Ennead: WGBH Headquarters
This is one in a series of books, each of which tells the story of a single building. It is our hope that as these books accumulate alongside our body of work, they, in their aggregate, will form a profile of our design intentions. -Ennead Architects.
THE IDEA FACTORY
from its beginnings as a local radio station, WGBH has evolved into a national and international creator and provider of radio, television and web content, reaching millions of people. WGBH images itself as an "idea factory," and indeed it is a place with a creative nature that is nonetheless straightforward, clear and without pretension. That spirit has in many ways been shaped by its longtime Director of Design, Chris Pullman, a legendary designer in his own right. Chris was in many ways our primary conduit to understanding WGBH and formulating a solution to their needs. In exploring the identity of this illustrious institution, we identified a number of defining characteristics:
WGBH is a creative place, and its building must be expressive of the intense and diverse creative efforts that are an everyday occurrence and foster such creativity every way it can.
WGBH is a frugal place, and thus must make do with a very limited budget, raised in small bits from like-minded people, always mindful of the need to do the most with the least.
WGBH is very accessible; it wants to be legible to the general public, demystifying its mission and becoming physically accessible to all.
WGBH is very informal, and it aspires to break down barriers between departments, create linkages to foster interaction and cross-pollination and bring people out of enclosed offices and into an open work environment.
WGBH is a very democratic place, shunning hierarchies, encouraging and empowering everyone and striving to treat everyone the same, for example, giving everyone access to natural light, even if that means no one has a traditional windowed private office.
And lastly, WGBH is a modern place, always evolving, changing, growing and never remaining the same.