In early March, Payette’s Peter Vieira and Parke MacDowell attended the Design Colloquium 2020 in San Francisco, hosted by the Cameron MacAllister Group. The annual colloquium provides a forum for leaders of design-first architecture and engineering firms to gather in an intimate, candid setting to exchange ideas and experiences with their peers.
The theme of this year’s colloquium was Climatic Crisis and Practice Evolution; subjects of immediate and pressing importance to both the profession and the world. The event kicked-off with an evening reception at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, followed by two days of presentations and discussion at the Presidio Officer’s Club.
In a panel discussion titled Anticipated Change in How We Deliver Services, Parke MacDowell, with Ted Hall of Spearhead and Sam Miller of LMN Architects, discussed fabrication, AR and VR and how these tools are moving to the forefront of the design and decision making process, rather than being utilized as “back of house” functions or isolated tools. Parke introduced PedX, the new pedestrian bridge at Northeastern University, as a case study illustrating the integration and “collapse” of the siloed roles of designer and builder. Ted Hall discussed how Spearhead works with design firms to fabricate parts of their projects to integrate digital tools into their design process. Sam Miller of LMN shared how many of their current projects are being delivered on a design build basis and how in some cases, they are fabricating components of projects themselves. Building this capability requires a significant level of investment and commitment. This approach has not only advanced the quality of design but is a bonus in terms of recruiting staff.
In addition to participating in the panel, Parke also gave a lecture on the evolving role of in-house fabrication on Payette’s design practice. The colloquium marked Payette’s last conference event before moving to a remote-working environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we are physically isolated, the conversations that started with our peers in San Francisco continue by email and phone as our industry maps this rapidly evolving professional landscape.