Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of Sept. 23, 2013

Book reviews of the newest new media book (for designers+ builders) and A Country of Cities.Chis Choa, the documentary critic. Lake|Flato's lick list. 130930

Brave new media. James Moore, International Director of Planning at HDR Architecture, discusses Steve Mouzon’s new ebook  New Media for Designers and Builders, which looks to show how social media tools can help us not only survive, but thrive in a brave new world of design and development.

“Steve is an articulate, enthusiastic, passionate man with a graceful, easy-to-read writing style. An accomplished architect, photographer and author, he makes much of his work available online (  His technological expertise comes through extensive trial and error with almost every form of social media.” – James Moore

Via Blink Perspective

Book site:


Lick list. Josh Nieves of Lake Flato talks about how some architecture is so compelling, he wants to lick it to have a more complete experience of it.

Nieves ventures to Dallas and Fort Worth to see three museums to add to his “lick list:” Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Perot Museum.

Via The Dogrun


Cities and people. Chris Choa, a principal in AECOM’s Master planning + Urban Design practice, examines the film “The Human Scale,” a documentary that looks at how cities are better off when they put more thought into how pedestrians move throughout them.

“The Human Scale remains relatively quiet about the profound transformations due to the increasing globalization of cities. The film also focuses heavily on the physical sensations of the city but is silent about the advent of new virtual worlds enabled by social networking; this is unexplored territory that could provide other opportunities for the creation of more resilient, human-focused environments.” – Chris Choa

Via Connected Cities Blog


Urban America. Jose Luis Gabriel Cruz examines the book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America by Vishaan Chakrabarti that was presented at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The book looks at how architects, developers, and planners must lead a movement for a more urban America, a condition Chakrabarti equates to a better environment and economy leading to increased social-equity.

Chakrabarti makes a case for the benefits of investing efforts in a development strategy that is based on dense cities. By identifying issues in modern infrastructures, current city planning policies, and paradigms within the design and construction fields, a new urban landscape is on its way.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Innovative Social Media

Milestone celebration. In October, National Geographic Magazine celebrates 125 years with a photo blog and photo-based social engagement platform as it seeks new ways to document the world and interact with readers. The photo blog, Proof, was launched "to engage ongoing conversations about photography, art, and journalism" and promises "new avenues for our audience to get a behind-the-scenes look at the National Geographic storytelling process. "National Geographic says it will invite photo enthusiasts to submit images and participate in an inaugural digital assignment for the magazine as part of its newly designed photosharing-based community engagement platform, Your Shot.

Via Clickz

Proof Blog:

Your Shot:



Top Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of August 26, 2013

Arup on technology fueling engagement. A corner transformation by P+W. Olin on the power of diversity. Bangalore, AECOM, and clean energy. Facebook for law enforcement. 091309

Technology improves engagement. Marissa Powell, a social and engagement specialist in Arup’s Brisbane office, discusses how can we better engage with communities about projects that affect them through technology.

Powell says to engage people, we have to understand how to make it easy for them to participate in the discussion – especially when they are usually time poor, they want to give and get information quickly and they now carry their digital life with them wherever they go. Powell says that it’s time consuming, and often difficult, to translate rafts of qualitative data gained through engagement processes into something meaningful that can be used to inform planning decisions.

Via Arup Thoughts


Transforming a San Francisco corner. Perkins+Will joined The Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco and Youth Spirit Artworks for a community art day to spread the word about the Jones Neighborhood Nexus, a long-term vision for the triangular intersection of Jones, McAllister and Market, which has been called one of the worst street corners in San Francisco intersection.

With more than 30 kids participating, the Jones Neighborhood Nexus was reinvented as a painted mural, which highlighted the Tenderloin neighborhood as a quilt. Each child brought their cultural background to this unique urban place and the composition of all those parts is what gives the neighborhood its identity.

Via Ideas + Buildings


Power of diversity. OLIN Studio Blog explores the lack of the diversity in the landscape architecture profession and how The American Society of Landscape Architects has begun tackling the issue of diversity by organizing the 2013 Diversity Summit.

As a community of creative professionals, we are not able to reach the fullest potential of our practice. A designer’s approach to the transformation of a place is informed by in-depth research, site analysis, and a rigorous design process, but the lenses through which a designer envisions the potential of this transformation are colored by their personal knowledge base, prior experiences, worldly travels, and cultural background.

Via OLIN Studio Blog



New energy in Bangalore. Johannes Wilson, an engineering geologist in AECOM’s Christchurch, New Zealand office, shares his experience helping the nonprofit Pollinate Energy deliver clean energy solutions to India’s poor as part of its Young Professionals Program in Bangalore.

“When looking a bit closer at the demographics of Bangalore, statistics support what is very obvious in the streets.  The population of the city has grown by almost 50 percent in the past decade, standing at almost 10 million. With such rapid growth and little urban planning, the outcome is pretty chaotic, but amid this chaos lies the charm of Bangalore, and the influence of traditional India is still strong.” – Johannes Wilson

Via Connected Cities


A Facebook for cops. A new social media site exclusively for law enforcement,, which was created "for cops by cops" recently launched. Before law enforcement officers can complete registration, 20for25 ("10-20" is standard police code for a location report, and "10-25" is a request to meet in person) verifies their credentials with their employing agency. In October, former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton will launch BlueLine, "the secure professional network built exclusively for law enforcement." BlueLine will provide mechanisms for the thousands of U.S. law enforcement agencies to collaborate in real time, as well as a private marketplace to buy and sell equipment.




Top 5 Blog Posts for Week of July 22, 2013

BNIM on a Kansas City Streetcar. Lake|Flato and the Boy Scouts Jamboree. AECOM notes on the Venice Biennale. HOK, biomimicry, and the Mint Museum. Data vs. delight by NBBJ.


Streetcar in Kansas City. Kansas City has not seen a streetcar since 1957, but BNIM’s proposed “streetcar starter line,” would be a reintroduction of it.

BNIM’s work on the streetcar and light rail expansion will capture the initial momentum set forth by the streetcar for an entire new generation of users. While the region has considered light rail for decades, this project builds upon the foundation of recent success downtown.

Via BNIM Blog


New home for Boy Scouts. Matt Morris of Lake Flato discusses his visit to the new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

The main purpose of the trip was to check out the Scott Visitor Center, which is currently under construction. The center will have a new dance porch that will host exhibits about the site, scouting and West Virginia. Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts have taken it over as a “patch trading” hub, a huge pastime in scouting where scouts set up under trees and along trails.

Via The Dogrun


Notes from the Venice Biennale. Daniel Elsea of AECOM writes about attending the vernissage of this year’s Venice Biennale held in June, an opening week of events, openings and parties that bring together the good and the great of the art world.

“For those of us who work in city-making, seeing one of the world’s most iconic cityscapes transformed into a contemporary art gallery – en masse – is a brilliant phenomenon. As it has for many decades, art today twists and turns notions of beauty; if often shocks; it overturns assumptions and it comes in dynamic forms – encompassing not just painting and sculpture, but architecture, video, sound, spoken word and performance, and three-dimensional media. It comments on the human condition today, reflecting anxieties and distorting realities. It requires an open mind.” – Daniel Elsea

Via AECOM’s Connected Cities blog


Museum inspired by biomimicry. Paul Wolford, design director in HOK’s San Francisco office, talks about how biomimicry inspired the vision for the San Francisco Museum at the Mint adaptive reuse project, which will be one of the country’s most environmentally innovative museums.

“When the city was founded in the 19th century, the San Francisco Bay’s edge and marshland area were just a few hundred feet from where the historic Old Mint building sits today. We suggested a design idea that incorporates lessons from the local biome while creating new ways to collect and store water.” – Paul Wolford

Via HOK Life


Future of workplace. NBBJ held its first salon event, Data vs. Delight, in partnership with Bloomberg Beta, to explore the changing dynamics of workplace design with the advent of big data.

Topics discussed included: What role does big data play in workplace design now that there is more of it and it’s easier to process than ever before? What degree do designers, who have typically relied on intuition to create space,a implement the technology into their practice? Is a physical office needed with more new technologies?

Via NBBJ Blog



Weekly Roundup for Week of June 25

ImageTop earning architecture firms. Architectural Record has released its 2012 “Top 250 Architecture Firms” list, which ranks U.S. companies based on architectural review from the previous year.

Gensler  – a global architecture company working on more than 3,000 projects every year – ranked No. 1, reaching $764 million in revenue. Gensler replaces AECOM, who had a record at $445 million last year. Gensler’s impressive 632-meter Shanghai tower is one of the projects that proves the firm is capable of an extensive creative and architectural outlook.

List of top 10 architecture firms

1. Gensler  

2. AECOM Technology Corp.

3. Perkins+Will 


5. HDR Architecture Inc.

6. Jacobs

7. HOK 

8. URS Corp.

9. HKS Inc.

10. Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP

Via Freshome

Botanical Capital of the World. Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre are modeling their $545 million, 54-hectare Gardens by the Bay project after Singapore’s national flower the orchid.

With this massive project, which was built on reclaimed, restored land, Singapore aims to become the “botanical capital of the world.” Many elements, including 225,000 plants and new themed gardens that "showcase the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry" are part of the project.

Via The Dirt

London’s Cable Car Opens. An air tram cable car system that opened this week in London provides commuters and visitors a new mode of travel across the Thames.

Sponsored by Emirates Airlines, the UK's first urban cable car system has the capacity to transport 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction, which is equivalent to 50 buses in the same time frame. The Emirates Air Line project was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and provides spectacular views of the London skyline at 90 meters in the air as it efficiently connects visitors traveling from the city's Olympic venues to existing public transit lines.

Via Inhabitat

Golden Lion Winner. Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

“Secured by his isolated location, he exudes worldly wisdom. Experimenting with forms of extreme geometry he manages to produce buildings of great rigor. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he seems to speak to all of us. While his work exudes the security of judgment, it is clearly intensified through cautious reflection. While we are dazzled by the lightness of his buildings, we feel the seriousness of their substance.” -- Biennale Board Director Paolo Baratta and Director David Chipperfield

Via Architects Newspaper Blog



Mega-firms and Giants: The new landscape of large-firm practice

John Parman is one of those people who can turn casual conversation over a cup of coffee into a polished analysis of a current trend in our industry. We were chattting about our experiences within two of the largest and fastest growing firms in architecture and engineering and before I knew it I had agreed to collaborate with him and his former boss, Ed Fredriechs on an essay about our assessment of the firms behind the consolidating A/E industry for the ZweigLetter. Mega-firms and giants: The new landscape of large firm practice