Using modular construction and technology as a framework to support design delivers spectacular results
Every once and a while, a new technology, an old problem and a big idea turn into an innovation.Dean Kamen
These are the words you’ll see 10 floors above the Chicago Riverwalk. As the home of Chicago DIRTT Experience Center (DXC), it makes sense. It not only sums up what has driven DIRTT for the last 15 years, but how we’re looking to the future.
You see, we’ve totally transformed this space, to create an environment that truly connects with those who come to visit. We stripped away everything. Starting the design process with a clean slate gave us the chance to construct an immersive experience. A place full of possibilities. Spaces to work, heal, or learn.
As for our inspiration, we looked to Chicago itself. Specifically, the city grid. It’s a powerful framework designed to help navigate a large metropolis. This concept mirrors the way DIRTT helps people navigate the complex world of interior construction. Our solutions are a framework that can support any idea. Empowering architects and designers with complete creative freedom.
While the DXC is filled with dramatic intersecting lines, it also features elements that break with the traditional grid. Just like major cross streets that act as meaning full shortcuts through Chicago, DIRTT’s innovation allows people to break away from inefficient conventional construction. And they can do it using our technology-backed approach.
For us, the DXC acts as a framework for creation. It’s set up to showcase our current and future innovation. It demonstrates how our solutions integrate with architecture to create purposeful spaces for the people who use them. We love this space and we want to share it with the world. But we also realize that getting everyone to Chicago right now isn’t practical. So, here’s a little sneak peak of what’s inside.
Stepping out of the elevator, the lobby reveal multiple levels. Full of possibility. Integrated lighting solutions against a charred wood texture showcase our logo, beside a customized half-moon screen contained right in the wall. Breaking away from standard screen sizes, allows for seamless integration of custom logos, enhancing the way stories are told. These are just two examples of how branding can be incorporated into a space.
The big picture
Moving further inside, it’s hard to miss the massive 170-inch nanolumens screen. Using invisible millwork achieves a clean look and allows for easy access to the equipment stored in the wall. Perfect for tech-focused companies who want to leverage a space for large gatherings. We use it as part of our ICE® virtual reality lab. ICE is our proprietary software that streamlines the entire construction process by giving everyone the chance to experience their space before it’s ever built. It’s the heartbeat of everything DIRTT does from pre-construction through to installation. That’s why it takes center stage in our DXC.
A turn to the right brings you into our java area. In an important hub in any workplace, not just because that’s where teams fuel up. It’s where unplanned interactions turn into amazing ideas. Millwork wrapped in Thermofoil and veneer creates a friendly resimercial feel. The millwork seamlessly integrates with the walls and the accent strip lighting, reinforcing our grid aesthetic. But with a wide variety of finishes and applications.
To the left of our VR suite, you can explore our healthcare vignette. Light and bright, it’s also crisp and functional. Designed to draw people into the patient journey, we want to encourage thoughtful conversations around healthcare spaces and help patients feel at ease in these settings. Our graphic wall panels do triple duty here. The elegant design elevates the aesthetics. Intricate designs offer distraction imagery to improve the patient experience. And, our Enzo® solution combined with healthcare Optifiller boosts infection prevention and control.
The Cloud and the conservatory
If you need a quiet place to make a call, we’ve got you covered. Two phone booths with acoustic enhancements for better sound privacy are like a sonic oasis. And since they’re side-by-side, they offer visitors a chance to test out the sound transfer properties of our walls for themselves. Close the door, take a seat on the timber bench, and talk to your heart’s content.
When you’ve had enough quiet time, move next door to collaborate. An integrated display nestled into stacked millwork boxes can facilitate presentations or connect remote teams. The millwork credenza is accented by a planter with greenery that brings the outside in. And for situations that need more capacity, the Leaf Folding Wall® opens up to the adjacent STEAM Lab. Leaf’s flexibility is a great way to make the most of limited real estate, letting you adjust on the fly to whatever suits you best.
Take a look at Reflect™. With a sleek, sophisticated aesthetic, Reflect is DIRTT’s slim glass-wall offering. Responding to requests from our clients, Reflect uses minimized hardware to achieve it’s barely-there look. At the same time, it has the levelling capability needed to allow almost seamless integration into your space. Here, it’s used in to frame a private office with a sit-stand desk and graphic panels. It also wraps around a huddle room with built-in conferencing solutions.
Three discreet spaces. A multitude of solutions. Our multi-purpose lounge space shows Reflect in tandem with DIRTT solid walls. And those walls feature floating shelves, invisible pass throughs and integrated lighting. Brainstorm on writable surfaces. Take time to thoughtfully connect with a view of the Chicago skyline. Or just take a moment to reset. It’s open and energizing allowing people achieve their best work, no matter what they’re doing.
Off the grid
On your way to the upper level, be sure to take a peek at our timber-frame huddle room. Created with our low-profile Inspire® wall, it offers a minimal aesthetic with the full benefit of DIRTT’s modular approach. Cross-hatched sustainable timber and canted powder coat frames offer dramatic angles consistent with the design. More than just structure, timber is used to create feature steps and benches with millwork fronts.
Moving on up, the new mezzanine is home to our local DIRTT team when they touch down and link up in the DXC. The space is populated with two-person workstations created with DIRTT low walls, frameless glass stacks and built-in millwork for storage. This whole area is a new addition to the DXC. In the past, our loft level was only accessible using the back stairs. Now the mezzanine offers more usable space, open access and thoughtful work area. All with a bird’s eye view of the rest of the DXC.
Before you go, you might want to use the restroom. We don’t want to be indelicate, but we do want to talk about how DIRTT can make bathrooms better. Aesthetically this space incorporates beautiful veneer, bleach-cleanable fabric, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliant sinks. What you can’t see is how DIRTT walls are manufactured to accommodate plumbing. It shows the range of environments that DIRTT can help build better.
There’s a lot packed into 8,700 square feet. If you want a longer look at our Chicago DXC, this video will move you through space.
DIRTT is a building process powered by technology. We use our proprietary 3D software to help design, manufacture and install fully-customized interior environments. This same software provides clients with certainty around cost, schedule and the final outcome. With modular components and a streamlined construction process, complete interior spaces are constructed faster, cleaner and more sustainably. The Company works with over 70 partners throughout North America. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.