Mighty Good Coffee has announced that they are moving their cafe out of the front of the Workantile Exchange space and relocating a few blocks north. For WorkEx, this means that there are going to be a couple hundred additional square feet to be integrated into the coworking space, and I’ve talked with Mike and Trek about helping with the space planning and design of the remodeled space.

It’s more than a little bit appropriate (to my mind, anyhow) that one of my first projects is going to be a coworking space; my thesis project was to extend the (still new) idea of cohousing to work space. I was excited that a coworking space was coming to Ann Arbor when I first heard about it. I have found it a useful and congenial space to work since I’ve been out on my own. And now, I am looking forward to helping make it an even better space.

I’m planning to hold a charrette at Workantile (tentatively on August 26, after the usual Thursday pizzas for lunch) to discuss ideas for the new space, and how best to make use of it. I plan on that being mostly an information gathering and idea generating process. These are a few of the questions I have thought about:

Street presence – MightyGood has been a buffer to the street for us. How will the change affect things? Will someone need to be doorkeeper/greeter/host? Do people want to “work in the window” or is some kind of vestibule or buffer be more desirable?

How much public interface is wanted? New members may still come from walk-ins. How accessible is the space going to be for the general public?

MightyGood seating – the seating area for MightyGood connects to the shop, but also has a door to the building lobby. Does this get closed off, or is it useful to keep? The whole space has 4 points of entry (front door, back door, side doors, and MightyGood seating). Should any of these be closed off?

Permanent presence – with MightyGood, there was someone watching the space and the street during their business hours. Is there a way to make sure someone is closing up at night?

New work configurations – are there other kinds of work spaces that would be useful for WorkEx? Would alcoves or nooks that could be used for meeting, without being a closed meeting room be useful? Are more phone rooms needed? Do the current options (stepping into the hall, the “Agony Room,” taking a call at your seat, etc.) meet current needs?

There seems to be a preference among a sizable number of people for sitting next to a wall; is more wall space needed?

Does display space make sense for some part of the new configuration? Will there still be artwork from WSG (or elsewhere)?

Discussion here is fine (I don’t mind getting comments here at all), but if you are interested in participating, I hope you will be able to come to the charrette. And I’ll post some followup about this afterwards.