I helped a rapidly growing architecture firm tell the story of its value and strategic approach with case studies of recent work.
For each case study, I sat down with firm leadership to learn about the context of the work. What were the entitlements constraints, why was the client interested in developing the project, what kind of opportunity was there for public improvement? We then worked together to develop a narrative about the firm’s response – why were decisions made, what was the end result, and what kind of value did it add for the client and for the public?
I developed a graphic language that reinforced the firm’s brand and marketing position, and created illustrations that showed the scope of each project while focusing on key strategic points.
This project, still in construction, was particularly clever in developing and arranging a mixed use program, site plan, and structural system that maximized FAR while still carving out shared outdoor space on a combined set of lots with different zoning requirements. Right away we settled on evoking a “tetris” theme to describe the interaction and relationship between uses in the project.
The biggest difficulty in diagrammatically showing the program was that programs were intertwined in both horizontal plan and vertical section. It wasn’t immediately obvious how to pick a view of the project that gave an effective overview of what was going on. The program diagram, above, was designed to be able to show the different residential typologies along with how they relate to the office volume, as well as the site and circulation. The section perspective drawing shows the residential circulation concept, along with the access points and “front stoops” that the design afforded despite the constraints of the tightly packed site.
The story behind this Palo Alto project was a classic “big move” that opened up the design of the building, and also its public relationship.
Rather than build penthouse apartments on top of a commercial structure, which would have been the obvious result of the proforma and zoning analysis, the residential component was moved to face the neighboring park. One graphic device that contributes to the simplicity of these diagrams is the representation of adjacent uses. I looked at representing neighboring buildings in varying levels of detail in three dimensions, but by keeping adjacent context at a conceptual level, the focus is maintained on the proposal itself as well as the big idea.
This project was less about a single big idea and more about synthesis. Currently the headquarters for 23andme, the building is located in the middle of downtown Mountain View. The story was about what it takes to build a desirable workplace in the tech sector within walkable, transit accessible locations.
These diagrams discuss the architectural approach to integrating city requirements and awareness of the neighborhood context in the facade, as well as the rooftop terrace, a prime amenity as well as a working water management system.