ELEVATING THE [WORK] DATUM | DesignPhiladelphia



October 7-18, 2020
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM


Presented By Eric Minton


Responding to the 2020 DesignPhiladelphia Call for Emerging Designers to reimagine the Center for Architecture and Design, Eric Minton created a stunning and creative design for a new interior for the home of DesignPhiladelphia, the Center for Architecture and Design.

The layout of work spaces are consistently reduced to plan exercises with inflexible walls and cubicles that can be restrictive to the flexibility of the event and gallery spaces that are needed for an organization such as the Center for Architecture. Elevating the Work Datum derives its name from the simple gesture of adjusting the architectural intervention from its base, the ground plane, and elevating it to the ceiling.

The two basic interventions on the ground plane include a central wall that acts as the core of the office area and assembly spaces, and the stepped partial height wall that surrounds the multi-purpose room. The central wall is angled at the threshold and protrudes slightly out into the assembly space in order to pronounce itself to people entering the building. The office wall serves multiple uses as programmatic elements are carved into the mass including shelving, temporary work stations, and storage. The slight angling of the wall in plan also allows for a subtle separation of the two office spaces with a compressed zone where a shared table and chairs can be used for informal meetings. The other dominant plan intervention, the stepped partial height wall, seeks to subdivide the entrance area, creating an exhibition space in the lobby and multi-purpose space behind it. This multipurpose space can have several levels of openness because instead of taking the walls to the ceiling, it instead utilizes a heavy fabric curtain that can be opened or closed depending on the users’ programmatic needs.

Branching up from the ground plane, the ceiling system seeks to provide both rigidity and flexibility in the two spaces that it encompasses. In the office area the building grid is subdivided to create a striation of wood louvers that set a tempo along the length of the corridor. Over the desks, these louvers turn down and transition to the frosted glass partitions that divide the twelve socially-distanced workstations. These louvers not only provide the denotation of personal office space, but also create an acoustically comfortable environment for employees to work in. In the assembly space, the ceiling system uses the same striated pattern, but is further subdivided into a grid of wood and felt acoustic coffers. Between these coffers lies a track system that allows the movement of partitions and thick velvet curtains that hang from the steel track. This implies a plethora of arrangements that could accommodate a variety of programmatic needs, including, but not limited to: lectures, artist exhibitions, gaming conventions, classrooms, weddings, corporate events, and conference rooms. This coffer system seeks to establish implied barriers and corridors around it by holding itself off the party wall, implying the primary corridor to the service spaces in the rear of the building.

The reserved amount of interventions on the floor plane, along with the gridded and louvered systems of the ceiling, insinuate a multitude of programmatic uses the spaces could achieve. By proposing these ceiling-based interventions, the project seeks to relieve the floor plane of rigidity and instead allow the striated and gridded ceiling to do the architectural work.

Eric Minton is a designer whose work focuses on finding solutions to complex architectural and planning problems, specifically focusing on how the ideological and aesthetic implications of architectural rehabilitation influence community engagement and development. Eric received his Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Eric has also studied at Les Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau where he focused on hand drawn studies of the renowned Fontainebleau Château and its magnificent formal gardens. He is currently a Project Designer at AOS Architects in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a focus on historic preservation and the rehabilitation of industrial buildings into new housing and office stock.

To view Eric's exhibition boards, click here.