Wayfinding Or The Art Of Navigation


Wayfinding Or The Art Of Navigation


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

When my boss asked me to write an Insight paper for BAM, I started to wonder what would I want to write about, something that could connect architecture/interior design with my passion for graphic design and could be applied to some of the industries BAM is involved in. One day, as I was going somewhere in Manhattan, I came out of the subway station and as usual took the wrong turn, had to retrace my path to get back on the right track, and laughed at myself for being born directionally challenged (and yes this happened even with my GPS on my phone). As I realized that, I started thinking about how I struggle to navigate in some situations. And so, it came to me that Wayfinding could be a perfect subject, as it embodies everything: architecture, interior design, graphic design and can be applied to industries we serve at BAM.

 

In this paper, we will look at the history and define wayfinding. We will then study the different wayfinding principles and information systems used in built environments and how to create a clear wayfinding plan. Examples of these systems will be showcased and finally, how wayfinding systems can help mitigate the spread of viruses in the light of COVID19 and how digital wayfinding is evolving to respond to the current and future pandemics.


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 (invented in China 11 or 12th century), astronomical positioning or Celestial Navigation, radio navigation and, more recently, global positioning also known as GPS (1978).

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

Training

Town-Meeting


Neighborhood

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.


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.


Conclusion


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.


Benches


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

Training

Town-Meeting


Neighborhood

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

Starting
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


Introduction

Understanding Market Growth and Trends

Understanding Scientific Research

Deciding on Location

Establishing a Team

Master Planning

Programming

Construction and Operations

Conclusion


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.


References


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


Differences


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.


Lighting


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.


Background


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)


Foreground


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.


Acoustics


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


Darlene

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


Keanu

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.


Myles

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


Vala-s

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.


1.

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

2.

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

3.

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


DO's

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

DON'Ts

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


Desks


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


Chairs


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


Accessories


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 apply)

 

- Fun and Functional peg board with customizable shelving and storage

Manufacturer: Poppin
Product: Stow Mini
Lead time: 1-3 days
List Price: $249
(size and finish selections vary)
(discounts will apply)

 

- Lockable, on casters, can relocate when needed
- Cushion top for spare seating


Download Your Work-From-Home Checklist



Ribbon Cutting: Northwell Health LIJ Forest Hills New Life Maternity Center

Ribbon Cutting: Northwell Health LIJ Forest Hills New Life Maternity Center

Northwell Health LIJ Forest Hills held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completed renovation and expansion of Obstetrics and Labor & Delivery, now known as New Life Center. BAM was recognized during the ribbon cutting remarks, and the design is praised for its welcoming atmosphere and the bright, natural light that spills through the space. The expansion of the OB/GYN department reinforces the unified goals of Northwell Health and LIJ Forest Hills to focus on patient wellness through caring, comforting environments and the best in medical care.

 

See below for photos of the completed space and ribbon cutting reception!

Photography © BAM Creative


Caroline Sarrette, CHOSEN Winner by AI-AP Design Competition

BAMMER News: Caroline Sarrette, CHOSEN Winner by AI-AP Design Competition

We are excited to announce BAM graphic designer Caroline Sarrette has been named a CHOSEN winner in the AI39, AI-AP (American Illustration – American Photography) design competition. There was no set theme to the competition, instead allowing designers to submit imagery/illustrations in media categories including but not limited to editorial, book cover, poster series, ad campaigns, client projects and/or personal designs.

Check out her editorial design below!

Caroline made this editorial illustration that, to her, represents the proliferation of fake news through social media and other online channels and its impact on the general opinion and the masses. The entire journalism industry is affected by fake news today and it could have devastating consequences.

Reviewed by a series of jurors from HarperCollins Publishing, The New York Times, Anthropologie Home and Mother Jones, Caroline’s design stood out against 7,000 submissions across ideas, mediums and submission categories. As a finalist, her editorial design is eligible to appear permanently on The ARCHIVE – AI-AP’s exclusive online juried collection.

 

To view Caroline’s design on the AI-AP site, click here.

Congratulations, Caroline!


BAM + ANFA Connections: BridgeSynapses

BAM + ANFA CONNECTIONS: BridgeSynapses

Connections: BridgeSynapses is a conference hosted by the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA). Held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the conference invites renowned speakers to share their research on the human physiological response to the built environment.

 

BAM principals Pam Cole and Ross Cole were in attendance, and were sharing innovative findings that will strongly improve the world of design.

 

1. Architects apply science to the built world.

 

Fact: Every single brain is unique, imprinted by biology and previous encounters. There is no such thing as a ‘universal brain.’
Proven
: Beauty is in the brain of the beholder.1
Proven: Configuration of a space promotes different behaviors.2

Does your space promote the behaviors you want to see?  If yes, understand and preserve it.  If not, understand and change it. But how? Changing peripheral influences may elicit the desired behavior.

Did you know the peripheral aspects of space are shown to have more influence on outcomes than the focal point?  For years, we’ve been taught to put our energies into the spotlight – that key thing that is the focus of our eyes.  Studies by several presenters demonstrated that the peripheral aspects, including the actions going on visually at the perimeter, acoustics, and materials heavily influence our perception of space.  This phenomenon is not just limited to rooms.  Facial recognition is another area where periphery is a major component of understanding.  Eric Kandel, the 2000 Nobel Prize winner, demonstrated this at the conference.  Without creating a spoiler alert, contact Ross Cole and he’ll show you what he demonstrated.  It’s pretty fascinating.

2. Stress + Resilience = Enriched Outcome

Fact: Americans spend 87% of their time indoors.
Proven:  The built environment can either accelerate or inhibit resiliency. 3

Several presenters were investigating stress, outlined as a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes tension and may contribute to illness. What can environments do to reduce stress, and how do they increase stress? Isovist Theory4 is an observation that bigger, more open spaces actually contribute to increased stress levels, such as New York’s Times Square, Washington DC’s Western Plaza, or LA’s Pershing Square. Conversely, smaller, more crisply defined spaces (New York’s Paley Park, Washington DC’s Eastern Market or LA’s Grand Central Market) reduce stress and increase resilience, or the ability to recover from illness, depression or adversity. The same is found in interior spaces, particularly the ability to have a clear visual understanding of a space.  Research points to the user’s ability to have some control to influence their environment as a key factor for well-being.

For BAM, we’ve seen clear benefits first hand.  For example, we designed one of the first Hybrid Operating Rooms (HOR) in the US specifically designed with user controls. The patient controls environmental factors in the room such as lighting color. Asserting control of their room produced calmer, less anxious patients for which medical staff reported lower use of anesthesia. Business wise, this has a direct bottom line impact. Lower anesthesia usage reduces risks and shortens patient recovery time.

3. “Creativity” is a word for amateurs.  We are”Experimentalist”.5

—  Spoken by Eric Kandel. Attributed to Jeff Koons.

We solve problems.  Architects build bridges across the chasm between the subconscious brain and reality.  Creative people have greater capacity to control the natural aggression of the subconscious toward a critical analysis of beauty.  Known as Neuroaesthetics, this skill can be developed to better connect creativity to practical applications and experimentation.

The concept of being “experimentalist” may be more easily understood as working versus playing. Looking at some of the most successful people in the world of art, science and business, there is one thing that stands out: When people are really inspired by what they are doing, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between when they are working or playing. This was the case between the architect Louis Kahn and the scientist Jonas Salk. While they spoke different professional languages, the one word observed they had in common was play. May you be one of those people where the world can’t tell if you are at work or at play.

Eager to see conference videos and learn more about the speakers? Visit the ANFA site here!

Footnotes

  1. Cattaneo et.al. 2014
  2. Bermudez, J PhD, Chatterjee, A. PhD, Magsamen, S. Connor, E PhD. NeuroAesthetics Initiative at Johns Hopkins Brian Science Institute.
  3. Fich, LB PhD, 2016. Can the design of space alter stress responses?
  4. Knoll, M. PhD, 2016. Environmental factors related to perceived stress in open public spaces.
  5. Attributed to Jeff Koons by Eric Kandel. Jeff Koons, Artist-In-Residence, Columbia University, Department of Neurology.


Dwell + BioCom Highlight BAM Life Sciences

Dwell + BioCom Highlight BAM Life Sciences

BioCom invited BAM Principal Brian Spence, our client TCRCure Biopharma, and other industry leaders to explore the ins and outs of facilities management in biotech.

To effectively examine this topic with valuable takeaways, Brian provided an in-depth case study of BAM’s work on HATCHspaces, recently featured in Dwell.

A collaboration between Agora Partners and ASG Real Estate, the creators of HATCHspaces describes their partnership as “a real estate company built around the needs of life sciences – not the other way around.” The mission of HATCHspaces is to provide “meticulously curated creative spaces for life sciences,” and BAM is helping to make this dream a reality across four projects – HATCHx accelerator, HATCHlabs, HATCH CMO and HATCHcampus.  These four sites allow Los Angeles to cultivate science and research from start up and incubator through their growth to an established biotech company.

HATCHspaces is a breakthrough in life science facility design by creating a multi-tenant building to support the broadest range of science in the most efficient way possible. Following a few design iterations, the ideal arrangement involved maintaining the single-story warehouse framework. As the client preferred the industrial aesthetic as a nod to the building’s past as a 1930s furniture manufacturing warehouse, BAM had the creative freedom to highlight and restore the historic construction techniques and materials. Though we preserved the building origins, supporting current research required more power. With consideration of how to best support modern scientists, our team upgraded the electrical service with new transformers, and reframed the roof to support HVAC equipment and generators. Preserving the critical research under a variety of circumstances, the new electrical support ensures standby power. If the primary power should fail, a secondary source will turn on, saving the research of ongoing experiments for potentially life-saving treatments.

Providing this technical infrastructure, each new tenant only requires basic improvements to casework, benches, walls, and ceilings to customize the space to suit their specific research and culture. This arrangement expedites the plan check process, which results in prompt project completion and allows scientists to conduct or continue their research without significant delay.  At the opening reception for HATCHspaces, the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office presented a certificate recognizing HATCH as “the City’s first biotech wet lab co-working facility, introducing a new innovative adaptive reuse model for expanding wet lab space dedicated to research, development and commercialization of novel technologies and therapeutics.”

To learn more about this exciting life science space, check out HATCHspaces’ feature in Dwell and see the gallery above.

Photography © BAM Creative


IFMA Awards for Excellence 2016

IFMA Awards For Excellence 2016

Dan Castner of BAM has received an IFMA Awards for Excellence nomination as a Distinguished Chapter Volunteer: Service Provider Member.  This award is presented not to a company, but to an individual “who has shown an outstanding commitment to the Chapter by participating in Chapter events and programs and by volunteering on a committee.”

Dan was previously named Distinguished Associate Member at the 2015 IFMA Awards for Excellence for outstanding leadership within the organization at an international level. Dan’s architectural creativity lent itself to event planning, as Dan initially left his mark on IFMA by arranging a highly popular wine tasting.  The fundraiser was so popular that the amount of guests surpassed the expected registration and it became an annual August fundraiser. His leadership extends to IFMA’s World Workplace conference, where Dan previously served as a seminar moderator, contributed to educational sessions and continuously highlights specific conference topics to influence local chapter events. His dedication to IFMA led to his position as Vice Chair of the Programs Committee, allowing him to work closely with the Chair to shape the educational, social, and fundraising events throughout the year.  Dan is spearheading a collaboration between the Hudson Valley and New York City Chapters, offering several programs to benefit members outside of the New York City region.

The IFMA Awards for Excellence will be held on January 26, 2017 at an awards ceremony and dinner hosted by the New York City IFMA Chapter.

Register to attend the IFMA Awards for Excellence here!

Headshot Photography © Image Playground Inc. | Nousha Salimi


Brian Spence named as Panelist on AIA LA BioTech Forum

Brian Spence named as Panelist on AIA LA BioTech Forum

Founding Principal at BAM, Brian has been invited to present on an AIA panel of distinguished leaders in the Los Angeles A/E/C industry.

Focusing on the adaptive reuse of old line industrial property for biotech labs, Brian will discuss the conversion and market repositioning of underutilized commercial sites.  He will focus on BAM’s exciting collaboration with Alhambra Agora, LLC on the HATCHspaces biotech facility. BAM led the conversion of a factory and warehouse into a facility that provides the resources for biotech startups to hatch and grow in Los Angeles.   See the latest updates on HATCHspaces here.

Featuring two case studies of repositioning properties for biotech use, attendees will walk away with fresh insights into the evolving trends of design, real estate and site selection for research, science and technology startups.

When:
March 14, 2017
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Where:
Buro Happold Consulting Engineers Inc.
800 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Click below to see photos from the event.

Photography © BAM Creative


headshot

Dan Castner Joins IFMA NYC Panel on Commercial Renovations

Dan Castner Joins IFMA NYC Panel on Commercial Renovations

On June 20th, BAM principal and IFMA Programs Chair Dan Castner will join a panel of diverse leaders in the New York design industry. Experienced professionals will share their knowledge and highlight key items to consider before starting a commercial renovation project. If you have had questions about furniture and finishes selection, determining end-user needs, technological upgrades, or other aspects of the renovation process, this panel is for you!

When:
June 20, 2017
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Where:
Interface
330 5th Avenue Floor 12
New York NY 10002

 

Photography © BAM Creative


Industry Giant Re-Engages BAM

Industry Giant Re-Engages BAM

Innovation is born from the desire to learn, collaboration with a diverse team, the drive to improve upon current practices, and the tools to turn ideas into reality. The design of a space, from the aesthetic feel to the ease of access to technology, strongly influences the speed to innovation. BAM has successfully completed highly technical facilities for our client, leading to research and products that change the landscape of findings in science.

With our capacity for efficient communication, understanding client needs, and smooth project delivery, our team was recently awarded multiple opportunities for a confidential aerospace client. In line with these new opportunities, BAM has designed cutting-edge environments for science, innovation, and learning by incorporating a few key elements into each design:

Equipment for technological breakthroughs

Technology, from computers to laboratories to aeronautics, enables our client to research and develop a variety of groundbreaking solutions to problems that exist today. BAM has worked closely with the client to determine the exact equipment to suit their needs, and ensured they had the necessary power to keep the equipment running at the highest efficiency. Our team tracked the actions of the scientists throughout the development process and designed an equipment layout to follow these steps, resulting in ease to track results and improve methods. Efficiency in the development process results in products getting to market faster.

In support of physical science research, BAM is designing technically demanding manufacturing spaces and integrated laboratories to create, study and test products and systems in extremely realistic simulations. From client meetings, our team understands that exact temperatures are vital to the manufacturing process, and we are mindful of these details in design. The unique manufacturing oven features liquid nitrogen and nitrogen gases to maintain the correct level of cooling with the heat exhaust and off-gasses safely vented during the manufacturing process. Clients utilize integrated laboratories to capture information of how a product will withstand varied situations, and this enables researchers to improve products through concrete data. A key benefit is the ability to draw investors to the product, as potential customers have the opportunity to see the new product in action.

Collaboration breeds creativity

How do innovative ideas come to be? There are many factors, but an element that stands out is the fresh approach that comes from sharing your thoughts with others. The opportunity to brainstorm problems and discuss ideas away from desks and outside the laboratory in more informal settings puts creators and inventors in different mindsets. BAM has designed pantries that expand beyond the traditional role of a small place to store food and prepare meals. Modern salons that encourage exchange of ideas, our pantries feature long, shared counters, small and medium tables with comfortable seats, and room in the kitchen for chances to chat by the water cooler or coffee machine made frictionless with technology on demand.

Similar to the pantry, for spaces that have often served one primary function, our designers have created a multi-use space by incorporating the idea of teamwork into the layout. Interior pedestrian bridges transform into ideal areas to relax and discuss ideas openly with beautiful landscape views and colorful, cozy sofas that wind into interesting shapes. Huddle areas are an easy addition into any office, from small spaces to open areas. Created specifically with collaboration in mind, huddle areas may feature tall tables or a few close seats throughout an office for impromptu meetings and discussions.

At BAM, remaining attentive to technological needs and designing spaces that support collaboration led to repeat project engagements. This continued partnership speaks to BAM’s larger goal – designing for the success of our client.

Post Photography © BAM Creative


HATCHspaces: Urban Landscape Revitalized and Repositioned

HATCHspaces: Urban Landscape Revitalized and Repositioned

LA Business Journal features a BAM designed project, HATCHspaces, as front page news for its unique adaptive reuse approach to support a burgeoning biotech neighborhood.

BAM’s landmark project has also caught the attention of respected industry organizations, such as the Los Angeles chapter of the Urban Land Institute. As one of the key sites on the sold-out ULI Fall Meeting tour Adaptive Use: Obsolete Industrial to New Economy, HATCHspaces is a prime example of how revitalizing spaces bring new life and industry to a community.

In addition to the Fall Meeting, ULI’s magazine Urbanland highlights the influence of HATCHspaces in the article Building a Bioscience Cluster in East Los AngelesCo-written by Fiona Lyons of Agora Partners and Tulsi Patel of ELP Advisors and LA Bioscience Hub, the article delves into how HATCHspaces is fostering a local culture of life sciences.

Agora Partners and ASG Real Estate engaged BAM to lead the adaptive reuse of an old line industrial property into the state-of-the-art HATCHspaces Bioscience Facility. Our team is giving special consideration to the market repositioning of the property, combining the varied elements of renovation, ground-up work and technical conversion of the factory and warehouse into a practical and visually exciting space to attract leading scientists and researchers. Currently in progress, HATCHspaces has been highlighted in the news and throughout A/E/C and biotech circles for its community-focused goal of providing the resources for biotech startups to hatch and grow in Los Angeles.

Thumbnail Photography © BAM Creative


BAM Thought Leadership: Evolving Design Trends

BAM Thought Leadership: Evolving Design Trends

headshot

Brian Spence
Principal

Helen Cohen
Healthcare Practice Leader

Speaking engagements are an inspiring way to engage others by sharing insights as industry leaders. We are proud to announce that BAM team members Brian Spence and Helen Cohen are speaking at two upcoming events that delve into the evolving environment of architecture and design.

Read below to learn more and come say hello!

LAHQ The Inside Track on SoCal Projects
March 15th

For the 2nd year in a row, BAM Principal Brian has been invited by LAHQ to host a round table discussion. Come and meet Brian if you’re curious about game-changing projects and rising trends in the Southern California design scene.

Arranged by the Los Angeles Headquarters Association (LAHQ), this event fosters collaboration and discussion between the leading design players in Southern California.

Learn more and register for this event at LAHQ.

When:
Thursday, March 15, 2018
5:00PM – 7:00PM

Where:
California Club
538 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA
New York, New York 90071

PDC Summit 2018: Adapting to the Shifting Tempo of Healthcare
March 25th-28th

Public Private Partnership Delivers a Medical Village
March 26th, 1:45PM

Patients are the priority for hospitals – but how can patients receive an improved experience in both comfort and efficiency? A medical village may be the answer. Join BAM’s Healthcare Practice Leader Helen as she speaks on a panel with Stantec, Montefiore Medical Center, and other firms involved in creating a “Medical Village” for Montefiore.

Hosted by American Hospital Association and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), this conference brings together the preeminent players in healthcare and design.

Learn more and register for this convention at PDC Summit 2018.

When:
PDC Summit
Sunday, March 25th-Wednesday, March 28th

Where:
2018 PDC Summit Convention Center
Music City Center
201 5th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

Headshot Photography © Image Playground Inc. | Nousha Salimi


BAM: Solving Complex Design Problems

BAM: Solving Complex Design Problems

Collaborating with St. Vincent’s Medical Center, BAM designed a high-end hybrid operating room for their Bridgeport hospital.  Marrying hospitality with hard science resulted in the patient entering into an EP lab outfitted with relaxing, spa-level amenities.  Upon discovering that surgery is needed, the space is instantly transformed into a sterile operating room.

The capacity to examine and perform surgery in one room resulted in reduced patient stress, the ability for doctors to provide more efficient treatment, and the hospital to gain higher patient throughput and profitability.  A win-win-win for all parties involved.

Photography © Bismark Construction Co., Inc.


Emerging Trends in Low-Energy Lab Design

Emerging Trends in Low-Energy Lab Design

Low energy labs are a vital contributor to building energy reduction. In this age of high energy costs and increasing evidence of climate change, Arup and other leading firms are taking a closer look at what can be done to reduce the environmental impact of lab facilities. Lowering energy use in labs takes place within a context of high safety standards, changing research needs, and new expectations for our workplaces.

Join Arup Principal Joshua Yacknowitz, BAM Principal Dan Castner, and other industry collaborators as they discuss how low energy labs are helping to address a range of long-term challenges as well as sector-specific drivers that are transforming the scientific research ecosystem.

When:
Thursday, November 8, 2018
6:00PM – 8:00PM

Where:
Arup
77 Water Street
New York, NY  10005

Dan Castner
BAM Achitecture Studio
Arup Panel: Emerging Trends in Low-Energy Lab Design

Thumbnail Photography © Mikiko Kikuyama
Headshot Photography © Image Playground Inc. | Nousha Salimi


Improving Experiences Through Design: Yale Teen Center

Improving Experiences Through Design: Yale Teen Center

Do your little bit of good where you are.
It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
– Desmond Tutu, Emeritus Archbishop

BAM’s goal is to contribute to making the world a better place through the power of design, and we are proud to celebrate the completion of the new Teen Center at Yale New Haven Health. The new center is the resulting collaboration between Yale New Haven Health, The Who’s charity Teen Cancer America and Lauren Telesz, a cancer survivor whose passion raised a majority of the project’s funding.  The funding was supplemented by a long-term donor to Yale.

An exciting expansion at Yale New Haven Health, this center focuses on the needs of a unique and often overlooked demographic – teenage cancer patients. At its core, the Lauren Telesz | Smilow Teen Center is a place for hospital bound teens and young adults to go to do what people that age want to do… socialize, explore, imagine, and grow.

Everyone at BAM is proud to be part of the team involved to make this dream a reality.

Teen Cancer America features the opening on their website, here.

We welcome you to view the gallery below, which features photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony and additional photos of the space.

Ribbon Cutting Photography © Yale New Haven Health
Thumbnail + Post Photography © Albert Vecerka | Esto


Disruptive Technology: How is the Industry Adapting?

Disruptive Technology: How is the Industry Adapting?

Ross Cole, Principal of BAM Architecture Studio, served as a featured panelist for the New York Build 2019 conference on the topic Disruptive Technology – How is the Industry Adapting?

One of the greatest successes at BAM is that we encourage people to play with technology. It’s the most likely way to find the magic and get reluctant people to adopt. Right now, we’re playing with VR and Augmented Reality to see how it may be more intuitive in the design process. For us, this means figuring out how to make VR look like an early sketch instead of a finished project – as the successful finished project takes many hours, weeks, and months to become a beautifully built space.

At BAM, weaving the varied passions and talents of our team into our daily practices has led to success not only with our clients, but also our culture. Our technology leaders are architectural and interior designers who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the tools available to enhance the design process. Each technology leader focuses on three key objectives:

  1. Search for and evaluate new technology
  2. Determine why BAM should consider the technology, and how it will improve our design work flow and project delivery both internally and for our clients
  3. If BAM adopts it, be a champion to promote and educate BAMMERs about the technology for consistent company-wide use

In addressing technology externally, BAM seeks consultants, contractors and vendors who are also technology adapters. For BAM, it fosters smooth collaboration and a more efficient process when all firms are able to “speak the same language” while designing and building.

As BAM builds our technology toolbox, our technology leaders look for tools, equipment, and programs that are likely to be widely adopted rather than momentarily popular or new to the market with an unsure longevity. This doesn’t mean our team lags behind – it means the BAM team is consistently aware of programs and trends, and looks for clues to see if a given technology is embraced by a critical mass of the world to stay in existence.

Thumbnail Photography © BAM Creative


Powering the Changing Workplace with Flexibility

Powering the Changing Workplace with Flexibility

Being ready to change direction at a moment’s notice is essential to success in facilities management. FM leaders must continually be planning, even when there is no set plan.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals shares their ongoing journey from 60 employees, to over 9,000. Talk about being agile. Michelle and Daniel cover how they handled this rapid growth and used flexibility to their advantage when creating spaces to support their company’s growth and overall mission.

In a collaborative event with iOffice, IFMA Westchester/Hudson Valley and NYC, Mike Petrusky of iOffice and the podcast host moderated a webinar discussion with Michelle Fritsche at Regeneron and BAM’s Dan Castner.

We welcome you to listen to the podcast for exciting insights about how Regeneron and BAM partnered to design flexible facilities to support Regeneron’s continued growth.

Listen to the podcast here.


Happy 80th, Union Station!

Happy 80th, Union Station!

Los Angeles Union Station is the largest passenger railroad terminal in the Western United States. Conceived on a grand scale, it has long withstood the tests of time and natural disasters. In 1980, it joined the ranks of other great architectural wonders on the National Register of Historic Places.

To preserve Union Station for the future, BAM was awarded the unique opportunity to upgrade the iconic Los Angeles transportation hub. Collaborating with the team at Morlin Management and Union Station, BAM is 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 corporate events, weddings and other milestone celebrations.

Congratulations Union Station on this diamond anniversary!

A continued, vibrant presence in Los Angeles, Union Station is celebrating on May 3rd and 4th with station tours, live concerts and DJs, a unique marketplace, and many more activities, showing how the station continues to be a vital part of the community. For more information on Union Station 80th anniversary events, click here.

Thumbnail Photography © BAM Creative


President Elect of IFMA NYC: BAM Principal Dan Castner

President Elect of IFMA NYC: BAM Principal Dan Castner

BAM is excited to announce that Dan Castner is acting president elect of the IFMA NYC Chapter!

To celebrate this achievement, we’re taking a look back at Dan’s time with IFMA so far:

2013: Dan joins IFMA as a new member, and makes a splash with a summer wine tasting fundraiser. The tasting drew double the expected attendance, and was so successful it became an annual event on the IFMA NYC calendar.

2014: Helping to lead their fundraising efforts since joining the previous year, Dan joins IFMA NYC as the chapter presents a $20,000 donation to the IFMA Foundation.

2015: Dan wins the Distinguished Associate Member Award at the 2015 IFMA Awards for Excellence, acknowledging his “outstanding leadership within the organization at an international level.”

2017: Dan becomes IFMA Programs Chair and joins a series of IFMA panels.

2019: Dan begins his role as vice president of the IFMA NYC chapter. To foster collaboration between local chapters, Dan pioneers a joint event between the IFMA Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapters.

In 2020, Dan also began his role as acting president elect of the IFMA NYC Chapter. He will officially become president elect on July 1, 2020 and will transition to president on July 1, 2021. Congratulations, Dan!