~ COMMERCIAL ~
Our office has experience with small office buildings under 10,000 sf, tenant space fit outs for office and professional use, retail fit outs, including restaurant use, and small public projects.
Commercial projects differ primarily from residential projects by the range of building codes issues that must be accounted for. This area is constantly evolving, and the architect needs to be current on the many codes at issue.
For example, some code considerations include (and are not limited to): Egress- such as stairs, points of entry and exit, limits of travel to exit, etc.; Occupancy -limits base on use; Fire code regulations- regarding materials, separation between uses, tenants, and common areas of egress, type of construction; Handicap requirements related to building size and use; Elevator and stair considerations; Plumbing requirements such as number of bathrooms; Electrical requirements- locations of electric panels, circuitry, emergency lighting in case of blackout, etc., HVAC- heating, ventilation, and air conditioning of a public space; and Energy calculations- for size and type of windows and insulation requirements.
It is fair to say that there is a matrix and maze of codes that must be considered and noted for even small projects. This becomes the essential framework to design a building or a space fit out.
Once the code issues are accounted for, the client's particular needs can be assessed and inventoried. What sort of functions is to be performed? How many employees are to be designed for? How do their positions effect interaction and use? Are there plans for future growth?
Are there special requirements for tasks? How does lighting affect the space, both natural and man made? There are also rudimentary principles of design at stake such as first impressions, flow and circulation, and sequence of arrival and movement.
What may seem simple actually requires a sizeable amount of knowledge and expertise to do well. Knowledge of the construction industry for commercial work is also essential. There is typically a different group of builders and trades who do commercial and public work.
Our particular strength in this area is our background in designing creative places for people to live and work. Having a sensitivity to site needs and relationships, and having a good eye for what is beautiful and functions well, puts us in an excellent position to assist clients to meet their goals and needs.