Archive for the ‘Biomimicry’ Category

HOK Design Wins Chicago Living Building Challenge Competition

Designers from HOK’s Chicago office recently won the 2014 School Annex Design Competition created by the Living Building Challenge Collaborative Chicago (LBCCC). The LBCCC hopes this competition will encourage the development and construction of a fully certified Living Building in Chicago.

Project Location: Eli Whitney Elementary School Project Location: Eli Whitney Elementary School

HOK team members:Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, Meredith McBride, Olia Miho, and Farid Pour were tasked with designing the ultimate, sustainable classroom building to annex the overcrowded Eli Whitney Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side.

From Left: Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, Meredith McBride, and Olia Miho From Left: Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, …

HOK’s Paul Woolford Explores Biomimicry for Wired’s Innovation Insights

The Mint Canopy

(This post on biomimicry by Paul Woolford, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C,  director of design in HOK’s San Francisco office, first appeared in Wired’s Innovation Insights community site.)

All around us, entrepreneurial organizations focused on everything from information technology to scientific research are continuously reinventing the nature of what they do. Yet design and construction firms — those of us charged with imagining and building the environments that help the creative people in these organizations remake the world — are largely designing and building the way we have for centuries.

One could argue that the last fundamental innovation in the built environment was the mid-20th century …

Combining the Built and Natural Environments to Create Generous Cities of the Future

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(This post on biomimicry by Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior principal – design in HOK’s Los Angeles studio, first appeared in Fast Co. Exist. This is the second post in a three-part series; click here to read the first post.)

Urban growth doesn’t have to destroy nature–it can work with it.

Our collective desire to live in cities has never been stronger. According to the World Health Organization, 60% of the world’s population will live in a city by 2030. As urban populations swell, what people demand from their cities is evolving.

In India and China, developers have embarked on ambitious projects aimed at promoting interactivity between people …

How Buildings That Imitate Earth’s Creatures Could Save Us From Ourselves

(This post on biomimicry by Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior principal – design in HOK’s Los Angeles studio, first appeared in Fast Co. Exist.)

Sustainable design needs a gut check. When it comes to designing for efficiency, balance, and resiliency, nothing beats emulating Earth’s creatures.

The frenetic consumption that has defined American culture over the past hundred years transcends food, fuel, and “stuff.” We’ve also gobbled up building materials.

From 1900 to 1995, America experienced a five-fold spike in per capita consumption of non-food and non-fuel resources. Of the durable goods we amassed, construction materials for buildings far exceeded any others. In 1900, renewable …

Paul Woolford: How Biomimicry Inspired the Design of NOAA’s Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Hawaii

Thanks to Paul Woolford, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, design director in HOK’s San Francisco office, for this post describing the design of the new National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration campus in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Scheduled to open in December, this will be one of the country’s most environmentally innovative national historic landmarks. Paul and WSP engineer Todd See will speak on, “NOAA Pacific: Preserving the Past, Sustaining the Future” on Tuesday, July 23 from noon–1:00 pm PT, as part of the AIA’s DESIGN[realized] series.

Our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center project is in Honolulu on Oahu’s Ford Island, where the Pearl Harbor attacks occurred.

When it opens later …

A Model for a New Emergent Approach to Building in Haiti

By Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED® AP

The New Year always causes one to reflect on the recent past, but especially so today, the two-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated group of volunteers at HOK to design a children’s center and orphanage in Port-au-Prince. Earlier this week, we presented our latest design to the client, Fondation Enfant Jesus, as well as to the U.S. Green Building Council. The results were very positive.

Our collective goal to create a nurturing and restorative place is taking shape. In many ways, though, this project is more difficult than the large, …

A Meeting of the Minds

I have always thought of HOK as a passport to opportunities and I have certainly been one of the most fortunate to somehow find my way into some really incredible places.  My trip last week to the Meeting of the Minds conference in Boulder amazed me with the best of them. 

YES….the conference was awesome.  Each speaker more inspiring than the last…sharing their views with everything there is to know about transportation/technology/smart cities/sustainability/and then some.  Here’s a link to a post covering the conference on the Sustainable Cities Collective blog and link to videos of the presentations

But one of the best parts of the whole adventure was the work in preparation for the conference…and a …

Process Zero wins AIA Unbuilt Award

 

The Metropolis Next Generation entry has garnered another award: 2011 AIA-DC Unbuilt Award.  The 2011 Washington UNBUILT Awards Program recognizes excellence in projects that to date remain unbuilt – theoretical and unbuilt commissioned projects.  Congratulations again to the HOK / Vanderweil Design Team!

Integral to the development of this project was a balance between energy conservation measures and design aesthetics.  While this goal may seem evident, available technologies create a unique challenge for designers to marry these two principles.  It took great strides to move from research into development, and formalize gestures into 3D Vizualizations that were recently featured at Design DC, where the AIA-DC Unbuilt Awards were announced.

The final renderings are …

Einstein wrote

Einstein wrote that his faith in humanity is restored, whenever he sees a grown man riding a bike.

I’ve always liked that statement.  There is a certain poetry to it.

There is also a certain poetry to a bike itself.  It is a model of integrated design and thinking.  Elegance of design, simplicity, refinement.    Resopnsive and adaptable. Functional yet exhilerating.    Sustainable, recyclable, efficient and practical.  An engagement of all the senses – movement, sound, tactile sensation.  Moreover, on the opertational side, are a series of individual parts, all performing at their optimum, to ensure success.   And at the centre of it all – often overlooked by many architects and designers – is the person.   Clearly, the bike is indeed a model we may choose to look to, when …

Can You See the Data All Around You…

Following our First Annual FIT Gathering last November in Chicago, a number of us have been thinking a lot about what is next and how we might apply some of the amazing Fully Integrated Thinking [FIT] that surfaced at the event. One of the really interesting potentials that we witnessed was the ability to apply FIT to an organization. Imagine a FIT HOK!!!

To get there, we are taking a look at how our Planning Group is organized and how we can ‘optimize’ the connectivity of our network of 16 locations…and what organizational influences we should look at to ‘adapt and evolve’ to the next level of performance. There are many factors to consider, including the critical issues of financial performance …

‘Harmony’

This was a big week and it ended with a harmonious treat.  I got to go to Chicago to participate in a day-long pre-Greenbuild conference of our own making to review, learn from and evolve our latest thinking  to come out of our collaboration with the Biomimicry Guild.  To unwind, I sat down and watched Super Nanny and What Would You Do? and just when I had had enough ‘reality’…Nate (my thrisis-savior soulmate/husband) flips the channel and we were sucked into some beautiful imagery of the world with Prince Charles talking about living more sustainably, returning to organic farming, building cities to be more life-friendly.

It was all sounding …

Biomimefragilisticexpialidocious!


I am so excited to share this video fresh from our latest and greatest PechaKucha Night in STL a few weeks ago.  HOK’s very own Tim Gaidis was one of the biggest highlights of the night with his 20 x 20 presentation revealing the big paradigm shift in his life as a designer.  As you might imagine from the title, this had a lot to do with our alliance with the Biomimicry Guild. 

We had 12 other wonderful presentations at PK Night, some of which you can find here.  In addition to some great photography here, we also had the wonderful surprise of a sketch artist in our midst who captured another lively presentation and posted on his blog, here.  …

HOK’s Greatest Contribution to Sustainability

You think I have flipped with my new addiction to the ‘open space’ of biomimicry. But below, a FastCompany article/series called “Case Studies in Sustainability: The Designer’s Accord” is yet another cool dose, this time with IDEO, an incredible thinking-powerhouse in their effort to redesign the internal structure of the USGBC. My dream is that HOK can muster the courage to look at how we are organized…and how we might become more resilient and organic…more nimbleinclusive…able to adapt and evolve with the speed of this new world economy.

A regenerative HOK would be our greatest contribution to sustainability.
 fastCompany

Our clients clearly need this and I know if we listen carefully …

Join the Rebellion!

Here at HOK we work very closely with the Biomimicry Guild - heck, I sit right next to our resident “Biologist at the Design Table”, Taryn Mead.  We’ve done many projects together, and they’re great collaborators – They’re always on board with whatever we’re planning.

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It is only fitting, then, that we get on board with what they’re now planning – The Great TV Rebellion of 2010.  Sponsored by the Biomimicry Institute, they are encouraging children (young and old) to get off of the couch and into the natural world for Earth Week. So – TAKE THE PLEDGE and turn off your electronic devices and go interact with …

BIM – not your mother’s architecture.

In celebration of ‘the Fifth of November’, aka ‘BIM Day’ I thought I’d post some ideas of what BIM (Building Information Modeling/Management) might look like in the future. This could be 20 years or 30 years, or never, but we should never stop thinking ‘what if’. In fact, recently I’ve been thinking about the possibilities so much that I’m getting scared that I don’t really know nearly as much as I should.

At any rate, I’m going to post possible future-casting ideas for the way in which we could be using BIM in the future to harness the power of the ‘building in vitro’. Some of these ideas are simply and process software related, but a majority of the focus is …

Harvard Shout Out

A big thanks to Harvard Magazine for featuring our work with the Biomimicry Guild (check out previous posts we’ve done about those amazing folks here, here, and here).  We’re so proud to have our very own Thomas Knittel, in our New York office, featured in the article and even to have received a little holla over at Planetizen

Stay tuned for more on the HOK projects they featured in the future here on HOKLife… pretty great things are happening!

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Zero Emissions Building Team Using Biomimicry as a Design Filter

The Zero Emissions Building design team is using use life’s principles as one filter for potential solutions. During the July 31 charrette, HOK Sustainable Design Director Mary Ann Lazarus described sustainable design ideas from nature generated in a session that included her and Tim Gaidis from HOK and Dr. Dayna Baumeister and Tim McGee from the Biomimicry Guild.

flower

Their suggestions for the larger design team included:

  • Consider solutions that are locally attuned and responsive — derived from the local climate and place in St. Louis.
  • Use cyclical processes and closed loops (waste = food, for example).
  • Optimize rather than maximize. Get the most benefits possible out

A little bit of Whoa to make up for my hiatus

Future alien technolgies travel back in time to bring us… Gaudi Stool.

It’s been a while but this was such a shocking discovery for me that it has forced me back into active blogging. Thanks, inspiration – I’ve missed you!

Taken from a great review blog of this piece of furniture…

A stool inspired by the wonderfully structurally insane churches of Gaudi and created by one wonderfully insane designer, Bram Greenen.

 

Future… have I told you lately that I love you? … well I SO do. Let’s hang out more!

Onward to Zero (Emissions)!

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What does it take to design a net zero emissions office building? Because few of our clients are currently considering carbon neutrality in their projects, an HOK team — with help from some wonderful friends — is designing one through a series of virtual charrettes.

In response to Architecture 2030′s challenge to the global architecture and building community, HOK has committed to designing all buildings to be 100 percent carbon neutral by 2030.

The idea for the charrette is the brainchild of HOK Chairman Bill Valentine, who wants the firm’s people to gain the knowledge and experience required to design zero emissions buildings. This vision is being turned into reality …

Regulation and Spontaneity

Two trains of thought. The city planned by the people, and the city planned for the people.

What do you think? Is one more democratic? Is one more successful and to whom? Is there a difference in the individual good and the collective good and do we view them differently? (think hard about that last one)

Maybe it’s both, I don’t know. But I have my assumptions. Maybe there’s just the ‘public’ and ‘planned’ framework that’s the most important part. Like New York City in the 1811?

One more thought. In the scheme of things, ‘What would nature do?’ Develop a framework or organize a system that builds its own framework? Instead of the ‘overlay’ for the greater good, it could …

The Next Gold Rush?

Goldminer in Downtown Helena, Montana

I can’t believe it has already been a week since our incredible visit to Helena, Montana, with our friends at the Biomimicry Guild.  Never…ever…ever…ever did I think I could be more moved by the potential for the Alliance.  I wish all our HOKers and everyone else reading this could have been there to plug in. Maybe we need a good virus!

One of the best discussions we had was about how nature extracts elements from water and reuses everything. We brainstormed new green industry opportunities for river cities — and talked specifically about how to extract critical elements from the Missouri River.  

I don’t know if it’s an eerie coincidence or divine …

Design Resilience Master

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I’ve mentioned HOK’s commitment to Design Resilience in the past, and it is with this in mind that I’d like to recommend a quick view of the commencement address given by a landscape architecture student to the Graduate School of Design at Harvard this spring.  He gives a spirited talk entitled “The Harvard Elm Crisis” in which the loss of the school’s historic elms is woven into a parable about why we must strive for biodiversity and design resilience into our beloved places.  Seems …

the 8-bit fractal

 

A tree with an objective surface

So being a big fan of fractals and digital fabrication, I think this little project is most interesting. It’s unfortunate there isn’t a better view of the smaller twigs forming the surface of the table but what a shibby concept. This is sweet design of the 8-bit caliber but I definitely approve and wish that projects like this would get more notoriety because with better skills at fabrication I believe we could incorporate many of these concepts into buildings themselves to yield less waste and better material efficiency.

Sharing the Secrets of Resilience

news9_04 Community Hospital Of Monterey Peninsula  
They may be tiny and seemingly irrelevant, but Tardigrades just might have a few things to teach the “more evolved creatures” reading these words. Commonly called water bears or moss piglets, these segmented animals are so fascinating because they can survive the most extreme conditions: freezing, boiling, drought, radiation, etc., etc.

In short, they’re resilient.

Confronted by the extreme conditions of a global recession, we all might benefit from studying the wisdom of these 1 mm organisms, as well as other geniuses of nature and design.

We have created a …

Biomimicry in the house

We’ve read about it. We’ve implemented it into our projects. We even have an exclusive alliance in relation to it. On Thursday morning, with Janine Benyus (co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild) in town for a lecture series at Washington University, biomimicry took over the HOK St. Louis office.
 
In advance of the arrival of the esteemed Benyus and her studies in the world of biology, several members of the St. Louis office created a biomimetic product gallery to entice other colleagues in the design studio to contemplate bio-inspired design. Items included PAX Fan prototypes, Stocoat Lotusan self-cleaning paint, Columbia Forest Products PureBond hardwood plywood, even a Speedo Fastskin FSII brief (the …

Inspired by Nature’s Genius

Time magazine named her a “Hero of the Environment,” TED invited her to speak at its influential conference…and HOK St. Louis welcomed Janine Benyus to our home to share her wisdom on biomimicry (the science she pioneered).

HOK is working with Janine and her Biomimicry Guild team to integrate nature’s genius into the planning and design of buildings, communities and cities worldwide. 

Keep your eyes peeled for our overzealous photographer, who peppers Janine’s comments with FLASHES and makes his official cameo appearance at about :55.

After enriching all of us with her genius, Janine visited Washington University to inspire the next generation of architects, planners and urban designers.

Gregg Lynn and Imaginary Forces – New City

In 2003 I traveled to Aspen on an adventure to attend the International Design Conference in Aspen to listen to some of the most intelligent individuals I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing. Some of the names there were Gregg Lynn, Natalie Jeremijenko, John Maeda, GRAFT, UN Studio’s Ben Van Berkel, and Imaginary Forces. There was a lot that went on that weekend, but I wanted to focus on two of those names for this post; Gregg Lynn and Imaginary Forces.

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I’ve talked some about SEED magazine in my posts and especially their collaboration with MoMA for the ‘Design and the Elastic

The Fashion Department

Please welcome Jason Zah,” he hesitated.
“Zah-bah,” this was getting ridiculous.
“Zah-ru” I just shook my head, “cha.” Completely wrong

I wasn’t sure what I was doing. Someone suggested this as a way to get over my fear of interacting with people. I honestly thought it was just a way for other people to laugh at my insecurities. The only thing funny about me is the way I look, and I was supposed to go up there to try to sell this idea.
“Jason couldn’t make it, so they asked me to fill in. I’m Justin.” They were like vultures, waiting for fresh meat.
“I really didn’t prepare anything. They just found me out in the hall…ha…ha?” My sense of humour wasn’t going to cut …

Biomimicry in Foie Gras?

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I’m not even going to try and lie. I hate foie gras. I don’t like the smell, the taste, the texture, or the idea. All around I just think it’s a pretty disgusting food. (I’ve even tasted it at the most coveted of restaurants in Atlanta)

Having said that, I watched this lecture anyway from Dan Barber about his experience with a farmer of Geese in Spain. I don’t want to give too graphic of a summary about how foie gras is typically produced (it involves force feeding) but this video was rather interesting in that this farmer of geese allows them to gorge themselves (instead of force-feeding) by pampering them with a huge farm …

HOK DC Green Team Sponsored Presentation – HOK & Biomimicry

 

Here in DC, a few of us really love Biomimicry.  In light of our partnership with the Biomimicry Guild, we wanted to share this love with our office.  Earlier this week, we did :)

My day began with a LEED team meeting for a project in DC.  It went well; this team is really on it.  Half an hour before the 12PM presentation on Biomimicry was supposed to begin, we’re sitting in the same conference room we needed for the presentation.   After everyone finished a good run