Observations from 2013 AIA Conference


Last week the American Institute of Architects had their annual convention in Denver. Although with a name like Streetscapes, Inc., you would expect us to be more involved with landscape architects than commercial architects, it ain’t necessarily so. Architects, regardless of whether they’re residential, commercial, green or industrial architects design buildings with public spaces. And since we are suppliers of furniture and site amenities for pedestrian intensive public spaces, chances are good that we share some common ground – atriums, building entrances, courtyards, plazas, restaurant patios and an exciting new trend – exterior collaborative work spaces. Consider too that LEEDS certified buildings involving both indoor and outdoor sustainable furniture systems are now mainstream commodities, it’s important for all architects to have a pulse on the various available site furnishing options. The same can be said about their ASID and AIDP Interior Designer Collaborators.

At any rate, having the 2013 AIA annual conference in our backyard provided us with an opportunity to expose commercial architects to our vision of furniture for public spaces.
We set up a guerilla marketing display across the street from the convention center where the conference was being held – a streetscape display on the street. We received plenty of kudo’s from architects on that idea – just another idea consistent with our unique branding identity.

When compared to other outdoor furnishing vendors at the conference, there was no comparison. Streetscapes had a broader range of placemaking furniture for public places, more diversity in the public amenities and leading edge distinctive products for the public realm. Take a look at our outdoor furnishings catalog for yourself and compare it against your usual sustainable design offerings.

Although this conference was primarily devoted to commercial architects, a tip of the hat to AIA Colorado chapter for the outstanding host party on Friday night. It was an event that displayed in great detail how to create and activate public places. I couldn’t have thrown a better party myself to demonstrate placemaking. The host party was held in a great public space – the open air glass covered atrium of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the adjoining Sculpture Park. Arriving at the party, you were greeted with wayfinding signage and direction ambassadors. In the atrium, the venue featured a large number of food and drink stations with roving musicians, break dancing demonstrations and a large music stage. Typical party fare, but what impressed me most about the event was the thoughtfulness provided in Sculpture Park. If you weren’t interested in the all of the frentic activity in the atrium, the park was filled with patio seating on the lawn, giant Jenga puzzle blocks, bean bag toss games and food trucks that provided a more relaxed atmosphere for networking and conversation.

Creating diversity in public spaces with a variety of activities designed around multiple types of users is the mantra of the Public Space Fanatic and Streetscapes, Inc.

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