Next-Generation Design & Transformation of Space (Todd Heiser, Gensler)

Todd Heiser, the Principal and Creative /Director at Gensler spoke at the DisruptCRE event in Chicago about the next generation of design and the transformation of space. His keynote address consisted of three components:

1 – How does an existing building recapitalize itself?

2 – How does a new building shape perception?

3 – How might a future building act?

To the first point, Heiser brought up an example of a project in the West Loop for Sterling Bay.

“We really thought about how do you capture something like an alley, how do you actually make an entrance off the center of the building on the side of a building and create a unique asset,” Heiser said.

He went on to explain how the conceptualization of building design has become something like a vertical city. He then discussed how the planning process was structured around what a building is in modern life.

“It’s an innovation accelerator, a community integrator, a beacon, and a cultural touchstone,” Heiser said. “It can actually promote hyper-collaboration, connectivity, a mobility platform, and it certainly has a number of technology enhancements.”

When it came to community integration, Heiser discussed how placement and layout became important factors. “It’s pedestrian-oriented, it’s walkable, it’s close to transit…amenity rich, and it actually is built with indigenous materials.”

To the point of being a cultural touchstone, it had to do with building character. “We think these buildings need to have a notion of authenticity, an engaged¬†workforce,¬†and a recruitment tool that promotes creativity.”

When it came to what features the office of the future needed, Heiser listed the following touchpoints.

“It’s expandable, flexible and adaptable,” he said. “It’s a building with heart and soul. It has volume and vertical connectivity. It has a personal entry, a front door. We see this in retail, hospitality, and commercial office buildings.”