Top 4 Architecture and Design Blog Posts from Week of Oct. 14, 2013

Cannon on sketching relationships. Stantec's elements of community. Digital experiments in public space. An Array architecture journey. Sharing Ted Baker's dozen. 131021

Sketching to establish relationships. Matt McGrane, an architect at Cannon Design who runs the firm’s summer sketch sessions, discusses the importance of sketching in the design process.

“I love to draw the places around me, especially when I travel.  By sitting down for a half hour in a space and sketching, I am able to not only capture what a space looks like, but whenever I look back at my sketches, I remember how it felt to be there.” – Matt McGrane

Via Cannon Design Blog


Essential elements of community. Phil Carlson, a senior planner at Stantec, explores how community expressed in the built environment touches on three elements: environment, health, and economics, which all add up to quality of life.

  • Environment: An urban community saves energy compared to sprawling development. A community that offers destinations and services within walking and biking distance uses less energy than one where almost every trip must be made by car.
  • Health: A tight-knit community improves health. There are the simple physical aspects of being able to walk or bike to daily destinations versus sitting in a car.
  • Economics: The economics of many businesses depend on customer loyalty, and customers in an identifiable community will be fiercely loyal to local businesses.

Via Stantec Blog


Outdoors in the digital world. Landscape architect Lisa DuRussel explores how to keep public spaces relevant in the interface of landscapes and digital technology in the first of a series of blog posts.

With constant connection to people and information, digital culture integrated into public spaces has become second nature. Are we driven to distraction with our iPhones, iPads, and iPods? Or can the capabilities of these devices be used to create a more flexible, adaptive, and experiential use of public spaces?

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Architecture journey. Ryan Keszczyk, an architecture student at Tulane University who is interning at Array, discusses how his time at Array influenced him to work in the healthcare architecture industry as it changes and adapts with new technology.

Five years in architecture school is just the beginning of my journey to becoming an “Architect.” My time in college allowed me to get a solid foundation on the theories, technologies and continued advancement of the architecture profession.

Via Array Architects Blog


Innovative Social Media

Clothing retailer Ted Baker London is reaching out to aging hipsters through digital content. invites visitors to "Spread the Ted" with a "Baker's Dozen" of video shorts like How to Play It Cool, which has 1,600 views as of October 13, as well as Winks and fashion spreads.


Via Clickz



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 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 4 Architecture, Design Blog Posts for Week of May 13, 2013

HOK and University of Buffalo work virtually. Arup benefits from collaboration. Johnston Architects on shelter. CityLAB studies innovation-inducing issues in cities. What NOT to do in social media.


Working smarter virtually. HOK designers in New York, St. Louis and Atlanta are using virtual meetings with their University at Buffalo (UB) client team to improve the design process for the university’s new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences  on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The virtual meetings started following Hurricane Sandy when the principal-in-charge was stranded at home in Norwalk, Connecticut. There has been considerable savings in cost and travel time, and the virtual meetings have also enabled design team members to develop better design solutions because they can get the information and client input they need, when they need it.

Via HOK Life


Benefits of collaboration.  Andrew Pettifer, a principal and building services engineer at Arup, writes about how sports are competitive, and while business is competitive too, collaboration is what makes a project successful.

Collaborative processes require firms to adopt a more emotionally intelligent approach involving generosity, support, mutual respect, even being prepared to expose weaknesses and vulnerabilities in pursuit of a better experience and result for all.

Via Arup Blog


Providing shelter.  Johnston Architects examines the idea of shelter, and how human habitat has evolved over the centuries as once caves, stockades and mud and grass enclosures would provide a protected space.

“From found shelter to assemble, manipulated materials, our habitats evolved.  Today, they are complex and incorporate a variety of materials far more sophisticated than stone. But, our shelters are basically the same thing that they were centuries ago, responding to the same needs.”

Via Johnston Architects


Urban strategies. cityLAB , which was created through UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and explores issues that provide innovative, cost-effective strategies for cities, will be initiating a three-year study that will investigate the meaning of the Urban Turn as it applies to the Pacific Rim.

One of the projects, Backyard Homes, addresses housing costs and availability without imposing a large footprint. These goals are achieved by using smarter components in structures with a light footprint and will not change the visual landscape of single-family neighborhoods.

Via Metropolis Magazine POV


Social Media Campaign

Social media meltdown. Amy’s Baking Company was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Fox reality show Kitchen Nightmares in which Ramsay offers guidance to help struggling restaurants, but in this situation the owners of Amy’s Baking Company proved to be too difficult for him so he walked out. The response social media networks appears to be one of the fastest and most intense brand meltdowns social media has ever seen. The PR melt-down of Amy's Baking Company  ]started on Yelp, spread to Facebook and Twitter  as the owners responded vehemently to critical customers and Internet naysayers.

Via ZDNet

Via BuzzFeed



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