Date: March 02, 2018
Location: StreetSense, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Led by: Chelsea Thompson & Stacey Bringar
Session Sponsor: Insite VR
Venue Sponsor: StreetSense
Chelsea Thompson and Stacey Bringar hosted the sixth session of the year exploring Industry Trends at the StreetSense offices on Pennsylvania Avenue. Their program focused on practice adaptation, local food production, emerging design technologies, and real estate market shifts, all with the intent of exploring how innovative ideas can create lasting impacts in the profession.
Presentation #1 – Putting Resilience into Practice: Planning and Adapting:
Jon Penndorf, FAIA, of Perkins+Will presented planning for Resilience as an emerging school of thought for the architectural profession. The first question we must ask is why do architects need to be concerned with Resilience? A professional duty to the healthy, safety, and welfare of the public requires that architects pay attention to the environmental resilience of our planning. Additionally, our contractual duty to our clients demands that we evaluate the economic costs of non-resilience and the relatively low cost of minimal resilient interventions. Resilience can mean designing for shocks, which are sudden events like hurricanes or terrorist events; or stressors, which are gradual or long-term such as drought, sea-level rise or war. Penndorf illustrated the a variety of resilient strategies through several case studies and tools to determine resiliency risks such as National Climate Assessment report, FEMA Flood Maps, and NOAA Sea Level Rise Projection Tool. The next step in the Resilience movement is to quantify and regulate the standards. RELi – a resilience standard developed by Perkins + Will was recently acquired by the USGBC. This standard coalates to LEED, and other third-party certified standards, and creates a gold standard for planning Resiliency into the practice of architecture.
Presentation #2 – Incorporating Agriculture: The Why and How:
Next, the session dove into the weeds on one specific trend in the broader realm of sustainability, Urban Agriculture, and incorporating local food production into buildings and communities. Meredith Sheperd, the founder and CEO of Love & Carrots, presented her business and the intricacies of incorporating urban agriculture into architectural design. The United States has a public health crisis in which 1 in 3 adults is obese and our food production system is broken. Love & Carrots is a small business that provides productive food garden planning, design, and installation, as well as coaching and maintenance. There is substantial research and regulation currently focused on using urban agriculture to address both the obesity epidemic and the food production system. Sheperd then presented several case studies where Love & Carrots has established a working garden or local food supply. Love & Carrots works with the architect or community to locate and optimize the garden for production, builds and installs the garden, and then provides either some maintenance and coaching or fully manages the garden production.
Presentation #3 – Practical Uses of VR within the Design Industry:
Justin Benjamin is the Design Application Manager for Perkins + Will DC, and create a two-part session for the CKLDP scholars. In the introduction, he talked our class through his philosophy on incorporating VR into the design process and how it can be an effective tool if the focus is on project deliverables rather than simply innovation. Benjamin works to create reliable workflows for teams that require little start-up training. His primary tools are Enscape, IrisProspect, Revit Live, and Insite VR. After a brief overview of the software products and process, scholars then participated in a lively VR demonstration and exploration.
Everyone was able to test the goggles and move around in a project environment. There were several challenges to accomplish, for example: navigating to a specific location in the project, testing different movement types, drawing redlines in the 3D environment, and changing design elements in 3D. Overall the presentation and demonstrating gave the class a feeling for the possibilities of working with VR in a typical design process.
Presentation #4 – An Experience Consultancy:
The session concluded with a wide-ranging talk on commercial, residential and retail trends by two senior StreetSense consultants, Bruce Leonard and Cassandra Cullison. StreetSense is a collective of architects, designers, graphic designers, marketing & branding, analysts, brokers, and consultants that work with clients every step of the way through a real estate project. They specifically discussed their firm’s structure and strategy and the changing paradigm of retail real estate. The built environment has moved from commodity to strategy – turning the built environment into a user-interface. They spoke about the crisis retail real estate is facing, that the U.S. has 23 sf of retail per capita compared to 12 sf in Canada and 8 sf in Europe; with over 13 billion square feet of that retail space unoccupied or under-utilized. While there are not a lot of obvious solutions to this over-supply of retail real estate beyond demolition, StreetSense is working to create future facing solutions. Leonard and Cullison outlined a few of the paradigm shifts necessary for the current market: national anchor tenants vs. boutique, local retail & amenities, horizontally phased mixed-use vs. vertically phased, and consistency vs. sense of place. They used several case studies from across the country to illustrate these concepts, from Reston, Austin, Atlanta, and Washington, DC.
Chelsea and Stacey ended the afternoon with a happy hour at The Old Ebbitt Grill, a D.C. institution.