Top 4 Architecture and Design Blog Posts for Week of Sept. 30, 2013

Local swapping. Collaboration at Sasaki. Perkins + Will dismisses the fridge + microwave. BUILD's guide for celebrities aspiring to be architects. 131007

Swapping local. In Sarasota and other communities across the country, swappers leave their wallets at home and gather to share homemade goods that require an investment of special skills, time and energy to produce.

The food swap movement combines old-fashioned resourcefulness with a community-oriented philosophy and modern-day sensibilities to elevate the practice of "shopping local'' to an entirely new level: Swapping local.

Via CEOs for Cities


Collaboration in action. Sasaki Associates shares a fun video on what it looks like for their team to collaborate on a project.

Sasaki’s work on in Alachua County in north central Florida is a prime example of how the team collaborates: The team invited the entire firm to contribute, generating layers of innovative planning and design solutions for client Envision Alachua with all disciplines —planning, urban design, landscape, architecture, ecology, economics, and politics.

Via Sasaki Blog


Farewell microwave and fridge. David Damon, who leads Perkins+Will’s Residential Life practice, discusses Bridgewater State University’s newest residence hall, George A. Weygand Hall, which incorporates many sustainable strategies, one of which may come as a surprise to new students: the classic micro fridge and the personal microwave are no longer found in students’ rooms. 

Over the past two years, Perkins+Will has been working with the University to create a dynamic environment where students can have a new kind of interaction on campus that pushes the boundaries of sustainability. Shared refrigerators and microwaves are located in public areas on each floor of the building. It’s one thing to design an energy-saving, green-loving, tempered-by-the-earth building – it’s another thing to operate it to its fullest potential.

Via Ideas + Perspectives


Glamorous architects. As Kayne West joins Brad Pitt in the ranks of celebrity architects, BUILD shares their “Famous Person’s 5-Step Guide to Becoming an Architect.

  1. Your new wardrobe budget is $175.
  2. Your personability is too personal.
  3. Dumb-down your life experiences.
  4. You’re still too young.
  5. Less bling, more books.

Via BUILD Blog


Social Media and Publishing

The basics on book covers. Suw Charman-Anderson of Forbes gives the skinny on book covers and social media. What traditional book authors have included web site and social media network links such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn on their book covers? Not as many as you would think.

Via Forbes



Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of Sept. 16, 2013

Olin Studio's hope for Philly schoolyards. Dance and arts face off with blight. HOK implores architects to embrace biomimicry. High Line catalyzes spread of public art. Social media spreads a hero's story.  130924

Transforming an urban schoolyard. Jennifer Martel, senior landscape architect for OLIN Studio, talks about her interest with the plight of urban schoolyards, and discusses a grant given to the Henry C. Lea School in West Philadelphia to install green stormwater infrastructure on its schoolyard.

This grant, one of two awarded to public schools in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Water Department, will help to pay for large rain gardens, curb bump-outs, and an infiltration basin under a new basketball court. The hope is that these moves will catalyze the transformation of nearly an acre of asphalt into a vibrant, fun, ecological and educational green space for students and the community.

Via OLIN Studio


Creative placemaking reframes cities. Sheena Lyonnais, managing editor of Yonge Street, examines how the arts are revitalizing neighborhoods and boosting economies across the country.

Denver dance company Wonderbound moved into an old used car dealership near central downtown, a blighted property that was surrounded by three homeless missions and a notorious park crawling with drug dealers. Wonderbound, who’s mission is to transform the building into a hub for artists to rehearse and perform, turned the building into Junction Box. Passersby stop to watch dancers perform through large open garage doors.

Via CEOs for Cities


Emulating earth’s creatures. Thomas Knittel, a senior principal – design in HOK’s Los Angeles studio, looks at how architects can bridge the gap between the built and natural environments through biomimicry, an emerging field of study urging emulation of naturally occurring principles and processes.

Designers and architects at HOK, have been collaborating with Biomimicry 3.8 biologists for several years. They work together to determine what ecologies of place can tell us about the way we design, build and interact so we can offset the impact of our buildings. “This new design approach could do more than change the way our cities look and feel. It can change the way we view ourselves in relation to the Earth. Rather than remaining part of the problem, architects have the power to lead this dramatic shift in perspective and move us closer to a new sustainable future.” – Thomas Knittel

Via HOK Life


Public art on the High Line. The High Line has been adding interesting art along its length and on the billboards facing the linear park. Public art seems to be spreading outwards into neighboring Chelsea, a long-time destination for pricey galleries.

One exhibition is a former gas station on 10th Avenue that has been turned into Sheep Station, a surrealist sculptural landscape. The sheep were created by French artist François-xavier Lalannen, who died in 2008. This piece is the largest collection of Lalanne’s iconic “moutons.”

Via The Dirt


Social Media

Hailed a hero. A Minnesota Dairy Queen manager has been swarmed with dozens of offers, hundreds of comments and an influx of business and hundreds of phone calls – including one from Warren Buffett, after a story about his courageous defense of a blind man went viral on Reddit. Joey Prusak saw a woman steal $20 from a blind customer at the Dairy Queen where he works. So he gave the man his own cash. An impressed customer wrote about the incident in an email, which was printed out and stuck up on the Dairy Queen's wall — and then it went viral.

Via CBS Minnesota