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Design and Conquer: Benjamin’s Desk taps YAF for expansion ideas

Benjamin's Desk Design Charette

Benjamin’s Desk, one of Philly’s premier coworking spaces, is expanding their Center City digs. This past weekend, in lieu of simply hiring a consultant to do the work, they tapped local talent from the Young Architects Forum (YAF) to generate ideas for the new space.
"It’s important for us to involve not only our current members, but also the local community to collaborate on our plans for expansion," explains Benjamin’s Desk co-founder Michael Maher in a press release.
When Benjamin’s Desk approached YAF—a program from the American Institute of Architects—to lead a design charrette for the new space, the organization jumped at the chance. "We saw it as a great chance for YAF designers to solve a real world problem and actually pitch their ideas to a client," explains YAF's Jeffrey Pastva. "Most don’t have opportunities like this anymore." 
"The event was very successful," says Pastva. "There were a number of very high level solutions given the time constraint." Pastva believes turnout is what made the event so productive—participants from various design fields, including architects, industrial designers, interior designers and students, all participated in the charrette.
"The designers were divided into teams of three, each with folks from various backgrounds," explains Pastva, adding that each team was then given two hours and a number of resources to complete their task. In short: How can Benjamin’s Desk best expand into the eighth floor of the Allman Building at 1701 Walnut Street?
Pastva says the solutions were diverse, thoughtful and practical. "There was something about each solution that was better than the others," he adds.
"Best Of" awards were offered, including Best Overall Presentation, Most Resolved/Practical and Most Innovative. Accorinding to Pastva, Benjamin’s Desk was excited about the ideas generated and may consult teams about certain concepts in the future.
Moving forward, Pastva hopes YAF can use this event as a springboard for other charrettes and networking opportunities. "Designers want real world problems to solve," he says. "Marrying that with networking opportunities for young designers is important to YAF. That’s the idea here."

Source: Jeffrey Pastva, Young Architects Forum
WriterGreg Meckstroth

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