We’re five months into the project and the giant hole between the Deli and the Next Door has a basement and a foundation sitting in it. By fall, steel girders and cement block will rise up and a building’s skeleton will emerge at the top of the driveway, wrapping around the Zingerman’s patio. No one could envision the expansion at the beginning;it had no form. It was just a list of desired outcomes. How did the outcomes become a plan? Month after month over the course of several years, a team of Deli Managing Partners, key staff, architects, design consultants, engineers and contractors scrutinized this site—the size of a postage stamp—weighing strategies on how to fit a feasible building into an affordable plan. Slowly, the process yielded a design with flow and a project with the right personality. The plan is in motion, the stage is set and we can start to see what will be there.
Our goal has been to balance what we need to add, e.g. a family restroom on the Deli’s first floor, more space for tables, more space for browsing among oils and vinegars, with what we want to hold onto. Via Facebook, lots of helpful, enthusiastic responses have told us what people want to see. The same wall of meat and cheeses, lots of samples, the breadbox, tall wooden shelves, happy faces, the tile floor, an old style look, the tucked away patio. Thanks for your input and everybody can relax because it will all be there.
It’s a challenge to invent something new and improved, yet keep it familiar. We’ve used a process and a team. This journey of shared planning is called the Integrated Design Process or IDP, a way of making decisions, named and endorsed by the US Green Building Council. Each day’s work seen through the peek holes is the outcome of a long, multi-faceted planning process. Every detail of construction and design was vetted by the whole Build-Out Design Team. Our IDP’s objective was creating a less crowded, functionally green, Zingy building on the Deli’s cozy, charming site.
Paul Saginaw saw the fit between IDP and Zingerman’s as a no brainer. ?It’s producing good results because it’s how we’ve conducted ourselves in business. It’s actually a form of Bottom Line Change, the path we already follow. Luckily we’re comfortable with collaboration and trust it. It’s the recipe that all Zingerman’s businesses use when a change is needed that starts with soliciting input from anyone affected by a given change. Who needs to be informed and what’s the best way to go about making the change?
The USGBC lists these IDP advantages:
- Time and energy invested up front avoids costly delays once construction begins.
- Communication is in place long before the first spade breaks the ground. The design conversation creates routine feedback loops between all parties that continue beyond the project’s completion to ensure ongoing performance.
- Every party has ownership of and accountability for the decisions. If anything goes awry (and something always does), instead of pointing fingers, we are committed to working together to fix it.
- Whole systems thinking is the by-product of having everybody in the room while decisions are being made. It’s how golden opportunities reveal themselves because collaboration naturally seeks out synergies. It’s how a conversation with Community High School about the use of a portion of its parking lot during construction resulted in an ingenious plan for a shared recycling center. An innovative vision of school-business-community interaction was born out of our garbage!
- Lifecycle costing gives the complete picture in contrast to most building design that only looks at up front costs, i.e. materials and labor, and includes the costs of maintenance, energy usage and replacement. With this approach, water cooled refrigeration and water cooled air conditioning systems that cost more up front actually end up 1) cheaper to run, 2) cheaper to maintain and 3) lasting longer—hurray!
Eye on the Prize
IDP utilizes vision as the unifying factor for the team. Our vision included preserving outside dining, increasing the number of restrooms, bettering our staff’s work environment, improving the services to our guests, and staying open every day during construction. The clarity and strength of the Deli’s vision of expansion has guided us through many decision-making stages. Utilizing IDP brought certain members of the team on board much earlier than in most construction projects. We had our contractor at the table from day one of design because we knew it would be a challenge to keep our doors open throughout construction. Conversations with the architect and the contractor made it possible to plan staging and accommodating our operations. If it weren’t for that early collaboration, we wouldn’t be serving corned beef sandwiches every day during construction.
It’s normal to struggle with decisions during the process. We started with what we thought was best for our operations and for our guests, then dealt with all the non-negotiable factors impacting our layout and design, e.g. our site’s differing grades, little room to maneuver big equipment, historic codes, zoning regulations, building codes, setbacks, stormwater retention, etc. IDP has improved our design because of many eyes, differing voices, and multiple iterations of choices and strategies. A perfect example is the lengthy debate and dozens of renderings needed to decide where and how to span the 29-inch difference between the Deli’s old floor and the height of the Addition’s floor. Stairs? Ramp? Lift? Each option had its pros and cons. We considered the total floor space used, costs, ease of access for everyone including parents with strollers, and in the end, IDP convinced us that a wide set of steps and an adjacent lift was the best solution.
The Right Tool
IDP has allowed us to operate strategically, plan for efficiency and economy, and turn lemons into lemonade. Thanks to the Integrated Design Process, we have the warmest confidence that the outcome of this exciting project will be a familiar Zingerman’s Delicatessen, only more so.
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