by Jeff Serbin | Mar 20, 2015 | Architectural Planning, Architecture, Blog, Collaboration, Interiors, Planning, Uncategorized
You are either looking or just leased a space or own an existing building and have a few changes you want to make. The first step is to hire a design professional who can make your project successful. Whether it’s relocating a few interior walls, a complete renovation to the facade, a major improvement to a space for a new cafe or office, an update to a Network Operation Center, the architectural design team can determine the scope of the project and meet your needs while satisfying the current building codes. They will also coordinate with contractors to ensure budgets are met or give you a reality check on the current dollars to improve.
The first stage of design before any pencil is put to paper is a well established ‘Architectural program’. This can come in many forms depending on the complexity of the project.
Architectural Program – “Defines the required functions of a project. It should include estimated square footage for each use all elements to achieve the project goal.”
I recently was talking with a well educated Real Estate broker who had a client that was uncertain whether he wanted open office cubicles or private offices within his suite. He wanted to analyze the benefits of open office vs. private office or a mix there of but wasn’t sure where to start. The agent didn’t realize that part of the architects role is to master plan the space as well as pick out the finishes. As part of the programming, MASTER PLANNING can open and eventually determine what is best suited for your company.
If it’s a first timer who is not familiar with design process, the architect may have a little more work on their hands. A well established business may have their needs clearly defined already. The planning and efficiency of an office can be equated to dollars. As we know in a home, a well functioning kitchen using the triangular work station design is very efficient. This idea is no different in an office. Every project is unique, every client has expectations, business technologies are always improving and design philosophies change over time. Mixing all these ingredients isn’t as easy as following the back of a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Box.
Programming Bubble Diagram
Most of the time, there is little to no existing drawings to work from. Even if we are handed what looks like a complete set of drawings, relying on them can lead to a major mistake later down the road. I have experienced first hand structural elements that show up on drawings which were not existing in the field. The prior contractor must have made a change in the field and didn’t update the drawings. Therefore, verifying as much of the space possible is important. In many cases, structures and building systems are covered by architectural finishes and therefore there are unknowns unless exploratory demolition is possible.
Existing condition uncovered on Tenant Improvement. An existing steel beam was uncovered where we thought masonry occurred.
Whether it’s relocating a few walls or adding a few lights to a building, the design team needs to complete their ‘due diligence’. The design team needs to ensure the existing building systems are up to current codes and in good working order. You cannot assume or expect the prior tenant or building owner did everything correctly. Sometimes we run across items that were built without permits. And remember, codes do change over time. Therefore, bringing in a complete design team of architect and engineers is important.
Tenant improvement Facade Remodel
SIMPLIFYING A PROJECT
Another thing that we run into is that some client simplify the project. One may think moving a few walls is fairly straight forward however these changes can affect many building systems and in essence open up the can of worms. For example it can affect lay in ceiling grids, lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, mechanical duct work, fire sprinklers, fire alarm systems etc. This list can be extensive.
Even the simple aspect of remodeling or adding a restroom to an existing suite can have complications. With current ADA codes and changes to MPE systems, laying out a restroom can also have a domino effect and a good design team is needed to make this change simple. We also run into the mentality sometimes that ‘This is how we have done it in the past’. Maybe codes and methods have changed.
Once the design direction is established, the architect should at this time ensure what the City of jurisdiction may require. Every City has interpretations of the codes and each reviewer read those in grey. Once the drawings are completed and coordinated among the various engineers, the drawings are ready to be submitted for building permits.
The architect’s role does not stop at the issuance of a permit. Once the contractor is underway, especially on a tenant improvement, questions come up that should be answered by the design team. As you saw above in the photo, we sometime finds surprises such as that unknown steel beam. The design team in that scenario had to come up with alternative detailing to address that specific condition. Therefore sometimes decisions are made on the fly once systems are uncovered and layers of old design are peeled away. All changes should be documented so everyone is on the same page.
Ultimately, the design team is the eyes of the client to ensure the contractor is following the design that was developed. The bottom line is that we strive for a positive outcome and “We Make You Look Good!”
by Jeff Serbin | Feb 24, 2015 | Architectural Planning, Architecture, Blog, Collaboration, Commercial Architecture, Graphics, Interiors, Planning, Uncategorized
On January 1, 2014 the Town of Buckeye in Western Maricopa County became a City. Over a year has come and gone and becoming a City is a big responsibility and the residences in Buckeye are stepping up to the challenge. Late last year, the City of Buckeye provided a Grant (catalyst) to assist business owners to improve its cache of buildings to attract more business.
Buckeye is open for business
We are seeing allot of excitement coming in the near future from the recently awarded projects. We are all Chomping at the bit just like first settlers who must have watched with excitement as the waters flowed down the Buckeye Canal system in 1907.
Serbin Studio’s involvement on the Buckeye Main Street Coalition, we take pride of assisting business owners in many ways. Whether it’s educating others how important it is for your business presence to communicate to the public, whether its your web presence or physical storefront, we have been working on our design muscles.
Downtown Buckeye along Monroe has a collection of historic buildings (OK they aren’t actually on the historic register), but they do have history. Buckeye wants to preserve and improve upon what stock we have. Just like a cowboy trying to stay on the horse a little bit longer, we are all working on improving how we do things.
The Carniceria Y Taqueraa Durango resides in one building in the heart of downtown Buckeye. Located a stones throw from City Hall and Buckeye Valley Chamber, a portion of it currently sits vacant. It is begging for some TLC to inspire others to occupy and utilize it. Late December 2014, a design was proposed by Serbin Studio to the City of Buckeye Council and was approved.
Serbin Studio is currently developing the design and providing the necessary details so it is a successful build.
As Mayor Meck states, Buckeye is truly open for business.
by Jeff Serbin | Oct 16, 2014 | Architectural Planning, Architecture, Blog, Collaboration, Planning, Uncategorized
Design and construction is a lengthy process not understood by many. From my experience, the typical client wants to occupy a space faster than what is feasible. I am a realist when it comes to project schedules and typically that may not be what the client wants to hear who has an un-realistic goal. I prefer to …
This industry has many moving parts, puzzles to be solved and involves multiple people; the target ‘time’ is sometimes hard to pin down. Let me describe a typical process from 10,000 feet level.
Aerial of what City?
1) CLIENT CALLS THE ARCHITECT
No two clients, no two projects, no two buildings and no two sites are alike.
(I have had a repeat client within a repeat building with repeat city inspectors using a repeat contractor. But this is not common). Determination of time to complete a project varies.
2) ARCHITECT GATHERS A TEAM
Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical, Structural, Civil, Interiors etc. Projects vary in building type and scale. Project schedules can be dictated by teams availability. Engineers vary in expertise. The team must be appropriate for the project. Gathering a team takes time.
Serbin Studio’s Current Office
3) EXISTING VS. NEW BUILDING
No two properties are alike. With an existing building, architects must understand what the existing conditions are and what information is available (original drawings?). Every city is unique in building codes and inspectors. When we submit drawings to the city for permitting, it is out of our control how much time is needed for a city permit review process.
4) PROPOSAL TIME
Typically with smaller and less sophisticated clients, they inquire about fees. A client is buying a service influenced by many factors, not buying a product. Teams have to be gathered based upon scope. Proposals require thought to ensure the architect has covered all services. This process takes time and it is impossible to give a quote over the phone.
5) DESIGN TIME – Let us look at a typical process at 10,000 ft level.
Phase 1 – Schematic Design
Architects are like Nancy Drew (Lara) and Shirlock Home (Jeff) to uncover all the facts. This would include time to gather information from the client, understand in-direct influences from the surrounding context, City and code constraints, the list goes on and on. The information gathered transforms into a schematic design. Good time for a cost estimate.
Phase 2 – Design Development
Once a schematic design is chosen, further development of the project includes definition of systems (structural, mechanical, electrical etc.) and building materials.
Phase 3 – Construction Documentation
Once the building systems and materials are chosen, the architect and engineers put together documents that are used for permitting and final pricing by the contractor. An architect can assist in the recommendation of a contractor. The process should take a few weeks to complete dependent on the size of the project.
Phase 4 – Construction
During construction, questions arise and the architect should be consulted. We can be your eyes to uncover un-warranted changes made by the contractor. It is common for people be stuck in their ways and build things how they have done in the past. The architect and engineer are conscious about every line, note and drawing that is on that set. A contractor should ask to deviate from the plan, not beg for mercy after the fact.
I make every attempt to follow through on promises and prefer to follow the moto ‘UNDER PROMISE, OVER DELIVER’. However the most important element is communication. No matter what field you are in, if a deadline is fast approaching and you feel that you may not be able to keep that promise, letting your client know is the best approach.
by Jeff Serbin | Sep 30, 2014 | Architectural Planning, Architecture, Blog, Collaboration, Commercial Architecture, Uncategorized
A few months ago, Serbin Studio was approached by the Buckeye Valley Historical Society with an architectural challenge. A conceptual design for the exterior of the existing ‘Buckeye Valley Museum’ so that the architecture reflects their mission, ‘To bring a better understanding and appreciation of the history and cultural significance of Buckeye Valley’.
Click on it for larger image
Conceptual Design of Buckeye Valley Museum
The building today lightly reflects back to the historic architecture of Buckeye Valley and through time has blended into the historic fabric in a way that the building is not apparent to the average visitor in Buckeye.
Original Museum renovation to look like Kell store
Current museum 2014 . Beige is not the new black. Consult a color specialist when you paint your building. Did I mention Lara Serbin is a color expert.
Buckeye has a long history dating back to 1885. Prior to the mid 1970’s, the main highway from Phoenix to California passed through downtown Buckeye. But just as we have seen in the ‘CARS‘ movie, the highway system was created and now by-passes historic downtown.
If you want to get a good glimpse of the history of Buckeye, two books written by Verlyne Meck capture Buckeye through images and words. “Buckeye, then and now” & “Buckeye (AZ) images of America”.
Since being part of a 3rd generation Arizona family and member of the Buckeye Main Street Coalition, I had a good strong foundation for understanding the Museum’s architectural significance. However with every project, further research exposed us to hidden treasures that are only talked about amongst Buckeye residents.
Some inspirations were:
Kell Store built in 1890’s
Hillbilly Hilton. If you get a chance, take a tour of this snapshot in time
Our intent was to minimally alter the interior exhibits and through the use of architectural features, contextual materials and textures enhance the exterior of the building so it clearly indicates what it is, ‘Buckeye Valley Museum’. We created a sense of arrival and a clear pathway into Buckeye’s history. The exterior is now a snapshot of the history and hidden gems within.
The museum had a re-opening on September 27, 2014 and is open Friday’s and Saturday’s from 11 am – 4 pm. The interior renovation is complete. The museum is now on a fund raising campaign to raise money and materials to complete the exterior facade upgrades. For further information, contact the Buckeye Valley Museum at 602-230-1299.
by Jeff Serbin | Feb 19, 2014 | Architectural Planning, Architecture, Blog, Planning
Creating an office building is about designing an environment that creates a place for the workforce to perform their tasks efficiently while enabling the building owners to maintain their assets easily.
click to enlarge[print_gllr id=1520]
This 60,000+ square foot office building was designed to create that comfortable work environment. This sustainable facility utilizes low energy building components by incorporating the latest technologies. The building is designed with an efficient rentable to common space ratio, high performance exterior skin, low water use fixtures, energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems and environmental sensitive materials. It was designed with LEED GOLD in mind.
Some interesting facts about latest technologies.
The shell of the building is just the beginning. Once tenants begin to occupy the floors, the real magic begins with space planning to create unique micro environments that satisfy the users needs while being efficient with space. The more wasted space there is, the more rent they need to pay and space to maintain.
Space after tenant improvement
SEE ALSO: Tailor Your Office Tenant Improvements