World Neighbors Headquarters

Oklahoma City, OK

This modest renovation demonstrates Elliott + Associates skill at doing a lot with a little. On a budget of $218,000, the architects designed a fresh and compelling headquarters for a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating poverty, hunger and disease in third-world countries.

Foregoing fashionable interior design, they created a simple abstraction of the kind of community World Neighbors serves. Business activities are housed in small, independent “huts,” surrounded by three departmental villages that make up a town. These structures appear randomly placed along a meandering concrete path, with patches of mossy green carpet delineating workspaces and community areas.

Given the budget, only inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials and fixtures could be used: stained concrete floors, particle board walls, pre-hung doors and $7 clamp lights. Yet even here the architects found opportunities for innovation. Instead of modern door handles, they drilled holes in particle board and attached handmade leather saddle knots that cost $5 each. Like everything else in the project, the door pulls express the frugality and inventiveness of this extraordinary organization. Here, materials are the message