Weekly Design and Urban Blog Post Roundup for Week of April 29, 2013

HOK on utilizing space smartly. Cities, water, and drinking fountains. Shanley in The Dirt on protecting our coasts. Earth day, the P+W way. Social media campaign worth noting: Bare Essentials. 130506


Smart space utilization. As clients seek to use their office space effectively, Mike McKeown, a senior workplace strategist with HOK Strategic Accounts + Consulting group, looks at ways to improve the workplace experience.

McKeown makes several recommendations in approaching workplace studies such as examining goals and key performance indicators, and keeping time, technology and privacy factors in mind. “Establishing goals and KPI’s early on will help determine how long to conduct a study as well as how high-tech or low-tech you want to make your approach. In some cases the client may have data to provide you as a reference point, such as badge swipe statistics for days and times employees are coming and going.” – Mike McKeown

Via HOK Life


Urban water. Josselyn Ivanov, a landscape and urban designer in San Francisco, discusses the benefits of public water and her love of drinking fountains.

“Sources of water are inherently magical. Especially in a city, sealed in concrete, water connects us with nature, engages our senses, and physically connects us with place. Free water sources in public spaces, historically provided by philanthropists or cities themselves, were one of the major progressive steps forward for civilization.” - Josselyn Ivanov

Via Landscape Urbanism


Protecting our coasts. Kevin Shanley, CEO of SWA Group, talks about protecting our coasts in the wake of increasingly damaging storms and sea-level rise brought on by climate change.

Shanley talks about real-world lessons from Hurricane Sandy, soft green infrastructure in New York City, the impact of sea level rising and wetland parks in China.

Via The Dirt

Honoring Earth Day.  Perkins+Will celebrated Earth Day by having its offices honor the planet in different ways throughout the week.

Perkins+Will, which is committed to sustainability, is carbon neutral and actively seeks to reduce carbon emissions through green operations and has

212 LEED certified projects. Earth Day activities included planting an herb garden in the Washington, D.C., office café,  showing a slideshow that outlined several ways to minimize negative environmental impact on the climate in the Boston office, and participating in the 2013 Earth Day Rideshare in Chicago.

Via Ideas + Buildings


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Bare Escentuals' bareMinerals, kicked off its nationwide #GoBare tour on Twitter by revealing their secret indulgences for a chance to see them brought to life. The #GoBare Twitter initiative comes as the brand embarks upon its Go Bare tour, a six-month six-city tour of the U.S. that includes a "pop-up boutique-meets-lounge and a traveling team of complexion experts devoted to helping women discover their best skin ever." A camera crew will be stopping in cities across the country to surprise select Twitter users that share their secret indulgences

Via Clickz

Bare Escentuals


Top Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of April 8, 2013

Gensler on types of urban interface. Manaugh looks at Arctic instruments. Preservation Nation features church like no other. Earth day with Ayers Saint Gross and Living Classrooms. The Dirt shows the power of flowers.



Urban interface. Sarah Mathieson, an architectural assistant from the Gensler London office, discusses how the London office explored how education campuses interact with their immediate surroundings, or what they call the Urban Interface, as part of the Education Practice Area Next Gen Initiative.

The group identified a series of Urban Interface typologies that define these current and future campus trends:

  •  Suburban/Rural: Has dedicated facilities separated from the surrounding environment, allowing for multiple interactions between educators and students; establishes a clear institutional identity but offers less real estate flexibility and less accessibility if the student is off campus.
  • Urban Cluster: Offers real estate flexibility, allowing for interaction with educators and accessibility both on and off campus. As students are more dispersed, however, interactions between them are fewer, and the sense of institutional identity isn’t as strong.
  • Urban: Has dedicated facilities allowing for interactions between educators and students and is accessible on and off campus, as it is based in the community. It offers less real estate flexibility.
  • Virtual: Possesses no real estate but is accessible from anywhere. As the institutional identity is digital, it is thus not part of the greater community.
  • Global: Real estate accessible in multiple locations exports the institutional identity and allows for interactions between educators and students. This reach could be seen as diluting the offer (exclusivity).

Via Gensleron Cities


Arctic instruments. Geoff Manaugh writes about at a trip students from the University of Lund School of Architecture took to the Arctic island of Svalbard last autumn led by David Garcia.

Students flew up to visit "the far north, beyond the Polar Circle, to Svalbard, to study the growing communities affected by the melting ice cap and the large opportunities for transportation and resources that the northeast passage now offers," researching first-hand the "urban structures in the extreme cold" with Arctic instruments.

Via BLDG Blog


Historic church gets mural makeover. Graffiti artist Alex Brewer, also known as HENSE, took to Washington, D.C.’s city streets last year to transform an abandoned, historic church into a work of art.

In several weeks, HENSE dove into his imagination and conjured up the beautiful, vibrant mural that now envelopes the church.

“Most of the tools I use in my murals and paintings are the same tools I learned to use by working in the street in the early years. I use rollers, brushes, spray paint, inks, acrylics, mops, enamels, paint sprayers and other various mediums and tools… Recently I've been experimenting in treating my exterior works similarly to my paintings.”

Via Preservation Nation Blog


Living classrooms. In honor of Earth Day, 14 volunteers from Ayers Saint Gross had the unique opportunity to help build 23 floating wetlands that will be planted and launched into the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 20..

Spearheaded by Living Classrooms and Biohabitats, the project will support the city of Baltimore’s effort to make The Harbor swimmable, healthy and fishable by 2020.

Via Ayers Saint Gross Blog


Flower power. Tyler Silvestro, a master’s of landscape architecture candidate at the City College of New York (CUNY), examines the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), one of the Earth’s greenest buildings and the latest addition to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Richard Piacentini, executive director of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, says the primary drive behind the Center for Sustainable Landscapes is to function “as elegantly and efficiently as a flower.” While the merits of this approach can be questioned, the pure essentials of this poetic gesture are there.

Via The Dirt