In my research of firms in the Atlanta, GA area one firm stood out the most for a variety of reasons, but one in particular. Cooper Carry is a multidisciplinary design firm which includes five main disciplines: planners, architects, interior designers, landscape architects and environmental graphic designers. Within each of the major disciplines they have what they call practice groups, such as mixed-use, office, transit, and sustainable design. These practice groups or design studios overlap and so they collaborate and use what knowledge the others have acquired. What caught my attention however, was one of the design studios: The Center for Connective Architecture.
Trademarked by Cooper Carry, the Center for Connective Architecture believes in the rebirth of the American city. It believes in the collaboration of different disciplines to plan and design mixed-use developments, to enhance our urban and suburban environments and make them what we wish they really were and what I believe our cities desperately need. It incorporates planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and environmental design in an open and collaborative environment to tackle specific urban planning issues. The center is also influenced by urbanism, sociology, and history, among other’s and are widely recognized as “one of the country’s most dynamic planning practices.” They are enhancing the quality of life of the communities they serve by creating a sense of place, keeping with the identity of the community and increasing property values.
What I love about this design studio is that it seeks to “create and maintain a harmonious balance in the relationship between architecture and the environment, ultimately enhances how people perceive and move between them.” It brings together talented individuals from different disciplines to work together to come up with the best solution. You don’t see this happen very often, especially in academia. In the real world nothing is separate, everything works together and you cannot plan and design one piece without considering the rest and how it will fit together. Connective Architecture is then a “refined discipline that actually connects people to architecture, people to landscape, people to environment and people to people.”