Reactor presented the unique challenge of satisfying the client’s requirement to move into a completed space in less than fourteen weeks from the beginning of the design process. In order to meet this demand, a systematic working strategy was developed to capitalize on these extreme constraints while cultivating an inventive and dynamic working atmosphere in which client, contractor and architect collaborated with an unprecedented synergism.
The program was strategically divided into distinct and separate areas that could be developed and detailed in phase with the construction schedule: each programmatic element or area was explored in depth and developed in detail, presented to the client and then dimensioned and issued to the contractor for construction. Design decisions were made in close association with the contractor and various fabricators whose expertise was fundamental to the project. A complex set of issues and relationships involving time, money, design, construction and fabrication created a context in which the process of making and the craft of construction intensified in importance and became central aspects of the design process. Construction commenced during the first week of design and permits were issued by the City by the beginning of the second week. All drawings generated for the project served as both client presentation and construction document. To facilitate this process and allow for rapid facsimile communication between participants, all drawings were completed freehand on 11’ x 17” vellum. The immediacy of working in this ‘one take’ or ‘live broadcast’ context resulted in an architecture that, in essence, evolved as a drawing at full scale.