NBBJ creates Design Performance Group whose goal is to connect building design with occupant wellbeing

The firm also wants to advance energy efficiency in its projects.

April 12, 2019 |
NBBJ creates Design Performance Group whose goal is to connect building design with occupant wellbeing

NBBJ's Design Performance Group leaders, from left, are Nate Holland, Peter Alspach, and Margaret Montgomery. Image: NBBJ

In an effort to provide its clients with reliable information about how their buildings are likely to impact their occupants, the architectural firm NBBJ has created a Design Performance Group that is being led by Peter Alspach, a building physicist; Margaret Montgomery, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, an environmental futurist; and Nate Holland, a computational expert.

Alspach, whose title is Director of Design Performance, joins NBBJ from ARUP, where he was Principal and Global Leader of Environmental and Building Physics. Montgomery is NBBJ’s Sustainable Design Leader. And Holland is the Seattle-based firm’s Digital Innovation Director.

One of NBBJ’s goals for its Design Performance Group is to transform buildings into “open source” platforms that through constant feedback loops provide data that can be analyzed and then harnessed for the purpose of connecting design with improvements in occupants’ cognitive function, productivity, and health.

The Group is expected to strengthen NBBJ’s focus on improvements such as enhancements to interior comfort and daylight access, and reductions in water and carbon emissions. NBBJ states that the Group will explore solutions using predictive analytics, machine learning, advanced building engineering, computational tools and applied science, and neuroscience research.

NBBJ recently used computational tools to optimize complex glazing geometry, saving a leading tech client in Seattle $1.5 million in manufacturing costs. The application of data analytics enables Renown Health in Nevada to serve more patients without expanding its real estate footprint. NBBJ also developed new design tools that ensure every employee at the headquarters of Chinese tech giant Alibaba is within a 60-second walk from outdoor green space.


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