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Meet two of the unstoppable women behind Vibe

Meet two of the unstoppable women behind Vibe

Need a reason to party this week? We've got your back: International Women's Day is happening this Wednesday, March 8 and it's a big. freaking. deal. Celebrated in homes, schools and workplaces around the globe, IWD is a day to celebrate progress, call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Think we're stoked? You'd better believe it.

Rice Fergus Miller 's Kristen Linn is blazing trails as the lead architect on the new building that Vibe is proud to call home. 

Rice Fergus Miller's Kristen Linn is blazing trails as the lead architect on the new building that Vibe is proud to call home. 

The United Nations has made "Women in the changing world of work" the official theme for 2017, and it just so happens that we have some pretty brag-worthy women working behind the scenes with us here at Vibe who are doing just that, including our project manager (and architect) Rachelle Freegard, lead architect Kristen Linn, and interior designer, Stéphanie Isaacs, all from Rice Fergus Miller.

This week, we were able to tear Kristen and Stéphanie away from their work just long enough to get an inside look at what makes them tick. We'll start with Kristen because, when it comes to having her and Rachelle at the helm of our architectural ship as lead architect and project manager, respectively, we know that's something exceptional. Why? Because women continue to be vastly underrepresented within the world of architecture: a mere 16% of members of the American Institute of Architects are female. 

The soul of this building is inclusion. Everything has been about the people who come here, how they will feel and how they will interact. It will truly be an experience.
— Kristen Linn

Rachelle, Kristen and Stéphanie are a design force to be reckoned with in and of themselves. Together, these women are unstoppable, shaping the look, feel and experience of Vibe in ways that will forever change your definition of 'workplace'. Join us in raising a glass to the women who are literally 'changing the world of work' -- not just in their world, but all of ours.

 

Vibe: What gets your creative energy flowing? Where do you find your inspiration?
KL:  Problems. When something isn't working right, that's what gets my creative energy flowing. I want to fix it! Design, at its heart, is problem solving. I am inspired by people and genuinely just want to help people. 

Vibe: What is your favorite element of the new Vibe building?
KL: 
I think there are a few elements that stand out and will surprise people, but my favorite element is the unisex bathrooms. The soul of this building is inclusion. Everything has been about the people who come here, how they will feel and how they will interact. It will truly be an experience.

Vibe: Sustainability and healthier, happier living are two things we've talked a lot about with this project. What are some of the ways that this is being taken into consideration from a design perspective?
KL: 
There is an overarching LEED goal for this project (achieving the globally recognized certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building), but one of my favorite ways that sustainability and healthier, happier living has been considered on this project is the interaction with the outdoors. Where feasible, we have incorporated operable windows with loads of natural light, along with the benefits of fresh air. Both Vibe and Crabtree Kitchen + Bar have access to the outdoors through their own decks and stairs to the adjacent Centennial Park. Personally, I am way more productive, and happier, when I can sit near a window and see nature.

Vibe: What is the biggest challenge that you've faced while working on the Vibe building?
KL: The biggest challenge has been fitting all of the programs into the site and meeting all of the criteria for each tenant: Vibe Coworks, Crabtree Kitchen + Bar, ChocMo and High Spirits. Our team has had a lot of fun working through this puzzle.

One thing that can turn women off from the profession [of architecture] is often the pay and benefits compared to the time/effort worked. But I don’t think that it just an issue that impacts women; I think it is much more of a problem within the profession.
— Kristen Linn

Vibe: According to a 2016 survey by Women in Architecture, 1 in 5 women worldwide say they would not encourage a woman to start a career in architecture. How do you feel about that?
KL: 
I feel like I should be more well-versed in this topic than I am. I head this a lot in the beginning of my career. I am interested to know what the age bracket is of the women who were surveyed. From what I've been told, architecture was a more male-dominated profession and could often feel like a 'boys' club.' Construction sites can often be an interesting place for women as well. Honestly, from what I've experienced in most offices, it's a fairly equal split. Another thing that can turn women off from the profession is often the pay and benefits compared to the time/effort worked. But I don't think that it just an issue that impacts women; I think it is much more of a problem within the profession, when compared to other professions that take as much schooling and licensing as architecture does.

Vibe: If you could design for anyone, who would it be?
KL: I would design for a group of people interested in reducing home costs, hopefully enabling more people to afford homes. There is a group associated with Auburn University in Alabama called Rural Studio, that does these $20K homes. It's really inspiring. I would love to design smaller modular homes like the old Sears homes that could be ordered from catalogues and assembled like a kit of parts by the homeowner. I enjoy the puzzle of making small spaces functional. Making an affordable home would be an added bonus.

Next up, Stéphanie Isaacs' take on design, inspiration and women in the future of work...  

This Bremerton architect experienced a 'wow moment' when he was hired to design Vibe. Here's why.

This Bremerton architect experienced a 'wow moment' when he was hired to design Vibe. Here's why.

Make no mistake: Vibe Coworks is a massive group effort. It's a place, a space and a community of people being brought to life by an army of smart, creative do-ers from around the Sound. Steve Rice is one of those people. And as principal at Rice Fergus Miller, he also happens to be ringleader in chief of the architectural and design team that is pouring its heart and soul into making Vibe unforgettably inspirational from the minute you walk through that door. Don't blame us if you don't want to leave the place. Steve and his team are masters of their trade, and we're pretty okay with that. This week, we sat down with Steve to get his take on how environment impacts the work that we do, what's been happening behind the scenes at Vibe and what he loves most about living+working right here in Kitsap.

Bremerton architect Steve Rice is Senior Principal at  Rice Fergus Miller , a certified B Corporation known for its expertise in shaping community and being on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainability. 

Bremerton architect Steve Rice is Senior Principal at Rice Fergus Miller, a certified B Corporation known for its expertise in shaping community and being on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainability. 

Vibe: What inspired you to get into architecture and design?
SR: When I was 11 years old, my parents hired an architect to design a house for our family on the Key Peninsula. We visited the site every Saturday during constructionit was spellbinding for me. I could see my future from right there.

It was a wow moment—a thankful wow moment. Over the course of your career you find a few special projects that stretch boundaries. I could see right away that Vibe would be one of those.

Vibe: As a human, as a designer and as a business leader, how does the environment you're working in impact you and the work that you do?
SR: The environment I'm working in should be inspirational. I think that's especially true for anyone involved in creative, connective or 'thinking' types of work. My team and I were reminded of that in 2011, when we renovated an abandoned Sears Auto Center building in downtown Bremerton, transforming it into RFM's office and studio. It's a joyous space, and we like being here. It absolutely contributes to the quality and spirit of the work that we do. That is exactly what will happen at Vibe, too.

Vibe: What was your first thought when we, together with Tim Ryan Construction, first approached you about taking on the design of a revolutionary new coworking space in Kitsap?
SR: Honestly? It was a wow momenta thankful wow moment. Over the course of your career you find a few special projects that stretch boundaries: boundaries of place, type, method or the edges of one's imagination. I could see right away that Vibe and the building its housed in would be one of those projects. There is great reward in working on these [types of projects].

Vibe: That first encounter was back in April 2016. What's been happening behind the scenes since then? 
SR: First, we established a design identity for the building, and visual positions for the interiors. Now, we're bringing detail into the picture, documenting everything, while staying true to the overall design intent. We've also been working closely with the City of Poulsbo's Planning & Building Department to make sure that our design plans exceed their requirements, and that the needed building permits can be processed as quickly as possible. 

Vibe: What's your favorite element of Vibe's new building? 
SR: The deliberate notion of craft. As developers and tenants, all of you at Tim Ryan Construction, Vibe, ChocMo, High Spirits and Crabtree Kitchen+Bar presented several challenges around how you want people to interact with the building and your respective businesses. Craft will appear on several different levels, but especially where people experience the building in a close waylike touching a handrail, holding a well-designed menu, meeting with people around a kitchen hearth or thinking it out with clients or business partners on the 'porch' at Vibe. We're trying to translate into physical form what owners can usually only describe with words. I think visitors will appreciate how everything is crafted carefully and related in a seamless way.  

Vibe: On a more personal level, what's your favorite thing about Kitsap? 
SR: I love the proximity to nature and its beauty here in Kitsapthat I can hop on my bike and get in 50 beautiful miles on a Saturday afternoon, and then have oysters for dinner that I gathered on our Hood Canal the night before. In the dark and rain and wind, of course.

Vibe: What are you most looking forward to in 2017? 
SR: For our firm, I am looking forward to seeing our practice continue to develop and evolve. I get a lot of joy from seeing great young professionals rise up and share the firm's leadership. For me personally, I am looking forward to another long bike ridethis time from Detroit to NYC. And of course seeing Vibe and the partner businesses open in the new building. I love the celebrations around a new place, and all of the possibility that it represents.