This article aims to educate readers about the core values, work ethics, design ideology & beliefs and innovative projects of an American multidisciplinary architectural studio, NBBJ. NBBJ has been named one of the world’s most innovative architectural firms by Fast Company three times, the fastest growing firm by Architectural Record and the “firm of choice for tech companies” by Wired. The article also tries to highlight and understand the practices and work which sets the studio apart from others.

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Logo of the architectural and design firm_©NBBJ

NBBJ, with its head office in Seattle and a rich legacy of 79 years, constantly reinvent itself to serve its clients and the communities better. NBBJ identifies as an ideas-driven architecture firm which is devoted to building structures with healthy spaces. The studio’s idea of a healthy space is a space which makes the communities strong and connected with the resultant resilient environment around them. The design firm has partnered with multinational companies such as Microsoft, Tencent, Samsung, Tencent and Amazon, and globally renowned institutions such as the NYU Langone Health partner, the University of Oxford, the National Health Service and Massachusetts General Hospital to create a dynamic and engaging environment. The global multidisciplinary studio has a network of 800 interior designers, strategists, researchers, planners, nurses and architects over 12 offices across three continents of North America, Europe and Asia.

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NBBJ office at Boston_©NBBJ

The recipient of more than 1000 prestigious awards from leading business and design organizations such as Fast Company, MIPIM, the Urban Land Institute and the American Institutes of Architecture creates each project based on 6 core values. Stand for Optimism, Lead with Curiosity, Commit to Sustainability, Design for All, Own the Outcome and Grow our Legacy, are the six core values with which the people at NBBJ build all of its projects. The firm follows an empathetic design process with their work rooted in research. NBBJ proudly and successfully helps clients pursue health, community, and a zero-carbon future by ensuring that all voices are heard during the process. 

According to their website, the firm follows the below design methodology 

  1.  Listen: NBBJ strongly believes that research is a means by which they create better empathetic buildings. They use listening and emotional intelligence by researching and observing the culture, values and aspirations of the stakeholders to satisfy them. They apply research to each of their practice, with the belief that science and creative intuition are harmonious partners. To foster and instil their beliefs, they run The Applied Research Fellowship and the University of Washington Research Partnership.
  2. Ask: NBBJ understands and values the opportunities which come along with the power of design. After empathy-guided research, they are not afraid to ask unconventional questions to create a healthy and functioning built environment. 
  3. Innovate: Like many iconic architects, NBBJ also equally focuses on the user experience while designing. After brainstorming sessions of ideas, they try to develop designs which add value, create joy, transform the space and realise the future. 
  4. Assess: The NBBJ values their clients and projects a lot. They even stay in contact with the clients after project handover to ensure the functioning of a healthy environment and to study the performance of their design with respect to the users and environment. 

The design firm is always ready for challenges where design can make the situation better. Net City (a car-free district in Shenzhen), Bark Office in Ohio (a workplace for both humans and dogs), Shadow-free skyscrapers (shadowless skyscrapers that redirect sunlight to public spaces) and Orb Shaped Greenhouse for Amazon headquarters in Seattle (jungle of mature trees and tropical plants inside glass orbs) are few groundbreaking examples of the ethical and dedicated work NBBJ does across the globe. 

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aerial view of Net City (a car-free district in Shenzhen by NBBJ)_©NBBJ
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view of Net City (a car-free district in Shenzhen by NBBJ)_©NBBJ
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Bark’s Ohio Office by NBBJ_©NBBJ
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NBBJ’s shadow-free skyscrapers_©NBBJ
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NBBJ’s orb shaped Amazon’s Seattle headquarters _©NBBJ

NBBJ’s on their website states that “A commitment to diversity and inclusion—and the belief that all voices should be heard—are hallmarks of our firm.” The firm which uses design to sustain, heal and restore, aims to bring people of diverse cultures and backgrounds together through their projects. The design firm realises that creative synergy is best when the team is diverse and hence is always happy to invest in opportunities which lead to diversity and inclusion. As a firm, they proudly provide opportunities to increase representation at all levels and roles within their design practice. To accomplish their vision of diverse architects and designers across the globe, NBBJ sponsors young would-be architects and designers through National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA), ACE Mentor Program and Hip Hop Architecture, among others. To advance their vision NBBJ happily invites and welcomes minority-owned businesses to work and join their Diversity and Inclusion Network. During the development and formulation of each project, the ideas-driven firm emphasizes and prioritizes the design features which bring health, education, safety and community resilience by applying design justice principles which also help to create equitable built environments and experiences. 

NBBJ’s workplace_©NBBJ

Citations 

  1. www.nbbj.com. (n.d.). NBBJ. [online] Available at: https://www.nbbj.com [Accessed 24 Aug. 2022].
  2. ‌Dezeen. (n.d.). NBBJ architecture. [online] Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/tag/nbbj/ [Accessed 24 Aug. 2022].
Author

Ujjwal is a design enthusiast who is currently studying to be an architect. He is passionate about researching, exploring, documenting and writing about various fields of art, architecture and design.

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