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Michael Ford gives Boston architecture a new beat

Thursday, 17 August 2017

“Hip hop is modernism’s post-occupancy evaluation.” – Michael Ford, Hip Hop Architecture

We recently invited the city of Boston to step outside traditional architecture channels and explore the built environment through a different lens – hip hop. As a long-time supporter of the Boston Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (BosNOMA) and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), Shepley Bulfinch was more than inspired to sponsor a two-day lecture and workshop from renowned designer Michael Ford earlier this month.

Known as the Hip Hop Architect, Michael intends to disrupt the AEC world with a mission to increase the number of minorities in architecture and urban planning. To do so, he ...[more]

Boston park will ‘Sparkle & Chime’ with Shepley art installation

Friday, 15 August 2014

Sparkle & Chime art installation

It’s dusk on an evening in October, and as you walk through Evans Way Park in Boston’s Fenway, you are accompanied by ethereal chiming and shimmering reflections in the trees above you.

The Fenway Alliance selected Sparkle & Chime, designed by architect Jean Kim of Shepley Bulfinch, as the audiovisual installation at Evans Way Park for several weeks in October. The installation is part of the Fenway Alliance’s 13th annual Opening Our Doors, which will be held on October 13.

Every year for the past 12 years, Opening Our Doors has welcomed the public to experience ...[more]

Rural Studio’s enduring lessons

Monday, 11 August 2014

It’s not all about you.

That was the first lesson I learned in architecture school. Kicking off my architectural education at Auburn with the Rural Studio showed me the power of selfless design and taught me other invaluable life and professional lessons. For more than 20 years, the Rural Studio program has given architecture students like me a hands-on education, designing and building homes and community structures for underserved communities in rural Alabama.

Looking back, I can define my experience in five simple lessons:

It’s about your client. A lot of people go through school, believing that they are working on ‘their’ projects. Presentations and critiques can get very personal, with a lot ...[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┬áDouglas 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]

Design notes: the Shepley Bulfinch blue journal

Friday, 18 February 2011

As a long-standing tradition Shepley Bulfinch reaches out to our clients in an annual mailing. For years, this took the form of a signed card or letter, accompanied in recent years by a commemorative poster. What started as a holiday gesture has become an important statement that exemplifies our core values.

Like every project our annual mailer starts with a written strategy: a design brief. This year we drew on our annual internal staff survey for inspiration. Within a section of the survey on differentiation a few key words and ...[more]

Design notes: the 2011 Fellowship Poster

Friday, 28 January 2011

How do you match the resounding success of our 2010 Fellowship Poster, designed by Experimental Jetset? By inviting Michael Bierut of Pentagram to design the 2011 poster.

I’d like to share some insights about the design process, strategy, and design thinking behind the poster itself. Our design brief to Michael was essentially to match the quality of the candidates we’re seeking as this year’s Fellow: someone who combines a high-level and perhaps rare combination of extraordinary design talent, creativity, passion, intuition, appetite and ...[more]

VCU Cabell Library and urban transformation

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Cabell Library - cathedral viewEarlier this month, members of Shepley Bulfinch’s project team were in Richmond for the dedication of the new Cabell Library expansion at Virginia Commonwealth University.

As an intervention in a complex urban context, Cabell Library truly accomplishes the design goals we had intended for it: the way the building massing comfortably nestles into its context, how it responds to change of scale in the urban fabric, the way that building edges and interior space truly engage and activate public campus space, with human activity and interior destinations made legible ...[more]

Day in the life: The Awty School early learning campus

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Awty International School’s new Early Learning Campus will provide the school’s next generation with opportunities for learning, vehicles for exploration and plenty of space for play.

Parents, teachers, and staff will see a safe, secure campus over three times the size of the existing facility, with spaces that accommodate the school’s rich programs and reflect its dedication to students’ development as future leaders, thinkers, and people of character.

It is all this and more. Creating the Early Learning Campus calls for more than an architect’s skills. It means seeing the world through a child’s eyes. It is about creating a world filled with opportunities for learning, vehicles for exploration, and abundant ...[more]