Design Strategy at Aedis

By admin on July 4, 2016

AH-head-shot-1-200x300Design Strategy at Aedis
By: Anna Harrison

Joining Aedis Architects is a dream, come true.  My education is in Interior Design but after a fifteen year career, working on a wide variety of architecture projects including commercial office, health care, community architecture and residential design, I switched careers to become an educator.  For the first five years teaching interior design classes at West Valley College, I was petrified every time I got in front of my students.  By year ten, I hit my stride, and was happily teaching, and developing curriculum. I was also trying out innovative teaching techniques such as the “flipped classroom”, project-based and peer-to-peer learning, developing and delivering online and hybrid instruction.  When sustainability became front and center in our industry I became a LEED AP, developed the sustainable design certificate program at WVC and created the award winning WVC LEED Internship.

Side note:  The internship was an idea born on Thanksgiving Day, 2011 when John Diffenderfer, Principal at Aedis and the brother-in-law of one of my best friend’s, turned to me and said, “Aedis would like to collaborate on a project with your students”. 

Over the years I also remained active in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the largest professional interior design association in the world with over 25,000 members.  Serving on the board of our local California Peninsula Chapter since my days as a design student I became involved in strategic planning for the chapter.  I participated on facilitated strategic planning committees, received training, and eventually began to facilitate strategic planning for the chapter myself.  As a workshop facilitator for AWET(Agriculture Water Environment and Technology) I had the privilege of working with John Diffenderfer again.  We co-created the Sustainability in Action Workshop and delivered it to facilities professionals from various Silicon Valley giants such as Lockheed Martin and Oracle.

When it came time for me to switch careers again my experience as a designer/teacher/strategic planner led me to explore a relatively new field in architecture called “Design Strategies”.  Design Strategies is the natural evolution of the typical architectural master planning and programming processes with the addition of strategic planning and innovative stakeholder engagement.  Our clients want to work with professionals who collaborate with them, who listen to them, and understand the expertise that they bring to the table.  They want to work with thought leaders who can guide them through the complex and often competing needs of the schools and communities they serve.  Who better to do so than their architectural firm?

Aedis is a full service firm with a legacy of community-focused design. First and foremost, Aedis is a designer of educational facilities, and it is looking at contributing to a wider realm of community benefit, valuing sustainability and resiliency through design. Aedis thrives on constantly innovating and the searching for deeper relationships with their clients and their communities.  They—or should I now say We— are committed to continuous improvement through fresh approaches from fresh perspectives.  It is a great honor and yes, a dream, come true, to join this team of passionate innovators.


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