EVOLUTION. It has been a prominent part of our lives since the early ages. Early men used to wander around in search of food, water, shelter. Their basic task was just to fulfill these necessities. Did they know how the world would be 1000 years later? How will people have all these necessities? No! But here we are
in the 21st century, witnessing so many innovations that have made our lives much easier. At present, many of our such needs and necessities are fulfilled with these new and emerging technologies and innovations. Especially in engineering and architecture, we are witnessing marvels from time to time. Let it be driverless automobiles, to the tall tapering towers, we are in the constant mode of evolution. But the the most prominent change can be seen with our living and the gradual increase in the concrete jungle around us. It has evolved drastically through this time. Now, we are building things that were just a mere image by the people in the past. Residences, schools, colleges, and many other structures are being constructed from time to time to help us evolve. Many organizations are working to make this world a better place, and Perkins and Will is one of those. This firm has proved as one of such evolving organizations, which till the date has never failed to help humankind to progress and evolve.
Established in 1935, in Chicago, Perkins and Will have made their way towards providing a better life to their users. It’s been known since its start, working towards building a better future. This organization was founded by Laurence Perkins and Philip Will, who met as roommates at Cornell University. Larry, owing to an architecture background, had constant guidance from his father who too was an architect. Larry got inspired by the works of his father Dwight Perkins, who had built many prominent buildings in his own time. Dwight’s works included buildings like – Carl Schurz High School and Grover Cleveland Elementary school, of which both are one of Chicago’s landmarks from 1960. Soon Larry and Phill started working together, initially behind the fire stairs at 333 North Michigan Avenue.
Soon, Larry and Phill started getting works, among which the very first one was a house in Kenilworth, Illinois. Their first project yielded them 15 cents an hour. Gradually, their business grew and, they started building not only residences but also various healthcare facilities, Labs, and many more. Under the constant guidance of Dwight, Larry and Phill learned and grew further. One of their initial projects was the Crow Island School. The school was designed by the duo in 1930 and was officially opened in 1940. The school building held a very child-centric design idea. All the spaces in this building were designed to ensure a child’s physical or mental growth. The whole building is well lit and ventilated. The rooms are in L-shape ensuring flexibility in seating and movement. The exposed brickwork in the exterior and the colored interiors, the arrangement of open and closed spaces, and all these things make the design of this work stand out, and be regarded to date.
This educational project proved as a headstart for Larry and Will. They started getting more work, and their real journey towards being one of the most renowned architecture firms got a push. With time, they tried and even succeeded in making their works user-oriented and sustainable. For ages, they have built several structures, maintaining their vision towards the environment and well-being of the people. The present CEO of the firm, Mr. Phill Harrison has shared his views about their one chief motto – the importance of well-being, through ages.
According to Phill, architecture is not just about designing a space, it’s more of an art, tending to the problems faced by the people. Phill added how their firm aims to build spaces that help one in perceiving the dimensions of color, space, and other elements of design. The firm also does focus on sustainability and how it’s going to be one of the major aspects of the building industry in the future. Phill also did mention that sustainability is one way that is a connection between people and their well-being, for it somewhat brings us close to nature and our surroundings.
One of the examples of their work with sustainability and well-being is showcased through their project at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute. The building is well-designed considering the impact of light on the patients being treated there. Thus, to apply this idea practically, they designed a facade that allows entry of the diffused daylight that could enter inside and help the patients to recover in a better way. This whole design idea proved a success after implementation, as many patients who experienced post-traumatic injuries showed a better recovery. So, this project was very much successful in proving how sustainability and well-being can go hand to hand and be in use for the long run ahead.
Similarly, to further emphasize their vision of sustainability, the firm has promoted wood/timber as the chief structural component in various buildings. Wood being a renewable resource is also a carbon positive material that makes a building more sustainable. Along with sustainability, the firm also focuses on the well-being of the people and the users. One of their projects, the Atlanta Beltline Project, is successful in reflecting this vision of the firm.
This project by the firm successfully depicts a new approach to mobility in and around the city. According to Phill, the cities have become dense, and using automobiles there would make them denser, thus they thought of using a new way for mobility which will be much better for the well-being of the users. Along with this, the project is also successful in bringing people together so that they can socialize and interact more. These ideas have made this organization be looked upon and regarded. Similarly, the newest design idea by the firm is the tallest wooden skyscraper in Vancouver. The project will be called Canada Earth Tower, as it encompasses timber as its chief element for construction. This design project will surely be regarded as a marvel in green construction and sustainability. Such ideas have led this firm to reach the point where it stands now, looked upon and regarded by people from all over the world.