YMCA | Mission Focused

Photo Credit: Bethany Price/iSpace Environments (Click image to open gallery)




Architect: HGA

General Contractor: RJM Construction

Owner’s Representative: Cresa

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The YMCA serves relentlessly with the community until all can thrive at each stage of life. This commitment is true with their employees, too. The Y designed a creative workspace where the team can collaborate together to better serve youth, adults, families and seniors. The new facility includes an all-in-one fitness experience, pool, George Wellbeing Center, Equity Innovation Center, and association office. By relocating their entire association team to Gaviidae Commons in downtown, Minneapolis, the YMCA saw an opportunity to further develop the positive experience for each team member.

Visible from all levels of the center atrium, a trio of conference rooms on level five, cantilever into view providing the first glimpse into the YMCA association headquarters. Each room is uniquely designed to fit a different style, size and tone of meeting while emphasizing some of the key historical moments for the organization. They are just a few of the spaces that give way to a much bigger design effort in the new headquarters.

With an opportunity to elevate the employee experience, promote a deeper level of community and advocate for more sustainable efforts, the YMCA opted to reduce the size of their overall footprint. That commitment came with deep changes to what employees recognized as a workstation. Each employee’s workstation dimensions were reduced in exchange for a more dynamic overall environment.

The dense floorplan embraces over 200 sit-to-stand desks to encourage postural adjustments throughout the work day. The adjustability of the desk inherently staggers site-lines of each worker, making for less visual distractions. To encourage reduction of paper usage, each station contains a single file unit, which doubles as guest seating. Locker banks located throughout the floor are placed to encourage a ‘hoteling’ culture, with more individual movement as well as increase team member interactions.

To counterbalance the minimalistic workstations, choice and luxury were integrated into communal environments within the association levels. At the core of level five sits a spacious, generously lit pantry/café space with contemporary finishes offering both cozy nooks and varied height surfaces for eating, working, collaborating or socializing. The glass encased turret at the northwest corner of the building encompasses a lounge full of energy including game consoles, social seating arrangements and seated views to the city. Various arrangements of soft seating and work pods can be accessed throughout the workspace, making it easy for employees to shift from desk to a more relaxed setting.

With a track record of 160 years as a successful organization, the team at YMCA recognized that core organizational values are the foundation to which they can build a healthier, more flexible environment for their team and uphold the YMCA mission.