Hacking Away

Sasaki launches an incubator and hosts its second annual hackathon

Architecture East Technology
Inside the Sasaki 
 incubator at their Watertown, Mass. headquarters (Courtesy Sasaki)
Inside the Sasaki incubator at their Watertown, Mass. headquarters (Courtesy Sasaki)

Architecture and technology have always been inextricably linked, and with technology advancing faster than ever, contemporary architects have their hands full. Massachusetts-based planning and design studio Sasaki has a new initiative to help designers strengthen their skills.

This past spring Sasaki launched an incubator program within its headquarters where tenants can directly interact with the firm’s experts. The incubator includes a mix of tenants from a variety of industries, and Sasaki wants to leverage their interdisciplinary expertise to create an environment where teams can grow and cooperate.

The incubator space is 5,000 square feet of both shared workspaces and research studio space. For the interiors, Sasaki chose to strip a former mill building back to the underlying structure, leaving the brick walls, wooden columns, and beams and joists exposed. The floorplan is open, though Sasaki has carved out several spaces for private meetings and conference calls.

A floor plan of the 5,000-square-foot incubator space (Courtesy Sasaki)

The Foundation has established a grant program for two-to-four teams on a nine-month fellowship, centered around four themes: climate innovation, transportation, accessibility, and placemaking. The incubator itself supports the aforementioned programming for grant teams and includes Sasaki as a design consultant for the those in the program.

The Sasaki office and the Foundation have extended this spirit of collaboration to their second annual beyondAEC Hackathon. The Sasaki incubator will host this year’s Hackathon on July 20 and will encourage those in architecture, engineering, and construction to brainstorm solutions to real-world problems they’ve faced.

The first beyondAEC Hackathon in 2017 drew 40 participants, including a handful of architecture students from local universities.

Kyle and Jim Martin, inspired by engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti’s annual NYC-based hackathon, launched beyondAEC with the help of Sasaki. Kyle Martin says the hackathon provides an opportunity for local AEC practitioners to “foster a culture of design technology and push boundaries outside of their day to day practices.”

Jim Martin added that they wanted to make space for “a culture of experimentation for participants to dive into and develop new ideas and learn from each other.”

Sasaki will hold workshops to build up to the event through June and into July.

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