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 Four Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of July 29, 2013

Gensler's campus of the future. An Olin incremental public realm. The meaning of life according to Perkins+Will. Placemakers on the simplicity of a cottage.


Campus of the future. David Broz of Gensler writes about the “Future of the University,” focusing on the urban renaissance that has been occurring over the past few years and what the university will look like in the future.

Broz, who co-presented at the World Futures Society in Chicago with Dr. Cindy Frewen Wuellner, discusses how a leader at Xerox Corps Palo Alto Innovation Center predicted in 1975 we would be paperless in the office environment by 1995, and how digital technology is redefining higher education.

Via Gensleron Cities


Incremental public realm. The Schuylkill Banks in Philadelphia represents an important example of the power of incremental landscape infrastructure.

The armature, created by a simple paved path, has led to impactful offshoots and a networked public realm where previously there was none. The park is a prime example of the ability of landscape to provide socio-cultural value while simultaneously jump starting a powerful economic engine.

Via OLIN Studio Blog


The meaning of life. Joan Blumenfeld, Global Interior Design Director for Perkins+Will, explores the search for the meaning of life, and whether you are an architect or scientist, the process of design is our search for the true story.

“We start with what seems to be a set of random circumstances and try to hear the music of the spheres hidden within the chaos of white noise. Does it matter if the story is at least partially a fabrication cobbled together from bits and pieces? Through the strange and difficult alchemy of the design process, we create something that contains an order and a meaning that is an amalgam of what was before, that is better than what was before and that is unique. It is in the beauty of that story that we can find a personal truth.” – Joan Blumenfeld

Via Ideas + Buildings


Cottage simplicity. Hazel Borys of PlaceMakers, examines the idea of keeping it simple as she spends time at Victoria Beach, a cottage community in Manitoba, Canada.

Victoria Beach has a dirt street grid and very simple architecture on the town square, and most of the lots are not cleared keeping the costs lower and privacy higher. “The architecture of the town’s commercial buildings is nothing like anyone in my firm — or probably any of you — would design. And yet this place is so beloved that it is no longer affordable enough for me to want to buy here.” – Hazel Borys

Via PlaceMakers Blog


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Tampon marketing gets real for social media. HelloFlo, a monthly tampon delivery service, launched a new video promotional video about a tween who got her period before other girls at camp.  The humorous video, which was posted on July 29, got nearly 2.5 million views on YouTube and temporarily shut down the HelloFlo website.

Via NPR 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 March 25, 2013

Evolving Library. Removing urbanity. Guide to rendering. Site and structure in Norway. Human rights social media blitz. 130401

Evolving library. David Dewane of Gensler, discusses Librii, a digitally enhanced, community-based, revenue-generating library network created for the developing world. Librii has launched a Kickstarter campaign to receive funding for the pilot library.

Dewane explores the five ways Librii is innovative.

  1. Flip the business model
  2. Shift from consumption to production
  3. Broaden the collection
  4. Rethink the network

Go boldly where no one has gone before

Via Gensleron Cities


Removing urbanity. Kenneth Caldwell of Caldwell Communications writes about his feelings of sentimentality when he sees the loss of urbanity in buildings and architecture in San Francisco.

“Every day I walk around the city. I look for the sign that a person who cared about urbanity or beauty, whether it is an architect, designer, artist, artisan, chef, or bartender, is still at work holding up the value of the human individual’s contribution. Each time a faceless corporation removes the mark of a person, we lose something beyond the artifact itself.” – Kenneth Caldwell

Via Design Faith Blog


Guide to rendering. Build LLC discusses the importance of renderings, and how they have found them to be beneficial throughout multiple phases of their design and build process.

“Not only do we benefit from renderings, but our clients do too. At meetings, after looking over a set of two-dimensional drawings, a few crisp renderings can add a level of clarity and understanding. While we never shoot for photorealism with our rendered work, (more on that later,) a rendering that starts to talk about materiality and experience is something we can get behind.”

Via Build Blog


Site and structure in Norway. David Hirzel, principal emeritus at Sasaki Associates, writes on how he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study architecture in Norway in 1963, with a particular interest in wood construction and Norway's rich history with this type of building.

Hirzel talks about what struck him when he first saw the stave churches and farm buildings was their dramatic setting in the many valleys throughout Norway and how the individual church buildings and the groupings of farm buildings related to the unique environmental characteristics and functional requirements for the location and each building.

Via Sasaki Stream


Innovative Social Media Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign's ubiquitous logo went viral last week in anticipation of two landmark marriage equality cases argued before the United States Supreme Court. Facebook reported a 120% increase in profile picture swaps to support gay marriage, as compared with an average day.

According to a post from Facebook data scientist Eytan Bakshy, 2.7 million more users swapped their photos Tuesday, March 26, than on the previous Tuesday, due to the viral marriage equality Facebook campaign started by the Human Rights Campaign.

Via Mashable


Human Rights Campaign