Architecture /

Parking Beautifully

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Can parking garages be considered beautiful? Is there a way to design parking garages that positively impact the built environment of a city? Every day, I find myself walking past Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis, which is in the middle of construction as part of City Arch River. One garage in particular will be a main backdrop for the new design. With Kiener Plaza getting some much needed attention, it struck me that the parking garages surrounding the plaza are in need of some love as well. It doesn’t have to mean redesigning the whole garage, but instead potentially focusing on the façade and exploring different ways to liven up the design and the spaces it impacts.

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Interior Design /

Sitting is the New Smoking? Meetings Are the New Second-Hand Sitting

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I recently attended a WELL Building seminar and was reminded of the importance of this mantra in workplace design:  “Sitting is the new smoking.” It’s not exactly a new idea; you probably first heard it with the Steelcase introduction of the treadmill desk in 2008. The term actually originated from Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and the inventor of the treadmill desk. Although the treadmill desk may seem like a novel concept, the science behind it was quite ahead of its time.

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Architecture /

The Long and Winding Road to Licensure

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To become a licensed architect in the U.S, you usually have to meet at least three requirements:

  • Education: Graduate from an accredited architecture program.
  • Experience: Have about three years of relevant work experience.
  • Examination: Pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

Some states require a degree from a National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) accredited program, while others allow “broad experience” as a substitute. Some require work experience to be documented via the Intern Development Program (IDP). Some states allow you to take the ARE only after graduating from an accredited architecture program, while others allow you to take the ARE only after completing IDP, and some require both.

I was living in Reno, Nevada when I landed my first job in 1990 with an architectural firm and started looking into the process. Nevada required a degree from an NAAB-accredited program, participation in IDP, and passing the ARE. Unfortunately, NAAB only provided accreditation to U.S. programs, and I went to college in the Philippines. Fortunately, you can have a foreign education evaluated by Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) to determine if it is equivalent to an NAAB accredited program.

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Inspiration, Interior Design /

Design Competition? I’m In!

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As designers, competition is a priority. You can say it’s our way of showing off and sharing our creativity with the rest of the world. It is absolutely fascinating seeing what the restrictions, challenges and guidelines of each competition lead us to create.

Once we get together, nothing can stop us from coming up with a unique idea that breaks “the rule.” I recently entered two design competition with several of my colleagues at Lawrence Group including; Dean Sutton, Jerod Thornton, Terry McCoy, Theresa Sahrmann, and Kevin Le.

The first competition was the 2015 eVolo Furniture Design Competition. Designers were given multiple categories to choose from. In each category teams were tasked to build a furniture piece that would transform the way we live and interact with our environment. As a team we chose “planes” as our category and used it to create “Pop-Up Adventure.” Pop-Up Adventure is a versatile space that transforms into a living room, dining room, or bedroom by simply folding out the furniture from the surrounding corresponding walls, floor and ceiling…similar to a children’s pop-Up book. Furniture is made of thin planes of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has been selected for its high strength to- weight ratio.

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Architecture, Projects /

A Whale Tale

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No, this is not a story about “the one that got away” or a close encounter with humpback whales while aboard a zodiac raft in Kauai (which actually happened). It is a humble story about a reception desk.

Lawrence Group was engaged by Answers.com to design a new 29,000-square foot interior satellite corporate office space in New York City. The client envisioned a space that integrated interactive media with a progressive design. The energetic and vibrant location in the heart of Midtown suggested a signature presence.

The schematic design process commenced with an analysis of the city landscape and overlooking building views that were offered throughout the floor in coordination with the client’s space needs program. The floor was a blank canvas with the exception of the elevator and restroom cores present. As a result, we had the ability to define the elevator lobby and common area corridors thus controlling the circulation and experience to the new office entrances.

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Architecture, General /

No More Christmas Breaks

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“Hey how’s your portfolio coming?” “That’s not your final portfolio is it?” “Where are you looking to work?” These were common questions circulating the 5th Year Studios after Christmas Break at Kansas State University this past January. Oh, how the time had flown! All we had to do before graduation and final presentations was finish portfolios, update LinkedIn profiles, and pester principals across the country to give us interviews and hopefully jobs.

Throughout my post-grad summer, I spent time hanging with family and friends, playing golf, and occasionally applying for jobs. I was certainly enjoying my time off, but towards the end of July I knew it was time to take my job search seriously. After many emails, calls and hoping for the right opportunity, I got offered a full-time position at Lawrence Group. Everything I’d worked so hard for was validated at that moment, and I knew I was in for a great start to my career. (more…)

General /

10 Gift Ideas for the Architect in Your Life

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It’s that time of year again: time for holiday shopping for that special architect in your life. We’ve got some ideas for you! Here are our top 10 gift ideas for an architect or designer. See more on Lawrence Group’s Pinterest board, Gifts for the Architect.

1. For the Coffee-Addicted Architect

The perfect, simple gift for the architect who fuels his work with a good morning brew! Buy it from one of our favorite online gift sources, Etsy.

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(photo from PhotoCeramics)

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General, Inspiration /

Just Don’t Eat the Crayons

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One of the latest trends I’m so excited about is adult coloring and – more importantly – adult coloring books. I know it may sound risqué, but it’s really quite PG. These physical coloring books and even mobile apps consist of ready to color pages of complex patterns, delicate florals, organic mandalas and stunning graphics that are aimed at an older population. Who wouldn’t love an opportunity to revive a great memory of your childhood with a little stress-free coloring?

This latest creative explosion is certainly a means to relax and unwind. I adored coloring as a child, even as young adult, and frankly in my profession, I still love it. In lieu of coloring my favorite Lisa Frank posters, my “coloring” now is a bit more tangible and involves various colorful selections for clients and projects. Nevertheless, any good designer or architect probably has a minimum of four random colored pencils or Prismacolor markers lying on their desk at any point in the day. There is something relaxing about coloring, and based on the fact that seven of the top 10 best-selling books on Amazon right now are Adult Coloring books, it shows that there is a large segment of the population who could use a break from all the stress of the day and a break from feeling of digital overload.

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General /

A Night with CREW & Crystal Washington

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Social media, a powerful and ever-evolving tool, was the subject of the CREW event I recently attended with my Lawrence Group coworkers. As a lover of social media, I looked forward to hearing Crystal Washington’s expert opinion and tips for real-estate professionals to use on a variety of powerful social platforms.

Being a relatively new member of Lawrence Group’s marketing team, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time among other professional, media-savvy women within my own company and the industry. The event’s location, the Caramel Room at Bissinger’s, was the icing on the cake. The space was gorgeous, and it was rewarding to see a project with Lawrence Group’s touch on it in person.

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Architecture, General, Inspiration /

An Architect’s View of Sedona

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Every year I travel with my former college roommates for a long weekend. We live in five different areas in the country, so we choose someplace unique that supports our need for the urban environment, nature, solitude, experience, or culture. The five of us met the first week at University of Kansas years ago. Arriving, I didn’t know a soul but left with lifelong friends (and a great education!).

This year, we spent a long weekend in Sedona, Arizona. The quietness and beauty of the geological formations were enhanced by perfect weather and friendly people. Initially, the darkness of the city was maddening, as no street lights made it hard to find our lodging late at night; however, that big open sky, the beauty of the vast heavens chock full of stars, quickly dispelled our modern day navigational frustration.

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