Hamilton's main office was
at 7 DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. The offices were located on DuPont
Circle in a second floor loft that looked over the circle, with fountains
and trees. With large windows all around that opened, the sunshine and
fresh air resonated with Hamilton's mission statement "to liquefy and make
Hamilton's office reflected
our effort to redesign the physical space of an investment bank/broker
dealer for the integration of advanced digital technology, the open culture
that can grow up around employee ownership and the impact of a learning
organizational design on the creation of a "shared intelligence."
The office design won an award in
1997 from the AIA-American Institute for Architecture for Advanced
Technology Facility design.
Inside, the offices were open
and reflected the transparency with which most information, including internal
financial information, was shared. Integration of the telephone and computer
system meant that your phone and computer simply moved to that workstation
when you typed in your password. In fact, when MCI wanted to use the same
system in their offices in DC, they sent a team of people over to meet
with the Hamilton's systems team who had designed the integrated network
with a prototyping team from AT&T. Large tv/video/computer monitors
on the trading floor and in the conference rooms made group and team collaboration
The office seated only 35
people, but all seats in the conference rooms and the kitchen supported
laptops and could transform to 75 workstations by the many people who came
in and out of the offices or who were consultants and dedicated professionals
who supported all projects on an outsourced basis. The hoteling concept
was supported with lockers and storage buckets.
Heavy database and software
development created significant demand for high quality data servicing
work, inspiring Hamilton's invention and investment in Edgewood Technology
Services and negotiations to outsource software development to several
groups in China. Hamilton was designed to never have more than 50 people
in a hoteling concept, with substantial workflow handled by outsourcing.
That is why every month Hamilton published a "Pocket Directory" for its
network, which became a very useful tool for many in the housing industry.
Special cleaning and support
services were provided by Partners In Grime, led by Ozzie Blake, now Solari's
Treasurer, for Eunice Boston, the President of Partners In Grime. The offices
were spotless, one of the conditions necessary to support the lower per
square foot available to each employee in this type of design. Every Sunday
Ozzie loaded up the kitchen with amazing home cooked lunches that made
Monday's a happy high energy day at Hamilton.
The Kitchen was named the
Mo Eisley Cantina, after the bar in Star Wars. Everyone's favorite feature
of the kitchen after Ozzie's awesome cooking was the quote wall that included
quotes from Tina Turner, Winston Churchill, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King,
Albert Einstein, Babe Ruth, and, of course, Alexander Hamilton, whose words
were also etched into the curved glass in the front as you entered into
The space cost per person
was lower than HUD's internal costs when Catherine worked there during
the Bush Administration. Nevertheless, the beauty of the design offended
some. This was despite the DuPont Circle location over a CVS Pharmacy.
No one had wanted the loft space over a drug store, which is how Hamilton
managed to get it. When we leased it, one of the leading attorneys in Washington
called Catherine and told her that this space was unacceptable, that businesses
did not go into places like this, that it would ruin Hamilton's reputation.
Nevertheless, when it was done, the beauty and functionality was a magnet
for clients and visitors and strategic partners who loved to come to the
When HUD seized the offices
in March of 1998, substantial damage was done to the offices. One of Hamilton's
attorneys was in the office one day watching it happen and then joined
Catherine later and said, “You know, my family left Nazi Germany to get
away from this. Now that it is here, where do I go now?” The effort that
it took to clean the office after the government left was substantial.
It was clear that the destruction had been intentional.
The offices were across the
street from Kramer's Book Store, who received a subpoena from Ken Starr
at the same time that Hamilton's auctioneer received its subpoena.
Our offices were also across the street from a Starbucks, which was identified
as the location where the INS lawyer who disappeared that year was said
to be last seen. We were four blocks away from Catherine's home Fraser
Court, where Solari started up in 1998 after we were forced out of DuPont
Circle, and where we experienced the worst and most dangerous surveillance
and harassment until Fraser Court was sold, and Solari moved its offices
to our church were we found sanctuary.
So we were in the heart of
The office has since been
leased to an internet radio start up. Whenever we drive by we can see the
quote wall through the window, including one of our favorite from Winston:
We have not journeyed
all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains,
across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.
— Winston Churchill
To see pictures of Hamilton's