As a member of HOK’s firm-wide Diversity Advisory Council, Javier Buscaglia-Pesquera (left, pictured with Sarah Oppenhuizen and Mike Goetz), director of operations, interiors in HOK’s Chicago studio, works to expand the dialogue around inclusive design. He recently spoke to Green Operations magazine about the value of diversity in design.
Excerpted from Green Operations:
While we used to say diversity and think gender, race and religion, we now see a more varied expression of experience. That experience is poised to help shape the world around us for the better in the coming years, especially, designers said, as new demographic patterns start to become realized and majorities begin to shift.
However, many within the A&D community have said a more inclusive culture must first take shape for that evolution to continue. Fortunately, designers and manufacturers alike agree, those conversations are beginning to take shape.
Javier Buscaglia-Pesquera, director of operations, interiors in HOK’s Chicago office, [said that] adding diversity means recognizing that each person is unique. “At HOK, we recognize that our differences give us a distinctive perspective that enriches our design solutions. It’s so important to have diversity of people in design because designers are not creating spaces just for ourselves but for a variety of users who are diverse in their own ways.”
HOK’s Buscaglia-Pesquera said it’s [different] perspectives that can give detailed insights into the needs of a broad range of clientele. “For example, people with disabilities or mobility issues might have more insight on how to design a space that is more accessible for all people,” he explained, adding: “Having designers of various ages on a project can help guide a space to appeal to all ages with the way technology is used.”
Looking ahead, experts agree there is still much to be done before a more diverse version of our built environment can come to fruition. “The design world should reflect the populations we serve, but we’re far from it,” HOK’s Buscaglia-Pesquera said. “Part of our responsibilities as designers is always keeping in mind what is coming next. Depending on client programming needs, we need to design spaces that last 15, 30 or even 50 years out. Our inclusive designs need to be forward-thinking with that in mind.”