Tomorrow's Project by HunterDouglas Contract
Tomorrow's Project is a discussion platform for prominent architects and designers to voice their predictions on the future of design. Every other week, we speak to design leaders who are developing ideas for smarter ways to live and work that challenge the norms in their sectors: healthcare, education, corporate, retail, and hospitality design.
Marc Teer

Question: How are the design tools you use changing the way you design, and how do you envision them evolving in the future?

Marc: Our design tools will evolve to find the balance between being much simpler to use and incorporating robust functionality. Also, as strategic thinking becomes a key part of more practices, we will see these tools evolve to become integrated and connected to the traditional aspects of the digital design process.

Question: How does that impact the work you do at Gensler?

Marc: We are always interested in the advancement of technology in terms of new creative possibilities and the higher level of effectiveness that we can achieve with our work. We are also interested in the advancement of technology that enables us to leverage our talent across the globe more effectively. Ironically it is this technology that gives us an advantage because everyone has access to the same design tools -- it's our talent that is special.

Question: Can you describe some recent corporate projects that have really pushed the envelope?

Marc: We recently completed a master plan, renovation and new building for Johnson Controls in Milwaukee, which now boasts the highest concentration of LEED Platinum buildings in the world. Construction of the Shanghai Tower is well under way. When it's finished it will be the 2nd tallest building in the world, featuring sustainable strategies never before implemented in a building of this scale. We also recently began the design of the Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, which is aimed at being the world's most environmentally friendly skyscraper.

Question: As we come out of the recession, how has corporate design changed? How do you think it will continue to change as we move forward?

Marc: The recession has provided businesses with the opportunity to step back and reconsider their operations. This time for reloading has happened when digital technologies have made a mobile workforce possible, when there is a wider appreciation for an organization's carbon footprint, and where there is increasing pressure to hire the best people from across the globe.

Question: What does that mean for workplace design?

Marc: As this shift occurs, and place becomes less important, our approach to designing corporate workspaces will shift as well. These new spaces will have to accommodate major fluctuations in workforce population as well as provide meaningful spaces for these people to stay connected to the larger organization.

Question: Have your corporate architecture clients embraced sustainability?

Marc: Clients are challenging us to create the "most sustainable" building in their class. This, of course, is an important transition from just a few years back when we were pitching the value of sustainability to our clients.

Question: What does best in class mean to them?

Marc: An interesting new trend is that some of our clients are questioning the cost and relevance of third party verification, and are choosing to incorporate these building practices and technologies without verification. Success is measured in how widely accepted the value of sustainability is (and third party verification organizations were central to that success), and yet as clients come out of the verification process for the first time, they are questioning the expense and the value of that verification going forward.

Question: What are your thoughts on certification?

Marc: There is a lot of room for the simplification and automation of the verification process that needs to be incorporated into the next iterations in order for them to maintain their relevance to our clients.

Question: Tell us something about yourself

Marc: I recently founded a blog entitled "Black Spectacles" that publishes articles and interviews illustrating how technology is enabling world class design.


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Innovation Poll
What's the most common objection to sustainable design you hear?
  1. It’s too expensive.
  2. It’s too complicated.
  3. I don’t care.
  4. I don’t like my options.