Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of February 4, 2013

Health architects an endangered species. Landscape architecture in China. Values in architecture. Tools at schools. And, social media ideas from the Girl Scouts. 130209

Health architects an endangered species. Bill Brinkman, executive vice president and marketing principal at HDR Architecture, writes on how physicians at HDR’s 5th Translational Health Science (THS) Colloquium in La Jolla, California, believe that the future of healthcare will be medical diagnostics done via wireless technology.

At the colloquium, Dr. Eric Topol said that core diagnostics typically done in a hospital can be done on a modified iPhone, which includes cardiograms and tests for blood, sweat, saliva, and urine. A microchip nanosensor smaller than a grain of sand can be put into your bloodstream and detect a heart attack a week or two before it happens -- and send a signal to your iPhone.

Via Blink Perspectives on Design


Landscape architecture in China. Landscape architecture education has come back into favor in China, and Chinese universities have established or reestablished nearly 200 landscape architecture programs in less than a decade.

Eight academics from the United States and China discuss the cultural exchange taking place between their countries and issues educators face in China as they try to build the profession there.

Via Landscape Architecture Magazine


Values in architecture. James Pfeiffer of BNIM explores themes from “Collaborating with the Public; Advocating for the Social” at Professional Practice Week in Halifax, Canada.

Pfeiffer points out some of the themes that emerged from the dialogue in Halifax:

  • Architecture is ultimately about the power of ideas to be transformative and impactful.
  • Architecture is a social driver:  its role is sometimes more about designing a social mix (the conditions within which architecture lives) rather than simply being about bricks and mortar.
  • We can’t over tailor our buildings anymore. More and more, our structures must embody the notion of “long life, loose fit.”
  • Constraints are drivers:  we take constraints, challenge them, and reinvent.
  • We design more than just buildings:  we design pieces of the city, community and the public realm.
  • Our work should be generous and regenerative.
  • Our respective practices require time and space to release moments for speculation.
  • Authorship is less important in a current practice:  ideas belong to everyone; the best ones ultimately “win” and are integrated into our projects.

We should strive for work that embodies the idea of doing “twice as much with half as much.”

Via BNIM Blog


Tools at schools. Design studio aruliden and Bernhardt Design launched an initiative to teach eighth graders the value of design as a problem-solving tool at The School at Columbia University.

The project immersed students in the entire design process, from research to ideation to 3D modeling and the launch. What began as a simple effort to get involved in the community grew into a much larger realization that design has a role in the classroom. Check out this video to see concepts and what students gained.

Via Cannon Design Blog


Innovative Social Media

Girl Scouts embrace social media. Girl Scouts celebrated their first National Girl Scout Cookie Day, embracing Twitter, food trucks and new package design. @GirlScouts will tweet the location of its Cookie Day Truck as it makes its way through New York City, staffed with Girl Scouts selling thin mints and other favorite cookies.

Via Diners Journal Blog

Related: Girl Scouts