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Mackenzie Offers Free Design Guide to Help Businesses Reopen

(Nokes wrote business case studies for We Build Green Cities, a Prosper Portland program.)

Businesses want to reopen, and they want to be safe. The question is, where does a business begin?  

Mackenziean integrated design firm headquartered in Portland, has published a free, easy-to-use COVID-19 design guide to help businesses create healthier and safer work environments.  

Dietrich WielandMackenzie president, said his staff compiled the guide during the first weeks of the health emergency. He said their clients wanted to know how to retrofit their business spaces and how to redesign projects already in progress.  

“Many clients had an 80-page document for guidance, which is hard for a lot of people to navigate,” Wieland said. “Our simple guide is an interpretation of resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as some state guidance.”  

Wieland said that while some businesses don’t have a landlord willing to work with them, they want to get their doors open. The guide offers advice on how to maintain proper distancing, cleaning, and modifying behavior when it comes to shared spaces and work spacesIt provides ideas on entrances, lobbies, restrooms, conference areas, workstations and other spaces. 

Wieland said Mackenzie is already completing a second version of the guide adding three components: 

  • Site strategy  looking at solutions outside a building, including queuing outside, pickup and dropoff procedures, parking modifications, plazas and roof decks. 
  • How to design new spaces, including reimagining restrooms 
  • Addressing plumbing and mechanical systems. 

Wieland said it’s best to retain a mechanical engineer. “People are surprised to learn that buildings that haven’t been operated in a long time need to have their plumbing flushed out,” Wieland said. “We also address adding fresh air and modifying exhaust systems.  

Wieland also recommends talking with an architect. “The design industry can help business owners through these scenarios,” he said. Sometimes design is about helping people use something in a new way. 

Mackenzie supports the local community and is a corporate member of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon. This year marks Mackenzie’s 60th anniversary, and they maintain offices in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle and Vancouver, Washington.  

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