Part 1 of 3


As kids, my brother and I built lots of tree forts. At first they were a simple series of platforms positioned throughout a tree at various levels and reached by climbing limbs or wooden ladders. I was the designer, he the engineer, much as we turned out in our adult lives today. I would develop the concept and he would orchestrate and engineer the plan. Together, we would build our space within the body of a tree or series of trees.

Many hours were spent building, but many hours were also spent playing on these simple, randomly placed platforms, exercising our imagination along with friends from down the street. Our configurations could represent a ship at sea and we were hardy pirates. Or a spaceship as we blasted off for the moon. Or the archetypical “fort” we defended while under attack by the terrible and powerful evil enemy.

Eventually we tore each tree fort apart, one after another, and rebuilt them in other locations throughout the ten acres on which we grew up. And as we did, they became more complex. Perhaps inspired by Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson” movie, we ultimately built a structure that resembled a livable house with a kitchen nook, living and sleeping area.

I look back now and recognize that we were simply defining space. Our space. Space that was unique and all our own. A place we could escape to on a hot summer’s day, away from chores. A place to play in our own way through the power of our imaginations. And, honestly, I believe the most creative structures were those we built early on, uninhibited by outside influences such as the likes of the “Swiss Family” and their mega tree house!


Today, Arketype is defining its ultimate “playhouse,” a space in which we will live and create powerful solutions through imagination, design, and strategic thinking. There’s no question we’re cramped for space now…but how to maximize all that generous new space?


Space–not the universe and its dimensions, but space as we define the distance between objects and the area between entities–can be quite personal.

For example, a typical westerner’s “personal space,” or the comfort zone between two people is as follows: a bit over 24 inches from right or left, almost 28 inches in front, and not quite 16 inches behind. Think about that the next time you’re standing in line at the movies. Also good to know when having a one-on-one conversation in a hallway.

However, this information isn’t quite helpful when developing a layout and designing workspaces within a 17,000-square-foot office building!


Preparing to fill the flooring on the second level requires the ability to apply Gyp-crete. This mixture of sand and gypson, mixed outside, is brought in by hose to the area in need and poured. It will harden within 24 hours, pending depth.

According to a Deloitte and Touche study, the national average of workspace allotted an employee in a corporate headquarters is around 200 square feet, (roughly a space 10 feet by 20 feet). This may seem large but it’s actually down from 287 square feet, the average just three years ago.

Multiply this out by our 25 associates and one arrives at 5,000 square feet in personal workspace by national standards. This is about what the entire Arketype facility currently occupies…and that square footage includes all other office areas such as our lobby, meeting rooms, conference room, library, editing suites, kitchen, break room, mock-up/workroom, and washrooms, not to mention general storage! Our space is severely limited and our forward move soon will give us some breathing room, not to mention a place for a Ping-pong table!


Leveling the second floor with Gyp-crete

Making space work and making workspaces at 612 Stuart Street gets a bit more complicated than found wooden boards, recovered bent nails, and trees that sway in summer breezes!

Next up…some talk about “space” at a personal level from those on staff.

Paul Meinke

Check out what else we’ve been up to at:



New office flooring joist installed.


~ by Paul James on November 30, 2006.

2 Responses to “S P A C E”

  1. Paul, Kurt,

    All I can say is FANTASTIC!!! Keep up the great work. Wish I were there to give you guys a hand..

    Best Rob

  2. Great looking project. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Best of success until then

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