Since 1996, the first Monday of October has been reserved for celebrating the practice and artistry of architecture. First established at the International Union of Architects Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, World Architecture Day marks a time to reflect on the potential of architecture; how it affects people, cities and societies.
As part of our commitment to lasting impact, we don’t take this responsibility lightly. We truly believe architecture has the potential to change lives and we’re constantly inspired by the past, present and future of the industry. This year, the International Union of Architects (UIA) — representing the world’s 3.2 million architects — dubbed the theme of World Architecture Day 2020 as “Toward a better urban future.” Panelists on a global webinar will discuss challenges facing today’s cities such as housing, air quality and public spaces. Through coming together to solve these problems, we can enhance the human experience across the world.
Although we take this day for reflection and contribution to the architecture world, we also love getting our team involved in celebrating. Last year, some of our Chicago office competed in the marshmallow challenge to put their architecture skills to the ultimate test. From architects to accountants to property managers, our staff raced to see who could build the tallest tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows. Luckily, the architects proved their expertise, coming in at first place — but accountants followed closely in second place! This year, we’ll be celebrating individually while working from home.
From all of us to our fellow architects, Happy World Architecture Day!
As part of our commitment to building strong communities, we often turn our efforts outward and partner with local businesses and nonprofits that share our beliefs and passions. Recently, our teams in Arizona and Illinois both rallied and collaboratively supported a cause together, volunteering with Feed My Starving Children.
Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating child hunger in both body and spirit. Their organization believes that hope starts with food, and coordinates with food distribution partners that stay with communities for the long haul, empowering them to move from relief to development. By providing proper nourishment and nutrition to children in need, FMSC is unlocking their full potential, helping children grow and thrive.
On Thursday, February 13, thirteen Optima team members from offices in Arizona and Illinois volunteered at their respective locations. Over the course of the day, we assembled food donations and packed 164 boxes bound for communities in need, providing 35,424 meals. These meals will be enough to feed 96 children for an entire year. In addition to dedicating our time, our team made a donation that will feed three families for one year.
Our team members cherished the experience. Heather Williams, Community Manager at Optima Kierland Center in Arizona said, “Volunteering with Feed My Starving Children was an eye-opening experience. It’s heartbreaking to think about the number of children and adults that face starvation as a reality. The work this organization is doing to help feed families across the globe is inspiring and I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute in a small way.”
Tarryn deKock from the People Experience team in Glencoe agreed, “It was such a rewarding, fun, feel good day spent with my team members, giving back to those less fortunate. I felt so grateful for what we have and how lucky we are!”
To learn more about Feed My Starving Children and how you can help end childhood hunger, visit their website here.
As part of our commitment to the built and natural environments, our team regularly organizes outings that give back to the community. Not only do these opportunities allow us to create meaningful impact, but they serve as team-building and bonding exercises, as well. Most recently, we took a trip out to local Skokie Lagoons to help keep the area clean.
Skokie Lagoons are just a short drive from our Glencoe office. An 894-acre destination, the lagoons are the premier spot for both people and wildlife, offering critical natural habitats and the chance for visitors to appreciate the outdoors through canoe and kayak rentals, biking and hiking trails and picnic areas.
To help restore the area with healthy woodland, savanna and prairie habitats, Skokie Lagoons relies upon volunteers to regularly remove invasive plants such as buckthorn, garlic mustard and Canada thistle.
Working with the Cook County Forest Preserve, our team joined the Shedd Aquarium for aGreat Lakes Action Day to help restore the local habitat and encourage amphibians and other wildlife to thrive. We cut and burned the thick and concentrated invasive buckhorn brush to make room for native flora and fauna.
To learn more about the Skokie Lagoons and how you can support wildlife restoration, visit their website.
It’s no secret that we love the outdoors at Optima. That’s why we are thrilled that our Glencoe office is less than a five-minute drive from the Chicago Botanic Garden, where we’re able to find inspiration and beauty in astounding acres of natural plantlife. To encourage these meditative visits, we have passes for our team to allow them to take a stroll through the gardens for a break and even a lunchtime picnic.
Open for nearly fifty years, the Chicago Botanic Garden features 27 gardens and four natural areas, sprawling across 385 acres, complete with nine islands and six miles of lake shoreline. With over 2.5 million species of plants, the Garden is a hub drawing people in from all over to visit and learn about horticulture, conservation and sustainability in a beautiful setting.
Year-round, the Chicago Botanic Garden features a garden set into the stones and terraces beneath a cascading waterfall, hidden rooms within their English Walled Garden, a Japanese Garden that’s the perfect place to find a mindful moment and a secret land filled with model trains traversing across bridges and trestles. We are always thrilled to visit their meticulously cared-for collection of hundreds-of-years-old bonsai trees, or to have a drink or bite to eat at the Garden View Cafe overlooking a peaceful pond.
Right now, the Garden is also hosting Lightscape, an enchanting and exclusive U.S. experience. The exhibition brings a mile of immersive ribbons of light, a garden of fragrant fire, a sparkling tunnel and more to an already breathtaking landscape. Also on display, The Orchid Show features 10,000 brilliant blooms in unexpected ways.
Whether it’s for a breath of fresh air during a daytime walk or to have a picturesque lunch, we are lucky to have our offices so close to this neighborhood gem.