The simplest things are the most profound. With every potential project, we start by considering place. What is the neighborhood like? Is there an opportunity to create a great place? How can we add to the community and knit ourselves into the fabric of the neighborhood? What are the growth trends? What does this community need? Can we create something greater than just a building? Only when the right variables are in place do we begin to think about creating a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable building.
When we invest or develop in cities like Portland, Chicago or Boston, we spend a great deal of time learning about peoples’ needs and the neighborhoods in which we work. We study modes of transportation, demographics and municipal objectives, and immerse ourselves in the physical, social and economic aspects of the community. We evaluate how we can serve people who will live and work in our buildings as well as the community at large. Only after we have explored these issues do we begin to discuss uses, building concepts, massing, forms and shapes. An understanding of how all of these elements work together is essential to creating an environment where people can thrive.