer “family style” dining and provide teams a place to meet and socialize. Another nod to nature is the “skylight” in the jewel box conference room off the reception area. The reception area has a custom faceted upholstered wall at the entry that serves as guest seating, conference breakout space, and a feature wall.

Photography credit – Garrett Rowland

The new floor provides a variety of workspaces, including a clubhouse, terrace, and collaborative areas dispersed throughout the floor. These areas include glass markerboard “activity walls”, breakout booths with integrated AV, and project rooms with tiered bench seating.

Emphasis was also placed on ensuring the employees seated in this new space felt connected to and part of the company. To this end, CRTKL integrated elements from Appian’s newly revitalized brand throughout this expansion floor. Examples include the new logo as a life-size ‘a’ sculpture in the reception and its node pattern in the metal screen and metal flooring inset. To maintain a cohesive feeling, a similar color palette and finishes to the rest of the headquarters were used while creating a unique space with a hospitality look and feel. Employees from the other office tower are also welcomed to utilize the expansion floor, further tying the headquarters spaces together.

Photography credit – Garrett Rowland

Project Planning

In the 2018 Appian design, extensive research and planning was done including the c-suite to determine the best agile work environment for the company. In this 4th floor expansion project a smaller group was involved in the design of the space. Since this project went on hold during the pandemic and started back up again shortly after, CRTKL and Salas O’Brien (MEP) researched what a healthy building of the future might look like. This research was then implemented into the design of the space.

Photography credit – Garrett Rowland

Project Details

The design team aimed to foster a sense of connection and belonging among employees through their design approach. They achieved this by incorporating various elements from Appian’s refreshed brand into the expansion floor. Notable examples include a life-size sculpture of the new logo, represented by the letter ‘a’, located in the reception area, as well as integrating Appian’s node pattern into the metal screen and flooring inset. The design team maintained consistency by utilizing a similar color palette and finishes as the rest of the headquarters, while creating a distinct space with a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere. Additionally, the expansion floor serves as a shared space, extending the invitation to employees from the other office tower, thereby strengthening the connection between different areas within the headquarters.

Photography credit – Garrett Rowland

The clubhouse boasts distinctive elements such as a large wooden “tree” that takes center stage. This tree is adorned with layers of preserved moss, creating a cascading effect. Its canopy features a combination of acoustical and wooden baffles, enhanced by intermittent sparkle lights that evoke the enchanting glow of firefly-filled jars. The clever use of gobo lights adds to the ambiance, casting dappled patterns resembling sunlight filtering through the branches of a tree.

In addition, the clubhouse is equipped with expansive picnic tables, fostering a sense of communal dining and offering teams a welcoming space for meetings and socializing. Nature-inspired touches continue with a captivating “skylight” in the jewel box conference room adjacent to the reception area. Additionally, the reception area itself showcases a striking custom faceted upholstered wall, serving multiple purposes as guest seating, a breakout space for conferences, and a captivating feature wall.

Photography credit – Garrett Rowland


Project Summary

  • Contractor: HITT Contracting
  • MEP: Salas O’Brien
  • Furniture: Knoll & MOI
  • Landscape Architect: Mahan Rykiel
Photography credit – Garrett Rowland

Design Team

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