Top 4 Architecture and Design Blog Posts from Week of Oct. 14, 2013

Cannon on sketching relationships. Stantec's elements of community. Digital experiments in public space. An Array architecture journey. Sharing Ted Baker's dozen. 131021

Sketching to establish relationships. Matt McGrane, an architect at Cannon Design who runs the firm’s summer sketch sessions, discusses the importance of sketching in the design process.

“I love to draw the places around me, especially when I travel.  By sitting down for a half hour in a space and sketching, I am able to not only capture what a space looks like, but whenever I look back at my sketches, I remember how it felt to be there.” – Matt McGrane

Via Cannon Design Blog


Essential elements of community. Phil Carlson, a senior planner at Stantec, explores how community expressed in the built environment touches on three elements: environment, health, and economics, which all add up to quality of life.

  • Environment: An urban community saves energy compared to sprawling development. A community that offers destinations and services within walking and biking distance uses less energy than one where almost every trip must be made by car.
  • Health: A tight-knit community improves health. There are the simple physical aspects of being able to walk or bike to daily destinations versus sitting in a car.
  • Economics: The economics of many businesses depend on customer loyalty, and customers in an identifiable community will be fiercely loyal to local businesses.

Via Stantec Blog


Outdoors in the digital world. Landscape architect Lisa DuRussel explores how to keep public spaces relevant in the interface of landscapes and digital technology in the first of a series of blog posts.

With constant connection to people and information, digital culture integrated into public spaces has become second nature. Are we driven to distraction with our iPhones, iPads, and iPods? Or can the capabilities of these devices be used to create a more flexible, adaptive, and experiential use of public spaces?

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Architecture journey. Ryan Keszczyk, an architecture student at Tulane University who is interning at Array, discusses how his time at Array influenced him to work in the healthcare architecture industry as it changes and adapts with new technology.

Five years in architecture school is just the beginning of my journey to becoming an “Architect.” My time in college allowed me to get a solid foundation on the theories, technologies and continued advancement of the architecture profession.

Via Array Architects Blog


Innovative Social Media

Clothing retailer Ted Baker London is reaching out to aging hipsters through digital content. invites visitors to "Spread the Ted" with a "Baker's Dozen" of video shorts like How to Play It Cool, which has 1,600 views as of October 13, as well as Winks and fashion spreads.


Via Clickz



Top 5 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of Sept. 2, 2013

090213 The excitement of  field trips. Returning streets to the people. Building under bridges. Public squares in the urban world. A trail for volunteering. Examining thought leadership.A trip into the field.

Melanie Kahl of Cannon Design discusses how field trips contribute to design, learning and place.

“Strange as it may seem, we think field trips are more of a mindset and lifestyle than anything else. A mindset central to learning and design. When we go on field trips, we become students of the world––our awareness is heightened, our inspiration is fueled, and our understanding is deepened. Life is a series of really awesome field trips.” – Melanie Kahl

Via Cannon Design Blog

Returning streets to people. Gerdo Aquino, president of SWA Group, examines how cities are finding opportunities to reintroduce car-free zones that give the streets back to the people.

Aquino provides five tips for going car-free in urban areas, including making sure that pedestrians already frequent the space, that the street is not currently essential to the city’s street grid and the place is a unique destination.

Via Ideas SWA


Under bridges. Jared Green of ASLA’s the Dirt explores Mexico City’s creative use of space under its bridges.
After the success of its pilot program Bajo Puentes, or Under Bridges, which turned four trash-strewn, vacant underpass spaces into vibrant shopping plazas, playgrounds, and cafes, the city is expanding the program. It will add another five and target 30 more possible areas that can be turned into commercial or recreational space. as candidates.

Public squares are center of urban world. Landscape Architects Network (LAN) features 10 festival squares as part of its Top 100 Squares, showing the world the power of people and the power of public space.

  1. St. Marks Square, Venice, Italy
  2. Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia
  3. Century Square, Shanghai, China
  4. Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto, Canada
  5.  Zócalo Square, Mexico City, Mexico
  6. Jackson Square, New Orleans, USA
  7. Leidseplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  8. Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain
  9. Place Sainte-Catherine, Brussels, Belgium
  10. Bristo Square, Edinburgh, Scotland


A great trail for volunteering. Stantec landscape architect Dalton LaVoie assembled a volunteer team of local designers throughout Northern California to help create a road map for converting an iconic stretch of now defunct Northern California railroad into a landmark hiking trail.

When complete, the 80-mile scenic Great Shasta Rail Trail will link the Northern California towns of McCloud and Burney, as well as nearby recreation areas and local communities. “Volunteering can serve as a creative outlet and provide opportunities that may not otherwise present themselves through your everyday work. For design professionals, exercising creativity and imagination is one of our passions. When this passion is coupled with opportunities to learn, explore, collaborate and assist communities in need, we’re usually interested.” – Dalton LaVoie

Via Stantec Blog

Thought Leadership Article

Amanda Walter of Walter Communications examines the term thought leadership, discovering a growing movement toward thought leadership programs across the AEC industry.

Walter conducted a global survey, which indicated several common topics: sustainability, technology and business growth and operations, design process and project delivery. But there was one factor that was evident in each firm interviewed: “Leadership. Somewhere — maybe not directly conducting the research, but cheering on the team that is — there are passionate individuals who have sparked the initial curiosities. Permission to pursue ideas can have infectious results.”—Amanda Walter

Via Design Intelligence

Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of July 15, 2013

HOK kiosks. Bug tech at Cannon. HMC and the next Frog. P+W's tech lab. Twinkie returns.


New kiosks.  HOK is introducing two new kiosks as part of its re:NEWS project near San Francisco’s Union Square.

While previous reuse ideas have included a bike repair kiosk and printmaking, the new kiosks will be a pop-up museum housing a collection of puppets from around the world. This project is a partnership effort with Community Arts International, the Union Square Business Improvement District, HOK and JCDecaux.

Via HOK Life


Bug technology. Jack Mevorah of Cannon Design explores the idea of replicating a spider web, which has been unveiled by Japan-based Spiber.

The company has created a kind of synthetic spider-web material it calls Qmonos, named after the Japanese word for spider web (kumonosu). Spiber says the artificial spider thread it has produced is equal to steel in tensile strength yet is flexible as rubber.

Via Cannon Design Blog


An efficient way to build. HMC Architects and Project Frog, a component building company, have teamed up to deliver “Impact,” Project Frog’s next generation building platform specifically designed around the needs of 21st century learning.

The new building platform, called Impact, answers the call of students and teachers across the nation for healthier, inspirational buildings, while addressing the needs of administrators for speed, durability and affordability.

Via HMC Architects Blog


A tech lab. Bruce Toman and Bill Schmalz of Perkins + Will, discuss the firm’s research center dedicated to investigating new technologies that contribute to high-performance buildings, finding applications for those technologies in the firm’s designs and contributing to the knowledge base of the architectural profession.

The Perkins+Will Building Technology Laboratory uses computers to generate virtual scenarios and to test innovative ideas. “Tech Lab’s research can strongly influence the designs of our projects, resulting in buildings that are energy-efficient and technically advanced, while also providing their occupants with pleasant environments to work or live in.” -- Bruce Toman and Bill Schmalz

Via Ideas + Perspectives


Innovative Social Media

Twinkies return. Twinkies make the “sweetest comeback in the history of ever” with the launch of a multi-platform campaign strategy to engage its users with media. Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine form the core pillars of that strategy.” The microsite, Feed Your Cakeface, has been populated with Instagram images and Vines showing the first bite of the snacks.

There is a giant Twinkie in Times Square, a cupcake in Los Angeles. And Twinkies teams are handing out buttons and a Twinkies food truck tour is planned to tour the country and give out cakes.

Via ZDNet and Feed Your Cake Face



Top Four Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of May 20, 2013

Perkins+Will welcomes a new architect to the "real world". Integrated design by LMN. Cannon's community support. BUILD on incremental design. Social media fun with J-E-L-L-O. 130528


Welcome to the real world. Danny Mui, a recent graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology who works as an architect out of Perkins + Will’s Chicago office, presents four tips to help graduates transition out of school and to a professional firm.

Mui talks about design approach, team culture, deadline management and vacation. “Working at a firm requires a high level of professionalism at all times, and everyone more consistently contributes to the project at hand. The fact that we are all part of a business means that, again, the constraints have been better clarified than they were in school. There is a sense that everyone is on the same side and happy to help each other out, which helps in creating even higher quality work. “ – Danny Mui

Via Perkins + Will Blog


Integrated design. Albert Lam, a project coordinator at LPA, examines how architecture melds building and landscape design together with the Bosco Verticale or "Vertical Forest” in Milan, which is a pair of high rise residential towers that doubles as a vertical forest.

Lam finds the amount of pre-planning and integration that must have occurred before any shovel hitting the ground fascinating. “Consider the very concept of the building—planting a forest upward through a skyscraper. This inherently requires the architecture and landscape disciplines to unite in a single gesture. Planting must be selected with care on its physical effects on the building, while the architecture must be able to support the infrastructure required by the greenery.” – Albert Lam

Via LPA Blog


Supporting community. Cannon Design’s annual Environmental Awareness Week marked a significant milestone in the event’s 11-year history, raising more than $22,000 that was donated to 12 local and national organizations.

Some of the organizations that will receive donations include the Urban Green Council, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Rebuilding Together San Francisco and Integrated Design Lab.

Via Cannon Design Blog

Incremental evolution of design. BUILD looks at two residential projects, examining how the work for each project was implemented incrementally and carefully instead of reinvented from scratch.

BUILD studied the work of Pacific Northwest modernist Ralph Anderson for guidance, observing that the concept of vertical and horizontal relief were so well-developed in his projects that they’ve become “textbook lessons in geometry.”

Via BUILD Blog


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Are we having fun? Jell-O launched a social media marketing campaign last week with the #FML hashtag, proclaiming that Jell-O wants to turn the profane acronym into the opposite with its “Fun My Life” campaign. Twitter users who tweet the #FML hashtag before June 14 will be entered in a drawing for “Fun My Life” prize packs.

Via Chicago Business Journal






Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of Feb. 25

Cannon tells us where science is headed. Perkins+Will on the telecommuting debate. Design schools and future cities in The Dirt. Luckett + Farley and achieving the best medical outcomes. Oreo's social media campaign extends the cookie vs. creme debate.  Untitled-1

Where is science headed? Mark Whiteley, global science and technology practice leader at Cannon Design, published the article “Top Ten Trends For Design Led Science in 2013,” in the Huffington Post, which examines the direction science and research are headed.

The article lists the following 10 trends as the key drivers for science in 2013:

  1. New Business
  2. New Cultures
  3. New Learning
  4. New Senses
  5. New Personalization
  6. New Shortages
  7. New Magnetism
  8. New Geographies
  9. New Partnerships
  10. New Spaces

Top Ten Trends For Design Led Science in 2013 via Huffington Post

Via Cannon Design Blog


The telecommute debate. Rachel Casanova of Perkins+Will writes about Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision requiring all employees to work in the office each day, exploring how it has sparked varied responses.

Many organizations believe that when people are in close physical proximity, employees establish relationships that lead to faster decision making and better results. That said, the most successful workplace designs incorporate a variety of settings and technologies that enable connection and collaboration, both locally and globally. Casanova shares some ideas that may be helpful in developing a successful workplace. This includes looking at culture, workforce management, work-life blending and collaboration.

Via Ideas+Buildings


Design school and cities. Jared Green of The Dirt looks at the role of the design academy in dealing with today’s challenges — urbanization, climate change, biodiversity loss, population growth – which was discussed in a keynote speech at the Innovative Metropolis conference.

Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) Dean Mohsen Mostafavi said that design schools “construct knowledge, conduct research, and disseminate information,” but also “advance alternative possibilities, new ideas.” In a review of how urban design and planning have evolved, Mostafavi outlined the new directions the GSD program is proposing for cities, with its drive towards new theories of landscape urbanism and ecological urbanism.

Via The Dirt


Achieving best medical outcomes. Thomas Hammer, an Associate and Senior Project Manager at Luckett + Farley, writes about Evidenced-Based Design (EBD) for healthcare, the deliberate attempt to base building decisions on the best available evidence, with the goal of achieving the best possible outcomes for patients, family and staff.

“There’s growing evidence suggesting the physical design of a healthcare environment can unintentionally contribute to negative outcomes.  However, on the other hand, a carefully choreographed EBD facility can help the patient, family and staff come together to enhance the experience, increase safety and deliver a higher quality of care.” Thomas Hammer

Via Luckett + Farley Blog


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Cookie vs. Creme. Fans of Oreo cookies often love to separate Oreo cookies, eating just the top or the creme. The company, which has been monitoring this debate on Facebook and Twitter, has turned to four inventors to create high-tech, robotic-like machines that divide the two sets of Oreo consumers. As an expansion of its "Cookie vs. Creme" campaign — which launched on Instagram earlier this month, encouraging people to share pictures — Oreo is posting videos to YouTube over the next two weeks that show an innovative way to eat the snack. With this latest effort, Oreo aims to boost its YouTube subscriber base — which totals about 9,000 — as well as engagement.

Via Mashable