Thursday, October 14, 2010

Collaboration Part 2: The Collaborative Workspace

During the Design Charrette the conclusion was reached that collaborative work spaces were critical for a creative, dynamic, and efficient office culture.  During the discussion it also became apparent that these interactive spaces were needed on a variety of scales, and as a shared resource for all team members.  These spaces would empower the team and set the stage for the free exchange of ideas and design solutions.  The following is a list of these spaces within the new DG headquarters:
Open Studio (First and Second Floor).  For the majority of team members this is a crucial part of the office environment.  It is here casual interactions and discussions can occur on an hourly or even minute to minute basis.  This is the main stage for the cross pollination of ideas. 
Shared Open Work Space.  Interspersed within the studio, these spaces provide islands of collaborative space, allowing individuals to step away from their own stations and come together quickly and easily.  Accommodating 1-4 people, these spaces are shared by every four work stations. 
Shared Closed Work Room. This space is key to the idea of collaborative space. It accommodates up to 6 people and is available for any employee(s) to take over.  It might be to meet with a materials representative, to have a project team meeting, or just to get away from their work area and the studio to really concentrate.  Glass doors allow for auditory privacy but still allow for visual connection to the studio.
Work Room.  Here any team member can spread out and work in a temporary setting.
Small Conference Room (First Floor).  This is a more traditional, formal type of collaboration space with clients, consultants or staff.  It is available to use as available or by reservation.  Being located away from the studio space allows for a more structured, concentrated environment.
Small Conference Room (Second Floor).  Another more traditional, formal space however it could also be used as a shared closed work room when the studio expands to the second floor.
Large Conference Room (Second Floor).  The most formal of all the spaces within the office, this space promotes relationships between DG and the public.  Small lectures, presentations and lunch and learns can all be accommodated as well as client meetings, consultants, and in house team meetings.
First Floor Collaboration Spaces

Second Floor Collaboration Spaces

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Collaborative Design Process

Collaboration in action.

Collaboration has always been an essential part of the Design Group’s philosophy, and the design of the new office was no exception.  Office-wide charrettes were held so that everyone could contribute ideas and review the design as it progressed.  From the charrettes, three key guiding principles emerged: collaboration, sustainability, community.

Early in the process it became apparent that locating everyone in the same space on one floor was an important goal.  In the new office, everyone from the architecture studio to the interior design department to civil engineering will be located in one large space on the first floor.  Other ideas from the charrettes that were incorporated into the final building design include:

  • Renovation / reuse of an existing, historic building.
  • Sustainable technology, such as PV panels, solartube lighting, water-harvesting, efficient HVAC, and natural ventilation.
  • Environmentally friendly finish products with low VOCs.
  • A dishwasher (so we don’t have to use disposable dishes).
  • Open, collaborative work spaces.
  • Flexible workstations.
According to Ronnie DiCappo, head of the Design Group’s interior design department,

With design and engineering disciplines becoming more and more integrated everyday, collaboration is more important now than ever before. Our new office is designed to facilitate collaboration among team members.”

Office-wide design charrette.