The Hummingbird Design Lab and Professional Learning Center

How can you create a space that shifts rapidly from an architectural studio to a materials lab, professional learning center and community gathering space?

Klaus Schwab writes in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that for our world to survive, buildings need to be rapidly reprogrammable, accommodating office work, social gatherings and learning space. The Design Lab was created to serve all these functions, and also includes furnished loft residences for visiting colleagues on upper floors.

The Design Lab was inspired by the hummingbird, one of the smallest birds and yet the fastest, and the only bird that is agile enough to fly backward. Fielding International rezoned a single family lot for multi-use, constructing a new building with a 600% increase in density, while enhancing the aesthetic qualities of the corner and welcoming the neighborhood.

The main level serves as Fielding’s architectural studio and is rapidly reconfigurable as a professional learning center. The space illustrates a variety of design patterns and details to support learners that thrive, including a vibrant indoor-outdoor connection, welcoming entry and kitchen commons, media hearth, learning commons, nest space, varied furniture types, gallery stair, four different types of lighting, and four different types of acoustical treatments.

The design team has choreographed a fun ritual to quickly rearrange the furnishings to accommodate up to 70 students, educational leaders, business partners and community members for seminars, book club meetings, presentations, workshops and film festivals. As a Covid response, entry sign-in, hand-washing, furnishing placement and ventilation have all been adjusted to safely accommodate 20 – 30 people.

Project Data

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Type: New Construction

Size: 8,000 SF

Cost: $2.5 Million

Date Opened: 2018

Design Team: Randy & Kristina Fielding, Brian Cho, Huichong Tang, and Mike Yager