Towards More Resilient Buildings

More resilient buildings are critical to ensuring the safety of our urban infrastructure. Rendering © Gensler

In the past, good architecture and good design meant something very different than they do today. The play of light, the angle of the sun, and the direction of the wind were the principles that used to guide architects and designers as they first put pen to paper. Over time, these considerations were pushed aside. Today our buildings and our cities are full of mechanically ventilated glass and steel boxes of varying shapes and sizes. These glass and steel boxes no longer care where the sun stands in the sky or from which direction the wind blows; their only concern is providing occupants with places to plug in. The people inside are protected and completely detached from the natural cycles of the world spinning around them. They are ensconced in clouds of technology and encased in a skin of glass and steel.

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The Future of Work

Work is urban, integrated, and more integral to organizational culture than ever. Image © Connie Zhou

Anniversary milestones are often an ideal time to reflect on where we’ve been and to position ourselves for the future. As Gensler turns 50, thinking about the workplace seems like a natural way to mark the occasion. Art Gensler started our firm by focusing on interior architectural at a time when “workplace” wasn’t even a term. The physical workplace of today, where we spend so many of our waking hours, has evolved and changed dramatically from the ones we’ve designed over the last 50 years. And the next 50 years may bring even more fascinating changes.

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High Expectations

Standing desks can be a refreshing change of pace for workers, but they can also engender chaos if not implemented correctly. Image © David Lam

Adjustable height desks are growing more and more common. I started using one over a year ago on account of hip/hamstring injury that required me to stand. I felt like the odd ball in my office. Today, clients are increasingly providing adjustable height desks for every worker. Adjustable height desks will soon be a design standard. The costs are coming down as more furniture manufactures get into the market—the average cost now sits between $600 and $1,000 per workstation or office).

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More Inclusive Design 

Architects and designers have a responsibility to ensure their designs are as inclusive and accommodating as possible. Image © Gensler

Have you ever had the opportunity to watch Murderball? Wheelchair rugby, or Murderball as it’s affectionately called, is one of the most high-endurance, tactical and intense games out there. And when Toronto, Canada hosted the Parapan Am Games, I had the opportunity to be a spectator.

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Microbrands: Think Small

Image © Garrett Rowland

Over the past 50 years, the practice of branding has undergone profound changes. From a contemporary vantage point, it’s difficult to imagine what corporate branding entailed in the mid-1960s, when the concept of branding wasn’t nearly as developed as it is today. But appreciating how branding has evolved and understanding the factors that have evolved the practice can help designers better understand the challenges global brands currently face.

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