• 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…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Hospitality by healthcare

    “Design is a practical practice. There is a misconception that interior designers come up with creative ideas and make things happen almost magically, but that is not the case at all. A good design is very thoughtful,” said Kathryn Chaplow, interior designer and owner of Kathryn Chaplow LLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Kathryn Chaplow LLC is an interior design firm specializing in both residential and commercial markets for new construction and remodel work. Chaplow, a practicing designer of more than 20 years, and her studio team were tapped early on when it came to the Bengston Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery in Grand Rapids—along with AMDG Architects Inc., First…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Grenadier Pond contemporary

    Set near the wetland shores of Grenadier Pond on the western edge of Toronto’s High Park, this low-profile, contemporary home in the Swansea neighborhood is unassuming upon approach with limited street frontage. Yet, as the onlooker is drawn down the drive, there is a sense of procession and shelter to the three-story, 3,500-square-foot home nestled into the forested hill and ravines inherent to the protected park. Its envelope and clean lines are modest interventions on the site, allowing for interaction and relationship with the unique biodiversity of Grenadier Pond.  There is a thoughtful connection between built and natural landscape—a concept that is central to the founding philosophy of the architectural…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Connection point

    Discovery, expression, and connection: they are concepts that define the role resource centers can play at both the local community and international level. Resources, regardless of type—natural, physical, human, or speculative—by definition are assets to be drawn upon for functional needs, and the spaces built around them, in support or in preservation, offer a place of collaboration, education, and experience.  From the literary temples of poetic, philosophic, and historical work—and the modern library that has evolved from it to meet ever-evolving needs of communities—and the more intangible boundaries that house the ecological conservation of parks and oceans, to the places that house the creative work of industry, resource centers, like…

  • 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,  Form

    Preservation by design

    Detroit’s architectural fabric is rich with unique historical structures—some recognizable, others more discreet—that have continually been re-purposed for the modern-day city. They also double as keenly protected sites for historic conservationists, one of which was recently recognized by both the Michigan chapter of the AIA and Michigan Historic Preservation Network for its sensitive design and rehabilitation of two historic buildings located in Detroit’s Corktown and the Greektown neighborhood areas. The firm, McIntosh Poris Associates, is an integral full-service architecture and design force for historic building preservation in Detroit and other areas of service. Since its founding in 1994, McIntosh Poris Associates, based in Birmingham, Michigan, has garnered more than 100…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Light inspiration

    Artistic parallels are often drawn to architecture, building on a core function that began as a shelter building practice. It has offered opportunities for the creation of artistic and poetic alludes through structure, and modern materials—and their innovative evolution—have furthered the tradition when things such as acoustics or light are applied to a space.  What began as a poetic exploration of light, shadow, and space manipulation during a thesis project at the University of Michigan for Abhinand Lath, founder and president of Sensitile Systems in Ypsilanti, Michigan, resulted in a patented, groundbreaking architectural innovation. Since then, Sensitile Systems has become an award-winning, internationally recognized manufacturer of glass, resin, and terrazzo…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Navigating what’s next

    State leaders are in the process of lifting restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting businesses of all kinds to rework their strategies for physically inhabiting workspace, as quickly as they had to initially shutter their doors. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, workspace furnishing leader Steelcase Inc. and its family of brands—which include Coalesse, Turnstone, and Designtex, among others—started that strategizing process long ago and have been publishing guides and advice for reworking the workspace to reflect the unique new needs of employees and staff members returning to work. In the firm’s April edition of the guide Navigating What’s Next: The Post-COVID Workplace, it shares strategies that can help organizations navigate…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Historic drive

    In Harbor Springs, Michigan, an unassuming garage exterior holds a microcosm of active space within for a lifetime collection of automotive experience and memorabilia. Historic artifacts and refurbished cars from different eras in the automotive industry weave together a unique and personal account of its heritage. Inside, a lounge, office, curated showroom, garage, and workspace converge into a project that was as rewarding to complete as it was to design. In its surroundings, the approximately 5,000-square-foot garage is described as “urban camo” by its architect, Elaine Keiser, AIA, NCARB, of Elaine Keiser Architect Inc. in Petoskey Michigan. Keiser and her team have built a sweeping portfolio of retail and restaurant…