By CetraRuddy, New Corcoran SoHo Office Design is Catalyst for Collaboration

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Global architecture & interiors firm CetraRuddy encourages sense of workplace community with amenity-filled space for leading brokerage firm.

Corcoran SoHo_Front DeskCould a new workplace design encourage collaboration and increased sharing of information among high-speed Manhattan real estate agents? For a vaunted high-end brokerage firm, this theory is now being tested in their relaxed, inspiringly airy and employee-focused new SoHo offices, designed by renowned architecture-and-interiors firm CetraRuddy.

According to CetraRuddy, the 15,000-square-foot workplace for The Corcoran Group has instantly transformed the corporate atmosphere through both stylistic and functional changes. Isolating individual cubicles previously used by the real estate brokers were replaced by an open benching system that encourages collaboration and community. All conference spaces and private offices have glass walls, allowing sunlight to penetrate the entire office and create a sense of trust and transparency.

To encourage relaxation and interaction, CetraRuddy cofounder and executive director of interior design Nancy Ruddy, and colleague Patricia Duval created a large open lounge with soaring ceilings. This new heart of the SoHo organization includes banquettes and movable seating so staff can adjust their environment for their needs.

The new lounge space is an environment where people can meet informally, work with technology, and share meals, or take a relaxing break from work being done either at their desks or out exploring the streets of New York with clients. Designed with an understanding that people’s full lives affect their work life, a number of new amenities — including a meditation room, private break spaces, lounge-like “telephone booths” and various ways to enjoy food and beverage while sitting or standing — help agents feel whole and happy. Lighting adds to the energizing feeling of the office, with a combination of environmental lighting, task lighting and two light sculptures, designed by CetraRuddy, contributing to the inspiring work environment. While the offices are very open and bright, gestures such as a custom glass tile screen in the lobby also provide privacy and separation, which is often needed in the world of real estate transactions.

In other fields, changes like these have been more common, says Hall of Fame designer Ruddy, “Yet, real estate has been among the last industries to abandon traditional cubicles and hard-wall offices that create effective private workspaces but also lead to isolation and reduced teamwork.”

Working with Pamela Liebman, Corcoran President and CEO, the goal of the project was to “create a setting that would encourage collaboration and communication, eliminating the silo-type environments seen in real estate offices and creating a sense of home,” says Ruddy. Corcoran executives say the result has been transformative, with more conversation, greater collaboration, and a growing sense of community.

The office design also embraces the Corcoran brand, with a downtown SoHo flair. Wide-board wood floors, handcrafted details such as a sculpted glass and metal screen, and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels add to the loft-like feeling throughout the space. Celebrating the historic building, monumental columns are accentuated with light.

Commenting on the new SoHo office design, the CEO Liebman remarked, “We are thrilled with what the incredibly talented CetraRuddy team has created.  The SoHo office is an inspired work environment that addresses the many needs of our agents and the way people work today. “

“CetraRuddy did a fantastic job designing a tech-savvy space both functional and beautiful that incorporates the historic elements of a SoHo loft and is responsive to the people in it,” Liebman added. “This office truly embodies the Corcoran motto, ‘Live who you are.’  We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

Corcoran is a leading real estate brokerage firm with over $21 billion dollars in sales achieved in 2015 and has over 1,200 agents in 40 offices in the New York, East End of Long Island, Palm Beach and Delray Beach, Florida markets.

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About CetraRuddy

Established in 1987, CetraRuddy is an international award-winning architecture, planning and interior design firm driven by design excellence and the desire to create one-of-a-kind architectural experiences. Intellectually crafted projects are developed with a unique design sensitivity, resourcefulness and commitment to client objectives. Throughout the United States and abroad, CetraRuddy applies a problem-solving approach to projects across various sectors including commercial, residential, hospitality, corporate workplace, education and cultural. Eight principals and a staff of 95 talented professionals contribute their sophisticated understanding of programming, planning, technology and construction to each of the firm’s projects, developing technically excellent and innovative designs and providing an unparalleled level of service.. More at