Girls Incorporated of Lowell Week 5

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This week at the Thorndike Exchange Experience Center, 8 girls from Girls Inc. came together to learn the ins and outs of Architecture and Design from Lauren Saunders, a Cube 3 Design Architect. Architects from Cube 3 are responsible for designing, Thorndike Exchange, the luxury boutique apartments and commercial and retail spaces. Lauren informed the girls that architects are crucial to the formation of a project. They are the ones who plan, design, and oversee the construction of buildings. They are responsible for taking their designs and documenting them, which allows the contractor to build exactly what was designed down to the last millimeter. Lauren explained the difficulty of redesigning an old mill building like Thorndike Exchange, due to the existing walls and supports. Architects have to be very creative in maximizing the space for future tenants and visitors of the restaurants and cafes.

The girls even had a chance to redesign the original space of the old Comfort Furniture Store and Thorndike Factory Outlet. They were given the second-floor layout and told they needed to fit 8, 1200 SF apartments, each with 3 windows, a 4000 SF restaurant, an amenity area and a fitness center. Once the girls started measuring out the spaces they realized how difficult it is to redesign the inside of a preexisting building. When designing the spaces they had to keep in mind how many means of egress the second-floor needed as well as hallway space for the tenants to walk through. Although it challenged the girls, they worked very hard and they didn’t let the difficulty discourage them.

The girls were able to be more creative in the second activity in which they designed the façade of the building. Lauren supplied them with dozens of architecture magazines, and the girls flipped through and cut out their favorite windows, siding, lighting, etc. They created a collage, and each pair of girls shared their designs with the entire group at the end of the class.

Since the architecture and design of the building is crucial for contractors, next week the girls will learn how contractors and engineers take the designs from the architects and create something spectacular.