During the Spring semester of 2010, I co-taught a collaborative graduate studio with Mike Edwards in partnership with Polshek/Ennead Architects (they changed their name after the studio) in the Design and Technology Department at Parsons the New School for Design.
Polshek partnered with Parsons in order to obtain design ideas regarding how to share information in a more useful and innovative way. They hosted basic business and personnel information within the firm through the use of an intranet, but still faced issues with sharing information across team-based silos and spreading the access and authorship of contributed project information across the organization.
We started off the class by investigating and developing prototypes for similar information-based issues on the Parsons campus, with subject matter that the students were more familiar with. We then made our fist site visit to Polshek and received a tour of their offices.
Students interview Polshek employees during an onsite research visit.
The onsite interview findings and subsequent research was collected and synthesized in a research and development blog.
The students divided into four groups and each conceived of a project in response to the design problem posed by Polshek. The projects focused on ways to make the expertise of each employee searchable and related to the past projects they worked on, ways to make the process of each project viewable to other teams throughout the firm, how to make the work of committees and in-house research groups more available to the firm, and a way to efficiently submit project images with metadata.
The midterm proposal presentations.
The students presented these project proposals to Polshek at the midterm, received feedback through online critique sessions and a questionnaire, and presented the final project designs and prototypes during the end of semester final review session.
An screenshot of the People/Projects interface that relates people to projects they have worked on and where they ae physically in the office.
A screenshot of the projects interface that was developed so that varying teams could search for active projects by project phase, location, type, etc...