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Awards & Press

09 Mar

An Architects Perspective

We had the chance to speak with Jaclyn Guasco of Fennie + Mehl Architects ( about today’s trends in office space designs. Jaclyn comes from a background in interior design and had some insightful thoughts to share:

The TI Tales: How do you take cues from the culture and style of your clients to make sure you show them a palate of finishes that they will can be excited about?

Jaclyn Guasco: The client’s culture informs everything – programming, architectural expressions within the space, design concepts and the finish palette. It’s our job to get to know our clients and to open up the dialogue with them in order to understand who they are and where they’re going.

TTT: Have you been working with any new flooring materials that are comparable in price to standard carpet?

JG: If there’s an opportunity, we love exploring the natural concrete or wood sub-floor on our projects. With open office configurations, carpet is a very popular acoustic-friendly choice, so there’s very rarely a project that doesn’t involve carpet in some way. Other materials, I’m always on the hunt for are woods, ceramic tile and earth-friendly rubbers and corks.

TTT: Aside from the shift we’ve seen in more open office environments, what other innovative trends have you started to see programmatically?

JG: The line between work life and personal life is becoming more and more blurred, providing a need for spaces in the workplace that support wellness and balance. These spaces range from privacy/ phone booths, cafes, bars, gyms, meditation rooms, yoga studios, massage rooms, bike storage and showers. We’ve found that having a choice in space is really empowering.

TTT: It seems like LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) hasn’t taken off as well as LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) and other LEED project types. Recognizing the time and budget constraints of tenant improvements, how do you foresee that future build-outs can either achieve this designation or simply be more sustainable?

JG: The new Title 24 requirements in the California Building Code are certain aspects more rigid than LEED-CI. Which means all future build-outs in California are required to be much more energy efficient moving forward. The need for immediate space and the cost of real estate in the Bay Area often take priority over other project parameters on commercial TI projects. That being said, I still find that LEED certification is an admirable achievement for any project in our industry.

TTT: Have you been using any new technologies to help you with your business that you weren’t using before 5 years ago?

JG: When it comes to new and emerging technologies, we’ve taken cues from our tech clients. Sharing architectural plans, meeting notes and project data on the cloud has proven to be really efficient. In addition, everyone in our office has an iPad and it’s really streamlined our note-taking and image capturing process for project meetings and site visits.