Wachovia told the GS&P interior design team, headed by Julie Roquemore, IIDA, exactly what they wanted. They envisioned an environment that stressed education as a fun experience and one where people would want to spend time. Existing furniture, equipment and A/V components had to be reused, but the center needed to be an aesthetic departure from their general office space. Most importantly, as the center intended to train employees at all levels of the company, they wanted the new training center to represent their commitment to training.
The interior design team started by reinventing the space. Some ceiling areas and pipes were left exposed. Curving walls were painted in a grid pattern with vivid colors. Punctuating the pattern, translucent windows were included among the squares. Visitors walking in the corridors can catch a faint glimpse of what's going on in the classrooms. The grid pattern becomes tackboards and whiteboards inside the classrooms.
There is a high energy level in the space, enhanced by the use of varied geometric shapes, patterns, colors and contrasts between finished interior walls, bright blue soffits and exposed structural elements. Fifteen classrooms, a self-guided training room, numerous breakout areas and several informal zones where employees can check email, make phone calls and relax between classes complete the space.
GS&P was awarded the Alabama IIDA Chapter's 2007 Best of Corporate Interior Design Award, but the real winners are the Wachovia employees.
Sharon Tucker, Wachovia's Corporate Real Estate Portfolio Manager reflected, "This project was very successful, especially when you look at the timeline, complexity of the technology and relocation process. I take a lot of pride in [it]…and still like showing it off."
Tiese Stroup, site coordinator of the learning center, quoted some of the trainers: "This training center is so different from others, and we love training here." "The technology is great." "…Ranks up there with the corporate training center in Charlotte."
Stroup herself declared the facility, "Awesome."