Newman Garrison + Partners: Firm Profile

What is the history and background of the firm?

Newman Garrison + Partners (NG+P) is an experience-driven, full-service architecture, urban planning, and interior design studio located in the Greater Los Angeles area. With nearly 40 years of experience, NG+P’s practice encompasses projects of all scales, from concept design to large master plans. Offering an in-depth, hands-on approach, the studio has been nationally recognized for its design excellence across projects in the multifamily, mixed-use, hospitality, affordable housing, and retail sectors.

What is the firm’s current focus? What are the key projects you are working on?

At NG+P, our philosophy is to design timeless architecture that evokes emotion and imagination, which is the driving force behind all of our projects. Currently, we’re working on several exciting projects across the country, though some projects in California come to mind.

In Los Angeles, we’re designing over 1,400 units across five luxury mixed-use buildings in Warner Center, a neighborhood in the Los Angeles suburbs undergoing a transformation from a traditional business hub into a thriving downtown featuring multifamily living, shops, retail, and office (Figure 1). In an effort to bring the big city feel to this suburban neighborhood, our designs seamlessly blend luxury urban living with a resort-style atmosphere, all while integrating sustainable elements throughout the developments and constructing with recycled materials whenever possible.

When did the firm start using AEC technology, and how is it being used today? 

Newman Garrison + Partners has been using AEC technology since its inception in 2005, starting with AutoCAD, the industry standard for construction documentation and computer drafting. In the time since NG+P launched, technology has evolved exponentially, bringing with it additional applications for architects and planners. Now, in addition to AutoCAD, which is used for two-dimensional drawings, we also utilize Sketchup for 3D modeling and documentation (Figure 2), Revit for building information modeling or BIM (Figures 3 and 4), and Bluebeam for creating PDFs, editing documents, and file sharing (Figure 5).

What is the firm’s approach and/or philosophy to AEC technology?

NG+P’s approach to AEC technology is two-fold. First and foremost, it is important to us to stay educated on all current software applications available to the industry. Incorporating the most advanced technologies into our daily practice allows us to increase productivity and efficiency in our operational workflows. Second, these applications allow us to collaborate with consultants (Figures 5 and 6). As architects and planners, we are responsible for collecting input, edits, and feedback across a range of documents and designs. Using an application like Bluebeam streamlines that process, improves workflow, and makes for seamless communication across all involved parties.

What are some of the main challenges the firm faces in its implementation of AEC technology?

At the start of anything new, there is always a learning curve — it is no different when a new AEC technology is implemented. That learning curve is the main challenge when introducing new software applications into our practice, as the time dedicated to onboarding, training, and exploring the new product decreases overall productivity. The tendency across the firm is to keep using the tools we are already familiar with throughout the design process and construction phases. That said, as the team becomes more comfortable with the new technology over time, we find that productivity increases as a result of the software’s automated processes and new functions (Figure 7). 

How does the firm see AEC technology evolving in the future?

We are only at the beginning of what AEC technology can do. We’re seeing new programs emerge at an impressive pace, and as these nascent technologies evolve, they will drive the AEC community further into the digital realm. AEC technology of the future will provide greater access to data, processes that spur creativity, and the ability to better visualize design solutions. In fact, the first iteration of programs that bring our drawings to life already exist. We believe that the evolution of AEC technology will focus on the continuous integration of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

If the firm had a wish list for AEC technology, what would it be?

We would be very interested to see a software application that could not only create designs but also build them. With the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics, this type of technology already exists and is currently being tested, albeit it is in its early stages. It’s a three-step process: AI creates a design from scratch, design elements are digitally printed, and then robotics construct the full-scale project. However, technology like this could make architects and designers obsolete, so let’s be careful what we wish for.

Are there any additional information/observations/insights on AEC technology from the firm that you would like to share?

For us at NG+P, we will always continue to stay current on technological advancements for the AEC industries and utilize software applications that make us better at what we do. We are “strategic adopters” — not necessarily early adopters — of technology, ensuring that every tool we use provides value in the form of increasing team productivity and creativity, as well as allowing us to better service our projects and clients.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Gaby Suarez of R[AR]E Public Relations for facilitating this profile.


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