A couple of years ago, when we made some updates to the BUILD LLC World Headquarters, we added a feature that is an essential element of any design firm. We refer to it as the “working wall” and it’s where all the action happens. It’s a big wall of pin-up space that is constantly changing and evolving. It’s well lit, easy to get to and it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. The working wall is also the backdrop to the conference table which allows us to refer to it during meetings.
The working wall provides temporary pin-up space for whatever we’re currently working on. It typically includes sketches, diagrams, drawings, renderings and photos. Sometimes it’s organized per project, at other times the presentation is free-form. We’re constantly taking things down and putting new things up which rearranges the adjacencies and changes the relationships.
Our working wall is made of (2) sheets of ½” Homasote (an acoustic product that’s also great for pins) attached to 2” x 1-1/4” cedar firring strips on drywall. It’s structured enough to fit the look of the office, but informal enough that it’s not too precious to use on a regular basis. It was dirt-cheap to construct and it’s the most fluid space in the office.
This snap-shot of what we’re thinking and doing has become an important part of how we work. It shows people (clients, friends, other architects, the mailman) that we’re up to stuff and the working wall is always working –even when we’re not in the office people can walk by and get a glimpse of what’s going on. The working wall also gauges progress and stagnant images can become a signal that a project isn’t progressing enough. Best of all, the working wall allows for cross-pollination between different projects and ideas – allowing us to connect the dots and think non-linearly.
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