Second Harvest is one of the region’s largest food banks, carrying out a mission to end hunger by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. The organization provides food and support to 700+ community partners and programs across 23 parishes, and their staff and volunteers distribute the equivalent of more than 32 million meals to 210,000+ people a year.
YEAR OF COMPLETION
Following the recognition that their operation had grown in size and stature over the years, and after touring several similar facilities around the nation, stakeholders set about renovating their workplace to be a physical manifestation of their very public mission in the community.
Given their active role in the community, the design team took inspiration from the organization’s work itself, but also the colors and qualities of food—hues largely composed of green with pops of yellow and purple.
The space today features a new entry lobby, a warm, welcoming space for visitors, a board room, administrative and staff offices, a large conference room for training, and several communal spaces for employee congregation and socialization.
The lobby space features an array of comfortable, colorful furniture, for casual socialization and recreation.
The lobby also offered an opportunity for integrated art incorporating the history of the organization itself. A far wall showcases an image dating back to the original days of the organization’s founding and features several cherished leaders integral to their story.
The lounge area in the lobby was designed to provide comfortable spaces for employees to rest or talk with coworkers.
An employee break room presents a casual space for staff congregation.
The second floor of the building, utilizing the double-height lounge of what was previously warehouse space, houses administrative and employee offices.
The space represents one of the many aforementioned “ship in a bottle” design constraints the challenges of building within an occupied warehouse.
The design team chose to expose and celebrate the industrial backdrop, leaving structural systems open, but painting them green.
A board room flanks the lobby, meant to be seen as visitors enter the project.
The board room also presented an opportunity to integrate artwork, donated to the organization from several community partners (in this case a stained glass piece lit from within) and a separate donor wall honoring the project’s benefactors (a large donation coming from the Benson family of New Orleans).
The area formerly utilized as the primary entrance is now a quiet recreation spot for employees to relax and socialize, as well as a working vegetable and fruit garden—an opportunity to practice what they preach when it comes to sustainable food.
The entry sequence simultaneously served as a proud moment to share the names of its many benefactors, via a custom, hand-crafted donor wall.