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In defense of good design

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

What is the value of design? Businesses and institutions struggle with this question on a regular basis as they weigh concerns about budget, timing, and a variety of other factors against the priority of design. Several organizations, like Apple Computer, have seen the benefit of prioritizing design, and have made it a part of their core message.

As the this Oct. 10 New York Times article points out, good design can have a powerful impact on the urban landscape. One city, New York, has lately taken the initiative to prioritize good design in new public buildings. As architects, we take the advantages of strong design for granted. How can ...[more]

Dartmouth-Hitchcock cited as exemplar of flexible design

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Shepley Bulfinch’s design of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is cited as a model of how to design for flexible implementation in Richard De Neufville’s new book, Flexibility in Engineering Design, published by MIT Press in September. The original design of the medical center, which opened in 1991, enabled subsequent vertical and horizontal expansion.

The book offers a high-level overview of why flexibility in design is needed to deliver significantly increased value. It describes in detail methods to identify, select, and implement useful flexibility. For Dartmouth-Hitchcock, that meant development and execution of a ...[more]

Discovery and delight: Tad Jusczyk’s long road to Venice

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tad Jusczyk gave everyone at Shepley a remarkable new perspective as he journeyed from Xi’an to Venice this past summer as Shepley Bulfinch’s inaugural Howe Traveling Fellow. As Tad traveled we shared his discoveries and observations on his blog, The Long Road to Venice. Since his return, they have enriched our design dialogue.

His journeys were also documented in Tour de Force, a Boston Society of Architects’ online feature and slideshow.

The Howe Traveling Fellowship is a grant for travel and exploration for Shepley Bulfinch staff, supported by the firm to honor ...[more]

Shepley in the spotlight among top US design firms

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

“We’re #27.” OK, it may not trip off the tongue, but it sounds pretty good to us.

Shepley moved up the ranks of the country’s “Design Giants” in the results of a national survey just released by Building Design + Construction magazine. With an overall ranking at #27 in the annual survey, the firm came in 26th among university design firms and 48th among healthcare design firms. The magazine gives a shout-out to Marquette Law School with a photograph of the school’s Zilber Forum as the survey’s featured higher education project.

Shepley, which now uses ...[more]

Healthcare facility evaluation by design practitioners

8 July 2011

Design and Health: 7th World Congress & Exhibition, Boston, MA

Angela Watson, AIA, Principal, Shepley Bulfinch
Mardelle Shepley, FAIA, Director, Center for Health Systems & Design

The design of… government

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

An interesting read from Metropolis on how IDEO is working with different federal agencies (“IDEO takes on the government“) to design better and more humanized processes – further proof that design thinking has the power to change even non-material things.

I was especially taken with the descriptions of the interactive charrette-type exercises that everyone wanted to be involved in. People are excited to share what they know in a creative way.

It seems to be a change for a governmental system that is structured to give power to the representative few. ...[more]

Solving a design problem: light and form at play

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Catching the sun as it plays across the building’s surface, the undulating facade system for the University of Houston’s Health and Biomedical Sciences Building is an innovative design solution that responds to challenges in topography and program.

The risk of flooding on the low-lying site disallowed a basement, shifting all mechanical space to the top of the building. Likewise, the building program’s secure research spaces – typically located below grade – are also at the top level. Since both the mechanicals and research program require windowless spaces, the upper half of the building facade has few openings.

Recognizing the potentially overwhelming proportion of a solid facade, the design team used reflection ...[more]

When is preservation historical amnesia?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

An interesting article from yesterday’s NY Times discusses a new exhibit/critique of preservation by Koolhaas in NY. Nicolai Ouroussoff writes that in the exhibition Mr. Koolhaas “paints a picture of an army of well-meaning but clueless preservationists who, in their zeal to protect the world’s architectural legacies, end up debasing them by creating tasteful scenery for docile consumers while airbrushing out the most difficult chapters of history. The result is a new form of historical amnesia, one that, perversely, only further alienates us from the past.” I would argue this is a fair criticism of styled big-box architecture and other developer driven “luxury” destinations including hotels and shopping malls…

But what ...[more]