Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Case Study: Contextual Development

REthink Development defines its ethos as "Contextual Development" - a holistic approach to real estate development that integrates all influences, from people to the environment and from cradle to grave, through the entire development process.

Our Definition of Development
The three core principals of contextual development are:

CONTEXT: Context within the development process surveys the past, present and future of the project site and neighborhood in order to earnestly relate it to the surrounding people, places and environment.  

SUSTAINABILITY: The tenets of sustainability constitute REthink's leadership position within the green building industry.  REthink's design and development process brings all environmental aspects of our project to the most logical form: the maximization of environmental and health benefits produced with only a measured additional investment.  

STORY: Lastly, story emerges from the nexus of context and sustainability to give meaning to the project's form, function and image.  Story, as it is defined here, clearly differentiates REthink projects within the marketplace and gives them a distinct marketing edge.

In other words, REthink seeks to build upon a community's history with a sensitivity to its needs and concerns while revitalizing the spaces in which our fellow community members live, work and play.  As a point of departure, REthink's design is of the highest respect to ecological sensitivity.  To that end, conservationist techniques will not be sacrificed for scale to make a project economically desirable.  The result? - innovation in building design and advocacy in city planning for the health and prosperity of its residents.

There is a difference between building interventions such as smaller-scale, street-level space and amenities as opposed to large-scale attractions.  For example, is it a new sports stadium or museum that will facilitate the attraction and retention of professionals and tourists or the support of neighborhoods to be the catalyst for community, city and regional vitality that is attractive to investment?  

To be sure, it can be argued both ways, and one interpretation does not preclude the other.  As always, the question is nuanced, yet answered clearly by REthink's eye towards innovative development.

Housing Creatives in Hollywood
Los Angeles is a vital and dynamic city due, in part, to its enviable number of community assets: temperate climate, coastal lines and varied topography; strong tourist and entertainment industries; and population density that supports professional sports as well as arts patronage and philanthropy to name a few.  Nevertheless, as REthink addresses its concern for Los Angeles' continued vitality the issue of scale is a point of departure for development.

Young professionals are attracted to vibrant street life, readily available outdoor recreation and live, local music scenes.  In contrast to years past, young professionals in the wireless, information age choose stimulating, creative environments in which to work rather than relocating for jobs or firms.  The cityscape caption that highlights the large stadium or towers of industry that anchor a skyline are ineffective brochures to attract new residents.

REthink Development's Cherokee Studios is designed to respond to the needs of these young professionals.

Cherokee Studios is an innovation in green building design positioned on Hollywood's Fairfax Avenue to offer street-level services and amenities in-keeping with human scale that currently serve Fairfax so well.  Cherokee Studios' design welcomes a diversity of creative industry.  Creative enthusiasts and professionals can house their need for live/work space at Cherokee.  Taken together, the reflection of scale, services, amenities and diverse demographics of the community and future residents honor the needs and traditions of Hollywood.  As a result, Cherokee embodies contextual development and will serve as a case study in commitment to arts industry advocacy and green building design.

Cherokee Studios will be a landmark to Hollywood as the Cherokee recording house was to the music industry because it is both unique and authentic.  Cherokee Studios is unique because it is the first mixed-use, live/work building designed for LEED Platinum certification.  And the live/work lofts are authentic because of its rich recording history, the continued involvement of the recording studio's founder, Bruce Robb, throughout the design and development process as well as its comingling of the old with the new as old studio history, material and aesthetic were redistributed for use in the new Cherokee Studios.

For more information on REthink Development and Cherokee Studios, please visit www.REthinkDevelopment.com.  Thanks.

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