Some fortunate WHSAD students, mainly from WHSAD’s Makerspace program, visited Gensler’s architectural offices on April 28th. After commuting from the school to the offices on Broadway and West 53rd St., we were greeted by two Gensler architects, Anne-Sophie Hall and Tim Annin, who told us what to expect on our tour of the offices.
As we began our tour, I saw more samples on the floor or set for display. We entered the 4th floor and the guides explained that they have interior designers bring in furniture/texture samples to pitch to Gensler. The company first sets the samples into areas where employees can test the furniture/textures and provide feedback. Looking around the nearby area, there were three main furniture sets that were arranged just like if they were set in a house or office environment. We took a loop around the offices where workers were busy at their computers, talking on the phone or video calls, or discussing with one another about projects. Near the workstations were tables full of textures, which was fairly common on the 4th floor as this department worked on interior design.
Our group left the interior design room and went upstairs to the architectural department. Throughout this department, a lot of posters about future projects were on the walls. Many of these projects are located in New York but many others are in other parts of the United States or throughout the rest of the world. The posters had people interacting with the space as a way to simulate how the end project will look with people in the location.
Now we headed onto my favorite part of the tour: the workshop room. In this room, models of building designs come to life in order to provide clients with a concrete, albeit miniature, version of the construction. The room had a 3D printer and a laser machine, two tools with which many of the WHSAD students are familiar.
The table in the middle of the room had a 3D model of a building, which I assume is for Bank of America; the logo on the top of the building gave me a hint. This project as a whole was very advanced, as the building had plastic for the windows and a small scale staircase.
Along with the building, there was a project that resembled a neighborhood near the woods and by water. The secret of this project was the fact that you could take a piece of each area and could connect the whole parts like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle.
The second to last part of the tour was a brief presentation on environments created on “Unreal Engine 5”. Although I can’t say anything about the presentation due to an NDA, a takeaway from this presentation is what Anne-Sophie said, “You’re not just going to design toilets for the rest of your architectural career,” as pursuing a career like architecture or interior design almost always requires a person who can take risks in innovative ways and always look from a creative perspective.
The final part of the tour was a showcase of a room full of different lights that are used for effects or buildings similar to the electronic boards in Time Square. The cool thing about this room is that a monitor was centered onto one of the walls in the room. The monitor was like a slim pane of glass that you could see through.
The tour ended with final thoughts from Anne-Sophie and Tim that were very kind enough to give us a look at Gensler Offices.
I enjoyed my visit to the Gensler offices as we could see many designs being created for the future and how the work environment is structured.