Mar 30, 2015
THEME: Point of View

Built by (Perkins+Will) Women: Part 1

Inspired by the Center for Architecture‘s recent Built by Women x NYC exhibition (on view through April 11!), we’re celebrating our female design talent all year. Consider this our online exhibition of some of the dynamic, amazing women leaders at Perkins+Will.

The need for increased visibility is very real: organizations like the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation and The Missing 32% Project, in addition to gatherings like last month’s AIA Los Angeles POWERFUL Symposium reiterate a message of gender disparity in the AEC community.

Below, part one of our own digital exhibition – a small step towards shouting the merits of our impossibly talented women colleagues at Perkins+Will.

Janice Barnes, Planning + Strategies Global Leader
United Nations, New York City, New York

Often the most elegant and refined design work is that which you cannot see and without which your experience of  a building or place would be much diminished. Such is the case with our Planning + Strategies services. These hard-to-Instagram projects that aim to align organization’s strategic objectives with its assets of people, process and place are so crucial to the day-to-day  functioning they often are overlooked when done well. One recent example led in part by our global leader for Planning + Strategies Janice Barnes is at the United Nations.


In the late 1990s, the United Nations developed a master plan for its iconic complex that outlined a series of infrastructure upgrades including structural, mechanical, electrical, and technology for the entire site. As an integral part of the implementation of this master plan, we worked with the United Nations Capital Master Plan Unit to develop a comprehensive functional program for the site and long-term occupancy phasing options.


We developed a structured approach to gathering the programmatic needs of more than 80 distinct user groups that occupy spaces within the 3.5 million square feet of the United Nations New York area portfolio. This process yielded valuable insight into the daily operations of the various groups and provided a clear cross-reference and balance between the needs of a group and the overall demand for the renovation. The approach also provided an auditable information trail, an important contribution to planning when a project extends across many years during which key representatives may move on to new roles or retire from service. Using data gathered from in-depth interviews and focus groups, we developed a complete functional program for the onsite and offsite occupancies. We then further refined the program through both descriptive and diagrammatic swing space planning that allows all users to easily understand how their work will be impacted by the phased renovation and how their final occupancy will support their roles and responsibilities.

Carolyn BaRoss, Firmwide Healthcare Interior Design Director
ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, New York City, New York

In 2013, ColumbiaDoctors relocated its flagship 16 East 60th Street Manhattan practice to 51 West 51st Street. The space includes medical offices, exam rooms, laboratories, procedure rooms and support spaces for a fully integrated, multiple specialty, medical practice.


Practices include Pediatrics, Women’s Services, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Radiology, Oncology, Orthopedics, Medicine, Dermatology, Dental and Psychiatry, as well as a range of of other specialty medicine and surgical spaces. Practices are organized along a central spine, with individual waiting areas that express individual practice identity through art, color, design and furnishings. The new facility is located on the full third floor and on partial ground and second floors of a midtown office building. The installation includes a dedicated entrance lobby with a clear, sidewalk-facing brand identity and a new elevator core, supplemented by a connecting stair.



A cohesive ColumbiaDoctors image is communicated with timeless, refined detailing reminiscent of the international style building that houses the diverse practices. Modular planning of diagnostic spaces permits flexible scheduling of space and sessional uses.

Joan Blumenfeld, Global Interior Design Director
Haworth Showroom, New York City, New York

In 2013 Haworth commissioned Perkins+Will to renovate the showroom they had designed in 2006 as a LEED Gold interior. The project is located in a spectacular space adjacent to Grand Central Station, and the original project was an expression of the new branding effort by the client at the time. However, over the years, the brand and the market have developed and changed, and the showroom no longer was a clear manifestation of the new directions the company was taking. Part of that rebranding effort included a more contextual approach to the architecture, and so an effort was made to connect it to its context and the beautiful views outside.

Haworth Showroom NYC April 2014 38

The showroom incorporates a completely revised customer experience, and branding elements that are global for Haworth, as well as unique to the NY market. It includes a new layout, furniture and furnishings, a new reception area, a reconfigured hospitality/welcome space that can be used for events, new technology layered throughout, workplace vignettes that incorporate lounge and formal and informal collaborative spaces. There are no longer separate “product displays”—all product is incorporated into working scenarios that show in context some possible ways for it to be used by clients.

Haworth Showroom NYC April 2014 79


Pat Bosch, Design Director, Miami Office
Miami-Dade College Academic Support Center, Miami, Florida

The Miami-Dade College Academic Support Center seamlessly unites both learning and administrative functions into a cohesive whole.

The 135,000 SF building is located on the eastern entry corridor of the campus. It will centralize all Student Services departments for the more than 120,000 students. The project includes 21 prototypical 930 SF class­rooms, a Resource and Testing Center and hovers over a base of admission offices.

1-MDC by Perkins and Will photo by Robin Hill (c) (41) alt

In keeping with Miami-Dade College’s priority of putting students first, the central atrium space is given over to the student body. The space enriches the existing student life on campus by containing all lounging, study and campus information programs within the atrium. The project is itself a learning tool helping the college achieve its 10 Learning Outcomes. Among which is to describe how natural systems function and recognize the impact humans make on the environment.

Linzi Cassels, Design Director and Principal, and Kate Vine, Associate Principal, London Office
Deloitte Digital, London, United Kingdom

Our client relocated from their HQ into a recently refurbished warehouse in a creative London neighbourhood. The firm’s vision was to create a space that enables and enhances the team’s ability to work collaboratively on projects. The project also focuses on creating a client ready space that showcases our client’s ability to work in a new ‘digital’ way. Our role as interior architect was to gather the brief and develop the concept, look and feel and creative built solutions which enable the client to improve their working practices within a non-corporate space that is both creative and inspiring.

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Aimee Eckmann, Associate Principal, Chicago Office
Barrington Early Childhood Center, Barrington, Illinois

Aimee helped Perkins+Will plan and design this Early Learning Center to accommodate pre-K students from 3-4 years of age, including a large number of special-needs students. The new Early Learning Center is an addition to the existing Prairie Campus of Barrington Middle School. While the ELC operates separately from the Middle School, each school shares a common vestibule for access between schools and community functions at the middle school’s gymnasium.


After meeting with a selected group of faculty, administrative, and community members over two full-day workshop charettes to identify preferences and priorities for the school, the design team and workshop committee identified a number of priorities which would become core features of the building’s design.

The building design centralizes common functions to allow easier access for students and teachers. Access to health professionals and large group gathering spaces is provided along a central corridor, minimizing the length of commute between classrooms and these common spaces.


Robin Guenther, Global Sustainable Healthcare Leader
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts

Of the many incredible things about the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, perhaps one of its most compelling is its strong sustainable story, beginning with the site itself. SRH is remediating a brownfield site formerly a part of the Navy Yard, benefiting the environment and the Charlestown community. Gardens surrounding the building utilize native, drought-tolerant vegetation and provide therapeutic trails, bounce walls, a putting green, and a basketball half-court for patient use. During design development, the main floor was raised one foot in anticipation of rising sea levels.

8854-221 Spaulding © Steinkamp Photography

The interior environment maximizes daylight and views but balances this transparency with a high-performance building envelope. Gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms, and patient rooms utilize operable windows for both natural ventilation and passive survivability in an emergency situation. Green roofs mitigate stormwater runoff, reduce cooling loads and heat-island effect, and provide therapeutic environments for building inhabitants.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Center

8854-221 Spaulding © Steinkamp Photography

Courtney Johnston, Director of Design for Interiors, Dallas Office
Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth ISD’s first single-gender school, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy offers a college-preparatory curriculum with an emphasis on mathematics, science, and technology. The YWLA’s new home, in an existing four-story downtown building, allows the current middle-school-age program to expand annually until the full grade 6-12 spectrum is offered.


Each floor is distinctively branded to reflect one of four core themes: Community (Library, Cafeteria, Commons, Administration), Fitness (Physical Education, Music Arts), Technology (Digital Animation), and Science (Biomechanical Engineering). A focal wall on each level highlights a prominent woman who embodies the floor’s central theme, showcasing a large-scale image along with inspirational quotations from the role model.

The primary activity space on each level is centrally located, with support functions along the perimeter. Glass walls surrounding the activity areas energize the educational environment and showcase the Academy’s hands-on programs.


Eileen Jones, Branded Environments Global Leader
Haworth Chicago Showroom, Chicago, Illinois

The Haworth Chicago Showroom is a sales office, conference facility and product showplace demonstrating the company’s evolution to a solutions-driven resource for workspaces. The Chicago showroom is the first of many global Haworth showrooms designed by our Branded Environments team and is a leading example of sustainable design from social, environmental and economic perspectives.


Over a period of six consecutive years, we developed brand image, strategic positioning, market communications and environmental elements to support Haworth’s platform of adaptable workspace, designed performance and global perspective. The design showcases the concept of “workspaces”, demonstrating full integration of interior architectural systems including furniture, modular walls, raised flooring, ceilings, HVAC, lighting, sound, power, voice and data. Our design addressed performance through alternative concepts of “work” and “restore” (including elements such as the large reflecting pool) and utilized a clean aesthetic with high “green” performance. The Chicago showroom, an expression of Haworth’s mission and a showcase for its solutions, marked the beginning of our lasting partnership with the company.


Eva Maddox, Design Principal, Chicago
Newell Rubbermaid Design Incubator, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Newell Rubbermaid Kalamazoo

On the Kalamazoo campus of Western Michigan University, a public-private partnership bringing together the school, the city, and the state with a manufacturer, Newell Rubbermaid, has yielded a design incubator—with an interior led by Eva Maddox. She was handed a 40,000-square-foot building, constructed warehouse-style, and asked to turn it into a branded environment suitable for 130 international designers. [via]

Newell Rubbermaid Kalamazoo

Amy Sickeler, Design Director for Interiors, Atlanta
Mayo Clinic Simulation Center, Jacksonville, Florida

The Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic is a learning and teaching tool providing simulated clinic environments with integrated audio-visual and medical equipment technology. A 9,000 sf tenant fit-up, the Simulation Center represents the first phase of a future dedicated floor for medical simulation training.


Clinical simulations are performed within a series of mock hospital or clinic rooms and are studied and critiqued both inside the room and in less formal spaces, such as the breakout zones. Simulation training allows staff to practice high-risk procedures, decision making, and communication skills in a low-risk environment. The organization of the center places the circulation spaces adjacent to the windows for daylighting while the break-out areas are adjacent to the corridor and windows. These spaces provide opportunities for spontaneous collaboration and team learning.


With so many talented female design voices at Perkins+Will, we could never begin having a single blog post to encapsulate them all. Check back for future iterations of our Built by (Perkins+Will) Women series.

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