Office Envy: Pope Design Group
photographs by Nate Johnson Studio

Office Envy: Pope Design Group

Architecture and design firm Pope Design Group's search for a new office space coincided with its rebranding efforts as it approaches its 50th year

In nearly 50 years in business, Pope Architects had never undergone a full branding refresh—until last year. The St. Paul architecture and design firm updated its name to Pope Design to reflect its expanded leadership and moved to a new office to better reflect modern work styles and company culture.

The office consists of interconnected team pods with a centralized collaboration area adjacent to an in-house café.

In May, Pope left its home of 35 years on Energy Park Drive in St. Paul for a new space in the Case building in the Midway area. Pope turned a loading dock in the former tractor parts distribution center into a two-level design studio.

The office consists of interconnected team pods with a centralized collaboration area adjacent to an in-house café. Updated technology reflects today’s flexible work environment, making it easy to host hybrid meetings and screen share.

Pope kept the architectural flourishes to a minimum, bringing in color through art and photography, including an employee pet art wall. Every element has a function, like the café garage door that opens onto an outdoor patio, where employees can work, play bocce ball, or host events.

“It’s architecturally very precise, and there’s a lot going on,” vice president Erica Larson says. “But then there are these real nice glimpses of who we really are as a culture and how we enjoy each other.”

Pope Design Group signed a 10-year lease on the space. Larson said the firm is in growth mode, expanding into other regional markets and making quick headway in some newer sectors, such as education and affordable housing. But the goal is not to get too big.

“I don’t know that our firm will ever top 100 people, so that’s what we’re balancing right now,” Larson says. “We need to grow to stay relevant, and we need to grow as a business, and we want to continue to grow. But we don’t ever want to grow at the expense of our people and our culture.”

Read more from this issue

Who: Pope Design Group
Where: 767 N. Eustis Street, Suite 190, St. Paul 55114
Size: 16,760 square feet
Designer: Pope Design Group
Photographer: Nate Johnson Studio
Construction Partner: Kraus-Anderson Construction
Real Estate Partner: Cushman & Wakefield