How to Design Offices for Clients Who Have Bigger Problems Than Design

How much impact can the configuration of an office have? Microsoft, Thames Valley Park by Perkins+Will. Image Courtesy of David Churchill

We spend a lot of time and effort debating and researching how to design the perfect office – perhaps too much time, according to Rachel Casanova, a Principle and Director of Workplace at Perkins + Will. In this post, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “When the Open Office Isn’t Always the Problem or Solution“, Casanova argues that we ought to be thinking about office design more holistically, taking into account not just the physical space of the office, but also how the client runs their workplace. At best, design can catalyse a more nurturing office environment, but for each company the way to achieve this may be different; there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ office solution. Read on after the break to find out why.

Perkins + Will Designs FIU Complex for the Research of Extreme Natural Events

South East View. Image Courtesy of

Florida International University’s Stempel Complex, designed by Perkins + Will, will be completed this fall. The complex will house the Extreme Event Institute, which will bring together a number of the university’s research and academic programs to study “extreme natural events.” The form of the building itself takes inspiration from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and is centered around an oval-shaped courtyard. 

RAIC Honors Peter Busby with Gold Medal

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre / Perkins+Will

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada has named Peter Busby the 2014 recipient of the Gold Medal, the highest honor awarded by the organization. Since founding his practice in 1984, Busby has built a reputation for being a “powerful catalyst in the growth of the green architecture movement,” a pioneer in sustainability. In 2004, Busby merged his firm with Perkins+Will. He now serves as the Managing Director of Perkins+Will’s San Francisco office. More information on Busby and the award, here.

Northwestern Unveils Potential Replacements for Prentice

Proposal. Image Courtesy of Northwestern University

Northwestern University has unveiled three final proposals that are in the running to replace Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Woman’s Hospital, which is currently being demolished in after a long, high-profile preservation battleThe shortlisted architects – Goettsch Partners and Ballinger, Perkins + Will, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Payette – have each proposed a two-phased plan for the 600,000 square-foot Biomedical Research Building, which is intended to become a “world-class research and development enterprise” that serves as an “anchor” for the Feinberg School of Medicine’s research facilities.

View the shortlisted proposals after the break…

New Hospital Tower Rush University Medical Center / Perkins + Will

© James Steinkamp Photography

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: Rush University Medical Center, 1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612,
Area: 830000.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: James Steinkamp Photography, Steve Hall | Hedrich Blessing

2013 Great Places Award Winners Announced

Northerly Island / Studio Gang Architects + SmithGroupJJR

Seven exemplary projects in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and urban design have been named winners of the 2013 Great Places and were honored during the 44th annual conference of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) earlier this month. The EDRA Great Places recognizes professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design and pay special attention to the relationship between physical form and human activity or experience.

The winners after the break…

University of Toronto Instructional Centre / Perkins + Will

© James Brittain

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: Mississauga, , Canada
Design Principal: Andrew Frontini
Architectural Team: Alan Mortsch, Alice Wong, Larry Silva, Claudia Bader,
Interior Design: Diana Shams
Area: 150,000 sqft
Year: 2012
Photographs: James Brittain, Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Earth Sciences Building / Perkins + Will

© Martin Tessler

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia,
Design Team: , Aneta Chmiel, Maginnis Cocivera, Paul Cowcher, Anna Espinoza, Jana Foit, Jeremiah Deutscher, Joerk Gravenstein, Herman Kao, Jon Loewen, Teresa Miller, Soren Schou, Eric Stedman, Julie Wong
Area: 15,794 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Martin Tessler

Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability / Perkins + Will

© Martin Tessler

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Design Team: Peter Busby, Martin Nielsen, Maginnis Cocivera, Sebastien Garon, Brian Gasmena, Jörk Grävenstein, Horace Lai, Blair McCarry, Z Smith
Area: 5,675 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Martin Tessler

AIA Selects Four Projects for National Healthcare Design Awards

Massachusetts General Hospital – The Lunder Building; Boston / NBBJ

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) has announced four recipients of the AIA National Healthcare Design program. The program highlights the “best of healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research” that exhibit “conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns as well as the requisite functional and concerns of a hospital”.

The AIA National Healthcare Design Award recipients are:

Top 250 U.S. Architectural Firms

Shanghai Tower / Gensler

Architectural Record has published their annual list of the “Top 250 Architecture Firms” in the . The companies are ranked according to architectural revenue from the prior year. Gensler claimed the number one spot, with a record high of $764 million in revenue, over the long-standing leader , whom brought in $445 million in 2011.

The firms classify themselves by:

  • A = Architect
  • AE = Architect-Engineer
  • AP = Architect Planner
  • EAL = Engineer Architect Landscape
  • AEC = Architect-Engineer-Contractor

Continue after the break to review the top 25.

Exemplar of Sustainable Architecture: 1315 Peachtree / Perkins+Will

After – Courtesy of

Understanding that environmental responsibility is an integral part of design excellence, Perkins + Will’s new Atlantic office, known as 1315 Peachtree, serves as an example on how current technologies can be used to achieve Platinum Certification, meet the 2030 Challenge and help reduce toxic materials from our building products.

1315 Peachtree is an adaptive reuse of a 1985 office structure transformed into a high performance civic-focused building. Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta across from the High Museum of Art, the new building continues to house the Peachtree Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library and introduces a new street-level tenant space occupied by the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). The Perkins+Will Atlanta office occupies the top four floors with office space for up to 240 employees. Continue reading for more information on the highest LEED score building in the Northern Hemisphere.

Transparency in the Building Industry – Nutrition Labels for Building Materials

© 2012

In material safety article for the New York Times, Fred A. Bernstein conducts an interview with architect Peter Syrett and interior designer Chris Youseff of Perkins + Will that highlights their endeavor to create a database of common building materials and the potential dangers associated with their composition. The database, simply and appropriately referred to as Transparency Lists, is a resource of precautionary measures which breaks down into four categories: Precautionary List, Asthma Triggers + Asthmagens, Flame Retardants, and News, Media + Additional Research.

Read on for more after the break.

Top 100 Architecture Firms

© Joe Pugliese

Architect Magazine‘s third-annual ranking of American architecture firms takes a look at three factors: profitability, sustainability, and design quality. This whole picture approach provides an opportunity for small and large firms to go head to head, with a result of the best architecture firms, not necessarily the biggest.

Some of these practices have been featured on ArchDaily like , Skidmore Owings & Merrill, , and Frank Harmon Architect.

Take a look at the complete rankings after the break.

Brooklin Community Centre And Library / Perkins + Will

© Lisa Logan Architectural Photography

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: , Ontario, Canada
Project area: 57,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Lisa Logan Architectural Photography

Trent Community Sport and Recreation Centre / Perkins + Will

© Tom Arban Photography

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: Peterborough, ,
Project area: 80,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Tom Arban Photography

Center for Urban Waters / Perkins + Will

© Benjamin Benschneider

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: , WA, USA
Client: National Development Council and the City of Tacoma
Structural/Civil Engineer: AHBL, Inc.
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Lighting: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Landscape Architect: Swift & Company
Commissioning Agent: Rushing
Acoustical: Yantis
Cost Estimator: Davis Langdon Associates
Developer: Loring
Contractor: Turner Construction
Project area: 51,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Benjamin Benschneider

Sammamish Library / Perkins + Will

© Perkins+Will

Architects: Perkins + Will
Location: , WA, USA
Client: King County Library System
Civil and Structural Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Space Planning: Design Perspectives
Cost Estimating: Davis Langdon
Landscape Architecture: Nakano Associates
Electrical Engineering: Sparling
Acoustical: Yantis
Lighting: Candela
Mechanical Engineering: Stantec
Contractor: Sierra Construction
Project area: 20,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Perkins+Will