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 Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of August 26, 2013

Arup on technology fueling engagement. A corner transformation by P+W. Olin on the power of diversity. Bangalore, AECOM, and clean energy. Facebook for law enforcement. 091309

Technology improves engagement. Marissa Powell, a social and engagement specialist in Arup’s Brisbane office, discusses how can we better engage with communities about projects that affect them through technology.

Powell says to engage people, we have to understand how to make it easy for them to participate in the discussion – especially when they are usually time poor, they want to give and get information quickly and they now carry their digital life with them wherever they go. Powell says that it’s time consuming, and often difficult, to translate rafts of qualitative data gained through engagement processes into something meaningful that can be used to inform planning decisions.

Via Arup Thoughts


Transforming a San Francisco corner. Perkins+Will joined The Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco and Youth Spirit Artworks for a community art day to spread the word about the Jones Neighborhood Nexus, a long-term vision for the triangular intersection of Jones, McAllister and Market, which has been called one of the worst street corners in San Francisco intersection.

With more than 30 kids participating, the Jones Neighborhood Nexus was reinvented as a painted mural, which highlighted the Tenderloin neighborhood as a quilt. Each child brought their cultural background to this unique urban place and the composition of all those parts is what gives the neighborhood its identity.

Via Ideas + Buildings


Power of diversity. OLIN Studio Blog explores the lack of the diversity in the landscape architecture profession and how The American Society of Landscape Architects has begun tackling the issue of diversity by organizing the 2013 Diversity Summit.

As a community of creative professionals, we are not able to reach the fullest potential of our practice. A designer’s approach to the transformation of a place is informed by in-depth research, site analysis, and a rigorous design process, but the lenses through which a designer envisions the potential of this transformation are colored by their personal knowledge base, prior experiences, worldly travels, and cultural background.

Via OLIN Studio Blog



New energy in Bangalore. Johannes Wilson, an engineering geologist in AECOM’s Christchurch, New Zealand office, shares his experience helping the nonprofit Pollinate Energy deliver clean energy solutions to India’s poor as part of its Young Professionals Program in Bangalore.

“When looking a bit closer at the demographics of Bangalore, statistics support what is very obvious in the streets.  The population of the city has grown by almost 50 percent in the past decade, standing at almost 10 million. With such rapid growth and little urban planning, the outcome is pretty chaotic, but amid this chaos lies the charm of Bangalore, and the influence of traditional India is still strong.” – Johannes Wilson

Via Connected Cities


A Facebook for cops. A new social media site exclusively for law enforcement,, which was created "for cops by cops" recently launched. Before law enforcement officers can complete registration, 20for25 ("10-20" is standard police code for a location report, and "10-25" is a request to meet in person) verifies their credentials with their employing agency. In October, former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton will launch BlueLine, "the secure professional network built exclusively for law enforcement." BlueLine will provide mechanisms for the thousands of U.S. law enforcement agencies to collaborate in real time, as well as a private marketplace to buy and sell equipment.




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 Aug. 12, 2013

HOK celebrates kiosks. A healing space by P+W. BUILD shows how it draws on a site. MGA offers some guidance. Seattle police, tweets and munchies.  130819


Celebrating Kiosk Museum. HOK participated in the grand opening of the Kiosk Museum in downtown San Francisco on July 24, which has been in the works for nearly a year.

The HOK team designed the case and led the installation of the street museum. The final product is a walk up museum located on the street that is accessible to anyone.

Via HOK Life


A healing space. Perkins + Will has launched a video about Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital that showcases a facility that promotes healing and addresses the needs of the widest possible audience.

The design of the building is highly innovative, and is an inspirational place to do rehabilitation and encourage movement. All of the architects used a wheelchair at the old facility to understand the use of wheelchairs and accessibility.

Via Ideas + Perspectives


Drawing on the site. BUILD discusses streamlining its design and building process by marking the construction site with the light fixture locations, a helpful exercise for architects as they see firsthand how the final build will come together at full scale.

Here are the top 5 things BUILD has learned along the way:

  1. Know your clearances
  2. Alignment is key
  3. Use it as a final check
  4. It’s about the experience
  5. Bring the right tools

Via BUILD Blog


Guiding principles for success. Industrial Brand talks to Michael Green, TED speaker and advocate for wooden tall buildings, about marketing for Michael Green Architecture (MGA) and architecture firms in general.

Green says one of the main contributors to MGA’s success is its authentic and relatable motives. MGA has a benevolent reason why it does what it does that goes far beyond growth or profits. The beliefs and values of MGA’s brand are really what attracts people, stakeholders, and potential clients. When people perceive these traits, agree with them, and see they’d enjoy working with MGA, a long term relationship is already in the works.

Via Industrial Brand Blog


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Seattle police live-tweet Doritos. Seattle Police Department used social media for two-way communication for Hempfest, the largest celebration of the pot culture. To educate citizens about the new laws, officers from the police department handed out bags of Doritos at the festival.

The bags of chips included a message with "dos and don'ts" of the new law and a link to the department's educational blog post, and humorous #OperationOrangeFingers tweets before the event and live-tweeting until the giveaway.

Via Forbes


Top Four Architecture and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of July 29, 2013

Gensler's campus of the future. An Olin incremental public realm. The meaning of life according to Perkins+Will. Placemakers on the simplicity of a cottage.


Campus of the future. David Broz of Gensler writes about the “Future of the University,” focusing on the urban renaissance that has been occurring over the past few years and what the university will look like in the future.

Broz, who co-presented at the World Futures Society in Chicago with Dr. Cindy Frewen Wuellner, discusses how a leader at Xerox Corps Palo Alto Innovation Center predicted in 1975 we would be paperless in the office environment by 1995, and how digital technology is redefining higher education.

Via Gensleron Cities


Incremental public realm. The Schuylkill Banks in Philadelphia represents an important example of the power of incremental landscape infrastructure.

The armature, created by a simple paved path, has led to impactful offshoots and a networked public realm where previously there was none. The park is a prime example of the ability of landscape to provide socio-cultural value while simultaneously jump starting a powerful economic engine.

Via OLIN Studio Blog


The meaning of life. Joan Blumenfeld, Global Interior Design Director for Perkins+Will, explores the search for the meaning of life, and whether you are an architect or scientist, the process of design is our search for the true story.

“We start with what seems to be a set of random circumstances and try to hear the music of the spheres hidden within the chaos of white noise. Does it matter if the story is at least partially a fabrication cobbled together from bits and pieces? Through the strange and difficult alchemy of the design process, we create something that contains an order and a meaning that is an amalgam of what was before, that is better than what was before and that is unique. It is in the beauty of that story that we can find a personal truth.” – Joan Blumenfeld

Via Ideas + Buildings


Cottage simplicity. Hazel Borys of PlaceMakers, examines the idea of keeping it simple as she spends time at Victoria Beach, a cottage community in Manitoba, Canada.

Victoria Beach has a dirt street grid and very simple architecture on the town square, and most of the lots are not cleared keeping the costs lower and privacy higher. “The architecture of the town’s commercial buildings is nothing like anyone in my firm — or probably any of you — would design. And yet this place is so beloved that it is no longer affordable enough for me to want to buy here.” – Hazel Borys

Via PlaceMakers Blog


Innovative Social Media Campaign

Tampon marketing gets real for social media. HelloFlo, a monthly tampon delivery service, launched a new video promotional video about a tween who got her period before other girls at camp.  The humorous video, which was posted on July 29, got nearly 2.5 million views on YouTube and temporarily shut down the HelloFlo website.

Via NPR Blog