PIVOT Architecture | TriMet – 2016 Design…Is Award Global Winner


Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.

Reimagined.

How does this project demonstrate design impact?

PIVOT Architecture in Eugene, OR partnered with TriMet, Portland’s metropolitan transit agency to renovate a few of their existing and leased buildings, with the intention of elevating their level of design. One of the phases of this project, was to reimagine the bus operators’ space at their operation headquarters. The existing space was dark, dingy, and one big open space where a variety of functions took place. Things appeared to be placed haphazardly, without rhyme or reason and there were limited spaces for the drivers to relax and unwind during down time. As
one bus operator summarized during our interviews, “Getting through the daily transition between ‘Work Me’ and ‘Regular Me’ is critical to our mental health and morale, but it’s unsupported at work, and can’t happen at home.” One of our main goals for this project was to use the design of the space to separate out the users’ distinct modes of working and to support these various functions in order to help promote a positive atmosphere and well-being amongst the staff.

Views through floor-to- ceiling windows and glass-enclosed spaces let users remain connected to the outside world and the bus yard, while providing an abundance of natural light. The application of bold color through the carpeting and wall colors simultaneously denotes areas of relevant work-related information and transforms the space into a vibrant atmosphere. At two
entries into the main report area, there are graphic displays made from photos and quotes of bus riders. These graphics help remind bus operators as they enter the building the importance of their job and how they can have a positive impact on others.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Setting the tone for this project and weaving its way through the design of the 14,580-SF space was a top-level directive to reimagine how this almost 24-hour operation functions and reflect
one of its main goals of transparency. Before any decisions were made, the design team held a number of in-depth sessions with the users to examine the functional requirements of the space
and what modes of working were either well supported or lacking. Using that information, we took a fresh look at how their operations could function and designed the space to optimize their
performance while making them feel comfortable, valued, and well supported. Since the design of this space was a drastic departure from their current way of working, TriMet utilized change
management strategies to help the users become accustomed to the new layout and function of the spaces.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

One of the main challenges on this project was that the report area functioned almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and needed to remain fully functional during the six month construction
period. Because of this constraint, TriMet decided to temporarily relocate the 400 + bus operators, station agents, bus transportation managers, and all associated services to a modular building complex situated in an adjacent parking lot.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

Overall, this project is reflective of current culture/society in regards to designing spaces where people want to be. The atmosphere is fun, engaging, bright, and open. This space was designed around the end users and what spaces they need to function and feel well supported. It’s not enough just to provide a space anymore. Design is more about the users and how they
interact with the space than simply having a space that the users occupy. It’s about choice and providing varied spaces for the users to select what is right for them at that moment.

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