Top 4 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of Sept. 23, 2013

Book reviews of the newest new media book (for designers+ builders) and A Country of Cities.Chis Choa, the documentary critic. Lake|Flato's lick list. 130930

Brave new media. James Moore, International Director of Planning at HDR Architecture, discusses Steve Mouzon’s new ebook  New Media for Designers and Builders, which looks to show how social media tools can help us not only survive, but thrive in a brave new world of design and development.

“Steve is an articulate, enthusiastic, passionate man with a graceful, easy-to-read writing style. An accomplished architect, photographer and author, he makes much of his work available online (  His technological expertise comes through extensive trial and error with almost every form of social media.” – James Moore

Via Blink Perspective

Book site:


Lick list. Josh Nieves of Lake Flato talks about how some architecture is so compelling, he wants to lick it to have a more complete experience of it.

Nieves ventures to Dallas and Fort Worth to see three museums to add to his “lick list:” Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Perot Museum.

Via The Dogrun


Cities and people. Chris Choa, a principal in AECOM’s Master planning + Urban Design practice, examines the film “The Human Scale,” a documentary that looks at how cities are better off when they put more thought into how pedestrians move throughout them.

“The Human Scale remains relatively quiet about the profound transformations due to the increasing globalization of cities. The film also focuses heavily on the physical sensations of the city but is silent about the advent of new virtual worlds enabled by social networking; this is unexplored territory that could provide other opportunities for the creation of more resilient, human-focused environments.” – Chris Choa

Via Connected Cities Blog


Urban America. Jose Luis Gabriel Cruz examines the book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America by Vishaan Chakrabarti that was presented at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The book looks at how architects, developers, and planners must lead a movement for a more urban America, a condition Chakrabarti equates to a better environment and economy leading to increased social-equity.

Chakrabarti makes a case for the benefits of investing efforts in a development strategy that is based on dense cities. By identifying issues in modern infrastructures, current city planning policies, and paradigms within the design and construction fields, a new urban landscape is on its way.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Innovative Social Media

Milestone celebration. In October, National Geographic Magazine celebrates 125 years with a photo blog and photo-based social engagement platform as it seeks new ways to document the world and interact with readers. The photo blog, Proof, was launched "to engage ongoing conversations about photography, art, and journalism" and promises "new avenues for our audience to get a behind-the-scenes look at the National Geographic storytelling process. "National Geographic says it will invite photo enthusiasts to submit images and participate in an inaugural digital assignment for the magazine as part of its newly designed photosharing-based community engagement platform, Your Shot.

Via Clickz

Proof Blog:

Your Shot:



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 4 Architecture and Design Blog Posts for Week of Aug. 19, 2013

HDR on meddling with nature. LPA's low-impact design and pollution. HMC uncovers future market trends. The story of trash in NYC. A Pinterest debut.


Meddling with nature. Mark Meaders, sustainable design project manager at HDR Architecture, examines the consequences of aerial spraying of mosquitoes for West Nile virus in Dallas last August.


One consequence was how the spraying affected the bee population in Dallas. Bees contribute $14 billion to the value of U.S. crop production through their pollination efforts. Three months after the spraying, beekeepers spoke with Dallas County officials and said their hives were in poor shape because of the spraying.

Via Blink Perspectives


Pollution control. Tyler Whaley, a civil engineer at LPA, discusses theprocess of engineering stormwater systems and how low impact design can mitigate the pollution caused by modern society. 

The fundamental concept for LID is to replicate the natural conditions of the land prior to interference by humans. Vegetated swales, biofiltration planters, constructed wetlands, and rain gardens are just some examples of LID structures to replace the catch-all mechanical filtration systems. 

Via LPA Blog


Future marketing trends. HMC Architects has released a marketing report on how universal trends are changing the way all organizations think and conduct business, as the design and construction industry is in a state of change. The firm conducted a Market Survey during the third quarter of 2012 to better understand the critical drivers that influence HMC clients’ service delivery so that the firm can design or re-design the spaces where they conduct business more effectively.

“One hundred percent of survey participants indicated that a major focus is to do more with less. We are no longer in just a down economy; it has become the new normal and organizations have realized they must adapt in order to survive. They are responding by finding ways to cut costs, reduce redundancy, increase worker productivity, and achieve operational efficiency.”

Via HMC Architects Blog

Keeping NYC Clean. Robin Nagle an anthropologist at New York City's Department of Sanitation, has written Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City, a book that chronicles the men and women of New York City's Department of Sanitation and make clear why this small army of uniformed workers is the most important labor force on the streets.

"This is a story that unfolds along the curbs, edges, and purposely forgotten quarters of a great metropolis. Some of the narrative is common to cities around the world, but this tale is particular to New York. It centers on the people who confront the problem that contemporary bureaucratic language calls municipal solid waste. It's a story I've been discovering over the past several years, and from many perspectives." --Robin Nagle

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Catalog 2.0. J. Crew debuted its fall catalog on its Pinterest page, giving its nearly 65,000 Pinterest followers and anyone else who stumbled on the platform the chance to pre-order the clothes before they showed up in the printed catalogs.

The move does more than create social buzz. It gives the company its own sneak peek at which items will sell well. And the flurry of comments and pins provide feedback and allow J.Crew to measure Web attention to a degree that it can’t on its own site or a catalog.

Via Business Week




Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of April 15, 2013

HDR wonders about meddling with nature. Creating good places with Perkins+Will. Architects + Artisans' offers thoughts on shingle style. Studio E Architects on the new black: small. A birthday party on Facebook.


Meddling with mother nature. Mark Meaders, sustainable design project manager at HDR Architecture, talks about whether an aerial spraying of insecticide to kill mosquitoes with West Nile virus in Dallas was necessary and even effective.

Meaders asks if the decision to spray affected things we didn’t consider and longer term consequences of spraying and nature such as the bee population in Dallas. Bees contribute $14 billion to the value of U.S. crop production through their pollination efforts.

Via Blink Perspective


Creating a good place. Carl Meyer, a principal at Perkins +Will, examines the importance of third places – the informal “public places on neutral ground where people can gather and interact,” according to urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg.

Meyer ponders whether the third place is something that can be designed, and looks deeper at the idea.

“Can we design spaces that allow both interaction and anonymity? If so, what are the elements of space that encourage diversity, to include families, the young and older, extroverts and introverts?”  --Carl Meyer

Via Ideas & Buildings


Shingle style. The book “Shingle Style” written by Lucia Howard and David Weingarten looks at poets, artists and musicians of San Francisco who built their homes and clad them in shingles from nearby forests.

The book looks at 20 homes in the book, mostly between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet.  Howard and Weingarten, architects at Ace Architects in Oakland, place all of them in context as the best examples of American shingle design.

Via Architects and Artisans


Small is the new black. Studio E Architects explores the soaring popularity of tiny dwellings, and offers tips on what you should look for in a micro-flat.

In California, 160 square feet is the legal minimum size for a dwelling unit. Some people are experimenting with ultra-compacts in that range – however most developers are looking at units that average between 250 to 400 square feet.

Via Studio E Architect Blog


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Gerber celebrates 85 years. Early childhood nutrition brand Gerber is celebrating its 85th birthday this year with a virtual cake on its Facebook page for its 5.1 million fans. Gerber is giving away a daily cash prize for 85 days for those who "join the party," but eligible recipients must like the brand first. On the 85th Birthday Party tab on Gerber's Facebook page, fans are prompted to blow out a virtual candle for a chance to win the daily $585 prize. Each entry also gives participants a chance to win the grand prize of $20,085.

Via Clickz

Gerber on Facebook