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Scott Spector

Design & Spec

Get Inspired, U.S. Edition

Last summer, I authored a column on the most inspiring cities abroad I’ve visited: Istanbul, Prague, Budapest, Athens and Barcelona. I shared some of the architectural wonders of each and favorite spots to visit, whether you find yourself there on business or for pleasure. The best part was hearing everyone’s feedback afterward. The calls and Read More

Design & Spec

Healthy Office, Happy Office

Wellness in the workplace is no longer a nice perk—it’s now a mandate within the Affordable Care Act. That, coupled with a growing millennial workforce expressing a desire for a flexible, healthy place to spend their days, has companies listening more closely. And they should! (After all, who wants to be tethered to the desk with little to no daylight?)

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that prolonged sitting has significant health risks, regardless of one’s physical activity levels. Along with encouraging movement, there are many other small adjustments companies can “put into motion” to make the office a pleasant, yet productive place to work. Here are eight things every tenant should consider: Read More

Design & Spec

Architect Vs. Architect: Six Key Questions to Picking the Best

There’s much more to choosing the right architect than blasting out a bunch of RFP’s, glancing at the numbers and hoping for the best.

When tenants are weighing one architect against another, they should be able to see, right from the start, what key differences set them apart. Here are six quick questions you can ask to help you determine which company is the right choice for yours: Read More

Design & Spec

No Need to Spec-Ulate (Part Three)

Over the past two weeks, we’ve talked about some of the most commonly asked questions architects face out in the field. We’ve discussed office culture and design, how to work well within a team and now, for this final installment, we’ll delve into four more topics of great interest to landlords and tenants. This column will tackle some hot button issues: money, time, branding and (one of the absolute most frequently posed questions) if we can recommend a consultant for your project.

What’s the best way to keep my budget in check? Read More

Design & Spec

No need to Spec-ulate, Part Two

Last week, I shared three of the most frequently asked questions we encounter out in the field and provided you with detailed answers, based on our experiences. We got plenty of excellent feedback from readers and, this week, we are ready to tackle three more timely topics, all of which address the dynamics of working within a project team:

Do I need an owner’s representative or a project manager? 

The answer to this question is not one size fits all; you have to think about it on a case-by-case basis. Having an independent person makes sense on some projects, but not others. Read More

Design & Spec

No need to Spec-ulate

If you attend as many programming, site selection and new business meetings as I do, you begin to see a distinct pattern: Most clients ask the same exact questions and have the exact same concerns. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate this column (and the two that follow) to the top 10 most commonly asked client questions. This week, we’ll cover three interrelated topics, all of which pertain to designing a happier, more productive office:

What is the best way to create a successful collaborative space? Read More

Design & Spec

The Next Wave in Office Security

The recent events in Paris have made office security a topic of discussion both in the United States and abroad. Some workplaces, such as banks and federal buildings, had a high level of security even before the events of 9/11. But when two Islamist gunmen forced their way into the office of a French satirical weekly, killing 12 people and wounding 11, earlier this month, it underscored how workplace security should be a concern for all commercial tenants and landlords. Read More

Design & Spec

Are You Down With IPD?

Sometimes I get so excited about an idea that I want to share it with anyone who will listen. That’s how I feel about Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), which I noted in a previous column as one of the five trends to watch for 2015. Given the buzz surrounding the topic generated by attorneys, insurance agents, and building owners we work with, it seems IPD is worth closer inspection.

So what is IPD? Basically it’s a highly efficient project delivery system that many in the construction industry are beginning to adopt to help them streamline complex projects. The idea behind it is to have one central reporting system to integrate input from various parties so that they can collaborate more effectively. They share in both the glory and in the liability. It’s the ultimate team approach. Read More

Design & Spec

Five Design Trends to Watch in 2015

In the architecture and design business, change is the name of the game. No matter how innovative an idea is, in order to create offices our clients will love as much today as they will a decade from now, we need to think about how things will change moving forward. Here are five trends to watch in 2015. Read More

Design & Spec

2015: Off to a Great Start Already

“It’s pretty impressive.”—Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics research, Bank of America Corp., on recent U.S. Department of Labor figures

We agree, Ethan! Late 2014’s news of widespread hiring surges—the biggest hike in nearly three years (and a jump in wages along with it!)—was music to the ears of many. An impressive 321,000 jobs were added in November, following an increase of 243,000 the month before. Unemployment rates decreased in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail and manufacturing sectors, year-over-year. The American Institute of Architects reported an increase in employment. Interest rates remain low and there’s capital available for those who qualify for loans. Market indicators highlighted a solid 2014 and pointed to an economy that is poised to perform well in 2015. Read More

Design & Spec

More Than a Place to Hang Your Hat

Our firm has toured many, many offices over the years. One of the first things we assess when we walk through the door is the overall environment. Does it foster employee satisfaction and productivity? Is there ample natural light? Are the acoustics good? Is the design modern and welcoming? These are some of our top concerns.

However, that’s only the foundation. A happy, positive workplace is more than just a beautiful, light-filled space, though that is a great start; there needs to be a culture in place that nurtures it. Statistics are out there to support our focus. In fact, a recent Jobvite survey of 1,855 recruiters and HR professionals noted that the top thing recruiters do to attract employees—a whopping 73 percent—is highlight the company culture, followed by touting better benefits (51 percent). Read More

Design & Spec

Farewell to the File Cabinet

Over the past few weeks, at every single programming meeting I’ve attended, the same topic has come up: file storage. No, the companies weren’t looking to add that into the plan; they were looking for ways to embrace technology and reduce, or even eliminate, the need for physical space for documents.

Music to my ears! Read More