Tag Archives: Design Award

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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Diamond Head 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, Makoto Horiike addresses the design process for Diamond Head in Tokyo Japan.

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Describe this project in one word.

静謐 Tranquility.

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

A space filled with white, transparent atmosphere and symmetrical beauty offers a serene setting. Softer materials are used for comfort, a benefit for employees as they engage and collaborate within the work space. Design is a process.  The primary goal for this design is for on-site visitors to easily understand the client’s brand identity.

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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?

Instead of simply decorating the surface of the target place, we should always aim for inhabitants to grasp the space through the design.

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Element Restaurant and Lounge 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, Cara McKedy addresses the design process for Element Restaurant and Lounge in St Louis, MO.

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Describe this project in one word.

Adaptive.

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

We believe that the positive reviews this restaurant has received are partially due to the unique atmosphere. We worked in conjunction with the entire restaurant team on this project to support their vision, and it turned out to be a really great showpiece of both design and food. This proves that the atmosphere of a restaurant can be just as impactful to visitors as the food on their plates.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

We had a fixed timeline on this project, so we worked from the beginning with a team consisting of Remiger Design as the architects and designers, the owner’s rep, the chef of the restaurant, the general contractor and the food service consultant. This allowed us to include feedback from every party in the design and create a space that met everyone’s needs. The owner wanted to include enough seating to remain profitable, the chef helped our team understand the type of preparation space he needed, and the general contractor worked with us to ensure schedule and budget adherence throughout the process.

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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?

Creating a well thought-out, functional design is much easier when you have the input of both the contractor and the end user of the space. Our advice to future designers would be to incorporate as much feedback as possible from the end user while working with the contractor to keep the schedule and budget in check. This will help create spaces that meet the needs of the client and don’t exceed budget or timeline limitations.

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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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