Tag Archives: Commercial Spaces

Manzanita Hall 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, Stephanie LaVoy addresses the design process for Manzanita Hall in Tempe, AZ.

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Describe this project in one word.

Iconic.

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

The design team was challenged with modernizing a 1967 building, making it more functional and welcoming to students, while maintaining the historic architectural character.  The common areas were opened up, connecting previously segmented areas, creating more cohesive communal amenity areas that are so important in a modern residential hall.

The addition of the two story lounges connects residential floors to foster community interaction.  the lounges span between the unused exterior interstitial space of the building, exposing the original triangular lattice structure.  These neighborhood spaces provide residents with communal kitchens, lounges, laundry facilities and study rooms & encourage student interaction.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The design team began with learning about the history of Manzanita Hall, analyzing the functionality and where improvements could be made that would impact student life.  The team was sensitive to the iconic quality of the existing structure and worked hard to incorporate existing elements where appropriate, like the original terrazzo tile, and to echo the unique geometry of the structure with custom carpeting, lighting and artwork.  It was also important to balance the striking architectural elements & bold use of color and pattern to use a subtle finish palette of white, silver and grey.

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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?

There are always unexpected issues when working with an existing structure, it’s important to be flexible and problem-solve when issues arise & find the most salient elements in order to maintain the integrity of the design.

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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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