Evolution of Improving Lives by Design

By Tom Rieger

Date

Improving Lives by Design was the tag line of a previous firm, and it permeated the work we did for our clients and became a driving value of our architecture and the services we provide. The idea of using design to improve lives seems so simple and straight forward. What we learned was so much more and continues to inform our designs today.

Engage Champions

We learned that improving lives was not a singular isolated process that only involves the client and their needs. To make the greatest design impact, we learned we could also benefit the communities our designs would be located by learning about and communicating with potential project stakeholders early in the design process. Anyone with a potential interest in the project has an opportunity to be a stakeholder and can become either a champion for or against the project. Getting stakeholder input early on and learning what additional design needs may be important to them is key to designing successful architectural solutions to benefit the most stakeholders possible. Our team worked on multiple projects that required early stakeholder interaction, including Views On Fifth, Annie’s Artist Studios and Flats, West Bay Yards, Dupont Community Center, and a new visitor and education center  for Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls.

Showcase Local Talent

We learned that improving lives can include opportunities to give and share design with those beyond the project boundaries and can contribute to the context of the larger community. Creating architectural solutions that can become a container to house and highlight the work of local and regional artists provides much needed art in public places to tell stories and provide beauty to be enjoyed by our community. One of our former projects recently celebrated the blessing of two new murals at Percival Landing that share the storied traditions of the Squaxin tribe and territories where the project resides. Including art in our architectural solutions enlivens the spaces they shape and improves the experience of the lives that inhabit those spaces.

Share Skills with Others

We learned that improving lives by design includes giving and sharing of our time and skills through volunteering with groups in our community. Through the volunteer process we have learned to increase our ability to listen and think about the needs of others. Volunteering fosters opportunities to partner with organizations that benefit from the inherent value of design thinking which architects provide and opens doors to opportunities between groups that may not have been possible without open collaboration. Our team currently is involved with many organizations and groups, and we are constantly looking for ways we can bring diverse groups together to build on their strengths to make our community stronger. We have had the privilege to contribute to the Olympia Film Society, Olympia Downtown Alliance, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Hands On Children’s Museum, the American Institute of Architects, Harbor Days, Rotary, and more.

Shaping Inspired Designs: Learn, Create, Share

We have learned a great deal about Improving Lives by Design and look forward to carving out a new path with new adventures and continuing to build new connections as we grow our knowledge base, create new spaces and connections within the territories we reside, and that we can continue to share. Like a ripple in a pond, the addition of every architectural solution within a community has an opportunity to impact those nearby. Carve Architects continues to look for opportunities to learn, create and share the value of design to improve lives.

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