• Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Accessibility in design

    For the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Sunday, July 26, 2020 marked its 30th anniversary. It is an exemplary piece of legislation that continues to strengthen and evolve in field, from architecture and interior design to public policy. In the design industry alone, the introduction of the ADA 30 years ago resulted in standard changes for newly built public spaces, ultimately increasing accessibility in the sense that people with disabilities were specifically considered throughout the process.  Before the law was passed, design elements in public spaces often considered common today—such as lever door handles instead of circular knobs, wide hallways, extended restrooms, and ramps—were not required.  “There are so…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Biophilic design, in study

    In June 2020, Stantec, a global design firm, publicly released the results of a biophilic design research study aimed at identifying the correlation between individual workplace performance and holistic wellbeing conducted through the Healthy Building Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While the concept of biophilic design has been studied in the healthcare setting, this particular study—sponsored by Stantec’s Creativity & Innovation program—identified some interesting tenets about human health and the body’s response to biophilic design in terms of healing and healing rates in a workplace that requires employees to be creative and innovative.  “We, as an organization, have built our design ethos around the platform…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    ADFF: Online

    Following a successful first edition—with more than 5,000 viewers—the Architecture & Design Film Festival’s ADFF: Online program is back starting Sunday, May 17th, through Wednesday, May 20th for a new set of film screenings.  The ADFF: Online series invites cinephiles and the architectural community to connect over positive, uplifting, and recent award-winning films about great names, projects, and movements in architecture and design. This edition of the online series celebrates the life and work of the four creative geniuses and studios of Eileen Gray, Jørn Utzon, Bruce Goff, and Ant Farm, according to the press release, who consistently produced innovative, timeless designs, and left a distinct mark on architectural history. …

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Thread in transit

    The multi-modal transit system is intended to support the urban core—not unlike a buttress to a wall—and the dynamic economic, cultural, and social activities that take place there. It interacts with the complex spatial structure of larger cities, ultimately becoming inherently entwined with the day-to-day operations and life in the diverse tapestry of its built landscape.  In Chicago, the transit-intensive city has become not only multi-modal in nature, but also inter-modal as many of its residents, visitors, and working populations leverage more than one mode of transportation for a single journey—bicycle, pedestrian, bus, train, automotive, and waterway, to name a few. Perhaps its most iconic infrastructure though is known simply…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Mask makers

    In this unprecedented time, major players and smaller participants in a variety of Midwest industries have set their attention on an invaluable product: the face masks with which many are protecting themselves against COVID-19. Brands, from General Motors to the Milwaukee Bucks, have launched mask-making initiatives to supply the consumer market that continues to grow in need, nearly as quickly as it is satiated.  Alongside national corporations, volunteer efforts among local sewing enthusiasts and crafters have also amassed into a sweeping grassroots effort to provide friends, families, communities, and those on the frontlines of the pandemic with the personal protective equipment they need. Many of these efforts also come with…

  • Featured,  Form

    Focal Point 

    From bettering focus in the workplace and classroom to quieting libraries and helping hospital patients sleep, acoustic controls play an important part in the experience of a built environment. Architecturally, measures to distribute natural resources like light and sound are as relevant as ever, as many markets address a growing need for ergonomic and holistic design solutions focused on emotional, physical, and mental comfort.  In Chicago, lighting manufacturer Focal Point LLC has been on the forefront of these architectural accent materials for more than two decades, releasing many products that can be found in office, education, hospitality, and medical spaces alike. Recently, its acclaimed Acoustic Solutions Portfolio has been joined…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Six-string attitude

    The stage is set: a hush settles over the crowd, smoke curls languidly on the floor, and lights draw eyes and ears to the platform. There is an avid anticipation—a collective intake of breath—as the crowd watches both guitarist and the iconic silhouette held before in an extension and expression of its player. It is an instrument that has defined and redefined sound and music, launching movements and inspiring generations—and when deft fingers strum its first strings, sending vibration and resonance from body and pickups to amplifier, it can strike a similar chord in its listeners when style and function are in harmony.  The electric guitar is an instrument that…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Natural advantage 

    Since initial records of design in ancient times, there has been evidence of what it is now classified as biomimicry. From the early utilization of silkworms for textile production around 4,000 B.C. and Leonardo da Vinci’s skeletal flying machines in the 1400s to archaic umbrellas inspired by Chinese lotus leaves in the 18th century, designers and inventors continue to turn to the concept—and full-fledged practice—to spark innovative solutions for complex issues that impact the world at large.  One of the most notable modern innovations, which also poses a solution for sustainable energy, was sparked decades ago when Dr. Frank Fish, a marine biologist, stumbled upon a peculiar anatomical characteristic on…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Movement evolution

    Following the landmark merger of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis and the YMCA of Greater St. Paul in 2012, and creation of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the Minnesota-based, nonprofit organization looked to move its headquarters to a new location. The site, positioned in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, would not only serve to accommodate its larger staff, membership, and programmatic needs, but also reflect its founding mission, enduring identity, and intentional thought of tomorrow.  “We sought to relocate our downtown Minneapolis facility, along with our corporate office, as the next step in our legacy and to gain greater exposure by making sure the Y, [or YMCA], is…