Michelle Liebling, Design Principal and Studio Director, Gensler
Connecting people. That’s been a pillar of Western Union throughout its 167-year history. The legacy of connecting people started with the telegraph, and the ability to communicate across continents and oceans, and continued with the launch of the first domestic commercial satellite. Now, the iconic company is one of the global leaders in cross-border, cross-currency money movement.
As Western Union began planning the relocation of its global headquarters to Denver, my role representing Gensler, a global architecture and design company, was to work with the company to tailor a design strategy that enhances its business goals and improves the employee experience. Working together, we were inspired by Western Union’s commitment to connect people – from the HQ employees dedicated to moving money for better, to the company’s investment in its hometown, Denver, and the surrounding communities.
A milestone in Western Union’s long-term commitment to Denver, the main headquarters at One Belleview Station is a highly visible, 15-story building in the Denver Tech Center. Along with the company’s new Tufts Avenue location, more than 1,300 Western Union employees are now based in Denver.
The move offered the opportunity to rethink the company’s workplace, and create a world-class headquarters that encourages a collaborative, innovative environment, emphasizes sustainability, and embeds employees into their community. Central to the design strategy is an emphasis on connecting people. All major design features through the project were thoughtfully crafted to physically connect employees throughout their vertical campus, and to embody the global spirit of Western Union.
- “Community Hubs,” located on every floor, are inspired by a global gathering space, each with a distinct flare. The community hubs are destinations set to entice employees to discover and experience spaces outside of their assigned location or floor.
- A neighborhood planning strategy optimizes the floor plate efficiency while providing a mix of conveniently located focus and meeting spaces. Natural light fills the space and the open plan means that everyone experiences the majestic Rocky Mountain views.
- The workspace integrates high levels of transparency to dismantle barriers by creating visual connection and accessibility. It’s a flexible workspace with variety of options so individuals can choose where and when to work, think and recharge.
- An innovation center connects regional thinkers and entrepreneurs to partner in problem solving and ideation.
- The stadium stair, with an integrated platform, provides connectivity between floors. It becomes a venue for company-wide meetings and broadcasts, or a place to socialize and meet co-workers for coffee.
- The leadership center brings together the company’s board in a space accessible to all.
- A major attraction for the location of the new HQ building is its proximity to light rail, allowing employees to choose an environmentally-friendly way to get to work. Other amenities include several small cafe spaces throughout and a fitness center.