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My Space Is Different Than Your Space

9 March 2015

An architectural designer's toolbox is typically outfitted with numerous strategies to solve a client's spatial problem. The main tool that is utilized in architecture and interior design is space planning and programming. This tool is used all the time to get a sense of a client's head count, particular needs and future growth. It is an important technical process but not one that begins to engage the client in a meaningful way.

Enter the Wallet Project into the toolbox. The Wallet Project is an exercise that originated at Stanford University's Institute of Design. It is a fast pace design process where participants are paired, they share the contents of their wallet and ideate. The goal is to gain deeper understanding of their partner through empathy and create a wallet solution that is much more meaningful than their current wallet. Empathy is important because it gives weight and meaning to the spaces designers are creating for their client.

The ideation cycle of the Wallet Project has been used on numerous Dyer Brown projects. We created a warm and inviting space for Glaxo Smith Kline in Cambridge, MA. We cycled through numerous ideation meetings with them and discovered the idea of incubation was very important to their space and overall mission. Our team kept the idea of "incubation" at the forefront of our entire process which produced a space that has meaning for the client.

Post authored by Karen Bala AIA LEED AP, Senior Architect at Dyer Brown Architects in Boston.

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