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Design notes: the 2014 Fellowship poster

Thursday, 13 February 2014

In 1997, Shepley Bulfinch established a ten-week Summer Design Fellowship, which is open to all students who are, at date of submission, enrolled in an accredited professional degree program in the field of architecture. As part of our promotion of the annual fellowship, posters are mailed to accredited architecture schools across North America.

For the past five years we have worked to elevate the quality and exposure of the Summer Design Fellowship, and the poster has been an instrumental part of that. Since 2010, we have posed compelling questions for applicants to answer and have commissioned posters by noted graphic designers including Michael Bierut of Pentagram; Experimental Jetset; Non-Format; ...[more]

Using graphics and storytelling to explain abstract concepts

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Brigham Bldg for FutureOne of an occasional series

Designers can easily read architectural drawings and imagine the spaces they represent, but for others who don’t spend their days looking at plans, it can be difficult to translate from two-dimensional lines to 3-D space.

Because the spatial and experiential implications of drawings may not be apparent to clients, their donors, and community members, storytelling plays an important role in explaining the impact of a design by conveying a sense of the experience. By using narrative storytelling, graphic rendering, and photography ...[more]

Fourth impression of a Japanese garden

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

In the spirit of reflection that comes at this time of year, we share this contemplation from Barak Yaryan, Shepley Bulfinch’s 2013 Howe Traveling Fellow, who spent four weeks this past summer journeying through Japan.

I walk into a Samurai house in Kanazawa. It is a low, timber framed house with a dominant roof behind brown mud walls topped with black ceramic tiles, smaller versions of the same tiles that protectively float over the paper walls of the house. Inside the foyer and a left a turn down the hallway is a small garden the size of a ceramic claw bathtub. It is a garden intended to be observed through an ...[more]

Salem State University Library’s first student tour

Friday, 13 September 2013

Salem State's Admissions AmbassadorsIn August, Salem State’s Berry Library staff gave their student Admissions Ambassadors a tour of the new building. This is what they had to say:

The new library on Salem State campus is more of a head-turner than most might expect from an institution that harbors books and is used for studying. The admissions ambassadors group was brought on a special tour during our training; the excitement was shared throughout the group. Everything from the view to the seating and study rooms were nothing less than amazing. Unlike the temporary ...[more]

Design notes: the 2013 Fellowship poster

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

In a provocative blog post on beauty in architecture, 2012 Summer Design Fellow Amrita Raja commented upon the reluctance of many contemporary architects to discuss the role of beauty, relying instead on more purely rational justifications such as performance. It reminded me of the 2009 NY Times article about Douglas Bowman who very publicly left his position as Google’s top visual designer because, in his words, “at Google design lived or died by data.”

Amrita’s post also reminded me of the scene in the documentary film Helvetica, where Michael Place from UK-based design firm Build talks candidly about how, for him, design is primarily ...[more]

Designing patient bathrooms for the visually impaired

Friday, 14 December 2012

While ADA standards for accessible design strive to provide persons with disabilities the same ease of use and access in a building as a person without disability, they do not take into account the needs of the visually impaired. Unlike patients who are blind, those with low vision have limited sight, and must deal with difficulties that include lack of depth perception, clarity, and the ability to distinguish foreground and background.

To accommodate this patient population, in addition to meeting ADA accessibility requirements related to mobility, the toilet rooms at the Vision Rehabilitation Center (VRC) at Mass Eye and Ear had to address these challenges.

It was clear from the ...[more]

No ivory tower: community colleges as economic drivers

Friday, 9 November 2012

We live in a time of constraint and experimentation, when both the state and the nation are seeking ways to enhance our economic well-being. No single institution is more on the front lines of these changes than the community college and nowhere is that more apparent than when examining the physical fabric of the school.

Over the past year I’ve worked with a Massachusetts community college, developing a campus master plan to guide the future physical development of the campus. When we raised the idea of arranging future buildings to create a traditional ...[more]

Metrics and the design of collaborative environments

Friday, 2 November 2012

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (“Scientific Discovery, Inspired by a Walk to the Restroom”) made the argument that locating key support facilities has a role in fostering collaborative research environments.

As a design researcher, whenever I read a piece like this that cites research without providing citations or references, I become concerned about the quality of the evidence.

I decided to do a little digging. Although I was unable to find a research study documenting a 50-foot rule (“collaboration drops to 10% when workers are more than 50 feet ...[more]