Where do you work? An edgy, hip team space or a cubicle farm? A stylish corner office or a bullpen filled with rows of desks?
There’s no doubt about it, offices seem to make a statement nowadays. (Mine says I should stop printing out e-mailed press releases or at least file them while I can still find my desk.)
Demand for character space is a market trend in Calgary, says architect Bruce McKenzie, a principal in the firm of Poon McKenzie.
McKenzie says that the type of space does help with creative work. “The more creative the business, the more they want their office to enhance creativity.” But every space is different and there is no one solution.
Architect Rick Balbi says that older buildings have often been warehouses. They’re good, strong buildings from a structural point of view, but not for humans. To renovate them for use as offices, good air circulation and good lighting have to be installed. The lighting has to suit work to be done in the space.
The spaces have to be comfortable from a human point of view.
McKenzie says that renovating older structures often requires a team. Mechanical engineers are involved for such thing as air change volume, along with electrical and sometimes structural engineers. “The architect is the co-ordinating professional.”
Nowadays, the architect has to work with a computer cabling company in addition to the electrical contractor.
Security is also an issue for the customers in many offices. Architects themselves don’t have a major problem with it because once their designs are submitted to the city, they are basically public, says McKenzie.
As for future computing needs, Balbi says the solution is flexibility. “You really don’t keep up with it, so you design around it,” he says.
One technique is a false floor with the computer cabling beneath. Lift a tile and there’s the wiring you need to access.
Computers have changed the way architects work, as they have for almost everyone.
Balbi says architects and their staffs can work faster than before and make changes faster to drawings.
If the position of a window isn’t satisfactory, it can be moved without a lot of erasing.
Drawings are better and clearer now, says Balbi. This limits disputes with contractors.
Despite all the changes, the designs don’t start on an old-style drafting board or a modern computer screen. They start inside the architect’s head, says Balbi. The architects still have to be able to design and to come up with ideas, he adds.
Boardwalk Equities reported a cash flow of 21 cents a share for the quarter ending Aug. 31.
Rental revenues were $46.7 million, up from $40.5 million in 1999. Vacancies fell to three per cent from seven per cent during the quarter, the company said. Boardwalk owns about 25,000 suites in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario and is publicly traded.