Forest City Realty Trust (Brookfield Properties)

When Work Follows Design

Forest City Realty Trust, now Brookfield Properties, needed a new way of working. Their existing space didn’t serve their new goals and failed to live up to the vision their work promoted. We helped them change where they work, so they could change how they work.

When Forest City Realty Trust began shifting to a more modern and collaborative form of working, they realized they needed an office that would both support and encourage working together. Their existing headquarters had served a business model from years ago, but to stay on top of their industry they needed a new workplace that would facilitate future growth.

We worked with the Forest City team to build that new space on seven floors of Key Tower, a Cleveland skyline landmark. The building itself helped Forest City meet one of its goals: to exemplify in its own offices the work/live/play connections they promote in their portfolio.

A key directive from their CEO was for the new space to support a culture shift toward collaboration, with fewer private offices. The Vocon team knew we needed to design the space not just to support those goals but also to ease the transition and overcome staff resistance.

The flexible design we created decreases Forest City’s footprint by 40% and increases its collaboration opportunities immensely. We blended private workspaces into an open floor plan that featured a variety of coworking spaces and social hubs that facilitate spontaneous collaboration. While private offices remain available, they are no longer assigned solely to a specific individual—not even the most senior leaders. We implemented a consistent design on all seven floors, subtly signaling a unified strategy, accommodating current and future business needs, and making it easy for anyone to navigate the entire space.


2018 AIA Ohio Honor Award
2018 AIA Cleveland Honor Award Interior Architecture


Cleveland, OH

Project Size

110,000 SF

Completion Date