Yale New Haven Health & BAM Collaboration

Yale New Haven Health & BAM Collaboration

In a lightning fast 3 months, Yale New Haven Health and BAM collaborated to design and build an Emergency Department Annex Building with 35 new patient bays and 9 nurse stations, delighting both staff and patients. Recently completed, learn more about this project by watching the video below!

Women's History Month 2022

Women's History Month 2022

BAM celebrates Women’s History Month by highlighting important women in our lives! The BAM team was excited to participate and shared photos and stories of the women that are special to them.

Natalia Maldonado, Principal at BAM

Natalia picked her mum and Pau.

My mom. She is simply my world ❤
Pau. She is literally my hero! 😊

Pam Cole, Principal and Founder at BAM

Pam picked her paternal mam-maw.

Nora Mae Cole, my paternal mam-maw, was one of the HERoines in my life

My family is from Appalachia, the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.  Her strong will, clear focus and gorgeous white hair has inspired me to live my best life.  I’m still waiting to get her beautiful white hair and her courage inspires me every day.

Veronica Cruz Fernandez, Architectural Job Captain at BAM

Veronica picked her mother.

Monica Heredia (My mother), Public Works Director/City Engineer, City of Montclair

One of the biggest inspirations in my life is my mother, Monica Heredia. As an immigrant to the US, she instilled the values of working hard, perseverance and dedication, enjoying the big and small things in life, and pursuing educational and professional goals.

Dan Castner, Principal at BAM

Dan picked his mother, sisters, wife, and daughter.

I wouldn’t be the person I am without the women in my life.

My Mother, Monica Castner, was a nurse, and taught me about unconditional empathy and gave me the drive to always search for understanding.  Growing up with my five sisters; Bonnie, Christine, Barbra, Karen, and Maria, all taught me about diplomacy and consensus building.  My wife, Heather, teaches me every day about patience, respect, and humility.  And my daughter, Grete, reminds and teaches me every day about curiosity, humor, optimism and raw enthusiasm.

Caroline Sarrette, Graphic Designer at BAM

Caroline picked sa maman.

Frederique Pinaire, ma maman <3

She is obviously the best mum in the world, and I am not biased! 😉

She was a secretary at University in France but she was a lot more than that. She spearheaded a lot of student programs and supported them through their studies and career paths. Today, she volunteers at Le Secours Populaire to support immigrants and underprivileged people back in my hometown in Besancon. She devoted her life helping others and guided me through everything. I truly admire her for all the things she does and went through in life. <3

Black History Month 2022

Black History Month 2022

Carter G. Woodson was a scholar who first established “Negro History Week” during the second week of February. And why that week? Because it encompasses the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass—both men being great American symbols of freedom.

Dr. Woodson’s dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, marked every February since 1976.

This Black History Month BAM celebrated by highlighting Black Owned businesses. If you’re near our offices in Los Angeles or New York, check out some of our favorite Black Owned restaurants in the area. How did you celebrate Black History Month?

Featuring Black Owned Businesses

Hank Jenkins, founder of The Plant Provocateur
Hank Jenkins inside his greenhouse at home in Silver Lake. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

What once began as a traveling plant lover’s popup marketplace around Los Angeles 10 years ago, then became a word-of-mouth, go-to brick-and-mortar plant shop in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. While operating The Plant Provocateur brick-and-mortar shop Hank Jenkins taught various engaging plant workshops and created an exciting plant community. Now in this new ‘Covid’ world, after 5 years, the brick-and-mortar has closed and evolved into a virtual online plant shop.

Agnes Baddoo, founder of a Leather Goods Company
Agnes Baddoo

Designer and stylist Agnes Baddoo observes her surroundings by investigating our ever-changing environment and the interactions of people through fashion. Inspired by simple forms with function and an interest in genuine craft and techniques, Agnes Baddoo creates leather goods that are well made and classic in both Los Angeles, California and New York City, New York.

Jerry Lorenzo, founder of Fear of God
Jerry Lorenzo

Fear of God is an independent American luxury fashion label, founded in 2013 in Los Angeles by Jerry Lorenzo. Crafting timeless, wearable garments, the brand’s distinct interpretation of the American expression has become an emblem of contemporary culture. Paying homage to the unique heritage with a contemplated and sophisticated fusion through high-grade materials and fine craftsmanship.

Find more black owned businesses in the links below.

Featuring Black Owned Restaurants

Tamearra Dyson, founder of Souley Vegan
Tamearra Dyson

Tamearra Dyson, Chef and Owner at Souley Vegan, has been cooking her signature vegan dishes since she was 18. Chef Dyson believes in cruelty free eating.

Chef Velvet, founder of The VTree
Chef Velvet

The Vtree offers a one-of-a-kind experience with a selection of plant-based options that are derived from southern classic recipes. Each option on the menu is seasoned to perfection and is a mind, body, and soul treat.

Chef Velvet is a sought after celebrity chef, entrepreneur, author, social justice activist, public speaker, and restaurant owner. She is the visionary behind the hottest restaurant in Los Angeles, “The Vtree Silverlake”. Not only is she one of the most sought-after celebrity chefs in the business. She also is the co-Founder of “Vegan in the Hood” a global program that teaches underserved communities the importance of community gardens, self-sustainability, and the life benefits of a healthy diet.

Nesanet and Azla, founders of Azla Vegan
Nesanet and Azla, owners of Azla Vegan

Located in the Mercado la Paloma—an incubator for first-time business and non-profit owners run by Esperanza Community Housing—on South Grand Avenue, Azla Vegan is symbolic of its matriarchal namesake’s love for and devotion to her family. It’s symbolic of her youngest daughter’s, Nesanet’s, passion for integrating community, health and culture together. Before opening in 2013, “My mom was actually retired in Ethiopia,” Nesanet tells me. You see, Azla immigrated to the United States—twice. Once to raise a family, and then to return to family.

Find more black owned restaurants in the links below.

Black Owned Businesses
Black Owned Restaurants
Souley Vegan
615 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA


The V Tree Hollywood
3515 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA


Azla Ethiopian Eatery
4309 Leimert Blvd, Los Angeles, CA


Jackfruit Cafe
358 W. 38th Street, Los Angeles, CA


107 West 9th St, Los Angeles CA

Sol Sips
203 Wilson Ave, Brooklyn NY


Brooklyn Chophouse
150 Nassau St, New York, NY

Sweet Chick
178 Ludlow St, New York, NY


Seasoned Vegan
55 St Nicholas Ave, Harlem NY


Negril Village
70 West 3rd St, New York, NY

Wayfinding or The Art Of Navigation

By Caroline Sarrette, Graphic Designer at BAM Creative, New York

Wayfinding has existed for centuries and is still very relevant today, but its shapes, forms and to some extent, purposes have evolved over time as the world has seen new landscapes and spaces come to life. People have to adjust to new surroundings and with the new digital era, new tools appeared that impacted wayfinding and its purpose. Not only is wayfinding a tool to help people navigate but it has also become a tool to learn from user behaviors and connect with them through more targeted marketing techniques. In this paper, the history of wayfinding and an overview of the different wayfinding principles and information systems used in built environments will be looked into. With this background and discussions with the architecture and interiors teams at BAM, recommendations of how to create a clear wayfinding plan and showcase examples of these systems will be offered. The history of wayfinding along with the principles and information systems used in built environments help to create opportunities for a clear wayfinding plan. In addition to adding to the built environment experience, the evolution of wayfinding systems can help mitigate the spread of viruses in light of Covid 19 and respond to future needs of a post pandemic world.

Wayfinding History And Definition

Wayfinding historically refers to the techniques used by travelers to discover unmarked routes. These techniques include but are not limited to dead reckoning, maps (earliest known maps are of the stars), compass, astronomical positioning or celestial navigation, radio navigation, and more recently, global positioning also known as GPS (1978).

In modern society, the term wayfinding has been used in the context of architecture to help the user experience in orientation and navigation within a built environment. Kevin A. Lynch used the term (originally “way-finding”) for his 1960 book The Image of the City, where he defined way-finding as “a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment.” According to the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), “Wayfinding refers to information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space.”

fun fact

According to National Geographic, sophisticated celestial navigation is still being used today by NASA and other space agencies for many of their missions outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This approach was used by the Apollo program to chart their way to the moon and back. More recently, the Mars Exploration Rover uses celestial navigation to communicate information back to engineers and researchers on Earth.

Wayfinding has become more prominent over time due to the increasing amount of complex built environments. It is used across many industries, but is more easily identified in the design of healthcare facilities, research campuses, education campuses, transportation hubs (subways, airports), and cultural centers (museums).

Urban and architectural environments have grown busier and more complex over time with more people, new buildings and expanding new spaces wide. The growing complexity of architectural environments requires the use of visual cues for visitors to navigate on their own. These cues can be maps, signage, symbols or colors. Wayfinding systems help guide the users through a more pleasant, safe, or even potentially immersive experience.

Wayfinding Tools

Wayfinding may be used in many ways, but the most commonly used tools are maps, signs and floor markings created in both static and digital forms. New tools for wayfinding such as mobile apps have appeared with new technologies.

Static and Digital Wayfinding Maps

Wayfinding maps are a representation/plan of the surrounding environment and indicate where a person is situated to help navigate within the space.

Digital versions of maps are now more widely available and while they have a similar purpose to static maps, they are more interactive and require the user to engage with their mobile device.

Static Signs

The most common forms of static wayfinding signage may be classified into four categories:

1-Identification Signs

Identification signs inform the user when they have arrived at their destination.

Examples of Identification Signs

  • Door plaques (John Doe, Head of HR)
  • Departmental markers (Accounting and Finance; Marketing)
  • Landmark signage (Donor Plaque; Historical Marker)

2-Directional Signs

Directional signage gives people the direction they need to follow to reach their destination. They usually have arrows pointing to the direction a user needs to take to reach their destination.

Examples of directional signs

  • Junction signs (left to bathroom, right to outdoor patio)
  • Directory signage (Doctor Smith, 9th floor, GP Department)
  • Directional colored lines on the floor

3-Informational Signs

Informational signage gives people the information they need when located in a specific area. They are usually found in entry and reception areas such as lobbies or waiting rooms. This signage gives primary information to the user including the location of the bathrooms, when the business closes, and/or how often the area is sanitized.

Examples of Informational Signs

  • Amenities and accommodations (Free Wi-Fi; elevators)
  • Facilities signage (bathrooms; exits; cafeteria)
  • Business information (hours of operation; address numbers)

4-Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signage focuses on safety and liability concerns. It also sets boundaries for the users by telling them where they can and cannot go or what they can or cannot do. It reinforces rules, safety and privacy standards. Regulatory signs are direct and leave no space for ambiguity: Employees Only, Caution! High Voltage!, No Smoking, etc.…

Examples of Regulatory Signs

  • Rules and regulations (no smoking; no firearms)
  • Compliance standards (ADA accessibility; high voltage sign)
  • Access control (no entry beyond this point; employees only)

Floor Markings

Floor markings, just like signs, have a different use and purpose but are similar in nature; identification, directional, informative, and regulatory floor markings can be identified. The brand Brady has developed a concise explanatory chart that helps bring sense to floor markings, at least in industrial environments.

Wayfinding, a Hybrid Discipline

Wayfinding designers usually have a hybrid of graphic, architectural, and environmental design skill sets. The job descriptions typically require a BFA in Graphic, Industrial or Interior Design, Architecture, or Urban Planning. Wayfinding designers often work closely with architects and interior designers to implement an effective wayfinding system for any new or remodeled space. This role requires close collaboration across disciplines and a good understanding of the space, plans, elevations, finishes and installation details. A wayfinding designer should be able to read architectural plans such as:

  • Reflected ceiling plans (RCP), as this is where fire exits are indicated
  • Finish, ­­­floor, and elevation plans, as these might be useful for visual wayfinding to depict painted arrows and symbols
  • Partition plans/furniture plans, since they give a sense of how the space is occupied by furniture and how people would move through the space

A wayfinding designer also needs to implement an effective wayfinding system that speaks to and supports the brand voice, message, and mission. Users need to identify and recognize a company when walking into the space, and the design needs to be cohesive with the overall brand tone. Wayfinding design requires a good understanding of general graphic design, typography, type settings, color theory and iconography design as well as an equally strong understanding of materials and finishes. The more technical mounting aspects are also important skills, as a wayfinding plan must account for these details. Wayfinding designers should consider the different types of materials used in the space, how they will interact with one another, and what is involved with installation.

7 Steps to Create a Clear Wayfinding Plan

Wayfinding projects require a tight, well organized plan as there are many moving parts involved in the process. Seven steps to help create an effective and cohesive wayfinding plan include:


Step 1 – Conduct a Space Audit

It is essential to understand the space in which the wayfinding system will be installed. As specified above, the team working on the wayfinding system needs to be able to read architectural drawings and documents to develop a well-rounded wayfinding plan.


Step 2 – Define Signage Types

Once the team has an understanding of the space and the needs of the project, a list of signs that will be needed is then put together. Signage types are identified and attributed a “type name,” usually a generic, abbreviated legend name such as sign type A1, A2, B1, B2, D1, D2… depending on the vendor. Each sign has a particular and specific usage. As covered above, these signs are usually identified and distributed into categories such as identification, directional, informational, and regulatory.

side note

All elements within a wayfinding plan must be clearly defined and use concise and simplified/coded nomenclature to help with clear communication to avoid any confusion for vendors down the line. This is especially valuable when the design team is dealing with large spaces and multiple floors.

Step 3: Identify Graphic Elements: Typography, Iconography and Colors

These graphic elements are crucial to create a clear and immersive wayfinding and branding experience.

Once the types of signs have been identified, graphic design elements need to be defined. If the client has an established visual identity, using their branding guidelines will help define typography, iconography style and colors/finishes. If not, this might be a chance to get creative and define those parameters for them. The typography and type setting need to be readable; the color palette must be easy to differentiate, and icon style must be easy to identify and recognize. It is also a good idea to allocate a code to each color (C1, C2, C3…), finish (F1, F2, F3), icon (I1, I2, I3…) and type setting (TS1, TS2, TS3…) which will be referenced during signage layout design and production.

Step 4: Define Graphic Layout on Signage: Types and Element Settings

Once the graphic elements have been established, they must be incorporated into the different types of signage. The elements must be logical and cohesive to avoid any confusion. Users will acclimate themselves with a certain hierarchy of elements when navigating through the environment, so it is essential for the hierarchy to be the same and accurate through the entire journey.

Step 5: Mockup Typical Installation Elevations

It is important to establish signage types for a project and where they will be used. Elevation plans are usually best to mock this up, as elevations may show signage that will be used on corner walls, by elevators or on glass doors. Usually, dimensions are also provided so the company in charge of installation knows exactly where the signs should be placed, and to ensure consistent placement for all signs throughout the entire building.


Step 6: Confirm Mounting Instructions

Each sign must be correctly mounted depending on both the size of the signage and the surface on which it will be installed. Signs that will be mounted on solid walls will require different mounting instructions than those mounted on glass doors.


Step 7: Create Sign Location Plans

Finally, once all items above have been established, a clear sign location plan must be created to reference all signage that needs to be installed on all the floors of the building. Usually, floor plans are used and marked up with signage codes that clearly show sign locations with the use of arrows. This plan is then distributed to the company in charge of producing and installing the signs within the space.

Wayfinding, the Graphic Design & Branding Component

Wayfinding is not just about giving the users direction; while this is the primary intent, it can also support a brand identity. A brand can show its personality and tell a story through wayfinding. Creating a branded wayfinding system helps users understand the brand, the services offered, and help them identify with the brand. When used correctly, wayfinding is another way for the modern brand to build a relationship and loyalty with their audience through an immersive experience and strong customer service.

Wayfinding Case Studies in Multiple Industries: A Showcase

Art centers, healthcare facilities and transit systems have been particularly forward thinking when it comes to wayfinding. They have combined traditional wayfinding tools such as static signage alongside more modern ones such as touchscreen technology, apps, and digital signage to help guide visitors in and around their facilities.

Below are three well-known examples from each of these industries that are particularly compelling wayfinding case studies to showcase.

Transportation Industry

Wayfinding in Transportation: New York City Transit Authority
Designer: Massimo Vignelli – 1970


One famous transportation wayfinding case study that will resonate with any graphic designer is, of course, the New York City Transit Authority developed and designed by Massimo Vignelli and his team at Unimark International Consultant Designers. The reason why this specific case study is interesting is that the New York Transit Authority continues to use Unimark-created trademarks today, and anyone familiar with the MTA and the NYC Subway will recognize it. It is a solid example of effective wayfinding and engaging graphic design work for a very busy and massive urban scale setting.


It speaks to the strength of this wayfinding system that it was invented in 1970 and is still being used today. It has been edited and has evolved over time to support infrastructure changes and improvement plans. Despite these revisions, its essence remains, and it is still widely used to help give directions to all busy New Yorkers and visitors alike. Standards Manual, an independent publishing imprint with a mission to archive and preserve artifacts of design history, recently published the NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual with scans of Massimo Vignelli and Unimark’s design. Highlighting the important contribution of this design to history, Standards Manual’s book includes images of the original style guide:

Healthcare Industry

Wayfinding in Healthcare: Weill Cornell Medicine
Designer: BAM Creative – Ongoing Collaborations


Healthcare campuses present a unique set of challenges. Often, these environments have developed over time and encompass multiple buildings, some of them being old and some being brand new. This makes navigation among the buildings complex and regular upgrades are needed.

To respond to rapid changes in the hospital environment, staff ends up taping 8.5 x 11 temporary signs throughout the hallways, which compromises the effectiveness of the wayfinding system already in place.


So many hospitals have overlapping layers of color paths on the floor, and/or on the walls, [and] signs that contradict other signs. Locations of people and departments in most hospitals is not a static condition. I often have told clients that they need to remove ALL signage and start over.

It’s really important that healthcare systems develop a system that is not dependent on the signage vendor. It has to be clear, flexible, and expandable” says Helen Cohen, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Healthcare Practice Leader at BAM NY.


With Helen’s comments in mind, new technologies offer a clear, flexible, and expandable wayfinding option. An example is the use of electronic, readily editable screens that may be updated as needed, without taping up paper or waiting for a new sign to be installed. An additional benefit of screens is that content may be provided in multiple languages, creating a more inclusive patient experience. Another system to assist in the wayfinding experience uses the GPS in a smartphone to direct a visitor around a campus, although it is currently only available on newer campuses with the infrastructure to support this system.  It is slowly being adopted more widely, and it opens doors to new possibilities for the healthcare industry to improve wayfinding.


Finding good case studies for healthcare can be challenging, due to the reasons Helen notes above. BAM created a compelling project at Weill Cornell with clear signage and effective wayfinding. To create an easier experience for visitors and staff alike, the large red numbers make it easy to direct people to different corridors by indicating the number. Using numbers for the corridors, exam rooms, and offices (as opposed to names) considers both flexibility and long-term use for the facility. Instead of having to swap out new signage should the department or staff change, the numbering is clear regardless of how the space is used.

Cultural Centers

Wayfinding in Cultural Centers: MOMA
Museum Expansion and Brand Refresh – 2019


MOMA expanded the museum late 2019 and underwent a brand refresh at the same time. As a part of this project, new wayfinding systems needed to be installed. AIGA hosted an event with the internal creative team at MOMA that I had the chance to attend, and the event focused on the ramifications of an expansion and a brand refresh on wayfinding. As a part of this initiative, MOMA used a lot of digital tools that not only helped visitors to circulate around the museum but increased online customer acquisition for MOMA.

All images from mw20

One element in the museum, that came up during an AIGA event in NYC back in 2019, that seemed very challenging for the creative team was the white labels printed beside each art piece. The MOMA team used to manage each label through an Excel document, and it sounded like a logistical nightmare. With the rebrand, they researched vendors to provide efficient systems to collect, manage and print these labels. They found a vendor who produced a Content Management System (CMS) that made the life of the creative team a bit easier in regard to label management. It was an interesting anecdote, as one would not think of the logistics of it all from a visitor’s standpoint.

Wayfinding and Our New Normal

Wayfinding After the Pandemic

The recent pandemic has greatly impacted how people interact with each other and within a space, due to social distancing and the reduced indoor occupancy. Touch surfaces have also become questionable and wayfinding needs to evolve and consider the new variables.


A study in 2019 from Markets & Markets found that the digital signage market is expected to increase from $20.8 billion in 2019 to $29.6 billion by 2024, growing annually at a rate of 7.3 percent. This number is likely to grow as interactive digital signage offers additional value during the pandemic.


Last month, the team at 22Miles released a whitepaper, Wayfinding Solutions & New Workplace Design, exploring the future of the workplace, building management post-pandemic, and how digital signage and wayfinding can be leveraged to support the logistical challenges facing enterprise workspaces, hospitality, education, and other industries.

Kiosks and displays positioned at entrances can serve as a first line of defense and communication.


Touchscreen Dilemma

With public touchscreens, used by a large number of people, an infected person could leave a virus on a surface and successfully infect another uncontaminated person without their knowledge.

Infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Tara Smith from Kent State University said, “Since so many people are touching them day in and day out, they’re a great place for viruses and bacteria to be deposited by infected individuals and be picked up by healthy ones, spreading the germ to new people.”

In an attempt to combat potential spread, Dr. Smith suggested that companies should consider increasing hygiene measures for those using the screens, such as wipes on the stations. But until it is known for sure that companies are doing so, is it safer just to avoid touchscreens? Or do we have other options?

Mobile App Check Ins

Using the smartphone as a platform for interaction with a public-facing interface effectively confines the experience to a safe personal space. The average smartphone user touches their device 2,617 times a day. When coupled with the fact that smartphone owners already know how to perform the most basic input gestures on their phones, you’ve got the raw ingredients of a solution for interacting with shared systems that works for a broad swath of the public.

With the scan of a QR code, a smartphone becomes a remote trackpad with full multi-touch control of the shared screen. It’s a solution with a low barrier to entry and high ROI, both economical and eco-friendly. It even has the potential to make touchscreens more accessible to those with severe mobility issues, extending its usefulness far into the future.

Check-in or navigational apps are becoming the standard in industries such as healthcare. Google Maps AR navigation system can also be used within a built space to help direct patients and remove the contact with staff, keeping one-way navigation in mind.

Since many touchscreen technologies have already been installed, the other solutions to keep these investments running are to make them incredibly safe (even when touch is necessary) by using anti-microbial screens or to make them touchless. A few companies have created some solutions, including companies that now produce anti-microbial screen protectors and anti- microbial screen paint that kills germs. If the anti-bacterial solutions will be effective and reassuring enough to the public is not certain, and some other technologies should be considered, especially post-pandemic.

From Touch to Touchless Technology

Touchless technologies can be implemented onto current touchscreen signs already in place, allowing businesses to retain the return on investment on these machines by turning them into touchless devices.

New technologies such as a gesture control that is powered by cameras, using hand tracking and haptics or voice control are also good touchless alternatives. These might be more effective in quieter settings, as busy environments such as restaurants or retail could be challenging with the noise for voice control.

All these new technologies are still being tested and will evolve as the world adjusts to a new normal. One thing to watch is how these digital platforms bring wayfinding to a whole new level, where it not only has an informative purpose but also a marketing one. Technology and wayfinding combined can collect information about customers and can give accurate data which transforms the world of wayfinding in a major way.

In Conclusion

Safety and security are the pillars to strong wayfinding. A wayfinding system that is clear will make the user feel safe and secure navigating within the environment. Even more so, it can have a big impact on how a brand is perceived if carried through effectively and users can identify themselves with these brands and become ambassadors. Traditional wayfinding, such as static signs, are still relevant in today’s world and can help support businesses post-pandemic. Digital wayfinding tools, on the other hand, need to be updated and adjusted since the pandemic. It will require the use of new touchless technologies or the development of new mobile applications. People’s smart phones will become a source of safe navigation in the years to come. All these touchpoints can play a crucial role in a brand’s success. Wayfinding, and more specifically digital wayfinding, is evolving from an informative tool to a marketing/omnichannel tool which can help with customer acquisition and retention and will become a major part of any brands’ bottom line.

Celebrate Pride!

Celebrate Pride!

To build a more productive and welcoming community, it's important that we foster a culture of empathy and inclusion.


BAM supports being knowledgeable about legislation that affects the communities in which we live. As a part of Pride Month, we wanted to highlight legislation currently impacting the LGBTQ+ community. See the legislative tracker at the link below:



AAPI Heritage Month 2021

Asian American
and Pacific Islanders
Heritage Month

By the Culture Circle Team at BAM:
Tiana Howell, Architectural Designer at BAM Creative, New York,
Cindy Liu, Interior Design Job Captain, Los Angeles, CA,
Sadie Meyer, Architectural Designer, Los Angeles, CA,
Morgan Summer, Architectural Designer, Los Angeles, CA

During this Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, BAM celebrates the creatives that inspire us. BAM Creative stands with the Asian and Pacific Islander community in fighting against racism, injustice, and anti-Asian hate crimes.

During this Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, BAM celebrates the creatives that inspire us. BAM Creative stands with the Asian and Pacific Islander community in fighting against racism, injustice, and anti-Asian hate crimes.
Willow Lung-Amam

Willow Lung-Amam is an associate professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Program and director of community development at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lung-Amam’s research focuses on the link between social inequality and the built environment, particularly in neighborhoods undergoing rapid racial and economic change. She has written extensively on immigration, suburban diversity and poverty, gentrification, redevelopment politics, and geographies of opportunity, including her book Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia.

Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando is a Japanese self-taught architect…Tadao Ando’s body of work is known for the creative use of natural light and for structures that follow natural forms of the landscape, rather than disturbing the landscape by making it conform to the constructed space of a building. Ando’s buildings are often characterized by complex three-dimensional circulation paths. These paths weave in between interior and exterior spaces formed both inside large-scale geometric shapes and in the spaces between them.

Ambrish Arora

Ambrish Arora is the design principal at Studio Lotus, a multi-disciplinary design practice based in Delhi.” The “studio’s work is grounded in principles of conscious design, celebrating local resources, cultural influences, attention to detail and an inclusive design process. Arora has a keen interest in promoting inclusivity and consciousness as a way of working in the design industry.

Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban is a Japanese architect, known for his innovative work with paper, particularly recycled cardboard tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims. He was profiled by Time magazine in their projection of 21st-century innovators in the field of architecture and design…For Ban, one of the most important themes in his work is the ‘invisible structure.’ That is, he does not overly express his structural elements, but rather chooses to incorporate them into the design. Ban is not interested in the newest materials and techniques, but rather the expression of the concept behind his building. He deliberately chooses materials to further this expression.

Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin is a Chinese performance artist and photographer known for using chameleon-like methods to immerse himself in environments, earning him the nickname ‘The Invisible Man.’ The artist’s Hiding in the City series camouflages Liu by way of paint, a ‘silent protest’ aimed at the Chinese government’s policies in the years since the Cultural Revolution. ‘Disappearing is not the main point of my work,’ Liu has said. ‘It’s just the method I use to pass on a message. It’s my way to convey all the anxiety I feel for human beings.’ Born on January 7, 1973 in Shandong, China, he received his MFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing in 2001. In 2015, Liu was selected by the Global Goals campaign to produce an image that conveyed a number goals, including ending poverty and encouraging sustainable use of resources, Liu’s chose an image in where he hid himself within 193 flags of the world. The artist has been the subject of many solo exhibitions including those at Galerie Paris-Beijing in Paris, Klein Sun Gallery in New York, and Boxart in Verona, Italy, among others. He currently lives and works in Beijing, China.

Wing T. Chao

For 37 years at Disney, Wing T. Chao played a vital role in designing and developing exceptional and inspiring projects, worth more than $12 billion, at Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide. Wing served as Vice Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for Asia Pacific Development, as well as Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering, where he oversaw master planning, architecture, and design for Disney properties around the world, including in California, Florida, Hawai‘i, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

After Wing graduated with Bachelor and Master’s degrees from UC Berkeley, he went on to receive his second Master’s degree in Architecture with a focus in Urban Design from Harvard University. His thesis, “A Free Time City,” foreshadowed society’s transformation into the Information Age, conceiving a “Vacation City” where people could not only have fun, but also undergo educational enrichment. The idea of combining education and entertainment (“edutainment”) coincided nicely with Walt Disney World’s development plans for what would become the largest “Free Time City” in the world…Disney’s innovative design paradigm incorporated distinct architectural themes and characters for each hotel, resulting in the creation of “Entertainment Architecture.” Wing was the mastermind for planning and the design conscience for architecture, interiors, graphics, landscaping, lighting, and Cast Member costumes.

Soomeen Hahm

Soomeen Hahm is the founder of the SoomeenHahm Design Ltd, a design researcher, educator and architectural designer. Academically she is currently a design faculty and robotic researcher at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Soomeen gained her Bachelor of Architecture degree at the Beijing Tsinghua University and her Master of Architecture degree at the Architectural Association where she studied in the Design Research Lab (DRL). After her graduation, she developed her interests focusing on research in generative and algorithmic design using computer coding, application of multi-agent systems in design, interactive/responsive environments, behavioral patterns of natural systems, as well as robotic fabrication processes and digital modes of production. Her latest research focuses on AR/VR, wearable machines and human computer interaction.

She is specialized in coding, digital simulations and 3d modelling in various software platforms. Since her graduation, Soomeen has taught and lectured at numerous institutions in UK and internationally, teaching studios, workshops and short courses focusing on computational design. In addition to this, she is contributing to various online educational platforms and digital toolset libraries…She is also an experienced designer [who] worked [for] several years at Zaha Hadid Architects and Zaha Hadid Design where she engaged in designing some of the most iconic buildings and products.

Alvin Huang

Alvin Huang, AIA is the Founder and Design Principal of Synthesis Design + Architecture and an Associate Professor at the USC School of Architecture. He is an award-winning Chinese-American architect, designer, and educator specializing in the integrated application of material performance, emergent design technologies and digital fabrication in contemporary architectural practice. His work spans all scales ranging from hi-rise towers and mixed-use developments to temporary pavilions and bespoke furnishings.

Fuzlar R. Khan

Fuzlar R. Khan was a Bangladeshi-American structural engineer and architect, who initiated important structural systems for skyscrapers. Considered the ‘father of tubular designs’ for high-rises, Khan was also a pioneer in computer-aided design (CAD). He was the designer of the Sears Tower, since renamed Willis Tower, the tallest building in the world from 1973 until 1998 and the 100-story John Hancock Center.

A partner in the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago, Khan, more than any other individual, ushered in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the 20th century. He has been called the ‘Einstein of structural engineering’ and the ‘Greatest Structural Engineer of the 20th Century’ for his innovative use of structural systems that remain fundamental to modern skyscraper design and construction.

Kisho Kurokawa

Kisho Kurokawa was one of Japan‘s leading architects of the 20th century, perhaps most well-known as one of the founders of the Metabolist movement of the 1960s. Throughout the course of his career, Kurokawa advocated a philosophical approach to understanding architecture that was manifest in his completed projects throughout his life.

After completing his studies at the university of Tokyo under Japanese master Kenzo Tange in 1959, Kurokawa helped to establish the Metabolist movement, a loosely-affiliated group including Kiyonori Kikutake and Fumihiko Maki, with Tange himself connected to the group as both a member and a mentor. The principles of the Metabolists revolved around ideas of impermanence and change, and as the name suggests the movement was intended to have more in common with natural processes. These ideas were developed to be an elaboration of—and also a reaction to—the principles of the architects affiliated with CIAM, which had its final meeting in 1959.

Yayoi Kusama

Avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was an influential figure in the postwar New York art scene, staging provocative happenings and exhibiting works such as her “Infinity Nets,” hallucinatory paintings of loops and dots (and physical representations of the idea of infinity). Narcissus Garden, an installation of hundreds of mirrored balls, earned Kusama notoriety at the 1966 Venice Biennale, where she attempted to sell the individual spheres to passersby. Kusama counted Donald Judd and Eva Hesse among her close friends, and is often considered an influence on Andy Warhol and a precursor to Pop art. Since her return to Japan in the 1970s, Kusama’s work has continued to appeal to the imagination and the senses, including dizzying walk-in installations, public sculptures, and the “Dots Obsessions” paintings.

Kwangho Lee

Kwangho Lee was born in 1981 and grew up in a small city next to Seoul, Korea. He completed his studies at Hongik University in Seoul, majoring Metal Art & Design, and graduated in February 2007. He currently lives and works in Seoul. This year marks his 10th year since the start of his career as a designer. Making things by hand was a great joy as a child, reminding his grandfather who, a farmer himself, constantly hand-made daily household goods from natural materials found nearby. Kwangho Lee appreciated the way he looked at everyday objects and thus began to approach things in similar ways; to give new meaning and function to the most ordinary. Today, as he continuously presents new series of works, he develops his practice by discovering moments of materials joining another. Until now he made works on marble and marble, copper and enamel, steel and steel and tries to describe in his works the instant moment of union.

Maya Lin

Maya Lin is known for her large-scale environmental artworks, her architectural works and her memorial designs. Her unique multi-disciplinary career has ‘resisted categories, boundaries and borders’ (Michael Brenson). In her book Boundaries, she writes ‘I see myself existing between boundaries, a place where opposites meet; science and art, art and architecture, East and West. My work originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings.’

Nature and the environment have long been central concerns for Lin who attended Yale University where she earned a BA in 1981 and a Master of Architecture degree in 1986. Lin was thrust into the spotlight when, as a senior at Yale, she submitted the winning design in a national competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built in Washington, D.C. She has gone on to a remarkable career in both art and architecture, whilst still being committed to memory works that focus on some of the critical historical issues of our time.

David Malott

David is AI SpaceFactory’s Co-Founder and CEO. He founded SpaceFactory to achieve his long-held vision of making life multi-planetary and transforming the way we build and live on this Planet.

Under David’s leadership, AI SpaceFactory won the NASA Centennial Challenge for the design and prototyping of our Mars habitat MARSHA. David spearheads the company’s parallel work on Earth and in Space, applying SpaceFactory’s R&D initiatives in Space towards scalable, sustainable solutions for the global construction industry.

Before co-founding AI SpaceFactory, David spent 20 years as a leader in the building industry, through which he worked with the world’s top construction companies to build some of the most complex projects, including three of the world’s tallest towers.

Taniya Nayak

Taniya Nayak is one of the nation’s foremost interior designers. She became a household name as a design expert member on HGTV and Food Network. Taniya owns a successful, Boston-based interior design firm, Taniya Nayak Design, Inc. where she adds a fresh, clean look to both commercial and residential spaces. Known for her sunny smile and sharp eye, Taniya Nayak’s approachable take on interior design has won over everyone from rock stars to first time homebuyers. Taniya’s knack for bringing rich textures and unexpected finishes together with practical, real-life functionality has made her a go-to expert for design programs on major networks including ABC, HGTV and Food Network. In 2005, Taniya started her own design firm, Taniya Nayak Design, Inc. Having designed for a wide range of spaces and budgets, she focuses on creating inspired commercial and residential spaces with both broad appeal and personal connection. Taniya’s design firm has developed an impressive range of clientele from restaurants to condo developments to high-end residential…Born in India and raised in Boston, Taniya’s design style is strongly influenced by her creative family, especially her father, a talented architect who just received his Fellowship from AIA in 2017.

Yoko Ono

Known for her experimental art, music, filmmaking, and feminism, as well as for her marriage to John Lennon, Yoko Ono was a major figure in the 1960s New York underground art scene, and she continues to produce work and make headlines today. Of several iconic conceptual and performance art pieces that Ono produced, the most famous is Cut Piece (1964), first performed in Tokyo, in which she kneeled on the floor of a stage while members of the audience gradually cut off her clothes. In the ’60s and ’70s Ono was associated with the Fluxus movement—a loose group of avant-garde Dada-inspired artists—and produced printed matter, such as a book titled Grapefruit (1964) containing instructions for musical and artistic pieces. Other works include Smoke Painting (1961), a canvas that viewers were invited to burn. John Cage was a major influence and collaborator for Ono, as was the godfather of Fluxus, George Maciunas.

I.M. Pei

Born in Suzhou, China, I.M. Pei grew up in Hong Kong and Shanghai before deciding to move to the United States to study architecture. Though he was uninspired by the Beaux-Arts traditions at both the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, a professor convinced him to persevere. He received his Bachelor’s degree in 1940, when the second Sino-Japanese War forced him to abandon his plans to return to his home country – in the end, a fortuitous event for the young architect, as it allowed him to discover the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, where Pei worked with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer.

Pei founded his own practice in 1955, then known as I.M. Pei & Associates (but later changing its name to Pei & Partners in 1966 and finally to Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989). In its six-decade history, the firm’s most well-known work is likely his crystalline extension to the Louvre in Paris; other highly influential works include the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the JFK Presidential Library in Boston.

Dennis C.K. Poon

Mr. Poon has more than 30 years experience in the structural engineering of a wide variety of building types, such as super high-rise commercial and mixed-use buildings, health care facilities, airports, and long-span sports and entertainment arenas, in both steel and concrete. He has expertise in the application of state-of-the-art engineering technologies for building analysis, design and construction, including project delivery strategies. Mr. Poon also has extensive experience in seismic design, structural investigations and optimization of structural systems. He has played a leading role in the structural engineering team for the design of the 508m tall Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan. Currently, Mr. Poon is the Principal-in-Charge for the structural design of the 632m tall Shanghai Tower in China, the 601m tall 151 Incheon Twin Tower in Korea, and the 660m tall Ping An Tower in Shenzhen, China.

Jenny Wu

Jenny Wu received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.  Currently, Jenny is a member of the design faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc) and Columbia GSAPP.  She has previously taught at institutions such as Syracuse University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In addition to her architectural practice, she also founded LACE by Jenny Wu, a line of 3D printed jewelry, in 2014.  The pieces have been widely featured in publications, such as Forbes, People, and Elle Magazine.  Most recently, Jenny was named one of four design visionaries by Porsche and Dwell Magazine in their ‘Powered by Design’ documentaries, showcasing her pioneering work in 3D printing.

Vern Yip

Inspired by his world travels and background in architecture…Vern Yip’s global aesthetic, paired with his precise and clean lines, has set him apart as a leading trendsetter. The environments he creates are always warm, timeless, and effortlessly livable.

Interior designer and HGTV personality Vern Yip’s “extraordinary technique, dynamic personality, and sophisticated style have made him a nationally acclaimed interior designer, columnist, and TV superstar.

It all began with his Atlanta design firm, Vern Yip Designs, where he still works with clients from all over the world till this day. Vern’s interior design work has been award-winning, including the prestigious 2000 Southeast Designer of the Year, and he has been prominently featured in countless interior design and media publications.








Design As An Emergent Process | Ambrish Arora | Studio Lotus








2018 Middle East Conference - David Malott “Disrupting Density: Hacking the Tall Building”



Dennis C.K. Poon- Chengdu Greenland:A Non-Coplanar Exoskeleton




Willow Lung-Amam : Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia






































Work from home+parenting

BAM Profile Series: Life as a working parent during the Pandemic

By Kimberly Chin, Senior Interior Design Project Manager at BAM Creative, New York

Below is a great range of experiences as a working from home parent during the pandemic. Michelle has three teenagers at home and two dogs, Dan has three young kids, I have a toddler, Colleen had a baby during the pandemic.

Dan Castner, AIA, LEED AP

New York, NY

Tell us about yourself! Who you are, what you do and where you are working from? Tell us about your family! Working spouse, number of kids, ages, and a little about them!

I’m a Principal at BAM, I’m an architect, and I focus on maintaining and creating new client relationships, as well as helping our internal team meeting their potential.  My wife and I are both working from home, we have three kids, an 8-year-old daughter in the 3rd grade and 5-year old twin boys in pre-school.  All three kids are starting little league next week, and they are all very active, particularly right now as the weather is getting nicer.

When quarantine settled in, did being a full time working from home parent intimidate you? What goals/schedules did you set (if any) and did it work out?

It was a little intimidating, but we realized we needed to get organized by setting up schedules and sharing responsibilities so that my wife and I could support each other when there was an important client meeting that required full attention.

What is your typical work from home day like? What tricks have you learned/ adopted to make days work to balance parenthood and being a full-time employee?

Making it clear to children that when one of us is on a zoom call, we are off limits.  If the door is locked, it means we need quiet.  And that ultimately, if a child appears on screen, it’s not the end of the world, but children need to understand that it’s not ok to try to be on screen as an amusing activity.

I included 2 pictures from our recent trip to the Finger Lakes, one with the kids at a winery (kids have grape juice), and a second at a windy day at Niagara Falls.  Note that all locales were within the state, so need for quarantine post trip!


Michelle Pinkerton

Project Director
New York, NY

Tell us about yourself! Who you are, what you do and where you are working from? Tell us about your family! Working spouse, number of kids, ages, and a little about them!

I’m a Project Director at BAM focusing on building client relationships and bettering the construction process as well as mentoring those that I work with. I met my husband (a construction exec) over a huge value engineering argument (which I won!) and fast forward to 20 years later we have 3 kids and 2 dogs!

As a parent, what was one of the biggest challenges that hit during the pandemic and what strategies helped you to overcome them?

For my husband and I, it was establishing boundaries.  Working from home typically means that you can be interrupted to my teenager’s daily desires, but we had to all learn how to respect each other’s time.  Also, being the lunch lady all day was hard as the kids have different schedules and eat at all different times!  Oh how I wished for a walk on drive-thru some days!!!

If you could go back in time with the lessons you have learned today to who you were in March 2020 when the pandemic started, what advice would you give yourself?

To take a deep breath and to be flexible like I have never known before.  With kids and two working parents, there is always flexibility needed to run the house, but during the pandemic we all had to learn more flexibility and the ability to respond to the needs of our family in conjunction with our daily work tasks.

Meet Zoey, our pandemic puppy!


Colleen Robinson, NCIDQ, LEED AP

Interior Design Project Manager
New York, NY

Tell us about yourself! Who you are, what you do and where you are working from? Tell us about your family! Working spouse, number of kids, ages, and a little about them!

I am an Interior Design Project Manager at BAM focusing on the design process and collaboration with the team on projects. I am working from home full time, and my husband started going into the office every other week last fall. Our 1-year-old daughter is in daycare down the street from our apartment.

When quarantine settled in, did being a full time working from home parent intimidate you? What goals/schedules did you set (if any) and did it work out?

I had my daughter at the beginning of the pandemic and so I have actually only known parenting while working from home. It was a new way of working for me all around. The silver lining for my husband during my maternity leave was that by working from home, he was able to have more time with our daughter than he would have if he was commuting to the office.

As a parent, what was one of the biggest challenges that hit during the pandemic and what strategies helped you to overcome them?

I consider myself a planner by nature, but before becoming a parent, I was able to work as the day needed: staying at the office late, extended meetings, or heading out to a site early in the morning, etc. I now have another person’s day to consider, add the pandemic to that and there are a lot more logistics, and a bit of anxiety mixed in. My husband and I communicate much more throughout the day and tag team as things come up. He may have a busy week one week, and me the next. So the planning has been elevated, and now includes anticipated flexibility.

This was from a beautiful spring day in Central Park last weekend.

Kimberly Chin

Senior Interior Design Project Manager
New York, NY

Tell us about yourself! Who you are, what you do and where you are working from? Tell us about your family! Working spouse, number of kids, ages, and a little about them!

I am an Interior Design Project Manager at BAM with a focus on Healthcare design as well as developing relationships in the industry and mentoring my internal team. I am currently working from home full time with my husband (also full time working from home) and our 3-year-old son (attending virtual preschool).

As a parent, what was one of the biggest challenges that hit during the pandemic and what strategies helped you to overcome them?

Learning to balance all the hats I needed to wear every day. Because I’m not only a project manager. I’m also a wife and a mother. And during the pandemic, a family cook, barista, housekeeper, pre-school teacher, grocery pick up scheduler, and vegetable gardener (by choice) but at the same time, remembering that some days will be better, and some days won’t be. And that’s okay. Always remember to protect your peace.

Tell us about a fun family tradition/hobby/moment that came out of quarantine!

One of my favorites ‘perks’ of working from home are the creative industry events our vendors have been coming up with and often they are inclusive of family. There have been so many events from pumpkin carving to cookie decorating that I was excited for not only myself but my son to enjoy with me. Its such an eye opener to really see so many people who you know from the work side, but then to see them transformed into parents and get this sneak peek into the personal side of their lives warms my heart. That’s not to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy after hours remote events like zoom wine tasting without my son as well.

Adding photos with my son during pandemic working and our family Christmas photo!

Potential Code Changes Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Potential Emergency Department Code Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

By David Bujeda, Senior Architectural Job Captain at BAM Creative, New York

Emergency Departments have been part of the frontline response to the pandemic since the beginning of the virus outbreak. The evolving crisis meant more people confined to home while testing, albeit insufficient, was developed.  Any given Emergency Department facility needed to change protocols every day. The evolution of the pandemic during the last year brought up the question of how future Emergency Department needs to be adaptable and responsive to different scenarios, considering that these areas are already the most stressful, versa­tile, and dynamic in a healthcare facility.

Architects, engineers, and healthcare providers needed to identify strategies to consider the worst-case scenarios. It is vital to rethink flexible spaces and mechanical parameters, with most of the spaces and systems being adaptable to meeting evolving situations and guaranteeing safety of the staff, visitors, and patients.


With these premises, we could divide and list the code regulations that need to be reviewed considering these present and future scenarios in three chapters. The first parameters to be redefined would be the safety protocols, which are the initial responses from the hospital staff to react in the event of a pandemic. In conjunction with that, architectural code changes and new requirements would need to be implemented in advance to make the first approach more effective by directing the patients to designated areas in a safe way. The last, and very important with airborne diseases from a mechanical (HVAC) standpoint view: segregating and isolating specific areas to treat infected patients to prevent the transmission to the rest of the facility and maintain a shielded environment.

Safety Protocols

Emergency response workers are more than familiar with safe work practices and standard precautions to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, and that includes close coordination and effective communication. Diverting infectious patients to the appropriate intake space, separately from the emergency and walking wounded is critical and the most effective protocol to navigate through airborne pandemics. Therefore, the first space to be redesigned would in this case be the waiting rooms. Reconfigure the Emergency Department seating areas to guarantee social distance between patients with Covid symptoms shall include safety seating arrangements, dividers, differentiation of travel paths, signage, etc. Rather than expanding waiting areas, infectious and non-critical patients can be diverted elsewhere in the system, as an example of flexible spaces, but always keeping in mind that all the tasks shall be performed in areas specifically designated for this purpose.

Patient Policies will need code revisions to request patients and visitors to have masks or face covering ad minimum. Dispensing machine areas shall be included when designing these spaces, in addition to handwashing stations, gloves boxes, hand sanitizers, etc. These Disinfection Stations shall be clearly marked separately for patients and staff members.


On the other hand, where technology is involved, the industry and manufacturers have a variety of tools that can work in conjunction with human-related policies to mitigate, reduce or eliminate the transmission of airborne diseases. This should take into consideration that this type of virus or bacteria can be spread not only through respiratory droplets, but also by touching surfaces contaminated by infected patients. Devices connected to occupancy sensors (thermal and movement) such as UV disinfection lighting for specific rooms (toilets, elevators, soiled or clean rooms, exam rooms, triage, gown areas, etc.), or combo UV/HEPA light ceiling mounted, or self-cleaning toilets, or movable Ultraviolet-HEPA-Carbon-Photocatalysis air purification systems units (on demand) for rooms that require decontamination protocols, shall be part of the new requirements when analyzing/designing new facilities or renovating existing ones. Some of this equipment can be used during off-business hours throughout the facility, hence new spaces for storing or increasing the sizes currently required by code shall be reviewed; training for facilities personnel shall be incorporated in their responsibilities.

Architectural Code Changes And New Requirements

It is well known that the first contact that the patient has in a hospital in the event of an emergency is with the check-in/control desks or the waiting areas as we mentioned above, and the architectural code revisions shall begin at these starting points where the infectious patient arrives at the facility. Code regulations shall examine the potential transformation of these rooms to be divided with infectious patients and noninfectious patients, including separate entrances, temporary physical divisions (walls or glass partitions, individual pods, etc.). Associated with these large spaces are the support rooms that could be dedicated to patients with different symptomatology, even if this means duplicating the number of rooms required for the same purpose (toilets, triage rooms, soiled rooms, etc.), and always considering and evaluating the dimensions of the facility to be designed.

Since the only way to determine that a patient has specific symptomatology associated with an airborne disease is to analyze samples, collecting booths might be required for that purpose to divert the patients to the designated waiting area or exam room in time of pandemic. Within this effort to reduce the crossing between infectious patient and others with different symptomatology, distinct paths of travel shall be drawn up, including corridors, elevators, stairs, and access to other areas of the facility.

Once evaluated the changes in the above-mentioned spaces, we can focus on the restricted areas where patients are escorted by staff members. These spaces shall be then segregated for this infrequently-occurring situation and temporary control or checkpoints shall be designed to prevent disease outbreaks (in fully restricted areas) where the staff can gown, decontaminate, dispose soiled PPE, or even take a shower. A good location for these check points can be the corridors that connect different areas in the Emergency Department. These temporary spaces therefore shall be negatively pressurized, with the same parameters for air quality/renovation as others required by code in the facility.

As we move forward in this evaluation and code change requirements, dedicated rooms that support these facilities shall be specifically designated for pandemic scenarios or other mass casualty events. This shall include general or equipment storage rooms, soiled rooms, janitor closets, stretchers alcoves and, of course, not limited to any other soft/ancillary workspace, such as tele-health consultation, reading rooms, offices, etc. Other areas, such as decontamination rooms, critical to navigating unique circumstances shall be included to review protocols and spaces should be designated specifically for decontamination of respirators, reusable PPE, and miscellaneous or reusable medical equipment (stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, etc.).

But we should not reduce our response, analysis, and changes inside the physical and architectural volume of the Emergency Department.

If the number of infectious patients is increasing and the campus or vicinity streets allow temporary and adjacent expansion of the Emergency Department in times of pandemic, like a field hospital with a dedicated area for this purpose including the minimal rooms listed to run these short-term areas, the code shall include a chapter to determine the requirements for this specifics. In addition to this, as we learned through various responses around the world, drive-through testing spaces can be designed to avoid a mass of patients waiting to be tested inside the Emergency Department.

While we are not limiting the new code requirements to architectural aspects inside the facilities, we need to acknowledge that more and more demanded devices can reduce the transmission of virus and bacteria with ‘passive’ human actions. This is an aspect that has been evaluated by different entities and the industry to help patients and staff to have easy access, but now they are becoming more popular because of the pandemic. For instance, including automatic operators and motion/wave sensors on doors, foot/voice-operated controls on elevators, wave card readers, or any touchless devices (hand sanitizer stations, faucets, paper towel or soap dispensers in toilets or amenity bars, etc.), shall be listed in the code to prevent and reduce disease transmission. Undoubtedly, more technology would be involved, but that we can categorize under the MEP changes as defined below.

Summary Diagrams For Emergency Departments

HVAC Code Changes and New Requirements

Ventilation and filtration can reduce the airborne concentration of the virus and thus the risk of transmission through air. Promoting healthy air quality in spaces and facilities is part of the effort from the engineering community and building operations. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that COVID-19 is transmitted through two principal means: person to person and surface transmission. Engineers should focus their work on the HVAC systems to make them more efficient to prevent virus spread through sneezing, coughing, or speaking (person to person contact). Attention should also be paid to maintaining adequate air velocity, humidity and filtration systems to explore new paths, demanding new code changes and requirements to adapt the HVAC to these exceptional situations. ASHRAE is one of the best resources that give some guidance to accomplish these changes in the mechanical systems and is actively seeking solutions for future mitigation of the transmission of pathogens through the air. As stated by the ASHRAE, “Unconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly life threatening and that may also lower resistance to infection.”

According to the 2018 FGI and ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2017, there is a list of rooms  that should be negatively pressurized in Emergency Departments including but not limited to: waiting areas, decontamination and triage rooms, bathrooms, soiled workrooms or soiled holding rooms, janitors closets, and airborne infection isolation (AII) rooms, etc.

For new projects, the code shall consider the increase of areas with negative pressure and exhaust capability, given the architectural parameters and the flexible areas analyzed in the preceding sections. In this case, the code shall contemplate two scenarios: normal operations, with the system running with the minimum requirements; pandemic mode/exceptional operations, with the system modified to add areas to negative pressure and accommodate the spaces to the new code requirements to guarantee 100% ventilation from these areas.

From a mechanical standpoint, enhancing air filtration systems with filters, including MERV rating capable of filtering Covid-19 particles such as HEPA filters, or increasing the minimum outdoor air damper settings with natural air when possible shall be a revision to be considered  by the authorities.


It has been a long year of both trauma and resilience since the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic. The virus disrupted our lives, transformed our workplaces, modified our human/social interactions, and furthermore, the hospitals and healthcare facilities needed to adapt their spaces to avoid being overwhelmed with patients as the cases rose every day, outfitting more and more areas to negative pressure so contaminated air could not escape. Protocols were changed daily. We all just received snapshots of stressful situations, while healthcare providers were devastated, experiencing pandemic fatigue under wretched working conditions, families were struggling and losing loved ones, virtually all businesses were shut down.

But still, in some aspects related to code regulations and future changes, there is a long path to make the right revisions and implement those modifications once all the parties receive and analyze all the data and reach an agreement for future events like this one. Changes in architecture and code are slow, but there is hope in the healthcare sector to get together, involve all the active agents (architects, engineers, AHJ, etc.), leave the trench behind and work diligently to provide better protocols, adaptable spaces and mechanical systems adjustable to different scenarios in the future. Healthcare workers made a colossal effort and it is time to listen to their demands and envision new architecture for hospitals of the future, not only the Emergency Departments.

BAM on the Red Carpet

BAM on the Red Carpet

Congratulations to Los Angeles Union Station on a star-studded Oscars event!

To preserve Union Station for the future, BAM was awarded the unique opportunity to upgrade the iconic Los Angeles transportation hub as a part of Union Station's 80th birthday celebration in 2019.


Collaborating with the team at Morlin Asset Management, LP and Union Station, BAM was passionate about restoring the beauty of the station and modernizing it to open an entirely new market for Union Station to serve as an inspired venue for events - including the Oscars!


Part of BAM's collaboration included the ticket concourse seen throughout the awards show.

For more stunning photos of the Oscars venue, check out The Academy Awards and Los Angeles Union Station on Instagram, and the video below!

Parallels Between UX Design and Architectural Design

Parallels Between UX Design and Architectural Design

By Xinyang Chen, RA, Senior Architectural Job Captain and Miao Tian, Architectural and Interaction Designer

Architectural design is considered as one of the oldest players in the world of design. While the term ‘UX design’ wasn’t adopted by the professional industries until the late 2000s, it was a concept created in the early 1990s. Even with little overlap on the timeline of history, there are great parallels between the two design professions. In the near future, the line between these two will be blurred even further, largely due to rapidly developing technologies.

What is User Experience Design (UX Design)?

The term ‘User Experience Design’ was coined in 1993 by Donald Norman, who joined Apple Computer first as a fellow and then got the job title “user experience architect” which he himself came up with.

“I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were extremely good. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual. Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to gain its meaning.”

— Donald Norman (Merholz, 2007)

Nowadays, the term UX design focuses on the interaction between human and products or services, such as websites, copy machines or one’s visit to a gallery opening. According to UX designer, Caroline White, UX design is an extremely varied discipline, combining aspects of psychology, business, market research, design, and technology. (White, 2021) UX design can reach well beyond the product itself. For example, with the iPhone, the bright color schemes of Apple’s commercials, the livingroom-like retail concept, and the perfect-fitting phone packaging are all meticulously designed and are all parts of the iPhone’s user experience.

So what do UX designers do?

UX designers’ job first and foremost is to advocate for the end-users and to make products and services enjoyable and accessible for all. At the same time, UX designers make sure that the product serves the business goals. They also play a role as a bridge between the wider team of engineers, business stakeholders, and visual designers. One thing to note is that UX designers are not typically responsible for the visual aspect of the product; they deal with how the product ‘works’ but not how it ‘looks.’

What is Architecture?

St. Peter's Basilica
Source: Metropolitan Museum

Dormitory at the Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris by Le Corbusier
Source: Archi Daily

VR gallery for the Architectural Association by Space Popular
Source: Dezeen

The first book on architecture is by Roman engineer Vitruvius. He wrote ‘architecture is a science arising out of many other sciences, and adorned with much and varied learning; by the help of which a judgment is formed of those works which are the result of other arts.’  (Vitruvius, First Centry B.C.)

2000 years later, after the industrial revolution and World War I, Le Corbusier famously said, “A house is a machine for living in.”  (Corbusier, 1923)

Architecture is an ever-shifting concept, and just like UX design, it always bridges many different disciplines.

Today, as more and more people spend most of their waking hours behind some form of screens, architectural design has taken on new mediums beyond the built environment, which include fictional architecture in movies and video games.

The practice of architecture is evolving:

The transformation of BAM Architecture Studio to BAM Creative is an example of the evolution of the practice of architecture. We expanded our business model to incorporate new practices and offer additional services. By taking an interdisciplinary approach to address design issues and integrating technology with traditional architecture, we are evolving to meet the needs of our time.

Shared Terms in UX Design and Architectural Design

For years, the tech industry has utilized certain expressions that sound familiar to architects, for instance data engineering, digital infrastructure, and software architecture. Meanwhile, as UX design is the new frontier of the internet age, there are many ‘buzzwords’ architects tend to borrow from UX design vocabulary, such as dynamic, hub, agile, incubator, and scalable.

Being one of the oldest design practices, many concepts developed in architecture translate well to UX design. Here are some:

  • Accessibility

For UX design, this means being accessible across different platforms and devices. For architecture, it means providing an inclusive environment for all humans for maximum public benefit.

  • Affordance

In UX design, affordance is “a property or feature of an object which presents a prompt on what can be done with this object,” (Myhill, 2019) which can translate to the architectural principle of “form follow function.” (Sullivan, 1896)

  • Truth to materials

The architectural tenet of truth to materials can also apply to UX design. It can be seen in the recent internet trend of “flat design.” (WORKBEE)

Similarity between UX Design and the Architectural Design Process

Starting with research and gathering information

The architectural process starts with studying the urban context, spatial demands, and how users interact with the building. When the client doesn’t have a clear idea of what the building program is, the design process can start with goal setting sections to help the client understand the functional needs.

The starting point for UX designers is similar. It also starts with researching to collect data, understanding the client’s requirements, carrying out user interviews, and establishing the business criteria for the product itself.


Practicing the visualization of ideas

UX designers use wireframing to map out the overall design concept, which leads to a prototype, a minimum viable product (MVP) that can be used and tested.

In architecture, the design process typically starts with space diagrams and sketches. Then, architects present the design concept through rendered images and test-fit plans, material boards, physical models, and sometimes 1:1 mockups.


Impact of other trades

Although sometimes the lines are blurred, UX designers often work with User Interface (UI) designers while architects work with interior designers. Because UI design and interior design control the visual, texture and other immediate impression elements of the project, UX design and architecture are greatly impacted by them. As a result, UX designers and architects should employ efficient communication during the design phase with UI and interior designers, while always advocating for the users.

How UX Design and Architectural Design Process differ from each other

Agile process vs. Waterfall method[1]

UX Design works in an Agile process for product development, which is a process that flows through many iterations of prototyping and testing. In comparison, the traditional architectural practice resembles the waterfall method, in which the client’s feedback gets incorporated through each design meeting. However, as the design moves through SD, DD, CD, and the permit and bid process, the ability to make changes becomes progressively less flexible. Adopting a true Agile process for architectural practice remains challenging, even though the project design team would meet with the client and end-user representative regularly to incorporate as much user feedback as possible. For most projects, architects don’t have the opportunity to build a “test run” before the project gets its final rollout.  This is due to the reality that building construction is a high-cost endeavor, and some complex projects can take years to build.

[1] Understanding the Differences Between Agile and Waterfall;

What Architects can learn from UX Designers:

  • Have the user’s needs at the front and center.
  • Treat built environments as an extension of the online experience, for instance, the ‘in real life’ (IRL) stores of the digital native brands.

Glossier Brand story
Source: Glossier website

Glossier New York Store
Source: Architectural Record

  • Utilize virtual 3D models or VR solutions to engage users in the early design phase.
  • Implement ‘Building Information Modeling’ (BIM) to support decision making throughout the building life cycle, which also helps information to transfer from the design team to the construction team, as well as to the facility management team.
  • Team up with facility managers to exchange ideas and gather user feedback; implement lessons learned for other similar projects.
  • Build to adapt: allow the building to scale up or down as the need changes.

The Future of the UX and Architectural Design Industries:

Dilution or Collaboration:

We are now living in a world of individuality and social influence. Architectural design has shifted from a pre-20th century practice of designing a physical space to focusing on the individual human experience.

“Over the last two decades, the construction industry has been subject to dramatic changes, paving the way for a future in which traditional spatial concepts are no longer valid. Now, compost is being used for building materials, crowdfunding and collaborative design have become increasingly popular approaches to architectural projects, there is a focus on the importance of green infrastructure and energy efficiency, and the line between private and public space is becoming increasingly blurred. It is not a secret that technology has accelerated at an incredible pace!” (TMD Studio LTD, 2017)

Is emerging technology diluting the purity of the architecture design profession or encouraging more cross-discipline collaborations?

In the past three years, there has been a surge in architecture firms creating or acquiring creative tech design studios, or doing both. Some examples include: Gensler’s Digital Experience Design (dxd) department, KPF’s Innovation lab, LAB at Rockwell Group, and NBBJ’s recent acquirement of ESI design studio.

As incorporated by those influential design studios, the digital user experience design will have more presence in 3D. Collaboration with different trades will become a requirement, not just an option.


Digital Immersive Spatial Experience:

Remember when ‘parametric design’ was the buzzword in the architecture industry? Some architects chose to dive deep into the parametric world, while many scoffed at the poor construction results. The majority, however, didn’t truly understand the logic and true value of the parametric system. In recent years, the buzzwords have become ‘AR, VR, MR, XR’ and ‘artificial intelligence.’ Many saw them as another trend that comes and goes, but this time there was a catch. The education system and social media have caught up. We now have an entire generation of future mainstream designers who have not only heard of these terms but have also studied and used it. This time, digital technology is ahead and more advanced. It is safe to say that parametric design is not only here to stay but also to play a bigger role in the future of design.

In addition, the internet world has been playing an increasingly important role, especially during the 2020 pandemic lockdown. Virtual travel, 360-degree tours, and digital hangouts have rapidly gained traction. How will architects, the experts of spatial design, provide their expertise to users?

As physical space becomes more scarce and the world shifts from the physical to the digital experience, the architectural design practice will take on a different path. As a result, new design guidelines will need to consider both architecture and UX practices.


Big Data and Artificial Intelligence:

In many ways, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and UX are created with the same purpose: both are designed to interpret human behavior and anticipate what someone might do next. Predictive analytics is at the foundation of the two, and this intersection creates an opportunity for both companies and customers. AI improves UX by creating stronger human connections.

For a long time, the complexity of architectural design has been almost immune to AI penetration. However, as we keep educating, encouraging cross-discipline collaboration, collecting and scientifically analyzing building data, AI will be able to contribute to the industry. To date, there are a few signs of  AI contributions. In 2019, a group of Harvard design students chose AI and architecture as their thesis.

“Our work proposes to evidence this promise when applied to the built environment. Specifically, we offer to apply AI to floor plans analysis and generation. Our ultimate goal is three-fold: (1) to generate floor plans i.e. optimize the generation of a large and highly diverse quantity of floor plan designs, (2) to qualify floor plans i.e. offer a proper classification methodology (3) to allow users to “browse” through generated design options.” (Chaillou & Française, 2019)

Another example is a generative tool called Finch3D developed by Swedish architect Jasper Wallgren. It is a tool for architects to leverage their designs in the early phases of a project. It is currently under development.

The question remains on how AI can aid the design process and improve the final product. In the near future, architects will likely work closely with UX designers to utilize AI, as well as big data, to improve design for their users.


There are differences and similarities between architectural design and user experience design, both in the process and the final deliverables. However, because of an aggressive push by emerging technologies, the two professions will collaborate more closely in the near future to design and advocate for the users.

Make-A-Wish: Bedroom Renovation and Redesign

Make-A-Wish: Bedroom Renovation and Redesign

In our own small way, we strive to make the world a better place through design. Whether we are creating a tranquil space for a newborn baby or supporting a scientist’s research to cure an illness, our core values speak to improving the world.


BAM has frequently donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as part of our commitment to positive change. We are glad to support Make-A-Wish in its mission of “creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.”

BAMMER Anna Laura has been a long-term volunteer with the Make-A-Wish foundation to interview Wish Kids about what their wish might be. During one of these recent interviews, the child and family requested a room renovation for a bedroom to accommodate the child’s specific needs, including medical supplies, a hospital bed, and finishes for easy cleaning to maintain a sterile environment. As BAM has designed a variety of healthcare environments, including pediatric spaces, Anna Laura introduced this design opportunity to BAM to grant this child’s wish.

Anna Laura has been working with other BAM team members to realize this child’s wish of a bedroom with a “dream cloud” theme. The room is designed for two little girls with room for a nurse’s chair, ample storage, and a custom closet to house medical equipment and supplies. With bright colors, the sky-blue walls will feature cloud decals, and the rest of the room will feature pink accents and playful furniture.

Together, BAM and Make-A-Wish are making this wish come true! BAM is proud to support our team in using their design talents and healthcare design knowledge to create an inspirational space for this Wish Kid. Wonderful work, team!

Our Inspirations

This bedroom is a dreamy imagination playground for the girl with her head in the clouds. Soft, pillowy textures, a playful palette of colors, and cloudy, bubbly shapes make this room a sweet dream. color palette: hidden sapphire, fairy tale blue, apple crisp, wild rice, soft glow, salmon peach.

Before Shots

After Shots

Our Process

Outdoor Spaces as Conference Areas and Other Uses

Outdoor Spaces as Conference Areas and Other Uses

By Guanxi Chen, Architectural Designer at BAM Creative, New York

6 feet, the distance recommended by the CDC to maintain between you and people outside of your household, has become our new directive. Outdoor spaces have much better ventilation conditions where the airborne virus won’t transfer as easily as indoors. How to use outdoor spaces for conference and other activities with social distancing in mind? We can adapt, by moving meetings outside utilizing existing benches, parking lots, and neighborhood open spaces. Heating elements can be added for colder winter months.


Park benches have varieties of lengths from as short as 4’ to as long as 15’. A common bench like the image above is usually 6’ to 8’. If you want to have an in-person brief meeting, staying 6’ from your pal, seating on the other end of a long bench or having a bench between you, could be a simple measurement of 6 feet. Don’t forget to disinfect the public benches prior to initiation of meetings.

Picnic tables in the parks are usually measuring from 6’ to 8’ wide. A usual picnic table can hold a two-person social distanced meeting with some work surface to layout laptops and files. Seating diagonally at opposite locations can help maintain the safe distance.

Parking Lots

New York City has converted many street parking spaces to outdoor dining. Southside Johnny and the Jukes held their 1,000 car drive-in concert at the Jersey Shore this summer. The Town of Southwick held their town meeting outdoors in the parking lot. From 2-person private dining to thousands of people attending a concert, the parking lot scenario has varieties of possibilities to hold meetings, provide huddle spaces or training spaces for business and for educational classes.

Above is a typical 90-degree parking layout with dimensions. The grid lines that divide the parking spaces has lots of 6’ imbedded.

The parking space can be converted to conference, huddle, and dining spaces with simple folding tables and chairs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two-Person Meeting

Four-Person Meeting




During the pandemic, Juleanna Glover, a Washington lobbyist conducted some of her meetings into “outdoor walking meetings” She and other people have met up outside of someone’s home or an agreed upon spot, then they walk along a lightly populated route, staying 6 feet apart from each other.

As early as February 2020, one of our BAM Creative’s Principals, Dan, proposed conducting “walking meetings,” coincidentally before the pandemic officially was recognized by the United States. The purpose is that this is freeing for creative minds, also allowing for work to be commenced. The walking meetings can be utilized to conduct internal reviews, mentoring conversations, informal calls to clients and the like. Dan also generated a series of ‘walking maps’ with routes around the Flatiron district where our BAM’s New York offices are located. The different routes included: several coffee shops, parks, and public squares as destinations, with return loops back to the BAM Creative offices. The walking length varied to accommodate different conversations. Dan’s idea was forward thinking, considering the many benefits “walking meetings” can offer during this pandemic. Encouraging people to conduct work outdoors allows for ventilation and a healthier environment.

Future Planning and fit-out

Many scientific studies reflect that taking a walk outside helps people to:

  1. Feel happier about their work and life.
  2. Generate creativity.
  3. Focus attention more easily.

Offering flexibility for companies’ indoor programs like conferencing, huddling, café times and working outdoors is not only just responding to the current COVID pandemic but is also helping to improve efficiency and the well-being of employees for the long term. The outdoor spaces could be provided in various forms, whether fully open or with semi-enclosed seats, trails, gardens, terraces, roof gardens, and the like. When embedded within green spaces, these outdoor spaces would in turn benefit the neighborhoods or communities they could serve. Finding those places could be treasures for both existing conditions and future constructed environments. So why not be on this forefront? Is there an opportunity to negotiate with building representatives for more outdoor public spaces that could be included as part of a tenant improvement program and built into leases? The ideas of outdoor space should be discussed with clients during the process of site planning and building fit-out. This will be important for many years as it will make people more comfortable as spaces for respite.

Here are some examples of various outdoor spaces for offices:

Apple Park Campus

Apple Park Outdoor Seating Area

Facebook Menlo Park Campus Roof Garden

Facebook Menlo Park Campus Sunken Garden

Facebook Menlo Park Campus Path Sketch

Facebook Menlo Park Campus Bike and Pedestrian Path

Outdoor Adaptive Use

For existing buildings, we can take full use of the site to “find” some outdoor conferencing, huddle or café areas, either movable or permanent. Here is a concept sketch of outdoor adaptive use. The site is a life-science realty in Ardsley, Westchester.

Post Pandemic Facades

Post Pandemic Facades

Facade development and how it can be integrated into today’s buildings

By Daniel Merkt-Blatz, Architect at BAM Creative, New York

The facade is one of the most critical components of building’s envelope design, offering protection and supporting climate control for the building’s interior. Building facades have come a long way from the early days of animal skins, stacked rocks, or simply mud. The highly developed systems that are now available in modern buildings are high performing and can be climatically responsive. When deciding on a façade, there are many important elements that must be considered.  It is important to study the exterior wall assembly’s performance requirements, and what materials and designs would be most appropriate.  Climate plays a significant role in architecture and design; an assembly system designed for a hot, arid project location would likely not be well suited to a design for a wet, chilly area. The current pandemic and rapidly accelerating impact of climate change have now converged, prompting new discussions on the function and performance capacity of building façades. 

The facade is one of the most critical components of building’s envelope design, offering protection and supporting climate control for the building’s interior. Building facades have come a long way from the early days of animal skins, stacked rocks, or simply mud. The highly developed systems that are now available in modern buildings are high performing and can be climatically responsive. When deciding on a façade, there are many important elements that must be considered.  It is important to study the exterior wall assembly’s performance requirements, and what materials and designs would be most appropriate.  Climate plays a significant role in architecture and design; an assembly system designed for a hot, arid project location would likely not be well suited to a design for a wet, chilly area. The current pandemic and rapidly accelerating impact of climate change have now converged, prompting new discussions on the function and performance capacity of building façades. 

Fresh Air in Buildings

As the development of façade systems progressed, we learned more about the importance of fresh air in buildings.  The indoor air quality (IAQ) of a building can have a significant effect on the health of the occupants, immediately or even years later.  While pollutants commonly found in indoor air can cause many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems (EPA, April 14, 2020). 

The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.  (Indoor Air Facts No. 4 (revised) Sick Building Syndrome, 2020).   

Thought to be caused by poor air quality indoors, it can prove difficult to determine the culprit.  If an occupant’s symptoms improve when not in a building and worsen upon return, SBS should be investigated. Due to the health implications, it is important to design systems that provide enough fresh outdoor air and ventilation to reduce the accumulation of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants, gases, dust, etc. The implementation of operable facades in buildings can have many advantages.

Potential benefits to an operable façade system include:  

Improved indoor air quality, occupant comfort level, and productivity.

Reduction in the size of HVAC equipment, resulting in construction
cost savings and more usable floor/roof space.

Long-term operational savings due to reduced size of HVAC equipment and maintenance requirements.

Lower energy requirements compared to conventional
HVAC systems.

Operable Facades

San Francisco Federal Building Perforated Metal Screen

An example of a building that utilizes a carefully designed operable façade is the San Francisco Federal Building.  Completed in 2007, it was designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis.  Rising 18 stories above the urban site, the Federal Building makes quite a statement with its huge expanses of glazing and striking perforated metal exterior forms.  Solar exposure is carefully controlled with vertical glass fins on the north façade and a stainless-steel screen on the other building faces that have more direct solar exposure.

San Francisco Federal Building - perforated metal screen (circled)

San Francisco Federal Building - perforated metal screen (close-up)

San Francisco Federal Building Vertical glass louvers

Taking advantage of the mild climatic conditions present in the area, the building opens itself up to cross breezes with its operable façade system, achieving a 70% natural ventilation rate.  Due to security concerns, the first 5 stories utilize a traditional HVAC system with the remaining 13 stories naturally ventilated.   By forgoing a mechanical cooling system, the GSA was able to save $11 million in construction costs and cites annual operational savings of $500,000 (Arup, n.d.).

San Francisco Federal Building - vertical glass louvers (circled)

San Francisco Federal Building - vertical glass louvers (close-up)

Operable Windows (circled)

Operable Windows Close-Up (close-up)

Solar Façade Integration

Solar power has been used in some capacity for quite some time, although the production of electricity is a relatively recent development.  Photovoltaic panels have continued to become more efficient and affordable.  What was once a large, inefficient and cumbersome system that was considered an eyesore has become much more refined.  Modern panels are now not only much more efficient, but also available in a wide variety of configurations that can be tailored to the project needs.


One especially interesting frontier of photovoltaic panel development is integration with the building façade, often referred to as Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV).  By integrating the photovoltaic panels directly into the building façade, they are made a part of the overall design rather than an unsightly, and often awkward, addition on the roof.

Electrochromic Glass (circled)

Electrochromic Glass (close-up)

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (circled)

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (close-up)

The Science Pyramid at the Denver Botanic Gardens is a striking building that utilizes building integrated photovoltaics throughout its façade system. The pyramid form is split into 16 sections, made up of hexagonal faces of BIPV, fiber cement panels and electrochromic glass.

Another interesting opportunity for solar integration is in spandrel areas where darker glazing is desired to hide equipment or structure from outside view. According to Onyx Solar, “Opaque glass means higher solar cell density, which ultimately translates into high energy yield."

There are many benefits when systems are designed to perform multiple functions for a building. One such example of this is utilizing solar panels above parking areas to provide both shading and protection from inclement weather for parking areas without negatively impacting greenspace on the building site. Along with the obvious energy production of such a system, another benefit is reducing the urban heat island effect, especially beneficial given the importance of mitigating climate change.

Double-Skin Facades

Double-skin facades typically comprise of two layers of glass on the exterior of the building.  The resulting cavity (2) that is created by the glazing allows for the careful control of airflow at the exterior of the building. By using either mechanical or natural ventilation, the air within the cavity can be used to supplement building conditioning requirements.  Heating loads through solar exposure (1), for instance, can be assisted by circulating the warm air within the cavity into the occupied space, and conversely the warm air can be vented up and out of the cavity, which in turn reduces cooling loads.  Due to the nature of exposed glazing allowing significant solar gain, solar shades are sometimes employed within the cavity to mitigate.

Natural ventilation (2) supports a healthy interior environment, which has become even more important these days. The double-skin façade system can be designed in such a way that it opens and closes (1,3) based on the surrounding conditions and fresh air requirements of the building.


Operable windows can even be integrated within the double-skin façade system to provide direct occupant thermal control adjustments. By giving the occupants limited control of the amount of localized air circulation, greater occupant comfort can be achieved.

Double-skin facades can provide many benefits such as reducing heating and cooling loads, acoustic insolation, natural ventilation, natural light and views to name a few.  There are, however, significant challenges such as a much higher initial cost, added complexity, and additional maintenance. As with any building element, there are many competing factors that go into deciding what is selected.

One particularly well-known example of a double-skin façade is the 30 St Mary Axe Tower in London designed by Foster + Partners. Informally known as The Gherkin, the tower is recognized for its unique shape, innovative use of a double-skin façade, internal shading devices, and mechanically controlled operable windows.  Built for Swiss Re, the second largest re-insurance company in the world, the Gherkin symbolizes the management of climate change within the context of an office tower.


The Gherkin was designed to symbolize a dramatic emphasis on sustainability, particularly in tower office design.  “For most of its circumference on any give office floor, the building is encased by an exterior curtain wall of clear diamond-shaped double-glazed panels as well as an interior curtain wall of rectangular single-glazed panels fitted with blinds. In this Abluft or exhaust façade, heat that builds up in the airspace between the two curtain walls is exhausted to the outside by vents at the top of each one- or two-story zone.” (Massey, J., 2020).

Gherkin Building - Emphasis on natural light and use natural ventilation throughout (circled)

Gherkin Building - Emphasis on natural light and use natural ventilation throughout (close-up)

Façade Shape

We are all used to seeing the typical box-like look of many of the buildings around us.  While there are many advantages to such simple forms, façade development would be remiss in ignoring how much of a role the three-dimensional aspect of the façade can play.  Advanced computer modeling has driven significant research and development, studying what effects a façade's shape can have on the overall design before construction even begins.

Gherkin Building - Air Exhaust (circled)

Gherkin Building - Air Exhaust (close-up)

One such distinctive building that carefully considered the shape of its façade is the Aqua Tower in Chicago, designed by Studio Gang.  With a very distinctive, undulating form, the 86 story residential tower employs “characteristics of terrestrial topography…imagined as a vertical landscape made up of hills, valleys, and pools” (“Aqua Tower”, 2020).


By varying the floor slab, the building façade responds to views, sunlight, and use.  An important aspect of the exterior façade is the way that it responds to the sun, carefully creating shade with the overlapping floors.  The undulating terraces also aid in creating connections between floors, while highlighting unique sight lines within the city.

Aqua Tower - Floor Slab Shades Unit (circled)

Aqua Tower - Floor Slab Shades Unit (close-up)

Outdoor Space

The importance of outdoor space has recently become a common discussion topic. While it has always been important, it now has a renewed interest as an important long-term response to the pandemic. Outdoor space can take many forms as part of the overall building design. It can be integrated as balconies, a stepped building form, green roofs, or even voids of the overall building shape to name a few.

There are many projects that are being designed and built in New York City that exemplify such clear focus on creating unique outdoor space.  One such project currently under construction is The Spiral, a 66 story tower designed by Bjarke Ingels Group or BIG.  As Bjarke Ingels says, “The Spiral ensures that every floor of the tower opens up to the outdoors creating hanging gardens and cascading atria that connect the open floor plates from the ground floor to the summit into a single uninterrupted workspace.  The string of terraces wrapping around the building expand the daily life of the tenants to the outside air and light” (Walsh, 2020).

Another project that takes a different approach to integrating outdoor space is the Manhattan Loft Gardens in London, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). The base of the building is a 7-story hotel with a large outdoor space on its roof, while the upper portion is a 34-story residential tower. The upper tower portion includes two additional large voids cut from the otherwise modern form, providing inviting outdoor spaces for building tenants.

A big driving force behind the development of new products and improvements to the performance of the building envelope is the energy code.  As the energy code becomes stricter in its requirements, the industry has responded in order to remain in compliance.


Given that the building façade is the first line of protection for a building it must be treated with care.  A well-planned, carefully-constructed façade of high-quality materials pays dividends towards the building’s long-term use.  Each element, connection and assembly must be reviewed both for performance and long-term durability.  The use of operable and photovoltaic panels integrated into the building facade has many benefits as previously described.  As products improve and costs decrease, building facades will continue to integrate elements to improve occupant health and building performance.

BAM Creative, Twenty Years, Twenty Principles

Twenty Years
Twenty Principles

Over the past twenty years, we at BAM are thankful for the creative collaborations with our clients, consultants and each other. With two offices, we were founded in New York, and expanded into Los Angeles in 2013. We have grown from three founding principals to forty employees. We have weathered two crises, the 9/11 attacks, which took place less than a year after our founding, and the 2008 economic crisis. Those experiences helped us be prepared to navigate the current crisis, our current 2020 global pandemic. We have had no furlough and are carefully navigating our finances and strategies to stay ahead of the challenges. To commemorate our twentieth anniversary, we've gathered a variety of principles and facts about BAM, from our founding up until today.

5 People &
Culture Principles

We strive to create an environment that fosters the success of every individual member of the team. Below are 5 pillars BAM believes are at the center of building strong and long lasting relationships with employees.

BAM seeks to form long-term relationships with people, and grow people from the grassroots up. Our commonly held purpose drives people to go above and beyond. We are an office of quick, eager learners and promote a culture of exploring new software, approaches and encourage cross-discipline learning. We support our team pursuing licensure and certification, and offer weekly in-house training seminars to empower our team. To date, BAM has many registered architects and LEED Accredited Professionals, with more pursuing licensure and certification in the coming year. We also offer weekly company-wide training ranging from technical skills to management training to people relations.

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants. - David Ogilvy


BAM is not a hire and fire firm; we don't bring people on for a project and let them go when the project ends. We hire BAMMERs to support their growth and interests as the company grows. We have leveraged our team's knowledge during this unusual year by engaging BAMMERs of all stripes to write BAM Insights research papers, furthering our knowledge bank and looking to the future of the industry.

Hire based on character, not appearance. BAMMERs are brought onto the team for their personality and design eye. We hire dedicated individuals with different specialties, backgrounds and levels of experience to realize innovative solutions. Our team has collectively grown up in four continents around the world, bringing unique knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. We have 28 women in our 40 person team, one of whom is a founding principal with an MBA, several of whom are registered architects and LEED certified.

BAM values being fair, being respectful, and caring about the work we do. We strive to create an environment that fosters the success of every individual member of the team. Our culture is focused on building camaraderie in the following ways:

  • Six months of buddy lunches for new hires, to help new members build relationships and learn anything they wish about BAM with existing team members over lunch.
  • Eight culture building activities across interests, including BAM yoga, meditation, quarterly outings, happy hours, educational seminars, staff meetings, virtual random encounters for team bonding, and holiday gatherings.

BAM supports internal mentorship by promoting communication between supervisors and direct reports, and external mentorship through involvement in professional organizations. Every employee has monthly check-ins with a mentor in order to maintain an ongoing dialogue for professional and personal growth.
We've supported membership to 26 industry organizations over the years, including AIA and AIA committees, Biocom, CoreNet, IFMA, SHRM, AIGA and SMPS, to name a few. We've participated in countless speaking engagements throughout the country since BAM's founding 20 years ago.

5 Growth Principles

Build the firm you want to work at.

At BAM, we recognize that sustainable and stable companies are about much more than quarterly shareholder value. Successful companies focus on the long view over short term profit taking, making diversity the result of hiring the best and brightest. We are thoughtful about who we associate with (clients as well as consultants) in order to promote a “better normal” in our world. We don't just encourage, but foster the next generation of leadership. At BAM, the next generation is even more culturally diverse than the current one. We grow through professional development and not for the sake of growth.

We provide first to market design solutions on technically complex projects for leading organizations. We design environments, build brands, and tell stories that anticipate and inspire change. Our experience includes game changing projects, ranging from the first hybrid operating suite for Yale New Haven Health to the first fully immersive conferencing facility called NEMO and the first free standing life science co-working facilities across coasts, including Harlem Biospace in New York and HATCHspaces in Los Angeles.

Our Common Agreement: to form a community of like-minded people who are all different, each adding something different to our mix. We vow to work to keep this community viable, to support its well being and to gain from its wealth. Each time we gather, we choose to gather, we choose to join. We choose to show up honestly, respectfully and empathetically, to the best of our ability, knowing we are all doing the best that we can. We promise this to each other.

BAM’s vision is to design a world, grounded in a mindful approach to business, which inspires and enables people to do the extraordinary. Three core tenets of BAM are the foundation to support this vision:

  • Get the work: By exceeding client expectations and continually looking for opportunity where others see none.
  • Do the work: A talented team of inspired designers who are continually probing and researching, providing game-changing solutions for our clients.
  • Run the firm: A business focus from the top, with an MBA principal and strong accounting team actively involved in projects.

Even in this economic climate that is paying more attention to business survival than growth, BAM remains focused on growth planning in the right ways.

What’s the right way?  It’s growth for personal fulfillment. What’s the wrong way? It’s growth focused on pointing at how many zeros are behind billings, number of projects, or number of people. One feeds health. The other feeds ego. By following the healthy model of growth, we believe it’s part of BAM’s secret sauce that will keep us in a strong position in the years to come.

5 Client Principles

BAM collaborates with clients that are leaders in what they do. The design solutions we create personify their leadership. We listen.

The ultimate goal of design at BAM is to find creative design solutions at the intersection of the client’s vision and pragmatic requirements. We operate with a One Team approach, meaning that you will be working with the same team members from the beginning of your project until project completion, resulting in knowledge continuity and making sure ‘by the way’ comments made in programming show up in construction. Transparent communication and clear documents are the bedrock of our business and ingrained in the fiber of our culture resulting in strong business practices.

Focus on client relationships, not only the projects. Our business is based on relationships. It makes smart business sense for us to have deep dialogue with the stakeholders involved in every project. BAM strategically focuses on 4 core sectors to benefit our clients in workplace, healthcare, science+technology, and media+entertainment. Externally and internally, we work hard to develop trust with our clients and our employees, resulting in over 95% of our work coming from repeat clients.

At BAM, no jerks means we believe the work environment and every project can and should strive to be an experience full of enthusiasm and encouragement, building a “can do” culture.  We believe it’s what’s lead us to be involved in so many successful leading edge projects.

We keep the following values front of mind to maintain positive relationships inside and outside of BAM:

  • Embrace work as an opportunity for growth
  • Bring our shared vision to every meeting of every project
  • Attract, inspire, enable and retain the best and brightest
  • Provide responsibility with authority to achieve results
  • Design for tomorrow

BAM provides a managed design process with decisions made by informed professionals. By following well-established company protocols, projects stay on time and within budget. We stand behind the fees, schedules and efforts described in our proposals.

BAM is a full-service creative design practice deeply rooted in the best-practices of strong project execution. Our team collaborates with you, your internal team, and your other professionals to define issues, framed through a problem solving approach, to realize out-of-the-box solutions by being:

  • Nimble. We are fast, accurate and flexible.
  • Thorough. Our meticulous processes ensure the built space matches the design vision.
  • Forward Thinking. We pro-actively identify problems before they become the unexpected.

5 Business Principles

Our process needs to be high quality from start to finish and that is the way we approach business.

It’s been proven over and over through history that any organization – be it a country or a business – is collectively smarter as a group than any one individual or small group of individuals. We believe this to be true for BAM as well as any country. This is a key foundational reason why we encourage hearing the voices of the people at BAM. That doesn’t mean it’s not messy or it’s a straight line. To prove it, we’ve already accomplished more than we ever would have anticipated since BAM started 20 years ago and the plan is to keep growing as a group.

Our firm was born when the founding principals questioned the way architectural services were being provided. The founders prepared a business plan that won the New Enterprise Competition sponsored by the NYU Graduate School of Business. The award included funding capital. From this origin, BAM has maintained a management structure unique to A&E firms. In our partner structure of architects, one partner, educated with a top school MBA, runs the firm. She’s not an architect. She’s trained in business. That strategic decision allows the rest of the team to do something radical...work on client projects.

Sometimes, things don't go as planned. BAM is not a culture of pushing mistakes under the rug. Our staff meetings have a "Leaders Lessons Learned," where we invite our team to share something that didn't go as planned and how it was resolved. We offer a safe space to share items that didn't work out, no shame or judgement involved. We may learn from mistakes, which strengthens our team and our skills for the future.

What is the difference between persistence and stubbornness? After all, architects and designers are infamous for being stubborn. The difference between the two is that persistence accounts for a feedback loop – if something isn’t working, adjust without giving up on the general goal. One of the things that makes BAM successful, and happier than most, is our emphasis on persistence while keeping stubbornness at a distance.

2020 has been a challenging year all around and we are all in the same boat. We know from written and oral history that there are a whole bunch of people who’ve faced much more daunting challenges and went on to do some really impressive things – by staying engaged and developing a determination to make their world and that around them a better normal.

Making the work world a better place is one of the founding principles of BAM. That doesn’t mean we’re going to get everything perfectly right every day. It simply means we’re going to be engaged and maintain a sense of determination to achieve the things we believe will result in a better normal, and help make the world a better place.

BAM Creative, Twenty Years, Twenty Principles Summary

Here is a summary grid of all our 20 principles.

New York BioConference

Join BAM's Dan Castner at New York BioConference: Building New York's Startup Community

4PM, Wednesday May 14

Collaborative workspaces and virtual communities have been a key component of digital startup ecosystems, but only recently have they started to take hold in life science ventures.


The panel will focus on tactics for making physical spaces conducive to creativity and collaboration while addressing challenges ranging from confidentiality concerns to preventing sample contamination. On the digital side, panelists will discuss best practices for community building online. The presenters will examine existing online communities and highlight tools you can begin using today to discover shared resources, meet potential collaborators, and share information relevant to your research and/or building your business.


BAM Principal Dan will speak alongside Matt Owens of Harlem Biospace, Eva Cramer of BioBAT / SUNY Downstate, and Tiffany Phipps of BioMed Realty Trust as part of the NY Bioscience Economic Development Symposium.


BAM was the architecture firm for Harlem Biospace, and continues a close collaboration with BioMed Realty Trust on a variety of projects.

Starting a Lab Facility

a Lab Facility

Scientific research requires an appropriate environment to conduct experiments, process data, foster collaboration, and inspire creativity.

The scientific research market has grown substantially over the last ten years and investors are looking at life science now more than ever. Extensive developer research has shown key market clusters in Boston, San Francisco and San Diego leading the way for sub cluster markets like New York and Philadelphia on the East Coast, and Los Angeles and Seattle on the West Coast, to expand their scientific markets into one of fastest growing real estate investment sectors.

Scientific research requires an appropriate environment to conduct experiments, process data, foster collaboration, and inspire creativity. Proximity to potential clients and talent, availability of public transportation, zoning restrictions, and surrounding neighborhoods are intrinsic traits that need to be considered when determining suitable location to build a project.

The configuration of the space can be flexible to accommodate unknown needs of the program, a future tenant or can be targeted towards a specific type of science. One constant in science is that it is continuously evolving.

The needs within the laboratory will change over time and the combination of science and tech is propelling the productivity of the industry thus increasing the need for more space. Starting a lab facility requires an understanding of the scientific research market and industry. Establishing the location and strong collaborative team will allow master planning and programming considerations to foster flexibility in the evolution and growth in this burgeoning market sector.

Table of Contents


Understanding Market Growth and Trends

Understanding Scientific Research

Deciding on Location

Establishing a Team

Master Planning


Construction and Operations


More to come...

The Impact of Economic Shifts on the Workplace Over Time

The Impact of Economic Shifts on the Workplace Over Time

By Daniel Merkt-Blatz, Architect at BAM Creative, New York

‘The straw that broke the camel’s back’ is an idiom we are all familiar with. Sometimes it takes many things, building on top of each other, to bring about change, while other times change can be the result of a single significant event. History provides many examples of wars, drought, or new technological advancements that have caused major shifts in our world. Such significant societal events have prompted major adjustments in life and the world we inhabit.


The context of the workplace environment in the United States has evolved significantly as a result of major economic events. For this observation, we will be focusing on the time period beginning in the second half of the 20th century to present day.

1930s: The Great Depression

The oft-referred to Roaring Twenties in the United States brought on a decade of prosperity and development during the 1920s.  As published in the Tar Heel Junior Historian from the spring of 2004:

The decade of the 1920s helped to establish America’s position in respect to the rest of the world, through its industry, its inventions, and its creativity. (Silverstein, 2004)

However, the Great Depression brought this prosperity to a grinding halt.  Although the exact cause of the Great Depression is still being debated to this day, it is fair to say there were multiple contributing factors.

According to history expert Martin Kelly, the five causes of the Great Depression were: the stock market crash of 1929, bank failures, reduction in purchasing, American economic policy toward Europe, and the great drought. These key elements resulted in reduced spending and investment, decreased production, and increased unemployment.

Considered to be the worst economic crisis of modern history, the Great Depression left a harsh and lasting memory for the entire country. But it also laid the foundation of monumental economic and social change.

The boost of the economy after the Great Depression has been attributed to a multitude of factors, long argued over.  The New Deal championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt was one of the major efforts aimed at stimulating the American economy.  A response to the frustration with President Hoover’s failed economic policies, FDR’s New Deal was put into action immediately following his election.

In the First Hundred Days of his new administration, FDR pushed through Congress a package of legislation designed to lift the nation out of the Depression. FDR declared a “banking holiday” to end the runs on the banks and created new federal programs administered by so-called “alphabet” agencies. (Great Depression Facts – FDR Presidential Library & Museum, n.d.)

In fact, there were many major infrastructural projects that were pushed forward by the New Deal which was successful in the effort to get Americans back to work and being an active part of the economic recovery.

1950s: The Modern Office

With the end of WWII, millions of soldiers returned to become part of the peacetime economy. The production and manufacturing processes that had been converted to the war effort transitioned back, with many new industries emerging alongside the pre-war enterprises. Government spending as part of the war effort was no longer artificially propping up the economy, nonetheless the economy continued to expand.

The nation’s gross national product rose from about $200,000 million in 1940 to $300,000 million in 1950 and to more than $500,000 million in 1960….More and more Americans joined the middle class. (Moffatt, Mike 2020)

The significant economic growth during the 1950s led to the development of what is now referred to as the modern office.

Formed in a hierarchical organization, the modern office empathized senior staff along the perimeter, providing them with the best views and natural light.  Regular staff were relegated to the interior of the floor, crammed together in a relatively uniform space.

Offices of the 1950s often featured resolute, heavy furnishings. Chairs and desks were typically made of wood, and workspaces for senior staff were especially ornate. The ‘mid-century’ furniture style emphasized core principles in the ‘50s, including functionality and efficiency. Large desks with pedestals were a sign of high-ranking team members, while the open area of the office was usually stocked with small individual workspaces. (Office Design Throughout the Decades: The 1950s, 2019).

1970s: Working in the Suburbs

The 1970s saw a continued surge of economic development as many small businesses grew into large corporations. It was during this time that some of what are now the largest companies in the world, such as Apple, got their start. As technology companies centered in California blossomed, they built large office campuses in suburban locations:

Abundant capital, inexpensive land and a seemingly endless flow of new ideas allowed Silicon Valley (so named in the early ’70s) to flourish. The physical module of one- and two-story tilt-up buildings surrounded by surface parking and buffered from streets by landscaping became a standard product, delivered on spec by developers for a surging new industry. (The Corporate Campus: A Local History, 2016)

As more and more companies built office complexes outside of the city, the effect only served to enhance the already car-centric mindset of the time period.  Naturally, mass transit systems have developed in areas with higher population density due to increased ridership, therefore, getting out to an office complex disconnected from transit created heavy reliance on car use.

1990s: Private Offices to Workstations

The economic prosperity the U.S. enjoyed in the 1990s, while unexpected, was certainly welcomed after the many challenges faced during the energy crisis and inconsistent economy of the 1970s and 1980s:

Globalization was in full swing, and in ways that redounded distinctly for the good of this country…. There is no question that the nineties were good years. Jobs were created, technology prospered, inflation fell, poverty was reduced. (Stiglitz, J., 2002)

With such robust job growth came the need for new and more efficient use of available space within workplaces. The longstanding organization of private offices along the exterior and everyone else in the left-over space was no longer appropriate for the modern workplace.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) published “The Integrated Workplace: A Comprehensive Approach to Developing Workspace” which provided key guidance for creating a better workplace. The report outlined methods to determine the needs and measure the effect of the workplace on employees. The report centered on how to “remain competitive and stay ahead of rapid changes in business and technology is to continually reinvent itself, using workspace as a strategic tool that helps to meet those goals.” (The Integrated Workplace: A Comprehensive Approach, 2020).

In the shift from private offices and cubicles to a workstation system, employers endeavored to better design the workspace. By creating a more inviting and supportive working environment, employers would gain many benefits such as increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and improved overall well-being of employees.

2020: Pandemic Response

Although 2020 started with a bullish market, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has brought that to a halt. Given the lack of a carefully coordinated, science-based response, the U.S. continues to struggle. It should come as no surprise that such a major life-threatening event has resulted in a major economic slowdown, huge unemployment numbers, and many other adverse social and political effects.

The escalation of the coronavirus pandemic has truly brought to light the disparity between the haves and the have-nots in a way not seen in recent history. While the wealthy impatiently call for everyone else to get back to work, those whose work has been deemed ‘essential’ continue their work, often without additional compensation.

The system is long overdue for change. Not surprisingly, the pandemic is acting as a catalyst by redefining the modern workplace. Those who can have transitioned to working remotely, often juggling family care at the same time. The way that we work and collaborate has suddenly shifted, with many struggling to become accustomed to what will likely become the new normal. We are learning to redefine how we collaborate, shifting from being together in a conference room to video calls and sharing screens. There are many talented groups of people around the world who continue to develop and refine these ideas. It is up to all of us to learn from this latest shift and redefine what the new workplace will be.


Silverstein, B. A. (2004). 1920s: A Decade of Change | NCpedia


Kelly, M. (2020, March 26). The Great Depression and Its Causes. ThoughtCo. 


History.com Editors. (2020, April 6). Stock Market Crash of 1929. HISTORY.


Hornbeck, R. (2012). The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short- and Long-Run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe. American Economic Review, 102(4), 1477–1507. 


Smiley, G. (n.d.). Great Depression. Econlib. Retrieved August 17, 2020


Great Depression Facts – FDR Presidential Library & Museum. (n.d.). Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved August 20, 2020


Moffatt, Mike. (2020, February 11). What Caused the Post-War Economic Housing Boom After WWII? 


Ferrara, P. (2013, November 30). The Great Depression Was Ended by the End of World War II, Not the Start of It. Forbes. 


Gripenstraw, Noyes Saini, K. G. N. S. (2020, July 21). A Brief History of the Modern Office. Harvard Business Review.


Office Design Throughout the Decades: The 1950s. (2019, July 15). Environments Denver. 


Myre, G. (2013, October 16). The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo: The Old Rules No Longer Apply


The Corporate Campus: A Local History. (2016, September 28). SPUR


Buehler, R. (2014, February 4). 9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependant Than Europe. Bloomberg CityLab. 


Stiglitz, J. (2002, October 1). The Roaring Nineties. The Atlantic.


Gsa.gov. 2020. The Integrated Workplace: A Comprehensive Approach. [Accessed 27 August 2020].

Rethinking Web Meetings

Rethinking Web Meetings

By Guanxi Chen, Architectural Designer at BAM Creative, New York


During the pandemic, webcam meetings have become the new normal. However, whether you were aware of it or not, virtual meetings have already been integrated into our pre-pandemic meeting rooms. (Remember using dial in links or video chats to a 3rd party through a smart monitor in the conference room?) Many years ago, architects started re-imaging tele-conference and it is now one of the key technologies to keep real-time communication going while people are physically/geographically dispersed.

Teleconferencing offers many benefits to both the environment and to team workflow. Virtual meetings reduce the carbon footprint, as people don’t need to print presentations, hail a cab or take a train to the conference room; papers may be pulled up digitally and no transportation is needed. Webcam meetings provide convenience, offering the possibility of waking up at 9:20 and then attending the 9:30 meeting in pajama pants. (Just don’t forgot to turn off the camera after the meeting.)

Even though virtual meetings provide real-time, point-to-point, multicast communication that happens in a traditional meeting room, we still lose some vibes of in-person meetings. The dynamic of spontaneously responding to another’s comment is impacted by the internet speed you have, the app you use and the room you’re in. The messages sent out by facial expressions, body language or other gestures may be diluted by the pixels of the screen, the software mode, and other technical difficulties. With some limitations, there are factors we can control to make webcam meetings more pleasant, such as lighting, background/foreground, camera angle and acoustics.


What is good lighting for being on camera? A good amount of light from a good direction. Architecturally, we use illuminance or intensity of light to describe the quantity of light arriving at a receiver, as measured in foot-candles. Usually, a very dark hallway is about 10 foot-candles, and classrooms and offices require 30-50 foot-candles. A sunny outdoor environment could be 10,000+ foot-candles. So, 30-50 foot-candles are good amount of light for a webcam meeting. Don’t worry, you don’t need a light meter to get the correct amount of lighting. Just make sure it’s not too bright nor too dark.

If using natural light through window, sitting in a near-window-area works better than deep in the room. As long as it’s not too cloudy outside, the natural light through the window should be adequate. Sit facing the window or at a 45-degree angle facing the window. Don’t turn your back to the window, as this creates backlighting and you will appear in shadow. A final tip is to adjust the curtain when there is too much light from outside. Here are 3 examples of different lighting from BAM team member Guanxi’s bedroom:

(From left to right: Facing the window, Back to the window, 45-degree angle facing the window)

If your window area is not available during a daytime meeting or your meeting is at night, you need fixture lighting. Instead of a task light focused on your face, consider instead a soft ambient light that illuminates the overall room. Ambient light gives your camera view an evenly illuminated effect. Focused light shining directly on your face may create glare or reflection on your glasses, which would be distracting to your peers and may cause eye fatigue. Additionally, a task light shining right above your head may cast shadows or clearly define your skin texture. If there isn’t enough illuminance, you may turn your desk task lamp to light up the wall in front of you instead of directly on you, which will add another layer of soft and even light. Last but not least, when your computer screen reflects on your face or glasses, it might be too bright or glaring. Be aware of what’s on your screen if you have to multi-task during a meeting, because the reflection may show on your glasses and people will see what you are working on. If you use your cell phone under the table, people will be able to see the cell phone screen light on your glasses.

(left: desk lamp shining directly on the person. Middle: a lamp positioned right above the person. Right: desk lamp shining onto a white wall and bouncing back.)

Here is an experiment conducted at home.

Original lighting in bedroom: a floor lamp in the corner of the room, and a night stand light. Light is insufficient for a webcam meeting.

Original lighting plus computer screen in front of me. This is just a reminder that screen has some brightness and may reflect on a face or glasses.

Original lighting is insufficient.

This is the camera view with the same lighting as other image. It is too dark.

Adding a desk lamp that shines onto me directly.

The camera view with added lamp light. This light shows too much skin texture and creates a glare on my face. The light may cast a bright reflection if wearing glasses.

A desk lamp shining onto the wall in front of me.

The camera view with the lamp light on the white wall and reflecting evenly/softly on me. This lighting effect is good for a webcam meeting.

Setting up good camera lighting for a meeting is like setting up light for a good selfie, and we may look to influencers for inspiration. Many influencers use a ring-light on a tripod for recording cosmetic tutorials. Similar to virtual meetings, cosmetic tutorials record with close-ups to the face, only show the upper body (probably with pajama pants on under the camera) and/or do live broadcasting on mobile, tablet, or computer. You don’t have to purchase a product like this for even lighting. By using a common desk lamp, you can achieve a similar lighting effect with the guides covered so far, such as example 3 above. Don’t have a white wall in front of you? You may set up a large piece of cardboard taken from packing box and paste white paper on it.

DIY “ring-light” with desk lamp facing the wall.

If you have a backyard, having a meeting outdoors may be more pleasant. However, outdoor lighting environments can be very complex due to the brightness of the sun. Similar to indoor lighting, factors to focus on include whether you are in a shadow, the direction of your light source, if it is very sunny, etc.

Garden image from https://protarps.com/porch-patio-deck.asp. If your back is to the yard, there may be glare in the camera view or the camera might focus on the background. Light from outdoor has over-exposure and is not recommended. https://bit.ly/2SHDhL7

Regarding all the dos and don’ts, the main principle is to test the lighting before the meeting starts. Most webcam programs have a preview feature.


Ross, a principal of BAM Creative, mentioned that he doesn’t “think the background get[s] enough attention, yet [a person’s meeting background] sends messages.” The environment that you create speaks to who you are. One of my colleagues’ workstations has all kinds of digital products tidily organized on the desk, such as a wireless charging station, a 360 ° camera, a dock for multiple USBs, a pair of professional headsets, etc. When I see a workstation like this, I know it belongs to one of our tech leaders who is enthusiastic about digital products. Another colleague of mine has festive cards collected on her workstation, photos around the computer, and the screensaver constantly displays photos of her family and cats. I know this belongs to a person who has so much love in her family, including her cats. In 2020, we all know that people are working from home, and there is no need to avoid elements that suggest “home”. It’s a tough balance to strike-looking organized and professional, while not necessarily like an office.

It is important to make sure the background is tidy, as if you’re inviting guests to your home. You don’t want colleagues to see your dirty laundry or piles of unwashed dishes. A white wall is ok but may be too plain; if possible, a lampshade, some house plants, or a piece of art would be all good to add. A bookshelf or a pile of books are good, too. For the elements you add, just make sure they are organized. A background that speaks to your “background” and has a story is a plus. A few examples include a musical instrument, a delicate model you made, or a meaningful gift from your family. These not only serve as ice-breaking topics but also show a hint of who you are and where you come from. E.g. Trevor Noah holds his talk show at home during the lockdown, with a background that has 2 spheres. Per audience requests, he shared the story of that they are gifts from his mother and remind him of his South African origination.

(Trevor Noah’s Talk Show at Home)

The ambient light at your virtual workstation should provide an adequate amount of light for the background. However, it may look darker on camera. Be sure to test and preview the camera view to make sure it doesn’t look like you are in a dungeon. If it seems too dark, adding a soft accent light in the background creates a relaxing atmosphere. There shouldn’t be a super bright object behind you, as the camera may focus on the light source instead of you. A background with intense contrast will catch the camera and create glare, like when you sit on the porch with your back to the yard in the middle of a sunny day.

When considering the background, intricate patterns might be distracting on camera and come off as either very busy or inadvertently creating an unwanted optical illusion effect. Additionally, try to avoid a door in your background just in case a family member accidentally comes in. Again, test your meeting setup before you start. There might be a plant far away behind you that looks like a tree growing from your hair.


Here are some background examples that need some adjustments:

Here are some examples of good backgrounds:

The virtual backgrounds may seem like a solution for all, but you lose the opportunity to show some details about you. Virtual backgrounds also won’t work well if one has active body language, and we’ll learn more about why body language is important in the coming paragraphs. If you would like to use a virtual background, you may use something that represents you or your company – a company background, a project rendering you created, etc.

(Screen shot from https://vimeo.com/429814870)


Don’t forget that anything between you and your camera may show in the foreground of the frame.  You want to show a clean work surface without a mug or that potato chip bag partially blocking the camera.  If you think the view shows too much foreground, try to lift the camera higher using books or boxes as support.

How close and what angle?

A survey about What do you find most repellent about others on a video call? (https://theatlas.com/charts/SJzIt_PV) shows that sitting too close to the camera has the highest vote of 15% whereas hearing people eat is slightly lower at 12% and seeing other’s chest hair is 4%. Only showing your eyes and above? Your colleagues probably want to see your whole face. Only show your neck and head? Someone might wonder if you are topless. At the very least, it is important to show your head, neck and shoulders, and leave some space between yourself and the camera. In addition, many built-in or free-standing web-cameras have wide-angle or even fisheye lenses. Placing your head too close to the camera will make your face look distorted on screen.

Body language can help convey information and ideas. In the virtual meeting space, letting people see more of your upper body is similar to meeting in-person around a table and attendees get to see body language from the waste up. According to Terry Vaughan, an edutainment speaker, author and consultant on communication and body language, in webcam meetings, you need to show 10% more of you to present almost the same you as people would experience in face-to-face meetings. One of his suggestions is to frame as much you as possible in the camera. It is especially important to show your hands, as he mentions that showing your hands indicates an openness to sharing and signals to the primal mind that there is “no weapon”, which makes the viewers feel safe. Hand placement is important to keep in mind, as hands positioned closer to the body look defensive. Hands positioned away from the body imply reaching out and giving, which is more welcoming. Try to set the camera far enough away to keep both your hands in view all the time. However, with the limited space we have in our home office setups, there may not be enough room to show your entire waste up with room for hands. If this is the case, try to make full use of the space you have in the camera frame by rehearsing body gestures. This may help you bond more with the audience if you are unable to show your hands.

Camera Angle

Noah Zandan, CEO and Co-Founder of Quantified Communications, in his article Eye Contact-A Declining Communications Tool (https://bit.ly/30BDXpp) mentioned that eye contact is one of the keys of face-to-face interaction that helps build trust and cooperation within teams. His database suggests that 60%-70% of eye contact during face-to-face communication is ideal to make an emotional connection.

Terry Vaughan suggests having 80- 90% “eye contact” by looking into the camera lens to achieve“10% more ensuthiasm”. While eye contact is important, it is okay to look away from the camera sometimes. When one is going to announce bad news,  people tend to look down. Especially in this pandemic time, viewers could perceive looking down as negative signal. So, what angle do you set your camera?

A higher camera angle is better than a lower one because people won’t see up your nostrils. Setting the camera lens at eye level or between eye and hair line are ideal. This height helps avoid the appearance of looking down and is good to maintain “eye-contact”. If you use the computer’s built-in camera that is below the screen, try stacking books under the laptop. Make sure your eyes are at about 1/3 from the top and your nose is inbetween the middle 1/3 area to avoid distortion.


If you have the meeting by yourself in a room with the door closed, the acoustics should be good. Close the window if you live by a busy street, as you don’t know if a loud vehicle will drive by at any moment.

Usually, the size and acoustical condition of a home living room, bedroom, or reading room are similar to a small private office or a conference room, resulting in a short reverberation time. Your voice would sound crispy and clear without any noticeable echo. The sofa and the bed each act as acoustical panels that absorb sound and reduce extra voice bounceback.

However, many people may share rooms with kids, pets or other loved ones, and even if you are setup in a separate room, there might be some background noise. There are a few ways to manage the level of background noise. First, inform your roommates that you will have a meeting. Second, consider using the microphone on earbuds that is closer to the voice source, and this may sound better than the built-in mic on your computer.  Alternatively, wearing a noise canceling headset can help you focus on your peers’ presentation, and a headset or earbuds cues other people in the room that you are having a meeting. Third, always mute your sound when you are not presenting. Most software has the setting to mute by default while joining the meeting. To further manage sound, adding some white noise on your end could cover up background noise, such as kids’ tv show. You may use a white noise machine or simply turn on a white noise app on your cell phone or website. As with the other virtual meeting guidelines, you should test the white noise in the background prior to using it during a meeting.

As a reminder, always test the audio before the meeting starts.

For group meetings, set up rules when for when one needs to chime in. A few options include virtually raising your hand (if the software has this feature), an on-screen signal, or sending a message in the chat.

With these guidelines for lighting, background/foreground, camera angles, and acoustics, you have the tips you need for a successful web meeting!

Celebrating the Feminine in Architecture and Design

Celebrating the Feminine in Architecture and Design

Zaha Hadid
Suzanne Tick
Coco Chanel
Florence Knoll

Photography Credits: Dmitry Ternovoy

"Yes, I'm a feminist, because I see all women as smart, gifted, and tough." - Zaha Hadid

The Great Zaha Hadid

Emotive, Undulating, Moving, Mysterious, Functional, Beautiful, Inviting, Amorphous, Dark, Light, Sensory. Forms to evoke meaning in structure and the built environment.  These designs are dream-like in shape, always moving, gathering light and darkness to wake up the psyche. We experience these completely, leaving us with an indelible impression, inviting the inhabitants to see, feel and touch them and to be reminded that the small and the large can coexist together in harmony…..

Photography Credits: Unknown

"We are only at the very beginning with gender-neutral design, but having safe places for anybody to function and do what they need to do, no matter who they are, should be our first step." - Suzanne Tick

Suzanne Tick

Simple, Elegant, Detailed, Colorful, Interwoven, Light, Contrasting, Matched, Illuminating, Linear, Graphic, Formed, Repeating, Tactile, Impactful. We look at, touch, sit on, witness, peer through, and experience the feel of fabrics, of glass, of artistic displays, of carpet and we quietly understand the thoughts to create, the richness in the intricacy and the everyday of pieces designed for comfort and our lives.  There is a strength in the simplicity of the complicated built up……

Photography Credits: Unknown

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." - Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

Strength, Empowerment, Richness, Textural, Feminine, Displayed, Formed, Flowering, Stitched, Haute, Sweet, Desired, Timeless, Luxurious.  We know of, admire, study and some emulate the genius of designing couture to be worn, to save for, to realize and to identify with as purposeful and unique. Time sees no season or fading from the fabrics, the details and the fit of the sartorial splendor that was imagined by a once impoverished orphan…

Photography Credits: Unknown

"Good design is good business." - Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll

Clean, Clear, Geometric, Humanized, Arranged, Structured, Modern, Revolutionary, Open, Organized, Leading, Studied, Storied, Architectural, Entrepreneurial, Polished, Rationalized and Sleek.  Apprenticed to the architect greats during young adulthood and success was realized by reimagining the workplace with a modernity that was refreshing and clean.

Paste-up presentation convinced executives to move forward with her ideas and communication was one of her enduring strengths…

Morgan Loves Steve (Madden)

Morgan Loves Steve (Madden)

As a collector of all the things that belong in my closet, I’ve found a certain love for a specific designer, Steve Madden. As an architectural designer who likes to occasionally wander over to the interiors side, I found a lot of similarities in ordering samples for a project online and shopping for shoes online (characterized by big, happy eyes and a rush of excitement at checkout). So, my inspiration for finishes and vibes within a space comes directly from love for shoes, bags, and all the other accessories. In the same way I decide on an outfit starting from the bottom up, I based mood boards on the individual personalities of the shoe/bag combination. From sassy and sophisticated, to funky fun, casual chic, to boldly feminine; Steve Madden inspired my space!

Shoe-boards with Steve Madden


The shoes and bag are perfect for a Friday night. The matching space should feel bold, modern, and clean.


This isn’t your normal cup of tea, but it’s all fun, nonetheless. This board is all about being outside the box of normalcy, bright, quirky, and a little atypical.


This one is for the worker bee on the go. This one is all about activity and casual comfort, but always stylish.


If Cinderella was a Millennial, she’d probably be wearing these. This board is about a dashing feminine presence.

Work From Home

Work From Home

By Kimberly Chin, Interior Design Project Manager and Cindy Liu, Interior Design Job Captain at BAM Creative, New York

Finding Work Life Balance When Working From Home

Build transitions into and out of the work day. Put your work away at the end of the day.


Make sure to have a well lit space, which can include ambient light, task light, accent light and natural light.


Be aware of what is visible in your background when you are on video calls.


Carve out a working space, give yourself flexibility.

Side Note: Take a lunch break and take a walk. Mental health is important.

Good Lighting vs. Bad Lighting

Too much light coming from all directions

Focused lighting directed at your face may create glare or reflection

Not enough light, plus lack of natural light

Balanced amount of surround lighting and no back light

Be Aware of Your Environment


It is best to work at a desk with a clean, plain background so there are no distractions

Adding neutral home decor to a space with natural lighting for an aesthetically pleasing environment

Neutral, abstract artwork can be less distracting to your colleagues/viewers


It's best not to work from your bed. Prepare for your day as if you were going into the office to create a sense of normality

A messy, cluttered workspace induces stress and distracts from the task at hand

Busy artwork can be a distracting background


Option A

Manufacturer: Steelcase
Product: Ology
Lead time: 1 week
List Price: $1400
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)


- Offers BactiBlock® an antimicrobial additive that can be molded into the front of desks most frequently touched components
- C-Leg provides maximum knee clearance

Option B

Manufacturer: Haworth
Product: Upside Sit-to-Stand
Lead time: 3-5 days
List Price: $600
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)


- Cost effective
- Quickship 3-5 days
- Nice finish options
- Simple paddle height adjustment
- C-Leg provides maximum knee clearance
- GREENGUARD indoor air environment certified
- 10 year warranty

Option C

Manufacturer: Knoll
Product: Hipso
Lead time: 1-3 days
List Price: $595-695
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)


- Part of Knoll WFH recommendations with program discounts
- C-Leg provides maximum knee clearance


Option A

Manufacturer: Herman Miller
Product: Aeron
Lead time: 4-6 weeks
List Price: $758-1700
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)


- Breathable seat and back
- Superior back support
- Fully adjustable arms
- 12 year warranty

Option B

Manufacturer: Kimball
Product: Helio
Lead time: 4-5 weeks
List Price: $344-1400
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)


- Translucent/semi-translucent back material allows light to pass through
- Contoured seat and lower back lumbar support provides long lasting comfort
- Low profile controls reduce visible levers
- Many finish options

Option C

Manufacturer: Steelcase
Product: AMQ ZILO
Lead time: 1 week
List Price: $300-670
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)


- Adjustable lumbar support
- 3 way adjustable armrest
- 2 position lock with sliding seat mechanism
- Full synchro mechanism with tension adjuster
- Removable seat cover
- Many finish options

Task Lighting

Option A

Manufacturer: Muuto
Product: Leaf Lamp
Lead time: 2-3 weeks
List Price: $535
(discounts will apply)


- Rotating head
- Dimmable LED lights

Option B

Manufacturer: Haworth
Product: Lana Lamp
Lead time: 4-5 weeks
List Price: $330
(discounts will apply)


- Lamp module attaches with a magnet that allows you to position it anywhere on the stand
- The wool felt shade has a leather strap for easy adjustment and 360 degrees of rotation
- Full-range dimming, a touch-sensing switch, and light level memory

Option C

Manufacturer: Humanscale
Product: Horizon 2.0
Lead time: 2-4 weeks
List Price: $320
(discounts will apply)


- Innovative Thin Film LED Technology and striking minimal design
- Red dot award for design
- Integrated touch-dimming feature that allows you to adjust the brightness at the touch of a finger


Manufacturer: Humanscale
Product: QuickStand Eco
Lead time: 4-6 weeks
List Price: $420
(discounts will apply)


- Add to an existing desk for sit/stand option

Manufacturer: Humanscale
Product: M/Connect™ Docking
Station with Monitor Arm
Lead time: 4-6 weeks
List Price: $680
(discounts will apply)


- 2 USB ports
- 1 high speed charging port
- Optional standalone docking station available

Manufacturer: Poppin
Product: Stow
Lead time: 1-3 days
List Price: $269
(discounts will apply)


- Lockable, on casters, can relocate when needed

Manufacturer: OFS
Product: Pind
Lead time: 4 weeks
List Price: $269-732
(discounts will appl