SmithGroupJJR Joins UC Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment

SmithGroupJJR, one of the world’s preeminent integrated design firms, joined the CBE consortium in April 2018. Working across a network of 12 offices in the U.S. and China, their team of 1,300 experts is committed to excellence in strategy, design and delivery. The firm partners with forward-looking clients to maximize opportunities, minimize risk and solve their most complex problems. SmithGroupJJR creates exceptional design solutions for healthcare, science and technology organizations, higher education and cultural institutions, urban environments, diverse workplaces, mixed-use and waterfront developments, and parks and open spaces.

CBE’s ongoing work exploring the ‘psychology of space’ was one of the reasons SmithGroupJJR decided to join the Center. They recently implemented CBE’s Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Satisfaction Survey on three of their offices. The immediate purpose of this pilot was to establish a predesign baseline before redesign and to test how design ideas about meeting and work spaces perform. More broadly, they wanted to see how the Center’s survey instrument could underpin a comprehensive occupant evaluation protocol for collecting, storing and visualizing on all projects.

This pilot demonstrates SmithGroupJJR’s openness to embrace  new tools and methods. Recognizing that the new technologies being incorporated into design and project delivery require new support infrastructures and expertise, they formed a Technology in Practice (TIP) group. The TIP team includes a wide range of specialists, diverse in thought and differentiated by experience, who are adept at facilitating the collection, storage and use of design powered data. Design thinking increasingly motivates and guides the TIP group as they work with project teams, clients and communities to prototype and test solutions for their most intractable and persistent challenges.

Over the years, SmithGroupJJR’s different office locations have served as rich research contexts to investigate user experience, satisfaction and situated work. Internet of Things (IoT) solutions offer intriguing new ways to measure interaction between occupants in space in near real time. Recent IoT studies conducted by TIP included developing data solutions to quickly process, store and visualize large quantities of occupant data to provide rapid feedback to staff.  Work with these data sets and others have featured dynamic dashboards which encourage interaction and further investigation as part of the design process. SmithGroupJJR’s team recently had the chance to discuss their ongoing work in this dynamic and rapidly changing field of study with CBE staff and are excited by the opportunity of future partnership.

SmithGroupJJR’s uniting passion for design excellence drives them to seek and solve complex, meaningful problems for their clients and communities. Their applied research operations structure exploration and testing of their design ideas across project and discipline. SmithGroupJJR is enthusiastic about partnering with CBE researchers to amplify their mutual research efforts and look forward to constructive engagement with their industry partners.