Top 4 Blog Posts for Architecture and Urbanism

HDR on art-filled spaces. P+W discusses disabilities and design. Summer reading with SPUR Rugged history from Preservation. Nature's mutualism.


 Art filled spaces. Michael McManus, communications specialist at HDR Architecture, writes about the new HDR expansion of MultiCare Health System’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Center in Tacoma, WA,

For the art program, designers from HDR and Bainbridge  worked with the client, an art committee, and an art broker to commission works of art by local Tacoma artists. “The artists were tasked with creating pieces that reflect Washington’s Puget Sound. The Puget Sound, which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, is home to a wealth of coastal life, from the giant pacific octopus to curious seals and an abundance of Orcas. Each piece that was placed in the hospital captures the innate wonder of marine life.” – Michael McManus

Via Blink Perspective


Disabilities and design. Bill Schmalz and Bruce Toman of Perkins + Will, examine accommodations for those with physical disabilities and how this affects design.

For those who aren’t disabled, the temporarily-able bodied, “we don’t know when accessible design will help us, but at some point in our lives, it probably will.

That’s the attitude we should take when we design. Rather than reluctantly complying with codes and standards, or charitably giving “those disabled people” a break, let’s take the selfish approach: we’re designing accessible spaces for ourselves” – Bill Schmalz and Bruce Toman

Via Ideas  + Perspective


Favorite urbanism reads. SPUR, an organization that’s dedicated to ideas and action for a better city, provides a summer reading list of its favorite books on urban planning and policy.

Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, will be discussed during SPUR Reads, a book discussion series launching in San Jose this summer.



Historic with rugged charm. Lauren Walser, field editor at Preservation magazine, discusses a visit to the historic restaurant Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas, California.

While the historic building has been a restaurant for many years, current owner Ann Graham Ehringer purchased it in the early 1990s and revived much of the interior. Her approach has been one dedicated to continual maintenance, making repairs to the historic structure, ensuring the space always feels welcoming and has been a preservation steward of the property.

Via Preservation Nation Blog


Biomimicry and urban design. Biomimicry 3.8 hosted the 7th Annual Biomimicry Education Summit and first Global Conference in Boston this past weekend, keynoted by Biomimicry 3.8 cofounder Janine Beynus.

Benyus proposed a shift in thinking about how nature's communities function, arguing that mutualism, not competition, is the driving force in nature. "Together is better," she said, adding that building mutually beneficial relationships will ultimately result in surplus, not scarcity.

Via Treehugger






Blog Post Roundup for Week of Feb. 18, 2013

HOK's secret to productivity. Manaugh and the fifth wall. Lake|Flato on the environmental imperative. Deep fried America by HDR. Gensler's maximum connectivity. 130225

Secret to productivity. Daphne Kiplinger, who works in HOK’s Washington, D.C.’s office, explores increased productivity and relaxation in the workplace, citing in recent article in the New York Times.

“No matter how productive we are, we cannot come up with more time.  What we can control, however, is the amount of energy we have to spend on accomplishing these tasks. Energy may not be infinite, but it is renewable, and it is in our power to find ways to renew it.” – Daphne Kiplinger

Via HOK Life

Relax, You’ll Be More Productive Via New York Times

The fifth wall. Geoff Manaugh examines Petro Vlahos, who passed away this week and was "the pioneer of blue- and green-screen systems" in cinema, of highly specific recoloring of certain surfaces in the everyday built environment that allows "filmmakers to superimpose actors and other objects against separately filmed backgrounds" to walls that aren't really there.

While “these sorts of walls and surfaces are not architecture, we might say, but pure spatial effects, a kind of representational sleight of hand through which the boundaries and contents of a location can be infinitely expanded. There is no "building," then, to put this in Matrix-speak; there are only spatial implications. Green screen architecture, here, would simply be a visual space-holder through which to substitute other environments entirely: a kind of permanent, physically real special effect that, in the end, is just a coat of paint.” – Geoff Manaugh

Via BLDG Blog

The environmental imperative. Bob Harris, a partner at Lake|Flato, discusses in a video how people find themselves living in deprived nature conditions, but how designers of the built environment can learn to reconnect people to land, beauty and themselves.

“Certain individual designers possess a particular bio-intuition that manifest itself in what has become known as biophilic elements of design. Could this explain why such works of design universally appeal? It may be that through a better awareness of our own cognitive wiring we might learn to reconnect to a beauty in nature that we have forgotten and build places that speak to the soul.” – Bob Harris

Via The Dogrun

Deep fried America. Steve Goe, Director of Healthcare Strategy at HDR Architecture, writes on how the future need for hospitals will be substantially reduced and restricted to the care of the most acutely ill patients who require intensive care and monitoring, providing challenges for health planners and architects to create spaces that are intended to transform as health delivery evolves.

The County Fair, where deep fried treats are introduced, is one example of people not taking responsibility for their health and contributing to the epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases. Healthcare facilities may become like “retail malls, where the procedural rooms, imaging and intensive care beds are the anchor tenants, and the rest of the facility is constantly changing its ‘stores’ over time through tenant improvements.


Maximizing connectivity. Hao Ko, a principal and design director in Gensler’s San Francisco office, discusses the new corporate headquarters of NVIDIA, a Silicon Valley visual-computing pioneer, and how the new facility reflects their core belief that their people are their greatest asset.

Gensler is designing a building that allows staff to work together more efficiently while capturing the culture of their work—a building that is a physical manifestation of the soul of their company. Phase 1 of the new headquarters in Santa Clara will be a two-story building where the experience of moving through the building is one of unimpeded flow for the estimated 2,500 building occupants.

Via GenslerOn Work