Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Becoming the next iteration.

Well, folks. It’s been a great 3+ years. From the day that I started this blog (and started documenting my exploration of what kind of designer I wanted to be), I’ve been inspired and challenged and driven to learn. And now it’s time to kick off the next iteration of what I want to be; it’ll be a little bit of design, a little bit of enterprise, and (partly because of this blog) a little bit of writing.

Stay tuned on the next chapter by visiting giselagarrett.com or following @giselataylor

All the best,

Gisela

June 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Iconic architecture meets iconic television.

We’ve highlighted the potential for crossover between television and architecture before, but we’re just that much more psyched to share this recent compilation with you. The seeming Buzzfeed of our industry, Architizer, has compiled a list of Ducks (in the words of Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour) in honor of the revival of Arrested Development and their “very favorite (if fictional) architectural duck,” Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand.

1x05_Charity_Drive_10-600x337

Happy streaming this weekend, folks!

May 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Design Week: ICFF Alternatives

While ICFF may be the place to be, in some ways, don’t forget the alternatives that exist out there! (Thanks, Cool Hunting, for the inspiration.)

nycxdesign-537x313-inhabitat
image via

My personal favorite is probably Wanted Design, but the grand umbrella of NYCxDESIGN has plenty more ideas for you as well. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

May 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

4 predictions for the future of design practice.

In April, I attended an event at the Center for Architecture called RE:Think | Design Thinking Outputs that was focused on models for dynamic and collaborative practice within the design (and larger problem solving) industry. It’s one of the best professional panels I’ve ever been to content-wise, and the format was also especially interesting; presenters were paired up and then engaged in dialogues after their paired presentations.

If you have the time, a video of the event is available: http://vimeo.com/41152962 But if you don’t, below are my four big takeaways/predictions.


image via VisionArc

1. Project teams will increasingly be formed based on shared values, rather than coordinated skill sets or specific project goals. To be successful in these teams, we’ll all need to get better at articulating and demonstrating our most important values.

2. Projects will become increasingly iterative, and decreasingly organized around predetermined deliverables. Everyone will need to get better at embracing risk, learning quickly, communicating clearly, and generally being adaptable.

3. The term “client” will include an increasingly diverse array of stakeholders, funders, and both participating and non-participating beneficiaries. As designers, we have the opportunity to take a proactive stance in prioritizing all these clients. It would be wise for us to do so.

4. Authorship will increasingly be preserved thanks to respect from our peers, rather than by taking defensive legal action. As the processes of creating ideas, images, products, and systems become increasingly collaborative, the myth of the lone creative will continue to be debunked. We will have to get more comfortable in trusting others to give credit where credit is due, since strict copyrights will become increasingly impractical.

This event was organized by AIANY’s New Practice Committee.

May 30′s daily design idea is what predictions do you have about the future of design practice?

May 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

“Passengers in all their commuting glory.”

While the quiet tedium of a daily commute and a massive travel-disrupting volcano may not seem to have much in common, it turns out they can both be catalysts for the creation of beautiful publications.

The Atlantic recently reported on the sketching project of British illustrator Steve Wilkin, which was really just a personal creative exercise until Wilkin decided to turn his work into a free limited-edition newspaper.


Image by Steve Wilkin

As Eric Jaffe of the Atlantic writes:

“For the past decade or so, Wilkin has used his hour-long commute on the 7:38 a.m. train from the town of Hebden Bridge toward the city of Preston to sketch his fellow passengers in all their commuting glory.

“Last month, with the help of a service called the Newspaper Club, Wilkin published some of the drawings in a free newspaper called, of course, “738.” (He also started a blog about the project.) He distributed the publication at the Hebden Bridge station; exhibited the drawings at the University of Central Lancashire, where he lectures in illustration; and even threw a modest ‘opening’ on the train.”

April 15′s daily design idea is inspiration is everywhere.

April 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

SFI12: Design is relational.

Part 5 of 5

The day’s self-described “analyst and scribe” Steven Moore was last to speak to the Structures audience on Saturday. Throughout the day, Moore tracked the topics covered using a spreadsheet, and then ranked the topics by frequency. The ones covered most were: relationships, participation, spatial justice, & organizational structure. Public interest designers are clearly a participatory, activist, and practical bunch!


Moore tracked the topics covered by panelists (and audience members) for his closing remarks

One of Moore’s major takeaways from the day’s presentations was that “outsiders, or ‘valuable strangers,’ can broker knowledge but also adapt [outside] relevant knowledge to local context.” It’s a great framework for thinking about collaboration between all the team members and beneficiaries on a project. Moore also affirmed the opportunity for the SEED Network to be an industry forum “for the accumulation of accessible knowledge,” and to become a truly disruptive platform for the industry.

On the topic of organizational structure, Moore wisely noted that “there has not yet been enough focus on new, sustainable economic models for public interest design.” I couldn’t agree more. The biggest reason I keep going to Structures is to be a part of the community that will eventually build those models.

April 8’s daily design idea is Moore noted that “opportunity” was an important but underrepresented topic at this year’s Structures. What opportunities for social change design do you see?

April 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm Leave a comment

SFI12: Quantifiable impact.

Part 4 of 5

The third panel was full of projects with clearly recognizable social, environmental, and economical impact. BNIM Architecture’s SEED award winning Bancroft School Revitalization was the first project presented, including heartfelt anecdotes by the neighborhood association’s president, Sandra Hayes. One of her biggest takeaways from this project is that “to be a change agent, you have to build relationships.” Tim Duggan, the landscape architect on the project and a long-term collaborator with BNIM, described another challenge for the team: creating a design language for Manheim that is distinct but still local. Duggan admitted that it’s a tricky but very important line to navigate.

rendering of Bancroft School Revitalization by BNIM and Make It Right

The next speaker was Green Guide for Health Care co-founder Gail Vittori, who realized 12 years ago that “no one was really connecting human health & the built environment.” The work that she has done and encouraged others to do (including some great progress by my employer, Perkins+Will!) has moved healthcare facilities forward by leaps and bounds. Now, the standard for hospital design is finally shifting toward healthy food, water and energy savings, and carcinogen free building materials. When asked about mobilizing this type of change, specifically though the effect of a “multiplier,” Vittori shared that employee retention in a powerful motivator in healthcare; statistics show that nurses stay in their jobs longer when there’s a green commitment from their employer, and hospitals clearly understand the value of lower turnover.

The always entertaining Pliny Fisk, co-founder of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, also shared some pieces of his portfolio. His project goals are strongly rooted in social impact and understanding, making him and Vittori (his wife) quite the power couple of public interest design. With his projects, Fisk said that his aim is for clients to think “that crazy American, he actually understands who we are as a culture.” In my opinion, it’s a goal that’s far from crazy.

MASS Design Group aims for triple bottom line impact with all their projects, including construction of housing for Butaro Hospital’s doctors

Michael Murphy and Tanya Paz were up next, presenting MASS Design Group’s SEED award winning Nyanza hospital. Murphy shared that designing “healthier environments” was the primary goal in founding the non-profit firm, a goal that has definitely been achieved with their celebrated Butaro hospital. The Nyanza project has many of the same goals as Butaro, but is located on a much tighter site, making it both a challenging and very rewarding project to work on.

When the audience asked this panel how we can improve legislation to make healthier cities, several great answers were offered. BNIM’s Sam De Jong reaffirmed the power of seeing the local community as a partner. Duggan reminded the audience to vote! And moderator Michael Gatto added by saying that we all need to be “solutionary” in our approaches.

April 7’s daily design idea is a quote by Make It Right’s Tim Duggan: “the moment you quantify the benefits, the bean counter will understand the value of tree hugging.”

April 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

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