‘The emergence of net zero energy buildings and cheap alternative energy will progress the restorative design opportunities and have designers looking more and more towards a biomimicry or living building’, says Ar. Sean Williams, Principal, Owner, Architect; OT9 design in an exclusive interview with sawdust.
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Tell us in detail on Green architecture.
Green architecture is becoming more and more the average design language. I believe the emergence of net zero energy buildings and cheap alternative energy will progress the restorative design opportunities and have designers looking more and more towards a biomimicry or living buildings. Designers need to develop a process for understanding the resources they have available and leverage them to the utmost positive and productive way, this is the way of nature.
In Nature nothing is wasted; there is always a circular economy for every part and piece. Circular economies are in their nascent stage right now. I am not referring to local recycling trends, I am referring to being able to account for all parts of a design for the life and dismantling of the design to be productive in another design economy. I am reminded of an example I heard from Michael Pollan and his TED talk; a restaurant has food waste that it feeds to the fish; waste which feed some plants, and it goes on and on as the individual continuously looks for zero waste in a circular economy. If we look for the upcoming designers focusing on circular ecologies and design, we will see the beginnings of the next innovation in architecture and design.
What do you think are the 10 fundamental design elements that can positively impact the workplace environment and support the work being done.
- Natural Daylight – We need sunlight to help center us. Primitively we are connected to the sun and all the various tones it gives us. LED lights are getting smarter and can help simulate this in the workplace. (but it shouldn’t be a replacement for the real thing).
- Biophilia – The love of nature, we all want to be out in nature; so having it around the workplace can help us get small connection.
- Balance – The work place needs collaborative places as well as quiet places. Designers should be aware of this and balance it accordingly.
- Brand – Workplace is a place for a company to embrace its brand and clients notice when you believe in your brand and when it is just hype/marketing.
- Bold – Designers shouldn’t be afraid to be bold and express new ideas with the client to help with morale or productivity.
- Flexibility – If the work place isn’t flexible how can a company change with the various elements. Designers should look to areas of high flexibility and areas of limited flexibility. Places like huddle rooms should be very flexible to meet the different types of collaborations we might want. Board rooms maybe, want to remain less.
- Materials – Make the space, they add texture and colour to the space creating interest and curiosity.
- Open mindedness – Be willing to adjust designs to meet the changing markets.
- Acoustics – Listen and listen again; then find the spaces that need to be quiet and make them the best they can possibly be.
- Have Fun – Experiment with space. We all work differently and spend 30% of our day in the workplace. So, look to have fun with it.
Brief us in detail about adequate sound absorption requirements, primarily for floor screens and desk screens if they are aimed to be used as efficient sound absorber in a room.
The sound absorption varies on the requirements of the space. Private offices should have the highest stc rating but the open office needs to look at soft materials and designed ceilings.
The visual perception in a room is initially achieved by illumination – Brief in detail.
Light is one way of perceiving a room, usually through the contrast of light shade and shadow, but also through color. Some of the most successful projects use light as a finish and organizer of space. Projects should look to develop light in a very deliberate way.
Workplace Lighting: Best Practices for Office Lighting Design – elaborate.
There are a few ways to look at this, I believe that you should always look at the quality of sunlight that you have first. Once you have established this, you can move to the various ways that you want to develop the program and the parts of the space you are designing. Designers should be aware of glare as well as the various tasks the client will be doing to create their strategies.
What do you think about the modern office furniture designs?
The trend of the modern office furniture design are interesting and I hope they can get more of the research done in Biomimicry and see “restorative designs” that make the interior air cleaner; and people more comfortable and healthy.