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Architect’s View: Take Simpler Approach

By Luci Scott for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

The disruption in the economy and a desire to simplify life are changing the way architects design projects, says Martha Abbott, who leads the workplace market at the architecture and engineering firm SmithGroupJJR.

“People are thinking about doing things differently … How do we create a campus that supports the workplace?” asks Abbott. “It has to do with sleeping and eating and reading and exercise and all the things you would do in your life. It’s all comingled.”

Time spent outside work should not be spent commuting, and the point is bringing value to life, she added.

She’s bringing that concept to a big project to be built across Arizona Avenue from Chandler City Hall, a job won by her firm and Ryan Companies.

“We’re talking about putting in different types of office and retail that currently don’t exist downtown,” Abbott said.

Such projects would be complemented in a second block with housing, possibly built with retail on the ground floor. One business sure to go there: A coffee shop because employees in City Hall are clamoring for it.