AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee Premiers the Contract Office Design in a Post Pandemic World Webinar

April 16, 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee Premiers the Contract Office Design in a Post Pandemic World Webinar



Presenters: Ed Klimek, AIA; Mark Lo Bue, Associate AIA; and Karen Nichols, FAIA

The AIA NJ Public Awareness Committee is releasing a series of free, previously recorded webinars for elected officials, municipal staff, developers, business owners, facility managers, operators, architects, engineers and users to assist them in understanding facility design changes that can be anticipated in our post-pandemic era. Each webinar will focus on a different building/ business type and feature a panel of architects experienced in that sector. The series is developed and moderated by Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, CID, LEEP AP.


Webinar Description:

The COVID-19 pandemic has risked the public’s health and safety in buildings across the globe. This program is intended to provide elected officials, government employees, design professionals, allied professionals, employers, building owners, facility managers, and the public with resources for reducing risk when re-occupying buildings during pandemics and in developing safer, more healthy buildings and work experiences in the future. Expert panelists include award-winning, registered architects and designers who specialize in contract interior design. The panel will discuss short-term and long-term changes to the physical workplace and work process itself that have come about in response to the pandemic work from home orders, including what functions will likely return to the workplace and those that may not. Program content will provide processes and strategies for protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public and the employees while resuming services.

Learning Objectives:

1. Welfare: Understand how four inter-related components of a workplace — the physical environment, technology, operations, and user experience — align business needs with employees’ wellbeing, equity, and self-fulfillment.

2. Safety: Learn how front-end planning – including real estate selection, integrated programming, and alternative workplace strategies – can contribute to offices that are healthy, safe, and collaborative in a post-pandemic world and help define the future of the workplace.

3. Health: Learn how factors such as those promoted by the WELL Building Institute can create healthful and productive workplaces that attract and retain talent.

4. Health: Learn how various workplace planning strategies can contribute to a safe, secure, and healthful environment in a post-pandemic world without sacrificing the camaraderie and collaboration that have become hallmarks of the contemporary office.

About our Presenters: 

Edmund P. Klimek, AIA, NCARB

Partner, KSS Architects

Ed’s passion is the Architecture of Commerce, designing places that bring people together in the grand endeavor of the economy. Working closely with clients as both designer and trusted advisor, he has helped to create visionary places for work and industry. Collaboration is the cornerstone of Ed’s architectural approach. He thrives in leading large complex teams through a process driven by a dedication to exceptional design that draws upon the unique skills of all its members. Ed is an innovator in his field. His clients have invited him to speak at national corporate gatherings, he has been a frequent contributor at national industry conferences, he has lectured at MIT and other higher education institutions. Ed is passionate about sustainability and social equity. He has won grants to study sustainable industrial development and Well design in distribution. He has been a consultant to the United States Green Building Council and is working on the integration of UNSDG’s into design practice. He is currently pursuing a degree in Global Development and Social Justice at St. John’s University in New York. Ed has been a partner at KSS since 2000 and has over 35 years of experience. Ed is licensed in 20 states, earned his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Detroit and is a speaker for NAIOP, the Urban Land Institute, USGBC, among other allied organizations. 

Mark Lo Bue, Associate AIA

Workplace Strategy Director, Studio Eagle 

Mark’s extensive 25 years of experience in the field of interior design begins at the planning stage. He believes that the success of any design project is the outcome of an in-depth and thorough strategic plan initiative. Understanding the ways in which teams interact with each other, the behaviors represented in given spaces and the functions certain environments are expected to provide is a critical focus for the solutions he can offer his clients.

Through the methods of programming, space utilization and occupant observations, he is able to map out a path forward to the corporations he services. The analysis he provides reveals strategic ways in which businesses can improve employee engagement, productivity and efficiency, enhance brand messaging, attract and retain talent and foster team collaboration and growth.

Creative problem solving comes naturally to Mark. This occurs by his carefully listening to the client team and understanding their challenges and pain points. He has the ability to articulate his vision, presenting thought-provoking questions and offering up new perspectives and ideas that improve functionality while promoting change and user-experiences in the workplace. 

Karen Nichols, FAIA

Principal, Michael Graves Architecture & Design

Since joining Michael Graves Architecture & Design in 1977, Principal Karen Nichols, FAIA, has played a key role in developing the firm’s hallmark integrated practice in planning, architecture, interior design, product design, experiential design, graphics, and branding.

She has extensive experience in master planning, programming, and front-end planning. She regularly collaborates with the firm’s other Principals and designers on a wide variety of projects for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, educational, cultural, and governmental clients. 

Workplace planning and design feature prominently among Karen’s accomplishments. Over many years, she has seen the transformation of the workplace, from the days when she master planned and programmed the Walt Disney Headquarters in Burbank, California, and the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis in 2000, to her more recent experience with a Fortune 100 company’s real estate portfolio.

Over the past six years, she has been the Project Executive and front-end planner for workplace transformations for a national financial services company and several institutional clients. She has overseen 2 million square feet of new construction and renovation in eight cities throughout the United States, ranging in scale from 10,000 SF to over 600,000 SF each.  In addition to designing the architecture, interiors, and signage, her multi-disciplinary team participates in real estate selection, develops facilities programs and workplace standards, spearheads technology master plans, and participates in the client’s strategies for operations and employee experience.

Visit our YOUTUBE CHANNELl for additional AIA NJ content. 

Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment. Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through a dynamic network of more than 250 chapters and more than 95,000 member architects and design professionals, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architectural profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has over 2,000 members across six sections. For more information, please visit

By | Posted in AIA-NJ News, Disaster Response, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments (0)



Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

414 Riverview Plaza, Trenton, NJ 08611
(609) 393-5690