Reflections. Looking back on a year of exciting projects
As the year draws to a close, we’d like to highlight a few of the projects we were part of in 2022. It’s impossible to choose a favorite, but here are a few we were particularly excited about.
The town of Barrington was undertaking a study to determine how they should approach a parcel of land that they own at 25 Watson Ave, the former Carmelite Monastery. Our team engaged in three phases during this study: Discovery, Design Funnel, and Development Strategy.
In the Discovery Phase, we asked local stakeholders to share their thoughts on the future development. We also assessed how easy it would be to develop the site and renovate its existing building, and implemented a market study to determine how receptive the market would be to future development.
In the Design Funnel, we reviewed with the town committee the options for the parcel. Those options included adapting the building for reuse, creating semi-detached single-family cluster dwellings, and developing a new multi-family. We also identified natural buffer zones as well as outdoor public and private usage facilities.
In the Development Strategy, we tested the Design Funnel schemes the committee liked best. We conducted a financial analysis to determine how profitable the design would be for the developer, a traffic study to determine how much traffic local streets could handle, and a preliminary zoning analysis regarding strategies to create a zoning change.
When AAA asked us to renovate their Providence headquarters, we first engaged them in visioning sessions to help them establish their identity through design. Identity determined, we renovated over 95 percent of their building through multiple phases – everything from their cafeteria to their executive suite to the corporate restrooms.
The project was completed in 2022, just as their workforce transitioned back to the office after engaging in remote work during the pandemic. To their surprise, they returned to a completely new space.
The impact of this project on AAA’s employees cannot be understated. Bright colors abound, and what used to be a “normal” workplace now overflows with exciting moments at every turn.
Signal Works leaped at the opportunity to help the Providence Public School District (PPSD) develop a strategy for an entirely new, 21st century learning environment. Their requirements ranged from a dual-language program to net-zero energy use, and the Signal Works team took their wish list and started analyzing the site strategies. Across two urban sites between the bustling Hartford and Silver Lake neighborhoods, our team imagined a campus atmosphere and ways to connect the two school buildings. We focused on collaboration and transparency during weekly strategy and visioning sessions, and developed schematic designs that would be handed off to the final architect and construction team.
Our objective was maximizing the educational impact on Providence’s youth, and approached the project by designing through students’ and teachers’ eyes. We focused on their experiences, and worked closely with RIDE members and PPSD staff to identify their priorities while being mindful of the city’s budget.
Although the majority of our work is commercial or institutional, we also work on residential projects. One project that we worked on this year was a modern poolhouse that our client requested be multifunctional. They wanted it to be a welcoming outdoor entertaining space, but also easily and practically store the pool tools and accessories.
We created an open floor plan that was modern, fun, and functional. It blurred the lines from indoor to outdoor for easy entertainment and discreetly housed the pool equipment out of the main line of sight.