Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of September 12, 2013

Iinnovative business school design with BNIM. BUILD on going paperless in Seattle. HDR brand speak. Rapid prototyping with P+W and highschoolers. Jet Blue, Adweek's social media leader. 130916

Innovative design at business school. BNIM discusses the two-year design and construction of the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and how it is set apart from other business schools because of the unique program spaces found more often in design schools.

The BNIM team was inspired by the fact that this would be the top innovation school in the world, focusing on creating new business enterprise, new products and ideas — versus emulating a case method of study that has been used in business schools in the past.

Via BNIM Blog


Going paper-free. BUILD writes about how much paper is wasted in the architecture world with sketchbooks and rolls of drawings, but how the firm experienced its first glimmer of the tide turning with the Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development in submitting permits.

“We just completed our first permit with your online permit system and we’re incredibly impressed! The online submittal process is everything the system should be: it’s easy to use, and it’s an excellent example for other cities to follow.” – BUILD

Via BUILD Blog


Brands speak for themselves. James “Jim” Henry, design principal at HDR Architects, discusses the importance of brand imaging and messaging, and how it defines your firm and is a deciding factor when people/companies consider investing in you.

Henry uses Apple as an example of good branding, and how “this company doesn’t just walk the talk of its vision, it sprints—ensuring that everything it does and says is authentic and in line with its core beliefs. Everyone in the company—from senior leadership to individuals selling product—understands its direction and beliefs, and have claimed them as their own.” – James “Jim” Henry

Via Blink Perspectives


Rapid prototype generation. Scott Dansereau of Perkins + Will shares how students participating in the Dig-8 program at Chicago’s Nettlehorst School, which gives grade-school students a crash course in entrepreneurship and product design, got a hands-on demonstration of the firm’s digital fabrication process, using programs such as Revit, AutoCAD 3D and SketchUp.

The student’s level of engagement and understanding of 3D modeling concepts was impressive as these ten and eleven-year-olds grasped ideas that are typically introduced in high school and college.  It is clear that through exposure to programs like Dig-8, students will enter high education with a breadth of knowledge and experience that will force educators to develop even more advanced curricula.

Via Ideas + Perspectives


Innovative Social Media

Adweek looks at JetBlue’s early rise to a leader in social media, starting with the “Valentine’s Day Crisis” in 2007 that was remedied through a YouTube video, and how the airline carrier continues to leverage the medium as a serious brand-building tool.

Via Adweek




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



Top Four Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of June 10, 2013

Biomimicry in Chicago. Nights on Kettner with BNIM. Rethinking Infrastructure. Gensler on collaboration and BIM. Last chance to attend the first biomimicry global conference. 130617

Reconnecting with nature. Amy Coffman Phillips, cofounder of Biomimicry Chicago, discusses the “Prairie Project” which was created to reconnect Chicagoans with their sense of place and to reconnect with the natural world.

“Through (Re)Connecting with nature and observing our ecological context, we can begin to (Re)Learn the wisdom of our evolutionary elders, those human and non-human species that through trial and error have thrived through adversity and become well-adapted to this place. “ – Amy Coffman Phillips

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Nights on Kettner. BNIM embraces the arts by supporting and celebrating fine and performing arts in each of the cities where the firm has offices, engaging with local artists to become a part of the fabric of creativity and expression.

In San Diego, BNIM found a location in Little Italy, near Kettner Boulevard, which has allowed the firm to also participate in the monthly Kettner Nights art events where visitors can experience a neighborhood of art and design.


Via BNIM Blog


Rethinking infrastructure. The recently published Landscape Urbanism Journal,  Scenario 4: Rethinking Infrastructure, examines the pressing questions of how infrastructure of the next century will be imagined and built.

The journal brings together a group of pieces that take on the design of infrastructure from a number of scales and disciplinary perspectives and highlights how practitioners and theorists are expanding the definition of infrastructure, analyzing its component parts, and proposing new kinds of infrastructure projects.

Via Landscape Urbanism


Collaboration and BIM. Jared Krieger, an architect and leader of Gensler’s design and delivery team, provides five tips on for running a successful Building Information Modeling (BIM) meeting.

  1. Practice and prepare.
  2. Have one person as a designated “driver
  3. Use your team’s time wisely.
  4. Use meeting notes to stay focused.
  5. Talk about this process early on in a project.

Via Gensleron Lifestyle


Biomimicry Education Summit and Global Conference

7th Annual Biomimicry Education Summit and 1st Global Conference

There is still time to join the global conversation on how biomimicry will shape innovation and education in the years to come at the Biomimicry Education Summit and Global Conference in Boston on June 21-23. Janine Benyus, scientist, author, and Institute co-founder, will be the keynote speaker.

Via Biomimicry 3.8 Institute




Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of May 6, 2013

An HDR engineer on the AEC's Gender Gap. Gensler's campaign to reimagine cities.  A focus on specific tools by Olin. BNIM on generous pragmatism. 130513



Gender gap in the AEC industry. Claire Shigekawa, an engineer at HDR Architecture, explores women in the engineering workforce, citing a Congressional Joint Economic Committee report that announced that women make up 14% of the engineering workforce.

Shigekawa cites the advantages to being female in a male dominated field, especially in hiring and professional programs, and some tips to help you have a successful career as a female.

Via Blink Perspectives


Reimagining cities. Mischa Ickstadt of Gensler discusses how the firm is launching the Reimagining Cities campaign as nearly 70 percent of the world’s population—some 6.29 billion people—will live in cities by 2050. This increases pressure to create urban centers that facilitate healthy human social interaction.

“Cities are growing into megalopolises, generating an entirely new set of challenges. Even in the established urban centers across Europe and North America, shifting economies are beginning to grow and merge into significantly larger hubs of social and business activity.” – Mischa Ickstadt

Via Gensleron Cities

Focus on specific tools. The OLIN Studio blog explores the benefit of focusing on select tools, mediums and methods-- if you spread your effort among too many interests it will be nearly impossible to find the time and attention to get traction in anything.

Landscape architects must know a multitude of things such as construction codes, human behavior, soils, plant species, sustainability, history, the arts. The tools are getting more complex and varied, and designers have very nearly reached a point where they must decide what tools they will spend their time on, and what their signature way of communicating will be.

Via The OLIN Studio Blog


Generous pragmatism. Steve McDowell of BNIM looks at how the real estate market is changing, and how meaningful innovation is key to how buildings and the building industry will transform to elevate human potential and greatly reduce environmental impact.

What a building does matters as much as how it looks. “Over the last decade, our design approach has moved from what had been mainly an intuitive process to one that is now described as intuitive — scientific — experiential.” – Steve McDowell

Via BNIM Blog


Innovative Social Media

More shoppers in Target stores. Target is rolling out Cartwheel, a service that combines social networking and discounts, to lure shoppers into its stores. The program relies on shoppers to use their Facebook accounts, but shoppers can only redeem the offers they choose in Target's stores, not online. With Cartwheel, shoppers select the deals they want online and then bring a barcode - either on paper or on a mobile phone - to a Target store to get the discounts. Shoppers can see what offers their Facebook friends have chosen, and earn more offers by having their Facebook friends sign up.

Via Huffington Post



Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of April 1, 2013

BNIM's collaboration stage. Lake|Flato on the Evolution of air barns. Stantec sees common ground in ski areas and airports. Placemakers on mixed use. Innovations in education with LPA.



Setting the stage for collaboration. BNIM staff attended the firm’s annual Symposium, opting for “family” conversation that encouraged informal dialogue instead of traditional breakout sessions.

The Symposium discussions focused on five issues, with individual participants tapped to write editorials on the issues for the blog. Joe Keal starts off with the topic of collaboration:

“As design professionals, collaboration is inevitable. In many instances, we have colleagues that we have successfully coexisted with over a span of many years – working to establish trust, respect and a great deal of mind-reading. In other instances, we are looking for peers and mentors that inspire us, or do amazing work, or utilize processes that blow our minds. If we are not doing this… well, we should be.” Joe Keal

Via BNIM Blog


Evolution of air barns. Grace Boudewyns of Lake Flato discusses working on “Air Barns,”  a project that was designed to provide a habitat for a client’s string of polo ponies.

“The project started as a simple napkin sketch then evolved into a hands-on collaboration with the Contractor (Jeff Truax) and his welders during construction.  The Construction Documents were drawn by hand, on vellum, on an old drafting table that used to reside at my house.  That table now lives on as a relic of this lost art at my workspace today.” – Grace Boudewyns

Via The Dogrun


Ski areas and airports share common ground. Bruce Erickson, a senior associate at Stantec, explores how ski areas and airports have a lot in common and how planners of each property can learn from one other.

Ski areas and airports share three main “areas” from a planning perspective:

  1. Land side: Parking, shuttle, utilities etc.
  2. Air side: Runways, taxi strips, ski runs, lifts, and/or specialized maintenance equipment
  3. Inside: Base lodges and terminals

Via Stantec Blog


What is mixed use? Howard Blackson,  principal  and director of planning at Placemakers, looks at the term mixed use, which has held different meanings in various places over the past 40 years.

Blackson says mixed-use can be defined as three-dimensional, pedestrian-oriented places that layer compatible land uses, public amenities, and utilities together at various scales and intensities. This allows for people to live, work, play and shop in one place, which then becomes a destination for people from other neighborhoods.

Via PlaceMakers Blog


Innovative urban education. Kate Mraw, an associate and interior designer at LPA, continues to discuss San Diego’s e3 Civic High, a revolutionary school-within-a-library that aims to redefine the meaning of the studio. The second part of this series examines design goals and features, and as well as the administration’s emphasis on sustainable architecture and engineering.

“The design principles for the learning environment centralized around three ideas: personalization, social connections and flexibility. For learning to happen everywhere, we understood that movement mattered—regardless of the primary function, secondary uses were explored, developed and designed.” – Kate Mraw

Via LPA Blog