Curiosity drives creativity. Precision takes practice. We are working everyday to find new and inventive ways to make the world a better place through design.

AE Design Tour: Cambridge

Typically held 4-5 times a year and open to everyone in the firm, our design tours offer staff a chance to go beyond our screens and physically engage with notable projects while encouraging critical conversation around our collective experience. We aim to get at the heart of how and why projects are considered a success.

We started our 2024 field trip series with a tour of Cambridge. Some stops included the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the Google Rooftop Park, MIT Museum, MIT Welcome Center/NADAAA Site 4, MIT School of AI, MIT New School of Architecture (in construction), MIT New Vassar Housing and MIT List Center.  

See photos of our trip here.

Community Engagement

While working together with Gensler on a senior living campus-wide sustainability plan, we engaged residents in two workshops. The purpose of the workshops was to get resident feedback/opinion on which areas of sustainability could provide the most benefit. We found this to be helpful both in educating residents and understanding the broader range of priorities within this unique senior living community.

Physical Models

Utilizing a 3D printer, we can quickly produce multiple iterations of a project massing that can be directly compared with one another. These physical models introduce a new level of workability into design and client meetings. Moving, flipping, and shifting elements of a model provides valuable insight into a vast range of alternative configurations. This tactile experience fosters a deeper understanding of the project and ensures that every voice is heard, promoting more informed and collaborative decision-making.

Cove.Tool Aperture Studies

By performing daylight modeling early in the design process, we can quickly understand the impact of aperture configurations on spatial daylight autonomy. Cove.Tool is a great resource for quickly performing these analyses. In this exercise, we are maintaining the aperture dimensions while playing with their frequency and location. We found that two windows leave us far from the LEED 50% sDA goal. These studies provide a baseline for further experimentation and design development.

sDA (Spatial Daylight Autonomy): How much of a space receives sufficient daylight (the percentage of floor area that receives at least 300 lux for at least 50% of the occupied hours).

ASE (Annual Sunlight Exposure): The percentage of space receiving too much direct sun (1000 lux of more for at least 250 occupied hours per year), causing glare and increase cooling loads.

Geode Inspiration

Designers looked to natural elements, colors, and patterns – including some from the Smith College Geosciences geode collection – for inspiration for the department’s lounge.

Concept Diagrams

Concept diagrams are an essential tool for our designers early in the process. It allows us to quickly explore and validate massing options internally while creating a clear way to communicate our ideas to our clients. And, it doesn’t hurt that they are great stand alone graphics!