Mastering Space Utilization

Through collaboration, creativity and client input, Design Collaborative designs buildings that maximize space and support efficiency.
Apr 1, 2024
Heather Herron
Mastering Space Utilization

When Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, owned by Freeland Group Restaurants, moved from its former headquarters to downtown Fort Wayne, company leaders wanted to make sure the new building was not only functional, but also welcoming.

“We wanted to create a space where we could remember the past, but move into the future,” says President/CEO Todd Hollman.

They sought the help of local architectural and engineering firm Design Collaborative. The team there came up with a design that meets the needs of Pizza Hut employees in a fun, creative way that promotes teamwork and efficiency. There are many factors to consider when designing a space, whether it’s brand new or being retrofitted, so the first step when working with a client is understanding exactly how the area will be used.

“We always encourage employee input, whether that’s through a survey, a town hall discussion or focus groups. We want to hear from the end user and find out their needs, what they find lacking or what they struggle with,” explains Design Collaborative Senior Architectural Graduate Kelly Shields.

Shields says the pandemic drastically changed how businesses think about their buildings. Some require more independent work from employees and need private workspaces. Others have adopted remote or hybrid policies and need to incorporate more technology to make that possible. And yet others need larger rooms for in-person collaboration. 

“Many times, we come up with areas that are multi-functional,” Shields says. “Flexible spaces will be used more, so those that can flow into each other and expand are great.”

It’s a good idea to keep the future in mind, too, says Hollman. As the company has expanded and added Dave’s Hot Chicken, it has needed to reimagine its headquarters. “We’ve made a lot of changes just in the four years we’ve been downtown,” he says. “We’re constantly thinking about how our current needs might evolve.”

Change doesn’t always have to lead to a big, expensive construction project. Sometimes it can be as simple as replacing furniture. 

“Instead of having a giant boardroom table that’s tethered to the ground, for example, you might have flexible furniture that can move around,” Shields says. “People may want to take their laptop and sit on a couch or at a counter, so we’re creating spaces that allow people to work in different settings. We’ve been more intentional about that than ever before. We work closely with our clients to ensure their spaces are inviting and functional at the same time.”

That’s why Hollman and his team chose to work with Design Collaborative, knowing that no matter how their needs change, they’ll be in good hands.

“We fell in love with Design Collaborative because of their people-first culture — we’re very much that way, so it was a logical choice. They helped with our vision of creating a place where people love coming to work,” he concludes. 

Design Collaborative

Address: 200 E. Main St., Suite 600, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

Phone: (260) 422-4241


Products & Services: Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Interior Design, Roofing & Building Envelope, Cost Estimating, Environmental Graphics, IT, Audio Visual & Security Systems, Facility Assessments, Feasibility Studies, Energy, Master Planning, Lighting Design, Programming, Visioning & Discovery, WELL Building Design

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