Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of Oct. 7, 2013

HOK experiences co-working space. Why Lake|Flato rides. Designing streets for people by Arup. Gensler on sense and sensability. Ford's fantastic content marketing?  


Co-working space. Mike McKeown, a senior workplace strategist with HOK Strategic Accounts + Consulting group, talks about his first day in a co-working space and studio at WELD in Dallas.

“Seating in the open work area is first come, first served, so after my tour I grabbed an open seat and settled in. Wi-Fi access was seamless. I wasn’t sure how much work space I would have so I consciously planned to travel light. The main shared work area consists of four tables that seat four people each.” – Mike McKeown

Via HOK Life


Why we ride. Corey Squire of Lake Flato discusses how the firm supports cycling as 25% of its employees regularly bike to work and those who do receive a $30 per month.

“Cycling is probably the greatest force for good in America today. Bicycle commuting can improve heath, lessen congestion, provide cleaner air, and promote safer and friendlier communities. Studies have shown that children who bike to school score better on tests and have an easier time focusing.” – Corey Squire

Via The Dogrun


Design streets for people. Ryan Falconer, a transportation planner based in Arup's Perth, Australia, office explores how cities need to encourage people to meet, socialize and engage in business so streets must be designed to embrace these.

In Perth and Melbourne, city leaders are collaborating with urban designers to develop blueprints for redesigning urban spaces and city streets for people. The Cheonggyechen project in Seoul, South Korea, has seen an elevated freeway replaced with a retreated waterway and active transport and leisure corridor.

Via Arup Thoughts


Sense and sensibility. Maeve Larkin, a member of Gensler London’s Retail and Hospitality team, explores how good interior design evokes the senses to forward a brand message in the second part of a two-part series.

Larkin examines scent, sound and taste:

  • Scent is an extremely important sense because it is wired to the emotion-processing part of the brain.
  • Sound is probably the third most considered sense after sight and touch. The fact that music has the ability to affect the mood of customers is something designers tend to use to their advantage.
  • Taste is a sense which is not applicable to most retail environments. When you think of a high-end fashion boutique or a sports store, the last thing you’d expect to find is an incorporated café.

Via Gensler on Lifestyle


Innovative Social Media

Brand ambassador tool. [Is this where content marketing is heading?] Ford Motor has created a portal called ConnectFord where Ford can share articles, videos, events, and other information that a company might normally share through PR.  ConnectFord gives bloggers a chance to get information coming directly from Ford, and not just press releases. ConnectFord is a "brand ambassador" program tool, an influencer management tool, and a content marketing tool and also allows people to share blogs, articles, or other content with Ford.

Via Social Media Today


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 4 Architecture, Design Blog Posts for Week of May 13, 2013

HOK and University of Buffalo work virtually. Arup benefits from collaboration. Johnston Architects on shelter. CityLAB studies innovation-inducing issues in cities. What NOT to do in social media.


Working smarter virtually. HOK designers in New York, St. Louis and Atlanta are using virtual meetings with their University at Buffalo (UB) client team to improve the design process for the university’s new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences  on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The virtual meetings started following Hurricane Sandy when the principal-in-charge was stranded at home in Norwalk, Connecticut. There has been considerable savings in cost and travel time, and the virtual meetings have also enabled design team members to develop better design solutions because they can get the information and client input they need, when they need it.

Via HOK Life


Benefits of collaboration.  Andrew Pettifer, a principal and building services engineer at Arup, writes about how sports are competitive, and while business is competitive too, collaboration is what makes a project successful.

Collaborative processes require firms to adopt a more emotionally intelligent approach involving generosity, support, mutual respect, even being prepared to expose weaknesses and vulnerabilities in pursuit of a better experience and result for all.

Via Arup Blog


Providing shelter.  Johnston Architects examines the idea of shelter, and how human habitat has evolved over the centuries as once caves, stockades and mud and grass enclosures would provide a protected space.

“From found shelter to assemble, manipulated materials, our habitats evolved.  Today, they are complex and incorporate a variety of materials far more sophisticated than stone. But, our shelters are basically the same thing that they were centuries ago, responding to the same needs.”

Via Johnston Architects


Urban strategies. cityLAB , which was created through UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and explores issues that provide innovative, cost-effective strategies for cities, will be initiating a three-year study that will investigate the meaning of the Urban Turn as it applies to the Pacific Rim.

One of the projects, Backyard Homes, addresses housing costs and availability without imposing a large footprint. These goals are achieved by using smarter components in structures with a light footprint and will not change the visual landscape of single-family neighborhoods.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Social Media Campaign

Social media meltdown. Amy’s Baking Company was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Fox reality show Kitchen Nightmares in which Ramsay offers guidance to help struggling restaurants, but in this situation the owners of Amy’s Baking Company proved to be too difficult for him so he walked out. The response social media networks appears to be one of the fastest and most intense brand meltdowns social media has ever seen. The PR melt-down of Amy's Baking Company  ]started on Yelp, spread to Facebook and Twitter  as the owners responded vehemently to critical customers and Internet naysayers.

Via ZDNet

Via BuzzFeed