Top Ten Holiday Cards from 2014

  Holidays are over

Well, that’s that. My holiday house guests have returned home. I’m all out of Egg Nog. The Christmas decorations are put away. And 2015 has begun. With all the chaos of hosting a big family holiday, I didn’t fully appreciate the holiday e-cards from firms and friends that rolled in the days leading up to the festivities. But today, with my newly found time to myself, I went through them all: the simple and serene, those tinged with nostalgia or laced with community and giving, the fun ones that spread a little holiday cheer in their own cheeky way, and even the overtly sales-y (really?!).

Here are ten to remember.

Lundberg Design's clever play on their fondness for the patina of old materials.

FXFowle's creative, simplicity

HMC's throwback to holidays past

Holiday pun from aquarium designers Tenji, "Here We Come a Wrassailing"


CE Solutions donated on behalf of the friends of the firm ... and gave them the choice of who gets it.

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




Top Four Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of May 27, 2013

Gensler, building for speed. Finding insight outside. School news by HMC. Lake|Flato on reinvigorating a coastline. Video contest for a free conference on biomimicry. 130603


Built for speed. Arlyn Vogelmann, Principal and Director of Gensler Boston’s Consulting and Workplace practices, discusses how the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the world’s fastest racing car, is similar to Staples’ new Velocity Lab, an e-commerce innovation center located in the tech hub of Kendall Square in Boston.

The Velocity Lab’s singular purpose is to move at the speed of innovation. With its street-level exposure, bold graphics, and startup feel, the Velocity Lab acts a brand beacon, capturing the energy and excitement of the area while leveraging local amenities to attract top talent. An open work environment at the Velocity Lab is punctuated with collaborative meeting spaces and writeable walls throughout, fostering communication among diverse groups and supporting breakthrough ideas.

Via Gensleron Cities


Finding insights outside. Erin Leitch writes that going outside and spending time in nature triggers a cognitive shift that transitions people from distracted and linear know-it-alls to focused and inquisitive systems thinkers.

Dayna Baumeister, cofounder of Biomimicry 3.8, has been bringing clients out into wild places for the last 15 years as part of the bio-inspired design methodology. Check out some ideas from the biomimicry design methodology for planning a team meeting outside.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV

Related: Biomimicry Education Summit and Global Conference


News on school. HMC Architects has published the latest trends in K–12 education, which includes information on how to provide the best learning environments for your students, market trends and how local GO bonds make a difference.

The School News discusses workshops that were created to help schools and building team members understand one another.  A client outreach “Market Survey” was conducted to better comprehend the trends affecting the K–12 market in California.  Lastly, school districts need to be aware of the importance for districts to realize that successful campaigns do not just happen on their own.

Via HMC Architects Blog


Reinvigorating our coastline. Corey Leaman of Lake|Flato discusses her visit to the Texas coastal town of Freeport, a hub for the chemical industry that lacks economic diversity and regionally appropriate architecture.

Leaman asks is “architecture irrelevant without an economy to support it, or can it instead be the instigator that helps promote development in a city?” “What part can architecture play in creating a more diverse economy and building regionally appropriate structures that withstand the increasingly dangerous force of nature?”

Via The Dogrun


Video Contest for Biomimicry Summit and Global Conference

Video contest. If you are interested in attending the Biomimicry Summit and Global Conference in Boston on June 21-23, you have a chance to win a free pass to the event. Simply make a 60-second video that answers the question: What challenge would you like to see biomimicry solve?

The Biomimicry Summit and Global Conference will explore how biomimicry will shape innovation and education, and highlight the new science in community resilience, 3D printing and economic development.

Via Biomimicry 3.8





Weekly Roundup of Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of April 22

HMC's community garden. Lessons for Oregon. Learning to innovate from Metropolis. The Dirt on the equity of smart growth. ArchDaily's noteworthy social media campaign. 130429


Community garden. As part of Earth Week, HMC’s Ontario studio planted a community garden of vegetables and learned about compost, irrigation and earthworms.

There is, however, a community component,  in launching the garden: hunger. The purpose of HMC’s community garden is to engage staff to volunteer and collaborate outside the studio, promote sustainable living, and inspire staff and visitors to start gardens of their own.

Via HMC Architects Blog


Lessons for Oregon. Architect Randy Nishimura writes on how the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 was a wakeup call and wealth of information for seismologists, hydrologists, and engineers in the Pacific Northwest.

Orgeon needs to become better prepared by investing more in earthquake and tsunami-resistant infrastructure and preparedness. “The challenges we would face when the unthinkable happens include how to deliver timely rescue and relief to affected coastal communities, especially if vital roads and other conduits through the Coast Range are severed.” – Randy Nishimura

Via SW Oregon Architect Blog


Learning to innovate. Educator and businesswoman Michelle Greenwald shares key takeaways that companies like to hear in understanding how physical and mental environments can impact creativity and collaboration.

  1. It’s critical to allow and allocate time to innovate and do things well.
  2. A range of customer touch points makes new products and services great.
  3. It’s extremely important to create a psychological and physical environment that fosters innovation.
  4. Having a Methodical Process and Great Stimuli maximize creativity.
  5. All ideas need solid screening criteria that both fit what the brand stands for and make economic sense.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Is smart growth equitable?  With the rise of “smart growth” approaches to urban development – the promotion of dense, walkable urban centers as an alternative to sprawl – there are questions whether smart growth is actually equitable.

Those compact, walkable neighborhoods are in hot demand across the country so it costs more to live there, which means not everyone gets to reap all the health benefits from living in a walkable community. In gentrifying neighborhoods, the issue is further compounded because people who once lived in these communities and could walk everywhere are being pushed out because they can’t afford the rising rents and property taxes. They are instead being shunted to the suburbs, the growing place for the poor in the U.S. where many can’t afford cars so they are even more affected.

Via The Dirt


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Arch Daily created an engaging social media campaign on Facebook to commemorate World Book Day. They asked “What is your all-time favorite architecture book?” followed by having people post their top books in the comment section and then follow “The Architect’s Library” on Pinterest where they have posted an amazing selection of books.

Arch Daily Pinterest

Arch Daily Facebook






Favorite Blog Posts for Week of Sept. 17

Advocating for a new sustainability. Julia Hughes, an associate principal for HMC Architects, blogs about her work with sustainable justice began in 2006 with a presentation about green juvenile facilities. Out of this evolved the AIA Academy of Architects for Justice (AAJ) Sustainable Justice Committee.

The committee has developed the Green Guide to Justice, which is designed to serve as a voluntary educational tool for early adopters of sustainable design, construction, and operations practices, and to encourage continuous improvement in the justice sector, continued leadership, and increased rigor associated with creating high performance justice environments.

Via HMC Architects Blog

Green Guide to Justice, via AIA Knowledge Network

Millennials leaving small towns. Brittany Shoot, who resides in the Bay Area, discusses her guilt on leaving her small hometown of Anderson, Indiana, and how most of her friends in the Bay Area come from small towns.

“It’s easy to find people who will sneeringly complain about how trapped they felt as teenagers. It’s harder to talk about our nuanced realizations that in such dire economic times, maybe we just got extraordinarily lucky.” –Brittany Shoot

Via The Atlantic Cities

Swiss Cakes and Shasta.  Doug Windall, president of HDR architecture, blogs about his love for junk food as HDR rolls out a wellness program for employees.

While Windall reminisces about his deep fondness for Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, he encourages people to enjoy the great things in life, but “never to the point that the great becomes ordinary. Too much of anything can take away the thrill (and in the case of junk food, put on the pounds).’’

Via Blink – Perspectives on Design Blog

Flying bicyclists. London Mayor Boris Johnson is seriously considering developing SkyCycle, a concept by landscape architect Sam Martin that proposes a network of elevated cycled paths between London’s main tube stations.

The SkyCycle would transform unused elevated rail lines and also include new infrastructure. Martin, who is director of Exterior Architecture, is already developing feasibility studies for a few open-air tunnels, which would be sided in glass or plastic. If all goes well, the sky-highways could be open by 2015.

Via The Dirt

Innovative Social Media

Favorite drinking fountains. Josselyn Ivanov of SWA blogged about how she loves drinking fountains, and how they are important as they are small urban elements that have an outsized impact, enhancing people’s lives or modifying users’ behavior in surprising ways.

Ivanov held a weekly quiz on SWA’s Facebook page featuring some of her favorite drinking fountains from around the world – people had to guess where the fountain was located.  WNPR found her articles and asked her to be part of their radio show called “For The Love of Fountains.”


SWA Social Impact Blog