Project Spotlight: Big Fish Games Headquarters

Big Fish Games, a casual gaming company put their people first when they chose to relocate to the iconic 1910 Seattle Maritime Building in the heart of the Pioneer Square neighborhood. The Seattle-centric location makes commuting a breeze and reduced the percentage of employees driving to work to 27% from 42%.  

The new 186,000 sf space was designed by IA Interior Architects to nurture well-being, support creativity, productivity and company culture, while also leveraging the building’s history. Some of the features in the new location includes collaboration areas, secluded focus rooms, the “reef”—a family room, game room, kitchen, lounge and gathering space for employees, rooftop deck overlooking Puget Sound with grill and fire pit, wellness rooms and signature spots using recycled natural materials and wood salvaged from the original building to establish unique spaces.


Abbott Construction and the shell contractor salvaged the majority (142 individual members) of the heavy timber roof beams from the fifth-floor roof that was removed. Further, 12 of the original fire doors from the exit stairwells were also recovered. Abbott placed them all into storage for future re-use without even knowing what that would be – we just couldn’t throw them away!

Ultimately, these items were incorporated into several highlight features for the project such as adding pivoting hardware to the fire doors and using them to separate collaboration spaces from workspaces. The wood members were incorporated into several elements including the face of the main reception desk. Abbott is proud to have repurposed these items, saving them from landfills.


During the full tenant improvement from a cold shell condition spanning seven of the eight floors, whenever a challenge was presented, the Abbott team brought their expertise and experience to the table and great solutions were found. For example, buildings from this era are not built to accommodate modern day infrastructure and this was a challenge for the team. One clear example of this is floor-to-floor height. On Levels 2-5 of the building, the floor-to-floor height was 12’ and only 10’ at the primary grid of structural beams.

To maintain acceptable ceilings heights, Abbott utilized a couple of strategies. The project embraced the existing structure as the finished product and sandblasted every square foot of existing wood ceiling to leave them exposed in major portions of the floors. These over 100-year-old exposed ceilings are a highlight of the project. In addition, the design-build MEP subcontractors worked with the team to create a central core of infrastructure that was hidden within a GWB soffit element.

A goal of Big Fish Games was to have space flexibility. The team identified that using demountable walls could provide the answer. A GWB spine and end walls were used as it was clear those wall locations were not likely going to change. Then, all the interior walls and office fronts were installed as demountable walls, allowing ultimate flexibility as needs change.

The Abbott team used their medical project experience to create a Radio Frequency (RF) Shielded Enclosure for game testing purposes. With our knowledge of RF Shielding used in MRI rooms, we were able to offer a complete design-build enclosure that was incorporated into the design of the space.

These were just some of the many instances where the team came up with solutions for the Big Fish Games tenant improvement project. It was great to be involved with a project that merged history with a present-day gaming company.



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