After returning from Seattle, we explored a concept that we dubbed “The Petal.” The design was a bit on the literal side, but solved some interesting issues about program space on the ground floor. We grouped the need for a wellness centre, childcare and the cafe around an atrium. And then the spaces spiraled out from the atrium. The Fibonacci series was coming alive. While we initially had it on three floors, it appeared the travel distances from each space to the atrium, a central hub of activity, wasn’t quite working out. We developed a two-story scheme. We passed the petal idea through the filter of our entire team. While it seemed buildable and workable in terms of the energy model and optimal use of daylight, the additional surface area and complexity created increased costs. Our contractor appointed to help with pre-construction services provided a rather sobering estimate for a simple/typical building that was 30,000 sq. ft. with a “swank” factor. It kinda’ made everyone do a double-take. But we need to remember this project is about doing things differently. The key to a cost-effective solution is trying to do double- or triple-duty with different components of the building. One of the boldest suggestions that came out of our integrated design session was “how about not installing any general lighting in the office space?” That way, everyone uses task lights and only as much light as they need and particularly, if this is a day-lit building, the sun will provide our lighting needs much of the time. We hope to naturally ventilate the space as well, so ensuring a “slim” floor plate is essential.