As those of you who regularly read this blog have likely ascertained, my curiosity about office space is insatiable. Although I have been representing tenants for over twenty years, I still spend a significant amount of time and money traveling, touring and learning about space. I want to understand trends, changing uses of space and new design approaches so I can be a better advocate for the tenants I represent.
The best teachers in my quest to date have been law firm managers (more on that another day) and architects. Architects hafaceve welcomed me into the most generous work community I have known. I have met architects at conferences, through clients and on the internet. Without exception, they have made time to share their knowledge with me on the phone or in person. They have set up tours of interesting build outs and accompanied me on those tours to answer my questions. They have helped me get pictures of spaces when my iPhone photos were subpar. They have flown to Birmingham to share their knowledge with clients and prospects. (Thank you, Steve Martin and Gensler.) They have even sent me homemade barbecue sauce (nod to Jennifer Hatton at IA Interior Architects).
My research and blogging aside, they are invaluable when working with my clients on specific projects. Architects help clients think through how they use space and what they want their space to say about their businesses. They are creative problem solvers who love to find a work around for design challenges, but they can also provide a needed reality check. I have seen jaw-dropping space designed on a shoestring budget and awkward spaces made functional.
If you are an occupier of commercial office space who is either contemplating improving your current space or considering a move, my advice to you is to reach out to the architecture community with your questions. Go to websites like www.officesnapshots.com and look at different spaces. If you see something that intrigues you, call the architect that designed the space, tell them you saw and liked their work and ask them questions. I am confident that if you are genuinely seeking knowledge, you will be warmly received and better off for your efforts.