Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of January 14, 2012

Who rules the earth? Peripheral vision. A new type of architectural school. Why design matters. Endowment for rural communities.  132101

Who rules the earth. Steve Prince, managing principal of HMC Architects, explores the idea of who rules the earth, stemming from interest of Paul Steinberg’s book, “Who Rules the Earth? How Social Rules Shape Our Planet and Our Lives,” to be published by Oxford University Press in 2014. The book is part of The Social Rules Project, an environmental sustainability advocacy.

Prince, who connected with the project because of its environmental sustainability initiative, awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Social Rules Project, which seeks to create new and innovative ways to bridge academia and real world challenges, and to empower students to make a positive impact on the planet.

Via HMC Architects blog


On the periphery. Linnaea Tillett, an environmental psychologist, lighting designer and principal of Tillett Lighting, writes about how lighting can affect the way people feel in a room where they’ll be performing different kinds of tasks.

Tillett says this affect comes from the periphery of your vision—the “fringe of your focus”—and it determines how you feel in a particular space. People absorb much of the affect without being acutely aware that they are doing it through what we variously call the co-conscious, unconscious, or just the “noise around us”.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


A new type of architecture school. Robert Kwolek blogs on how he would like to create his own private school of architecture, offering a complete alternative to existing programs in which the worlds of architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and carpentry would be melded.

Kwolek says that despite having graduated from an architecture program, he still doesn’t feel significantly more capable of constructing his own building. He says that most contemporary architecture programs “are very insular, with little regard for preparing students for the real world.”

Via Sustainable Cities Collective


Why Design Matters. Tom Ito, a principal in Gensler’s Los Angeles office, blogs about how staying at the hotel Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra, India, made him reflect on the power of design.

“Everything about my journey into the hotel (and approaching nirvana) was designed. It was “guest experience” planned and supported by the landscape, the architecture and the interiors for the purpose of giving me a lasting memory of this hotel and—bigger picture—the brand. It worked.” – Tom Ito

Via GenslerOn Lifestyle blog


Endowment for rural communities. The new Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Project for Public Spaces, and other organizations, is looking for proposals from rural communities who need design help. Winners will receive a $7,000 grant and technical assistance valued at $35,000.

CIRD helps rural communities with fewer than 50,000 people. Through facilitated design workshops, CIRD aims to “enhance the quality of life and economic vitality” of these places.

Via The Dirt


Make Your Vote Count: Be2Awards

I first learned about the Be2Awards awards last year while researching our book, so of course we are really excited to have “Social Media in Action” shortlisted for the 2012 Be2 Media Award. I’ll say it up front … the awards are crowdsourced, so please vote for our book! Plus, if you journey to their website and start clicking you’ll discover some fantastic examples of built environment (that’s the B.e.) professionals, companies and organizations who are using new media in innovative ways.

The quality of competition here is no joke.  Mark Johnson’s social media PR campaign (which we recognized as one of our blog post favorites) and his competitor, #droptheban, make for a tough choice in the Best PR/Social Media Campaign category, as does ArchitectMap and Green Vision in the Best Community Category. The categories for the best social media and sustainability blog are ripe with great examples – and blogs to start reading religiously. I was thrilled to see Cesar Abeid’s Construction Industry Podcast, a series that I recently discovered and really enjoy.  The list gets me thinking of other sites, campaigns and communities to nominate next year.

“Social Media in Action” is in the Best Old Media/New Media category and I am honored to be among these prestigious candidates which include the UK’s construction search engine, a UK construction publication that makes all its content free online, the UK’s construction trade association live database of contract awards and The Guardian’s own built environment “hub” for sustainable development.

The Be2Awards are in their third year and aligned with the London strand of the global Social Media Week event series that takes place in a handful of cities worldwide. Be2 is also hosting Be2Talk, a speaker series on the built environment and social media as a part of the London Social Media Week. I sincerely hope these talks will be posted after the event. I’m interested to see Carlton Reid’s ''Cycling, the built environment and social media'' presentation. This is hardly their first event – Be2 has hosted a slew of conferences, Twitter chats and more since the organization was established in 2008 by built-environment professionals Martin Brown  and Paul Wilkinson, Jodie Miners  and Pam Broviak.   I just joined the Be2Camp community to stay better connected to all their happenings and hope you will consider joining too.

Success by Design Shares Compelling Stories of California Architects

Success by Design: Revealing Profiles of California Architects, written and photographed by Jenn Kennedy, provides a detailed overview of the careers of 25 successful architects in California. Kennedy profiles a diverse group of architects from variety of firms based throughout California who have worked on projects ranging from residential, commercial buildings, educational institutions and public arenas. She does a compelling job of telling the stories of architects through interviews, portraits and photographs and includes renderings from each firm, discussing their beginning work until current work.

The book is accessible and illuminating. Kennedy has a unique approach in telling each innovator’s story in an authentic and sincere manner. Each innovator shares their personal history, how they got started, their challenges, lessons learned and other aspects of their journey that make this book a must-read for anyone who aspires to pursue this profession.

Success by Design is a helpful resource for architects and designers new to the industry or for anyone looking to work for or with these firms, but it would also be useful for architects who are seeking to start their own firm and need perspective on how to build a practice.

Notable architects profiled include Steven Ehrlich, principal and founder of Ehrlich Architecture, Art Gensler, cofounder of Gensler, Ray Kappe, educator and founder of SCI-Arc, Stephen Kanner, modernist and founder of the A+D Museum (Kanner passed away in 2010), and Lauren Rottet, an internationally recognized interior architect.

Architects profiled in the book:

Barry Berkus of Berkus Design Studio Boris Dramov, FAIA, President of ROMA Design Group Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, Design Principal of Ehrlich Architects Richard Emsiek, AIA, President and COO of McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners Elisa Garcia, President of Garcia Architects Art Gensler, FAIA, Chairman of Gensler Craig Hodgetts, FAIA, Creative Director and Hsinming Fung, AIA, Director of Design at Hodgetts and Fung Design and Architecture Michael Johnson, AIA, Design Principal of Carrier Johnson + Culture Stephen Kanner, FAIA, President of Kanner Architects Ray Kappe, FAIA, President of Kappe+Du Architects Hank Koning, FAIA, Founding Principal and Julie Eizenberg, AIA, Founding Principal of Koning Eizenberg Dan Meis, FAIA, Senior Principal of Populous David Mourning, President and CEO of IA Interior Architects

Barton Myers, FAIA, President of Barton Myers Associates Ed Niles, FAIA, President of Edward R. Niles Architect Juan Diego Perez-Vargas, Principal of KMD Architects Simon Perkowitz, AIA, CEO and President and Steve Ruth, AIA, Executive Vice President of Perkowitz+Ruth Architects Randy Peterson, FAIA, President and CEO of HMC Architects Michael Patrick Porter, AIA, President of Michael Patrick Porter Architect Beverly Prior, FAIA, Principal of Beverly Prior Architects (now HMC Architects) Lauren Rottet, FAIA, Founding Principal and Richard Riveire, AIA, Principal of Rottet Studio Don Sandy, FAIA, President of SB Architects Rob Steinberg, FAIA, President of Steinberg Architects Erik Sueberkrop, FAIA, Chairman of STUDIOS Architecture Allison Williams, FAIA, Principal of Perkins + Will

For more information on Kennedy and the book, check out www.architectsuccess.com where Waltercomms blog readers receive a 20% discount by using the code Blog20.