Late last January the Managing Directors and Department Representatives met with Mithun for a two day charrette (design discussion) in Middletown. This was an opportunity forHarbin people and Mithun people to connect, build relationships and trust with the architects as well as initiate the creative process. On day one, the Mithun team of five introduced themselves, their work, and a bit about their design process. After introductions, there was an opportunity for each MD, each Manager and Representative to speak from the heart on what Harbin means to them. This helped the architects to begin their process of deeply listening to the group’s needs, dreams and desires for the rebuild.
In the afternoon of day one, Residents were invited to participate in a two hour discussion to allow Mithun to further understand who ‘we’ are. The meeting was well attended and each person had an opportunity to make a statement or ask a question. The Mithun team was impressed by our Heart Consciousness, openness, and our enthusiasm. The discussion about the land and the living water was reassuring, and the team from Mithun was receptive and taking notes throughout.
On the second day, the Department Managers and Representatives were led through a series of ‘exercises’ to help Mithun further understand our community and the guest experience at Harbin. Later that morning, small groups were formed focusing on Pools, Wellness, Welcome Center/Administration and Rooms/Cottages. All had the opportunity to explore and draw on overlays of topographic maps where we felt the buildings, pools and features could be located, considering traffic flow, parking, and aesthetic aspects.
Each group had a short visit to the land with the architects to see the actual space after working on our drawings. This allowed deeper understanding of what would and wouldn’t be feasible or realistic. The groups returned to the ‘drawing boards’, eventually presenting our designs to the entire room. Although the drawings were just an exercise in terms of the final designs, the purpose was to help Mithun extract essential principles and concepts so they can create a few design options.
The process was inspiring,engaging and enjoyable for all involved and after two days together there was a palpable feeling admiration between both parties. We’re all looking forward to meeting again.