05 Mar Larry Lander
The foundation of workplace effectiveness is a rich combination of spaces that promote collaboration, leverage technology, and allow true collegiality for breakthrough performance.
Larry Lander is an oracle with a midwestern drawl. An architect and a pragmatic futurist, he has an innate ability to vividly portray possible futures that are rooted firmly in the present. As a Principal and PDR’s Director of Programming, he guides business leaders to ask more of their workplaces — to consider what is, what if, and why change?
As one of the original authors of PDR’s Inside Out philosophy, Larry champions a simple belief: workplace program and design should support and empower people to do their best work. Before the chair, he considers the sitter; before the building, he considers the business. With Larry’s guidance, workplace design is often less a planning exercise and more a business exercise.
Larry leads teams through the crucial deep thinking that frames project success. His collaborative process allows organization leaders, developers, and facilities managers around the globe to leverage their spaces to achieve business goals. In the past ten years alone, the strategic efforts by Larry and his teams have influenced the design of several major projects including Eaton’s Headquarters, a Fortune 100 Energy Company, the ExxonMobil Houston Campus, and the Dominion Energy Towers. Larry also consults untethered from specific built projects for Chevron and global developer, Hines.
Larry organizes his proven strategic approach into two distinct phases: Analysis and Synthesis. The Analysis effort uncovers and culls all relevant data necessary to provide a strong context for decision making. It creates alignment behind success factors, spotlights key existing conditions, and identifies all qualitative and quantitative needs the project must address. Larry believes the Analysis phase will align stakeholders behind a shared understanding of context and judgment criteria. His effort becomes a basis for how real estate might be consolidated, how a site could be selected, what the comprehensive project scope should be, or even how success will be measured.
As focus shifts to the second phase, Synthesis, Larry’s strengths as a strategist truly shine. A master of scenario planning, and a gifted storyteller, he guides project teams through options. The best path navigates the context and guiding principles established in Analysis while achieving the most objectives.
Larry’s process leads to a foundational Basis of Design — an executive summary that functions as the thesis and rationale behind any future workplace initiative. Significant projects often test their Basis of Design by engaging in benchmarking excursions and investing in pilot spaces to further test the chosen strategy.
Just as pearls form around a single grain of sand, Larry’s space use strategies originate from a single human-scale base module and grow from there. Building systems are mapped to a planning grid to offer maximum flexibility for future space configurations and result in incredibly responsive and resilient structures. Recently, one of Larry’s teams showed how his unique approach to modular planning could achieve a better workplace strategy with one entire floor less than the projected investment. That same team would later deliver a pilot space to validate the findings.
Another resounding success occurred years after one of Larry’s most comprehensive modular planning projects launched. Because of the structural future-proofing efforts Larry’s team delivered, the client facilities team could accommodate personnel from a sizable acquisition without rebuilding a single wall or calling in a single trade. A large-scale furniture and demountable wall reconfiguration occurred over a weekend allowing 2,000 new people to focus on other, more important aspects of their business transition. The resident population of 10,000 would continue working, undisrupted.
The results of strategic engagement with Larry are stories of insight, innovation, and transformation that are carried long after project launch. A revelation will appear. A new mindset will form. A collision will spark discovery. The future will happen — and his projects will respond and adapt as they were programmed to.