Omgivning is now a signatory of the AIA 2030 Commitment
We are at a critical social and climate tipping point. Long-predicted weather aberrations materialize and intrude into our daily lives, impacting livelihoods, and putting the most vulnerable of us in peril. Our actions over the next decade will determine whether we can avoid catastrophic consequences for our generation and the generations to come.
Since the building and construction industry accounts for 40% of total energy consumption in the United States, architects play a vital role in the effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
The pandemic has severely affected the restaurant industry across Los Angeles, with downtown Los Angeles hit particularly hard. The LA Alfresco Dining Initiative that is in effect for the duration of the Safer at Home order allows restaurants to open and serve customers at partial capacity by temporarily relaxing the rules that regulate outdoor dining while still maintaining safe physical distancing. The initiative enables restaurants to maximize the 60% indoor dining capacity required by the state allowing dining on sidewalk, in on-street parking spaces, and in private parking lots; it also enables street closures for additional potential seating.
Before the pandemic, traditional space-planning paradigms were driven by density. Today, we must focus on wellbeing measures with additional emphasis on infection control. Safety now implies a whole new set of requirements that owners and tenants must consciously adopt.
The Adapt concept, which is part of our Reimagining the Workplace design report, poses a variety of recommendations that can be implemented to ease infection concerns and provide a more meaningful human experience. This outlook helps employers assess workers' needs, develop targeted protocols and keep focused on the human impacts of navigating "the new normal."
Even before the global health crisis, we at Omgivning were seeing a steady reduction in the space required for typical office programming. Now, more than ever before, office layouts will be shifting to accommodate new mandates for flexibility and the increased portion of employees who work remotely. We want to share three strategies that tenants and owners can use to maximize the potential of today's post-pandemic workplaces.
In today's pandemic-aware environment, offices are changing to suit the reality of a mobile workforce, and traditional footprints no longer apply. In lieu of an open office or large private offices, we’re exploring the idea of smaller, more transformable spaces that suit a variety of needs. The use of something like a "pod" could offer a compelling way forward, especially when matched with a diverse floor plan based on a modular grid layout.
In our Transform concept, pods can occupy less space, and they are the definition of transformability. They can provide sound control (needed for video or phone calls), privacy and the ability to focus. They can be highly mobile and easily transformed into meeting spaces or even sleeping spaces. They can provide maximum resilience and flexibility to accommodate spatial needs that could follow daily, even hourly, cycles. They can also address needs presented by natural disasters or sudden curfew or shelter-in-place requirements.
Amid the upheaval from today's pandemic, we see one clear implication for our industry: space design is entering a whole new era, and there's no going back. Since March 2020, Omgivning has been exploring the potential of this design evolution and reimagining three space types in particular: Workplace, Multifamily and Commercial.
As with all of Omgivning’s work, our goal with this design report is to inspire people to take a closer look at the potential of an existing space or property. Together, we can reveal and attain a site's highest and best use, even under challenging conditions.
We're excited to formally announce that Karin Liljegren, our firm’s founder and principal, has been elevated to the AIA's prestigious College of Fellows. Each year since 1952, AIA leaders have recognized a tiny subset of members for their exceptional contributions to the field of architecture. Karin was commended for elevating the architect’s role in urban revitalization and for creating a nationally applicable model in the practice of adaptive reuse.
If you're curious about how preservationists and adaptive-reuse architects balance historic aesthetics with long-term usability, sign up for the Trading Notes webinar on May 22, run by our friends at The Architect's Newspaper.
Our own Karin Liljegren, FAIA, will be joining Richard Southwick, FAIA, LEED AP, and Frances Halsband, FAIA, as they discuss their approach to projects, with lessons applicable to interventions all over the world.
If you’ve got access to a 3D printer, you might consider joining the huge effort underway to fabricate facemasks for use at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, which is treating COVID-19 patients. The masks they're making are shown pre-assembled above.