As Global Design Director for Macquarie Group, Andrew Burdick is responsible for leading workplace design and strategy for the Group’s current and future workplaces. He joined Macquarie’s New York office in 2018, after 15 years’ experience working for an internationally acclaimed architecture and planning practice where he created humanistic spaces with a focus on educational and cultural institutions.
Andrew Burdick is the Global Design Director for Macquarie, responsible for leading workplace design and strategy across the Group’s portfolio of current and future workplaces.
After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2003, Andrew moved to New York to pursue his dream of working as an architect. He was hired by an internationally acclaimed architecture and planning practice that created humanistic spaces with a focus on cultural institutions such as museums, concert halls, universities and libraries.
“Whether playing with Legos or sketching sky scrapers, it was clear to me from an early age that I wanted to be involved in design,” says Andrew. “But I really grew up in the job. I spent 15 years working on a range of public buildings from educational institutions to concert halls, civic master plans, libraries and housing.”
Given his pure architecture background, Andrew admits he initially had reservations about taking a client-side role, but Macquarie’s goals of creating forward-thinking, human-centered workplaces offered distinct opportunities for professional growth as well as an intriguing design challenge.
“Macquarie wanted a strategic designer who could continue to help make the company a thought leader in workplace design.”
“I thought it would give me the chance to bring my diverse design background, and my analytical and problem-solving skills to ensure a world-class design identity and workplace experience was carried out across Macquarie’s spaces. “It was also the chance to experience design from a client perspective.”
Andrew says that he “knew of Macquarie” before he actually “knew anything about Macquarie.”
“As an architect, I was familiar with the iconic images of Macquarie’s Shelley Street and Martin Place offices in Sydney, and Ropemaker Place in London - workplaces that remain innovative a decade later,” he explains.
“These spaces all present a snapshot of our purpose, and reflect lessons in space, light and materials, to create incredible architecture.”
Andrew points to the new Philadelphia office as a recent example of this work continuing through his leadership. Designed for over 500 staff, he says the building provides a rhythm of space, pulling people together and fostering community.
Philadelphia was one of eight global workplace design and construction projects that Andrew and his team brought to fruition in the past year. Due to COVID-19, they were forced to learn new skills, including how to conduct site visits remotely.
“Macquarie is always interested in reevaluating how we support our purpose as a business,” Andrew says. “Investing in architecture is part of this.”
“Macquarie wants to lead, not follow. So, we don’t take our inspiration solely from other workplaces. We look beyond this to other spaces like cultural institutions, libraries and universities.”
Andrew’s role as Global Design Director sees him oversee the strategy, steering office design and keeping global design standards up to date.
“I look at how our spaces can show us as leaders, while also supporting the staff, visitors, and business,” Andrew says. “I also work closely with the business to find out what they need. The process is just as important as the end product, and we constantly strive to improve and adapt.”
Andrew explains that Macquarie takes a holistic approach to design that is tailored to individual locations and businesses. This means even a 20-person office in Nashville will reflect a commitment to inclusive, sustainable design practices - the same principles that can be found in Macquarie’s offices from Hong Kong to Seoul, Toronto, Calgary, Melbourne and Auckland.
“Our office designs aim to create connections between people, as well as support wellbeing and productivity” says Andrew. “Things like ‘bump factor’, where people are meeting by chance in the office, have a direct impact on the cultural success of the business.”
Andrew says that design goals include basics such as access to outdoor space, great light and air, and functional meeting rooms. Then there’s the importance of good acoustics, technology, an equitable choice of environments and the ability for informal collaboration or what Andrew describes as “being alone together.” It also includes creating workplaces that are environmentally-forward, such has having its operational needs come from renewable sources and being carbon neutral.
An average day for Andrew is divided between design interviews with business users, sessions with the design team and site visits. He has an eye on research and development but also on execution and quality.
Andrew works collaboratively with external consultants, contractors and production houses, giving him variety in both work and perspective.
“My role is to elevate the overall level of design in order to elevate the experience for our staff and visitors,” says Andrew. “I’m still a designer and architect, but I’m drawing on my skills strategically to lead design teams around the globe.”
He says that one of his main challenges is to push boundaries while remaining commercially and value driven.
“Our buildings may make a statement, but they are designed by listening to our people and solving for their needs and aspirations,” he explains.
Andrew says that it is important that designers are strategic partners early in the process. “If we don’t ask the right questions, we won’t get the right solutions,” he says.
For this reason, Andrew’s team always begins its process by asking questions about the purpose of a space and how to inspire collaboration or entrepreneurship.
“What is the primary goal from a staff point of view, and what do we hope visitors take away from their experience?” Andrew asks. “What does success look like for each business and how do we best support our teams to meet those goals? And what does each space bring to our overall business strategy and identity?”
A decade ago, the company was asking questions about activity-based learning with buildings like Shelley Street. Today, Andrew says there are new challenges, and that human-centred design is at the heart of his team’s response.
“One of the current questions is how we will work in a world that COVID has disrupted, and how workplaces will support business goals, diversity and flexibility,” he explains. “How do we efficiently and strategically merge physical and digital spaces, while retaining and strengthening our culture?”
Andrew believes a physical office still has a valuable role to play by creating opportunities for innovation and collaborative learning. It should also showcase the company’s identity and values.
“We want people to desire to work here,” Andrew explains. “My skills come into play in creating spaces that make us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”
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