Tag Archives: commercial interiors

ECO a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Dagmar von Schwerin addresses the design process for ECO in Boston, MA.

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Describe this project in one word.

ECO-logical.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

Designed for young urban professionals, ECO offers relatively compact units balanced by a variety of common spaces available for use by tenants and their visitors. These gathering spaces support the connectivity and community sought by today’s younger residents.

Flooded with natural light and accented with the warmth of wood, bold red accents and surprises of texture in furnishings and carpeting, ECO’s crisp design creates a welcoming environment for social gatherings. The 24/7 activity in the common spaces – located at the entry, the rooftop and top corner of the building – activates the building, letting neighbors know that the lights are on and “someone is home”.

All aspects of the project were specifically designed to advance the Green District’s theme of eco-friendly living, established as a core design principal for this new, sustainable city neighborhood. It is one thing to build a sustainable building, but if the people who live in it do not live sustainably, the effort is only partially successful. In the Green District, residents sign a “Green Lease”, agreeing to adhere to a sustainable lifestyle including the use of on-site recycling and composting, free hydration stations throughout the building to cut down the use of plastic water bottles, car charging, public transportation, and on-site bike and car sharing. The integration of these sustainable options into the building’s design helps ensure that ECO achieves its full eco-friendly potential.

The elegant, modern look and feel of the project, and its clear focus on sustainable living, generated tremendous interest in the community, with all units leased before opening day.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

ECO is the culmination of an ambitious and highly successful development conceived by The Mount Vernon Company of Boston. As the final new building in Allston’s “Green District”, ECO offers a stylish, urban alternative for those seeking eco-friendly, middle income rental opportunities.

PCA’s work with the developer, The Mount Vernon Company, began here with The Edge, a new 79-unit apartment building. Concurrently PCA was asked to upgrade and retrofit façades and building exteriors within the Green District to support the look and feel of the new neighborhood.

The design evolved with every new project, with each building developing a unique style to provide variety and choice to prospective renters. The Edge was designed with an “industrial chic” feel, in contrast to the more traditional themes of the Element apartment building (not designed by PCA) and existing multi- and single family housing in the District.

ECO’s design in turn was inspired by Scandinavian architecture, with clean simple lines and a fresh palette, playful lighting, pops of color, comfortable iconic furniture and the warmth of wood. The continuity of some of the exterior materials used at ECO, such as brick and metal panel, ties ECO back to its neighbors in its urban context. New accents, like the strong blue of the fiber cement clapboards and the pops of red in the fitness room skylights, make a stronger statement about modern style and attitude. The furnishings of the common spaces, visible from the street, further emphasize this approach.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

When designing residential spaces, it is critical to think about how they will be received long term by a variety of audiences. Designing to current trends can quickly date a building. Aim to use high quality materials to create flexible, clean, neutral environments that residents can customize to their liking.

Well programmed and designed public space fosters a sense of community. Comfortable furniture is key. For people to spend time in these spaces they need to feel like they are at home.

Sustainability resonates with today’s young urban professionals – they truly want to “walk the talk”. ECO proves the viability of high quality, contemporary, housing designed specifically to promote eco-friendly living. In addition to being fully leased on opening day, the three new Green District buildings sold for $147.5 million in March of 2015, the second largest apartment transaction in the Boston’s history.

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Science Pyramid a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Kellie Depeder addresses the design process for Science Pyramid in Denver, CO.

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Describe this project in one word.

Biomimetic.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

This design accommodates the natural movement of visitors. As they journey from the entrance of the gardens, the paths and surrounding gardens lead their eyes to the pyramid. The transition from the open air gardens to the interior of the Science Pyramid is fluid and subtle. The skylight fracture down the center of the building along with multiple west facing vignettes allow visitors to remain connected to the gardens as they explore the exhibits.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The design concept is derived from the sites environmental context and program requirements. The architectural elements were created to support the biomimetic design concept.  We developed numerous virtual 3D study models and sketches before we were satisfied with the final design.  Then we refined the custom detailing and material selections.  We worked with building envelope consultants to come up with the best building skin solution to meet a very specific design aesthetic and interior function.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

Be flexible with the design, but be firm with the design concept.

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Large Financial Institution a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Kelly Capp spoke with us about this energetic design journey.

Describe this project in one word. Energetic.

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How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?The project reflects the client’s brand and increases productivity and performance through spatial relationships and collaborative spaces, and also provides amenities and an aesthetically outstanding environment to help with employee retention and recruiting.

Design is a process. Explain your journey. We spend a large amount of time with the client during the programming phase to really get to know them well and ensure that their national standards would function well for the Los Angeles practice and therefore we were able to adjust some of these standards to better serve the LA Office.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?  Trust your initial feeling and collaborate with others to make your vision reality and see it built like you envisioned.

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Security Sat a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Pablo Redondo addresses the design process for Security Sat in Santiago, Chile.

Describe this project in one word. Interaction.

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How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?Beauty as we understand it, is a complex and unique state of shapes and language. It is also a pleasant state of mind and that’s how design can impact a space user. It gives a state of beauty.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey. Our journey begins in the understanding of the client – and the client’s objective. Concepts can be difficult to translate to other minds, so it is very important to understand how to relate to and find the correct visual language. Next, we identify practices or non-practices that separate the user from the identified goal. Proposal is the key to unlock resistance and uncertainty. This is very important to understand the client language – and being able to communicate solutions and added value.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?  I believe the most important factor in the design process is to focus on the client instead of ourselves as designers. We will be understood as long as we speak so they will understand. Communication is the key and it is our responsibility.

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King Edward Hotel Model Room a 2015 Design is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Katie Weber shared insight from this design process with us.

Describe this project in one word. Luxurious.

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How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?Great design is like chemistry: we mix elements, textures and colours in an effort to elicit a physical response from, in this case, the hotel guest. Understanding that the King Edward hotel is Toronto’s first luxury hotel, we endeavored to immerse the guest in timeless elegance that creates a sense of calm but is at the same time, dynamic.

Design is a process. Explain your journey. At MDAI we embrace and incorporate a property’s unique qualities – creating spaces that look forward while giving a subtle nod to the past.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow? There is a tendency to want to put a modern face on a property when doing a full renovation. We’ve learned that rather than masking the character, you should embrace it; that’s where the interest lies.

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