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




Weekly Design and Urban Blog Post Roundup for Week of April 29, 2013

HOK on utilizing space smartly. Cities, water, and drinking fountains. Shanley in The Dirt on protecting our coasts. Earth day, the P+W way. Social media campaign worth noting: Bare Essentials. 130506


Smart space utilization. As clients seek to use their office space effectively, Mike McKeown, a senior workplace strategist with HOK Strategic Accounts + Consulting group, looks at ways to improve the workplace experience.

McKeown makes several recommendations in approaching workplace studies such as examining goals and key performance indicators, and keeping time, technology and privacy factors in mind. “Establishing goals and KPI’s early on will help determine how long to conduct a study as well as how high-tech or low-tech you want to make your approach. In some cases the client may have data to provide you as a reference point, such as badge swipe statistics for days and times employees are coming and going.” – Mike McKeown

Via HOK Life


Urban water. Josselyn Ivanov, a landscape and urban designer in San Francisco, discusses the benefits of public water and her love of drinking fountains.

“Sources of water are inherently magical. Especially in a city, sealed in concrete, water connects us with nature, engages our senses, and physically connects us with place. Free water sources in public spaces, historically provided by philanthropists or cities themselves, were one of the major progressive steps forward for civilization.” - Josselyn Ivanov

Via Landscape Urbanism


Protecting our coasts. Kevin Shanley, CEO of SWA Group, talks about protecting our coasts in the wake of increasingly damaging storms and sea-level rise brought on by climate change.

Shanley talks about real-world lessons from Hurricane Sandy, soft green infrastructure in New York City, the impact of sea level rising and wetland parks in China.

Via The Dirt

Honoring Earth Day.  Perkins+Will celebrated Earth Day by having its offices honor the planet in different ways throughout the week.

Perkins+Will, which is committed to sustainability, is carbon neutral and actively seeks to reduce carbon emissions through green operations and has

212 LEED certified projects. Earth Day activities included planting an herb garden in the Washington, D.C., office café,  showing a slideshow that outlined several ways to minimize negative environmental impact on the climate in the Boston office, and participating in the 2013 Earth Day Rideshare in Chicago.

Via Ideas + Buildings


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Bare Escentuals' bareMinerals, kicked off its nationwide #GoBare tour on Twitter by revealing their secret indulgences for a chance to see them brought to life. The #GoBare Twitter initiative comes as the brand embarks upon its Go Bare tour, a six-month six-city tour of the U.S. that includes a "pop-up boutique-meets-lounge and a traveling team of complexion experts devoted to helping women discover their best skin ever." A camera crew will be stopping in cities across the country to surprise select Twitter users that share their secret indulgences

Via Clickz

Bare Escentuals


Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of March 10, 2013

Olin Studio considers the intersection of planning and landscape. Landscape Urbanism spots an app for street design. SWA acknowledges the designers of the Golden Gate Parks.  An interview with an HOK designer. A different model for design education in Metropolis POV. 130318

Intersection of planning and landscape. OLIN Studio hosted a symposium that explored the intricacies of the relationship between planning and landscape architecture.

Several issues were brought up, including whether design should be brought back into planning. Or should planning sensibility be folded into the world of design? How are these topics relevant today? The symposium focused on the following themes:

  1.  Projective Work
  2. Powerful Players
  3. Global Scale
  4. Education and Conversation
  5. Art and Instrumentality

Via The OLIN Studio Blog


App for street design. Sarah Kathleen Peck, editor of Landscape Urbanism, writes about an app that lets you place various street elements in different spaces and adjusts the Right-Of-Way to desired traffic levels.

The app was designed by Code for America graduates and launched to increase real-time engagement at community planning meetings and allow people to work collaboratively with one another as well as share and edit each other’s creations. The app can be tested at at StreetMix.Net.

Via Landscape Urbanism

Related: StreetMix


Designers of the Golden Gate Parks. Rene Bihan of SWA Group blogs about the important legacy left by the designers and stewards of the Golden Gate National Parks. The landscape architect is hosting a fundraiser for The Cultural Landscape Foundation in honor of these citizens next month.

“Our vibrant and tightly-packed North Beach neighborhood is offset by the not-too-far-away wide open spaces of the Golden Gate National Parks (GGNP) that hint at the what the city was like generations ago and what the landscape was like before there was a city. It is no accident that these spaces are still here. The GGNP of today is the collective result of generations of activists, environmentalists, lawyers, stewards, and designers. We owe these individuals a great deal.” – Rene Bihan

Via IdeaSWA blog

Related: You’re Invited! An Evening Honoring a Model for Stewardship Innovation and Design Excellence


Interview with HOK designer. Todd Bertsch, Design Director for HOK in Atlanta, Georgia, discusses what it’s like to be an architect in Atlanta and some of the projects he’s worked on.

“Practicing architecture is this incredible collision of solving technical problems, exploring philosophical ideas and expressing creativity. We have the opportunity to affect what our communities look like, how society operates and how people live. We can blend beauty and poetry to create these high-performance buildings that have a positive influence on the world. These challenges thrill me every day.” – Todd Bertsch

Via HOK Life


Different model for design education. Sherin Wing examines the graduate program at the Art Center College of Design’s Media Design Practices (MDP), which provides a unique foundation of theory and on-the-ground training. Advocates of the program hope the model will influence other design programs.

While “activist” design has been around for years, the Art Center model unites critical analysis with design skills. The goal is to provide useful solutions for people locally and abroad without being culturally reductive or condescending. Too often, designers try to reinvent social intervention in their haste to be in the vanguard of a “new” approach and school-based design projects. These can be equally misguided. The result can waste material resources, human capital and money, while reinforcing cultural assumptions about the “other.”

Via Metropolis Magazine POV