My interest in brick stems largely from my experience working on projects at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) since beginning my employment with BNIM in 2011. The UCLA campus has a very specific brick blend to which the majority of the buildings adhere. Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last two years looking at existing brick buildings and drawing bricks. I must admit, that as excited as I was to start working on these projects, the prospect of working on a brick building fresh out of school did not excite me.
Resilience and Regeneration BNIM at Living Future 2013 May 15-17 in Seattle, WA
How can we reconcile our relationship with the natural world and form resilient, regenerative communities? BNIM invites you to discuss these topics and more at the green building movement's leadership summit.
Truly Resilient Communities: The Future of Ecological Design in a Post-Carbon Economy
Thursday, May 16, 10:30 am –12:30 pm Cascade II Room
Who remembers the Ford Maverick? My wife had one. She fondly remembers the yellow two door, but not because it was well designed or a very good car. It was neither. Her fond memories are because it was her first car, a gift from her dad. Today she is an informed consumer and has a completely different set of expectations — which led her to the hybrid car that she drives. She is not alone. The market has changed. It wasn’t long ago that nearly every make of automobile, no matter it’s origin, had design, performance, affordability and manufacturing problems.
This Earth Day, we introduced BNIM Mindful, our new quarterly bulletin. The word "mind" is a reflection of the letters b-n-i-m, as reflected in mirror. Similarly, the bulletin is full of reflections on our latest projects, as well as exciting achievements and the people who make it all possible.
Long Life Loose Fit is a term that is permeating our profession with the goal to push architects to think long term about a building’s use. The purpose is to extend the life of buildings for future generations — and transcend the utilitarian and the fashionable — in order to create buildings that will always be valued, that people will identify with and wish to reuse and conserve.
I argue we should not plan for that outcome, but that we instead focus on the present and on the topics of elegance and generosity — and perhaps long life, loose fit will follow.
In the context of all that is happening up to date is an understatement. Why you ask? There are many reasons. There are many intersections. The Rogers and Hammerstein song “Kansas City” from the musical Oklahoma remains one of their most memorable, featuring the lyrics “Ev’rythin’s up to date in Kansas City. They’ve gone about as fur as they c’n go.”
At the 2013 Symposium, we found ourselves once again exploring the topic of work/life balance. It is a universal issue but it seems particularly difficult to define the lines between work and life in the architectural industry because of the passion that drives the work of this deadline-oriented field.
Why is it even framed as “work/life balance”– as if the two are diametrically opposed? It seems that we should call it “life balance” in a diagram where life is the overarching theme and work is a mere subset.
Resolve, Refine, Rigor. These three R’s guide a process that produces design excellence. I would argue that a fourth ‘R’ should be added to the list: Repetition. Only by repeating a process, and making it habit, will we become better designers. As human beings we are all creatures of habit. From brushing our teeth to walking the dog, the things we repeat on a daily basis become ingrained in our behavior. This is evident not only in our daily rituals, but in our professional design process as well. Repetition is a key factor in the architectural journey that ends at exceptional design.
Each year, for one day all BNIM-ers from all offices come together under the same roof. We call this day the “Symposium” and it is a time to reconnect as a staff, while taking stock of where we are and reinvigorating our energies and reminding ourselves of our core values.
The goals and approach for Symposium 2013 were relatively modest. Unlike previous years, we wouldn’t be crafting a list of action items and deliverables to pursue. There would be no traditional breakout sessions and reporting back to the larger group.
Context is never more important than when we work with existing buildings. In our attempt to breathe new life into structures that have already had a life, we are encouraged to consider what the existing building is telling us, and to engage in a dialogue with it. In the best projects, such as these two at Missouri State University, both the existing building and the new intervention are made better as a result of this dialogue.