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 …
This time of year HOK’s values are shared with the City of Houston through volunteering, donations, and community involvement.
As we completed the month of November…and “Movember” (dedicated to raise awareness to men’s health), many thanks to those who joined the worthy cause and sported mighty stylish “staches” or donated to the team.
Another year of We Care is complete and the snowman hot cocoa jars were cute and tasty! The event was full of children zooming around to create crafts and with a great turnout of volunteers and kids, all 96 of HOKs crafts were made within an hour….
In the early summer of 2013, HOK was invited to participate in a design competition for the 2017 Expo Design in Astana – the rapidly developing capital of Kazakhstan. The theme for the expo; “Future Energy”, challenged entrants to demonstrate the use of innovative technologies capable of affecting people’s perception of energy and green development.
In order to submit the most stunning and creatively adroit entry possible, a multidisciplinary team from the HOK Toronto office made up of Landscape Architects, Urban Planners, Architects, and experts in Sustainable Design, worked closely with equivalently talented engineering teams from ARUP and RWDL.
Inspired by the traditional assemblies of Kazakh tribes, the core concept of the design …
Earlier this week, our St. Louis team participated in the Metropolitan Square building’s 25th anniversary celebration. Met Square is not only the tallest building in St. Louis; it’s also an HOK design from the 1980s and the home of our St. Louis office today.
The first building on this site was the Berthold mansion, built in 1829 when the site at 5th (now Broadway) and Pine was out in the country. Certainly, times have changed. The Berthold Mansion became the Democratic Party headquarters in 1859 and was the site of demonstrations during the Civil War. As the years passed and the city expanded …
Fun was had by all at the HOK Oktoberfest Family Picnic. Games of tug of war, water balloon toss, a stein holding contest, and the ultimate tricycle obstacle course took place. Luckily there were seasonal craft brews, a great food truck, and a tropical snow cone vender to keep us fueled up for the competitions!
The fun and creativity continued at the Houston CANstruction build-off. HOK’s team donated over $2000 to the event which funds the Houston Food Bank AND we got to build a formula 1 race car out of canned goods! The awards ceremony takes place on November 23rd , so keep your …
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit a unique site belonging to our client in the Seychelles, a 115-island country scattered across the Indian Ocean. We were there to consider development on an island owned by our client.
The Seychelles is a large archipelago of granite and coral islands about 2,000 miles south of Dubai and 1,000 miles east of mainland Africa. The economy is largely dependent on tourism and relies on the beauty and protection of its natural environment.
On Saturday November 2nd, HOK Houston along with other members of the Houston design, engineering and construction community, participated in the second annual ACE Mentor Program Build it Forward event. The event was designed to raise scholarship funds for the Houston chapter of the ACE Mentor Program while giving students and their mentors an opportunity to give back to their community.
This year teams constructed convertible picnic tables that function as benches or a full size picnic table when converted. The teams built approximately 15 composite picnic tables that will be donated to local charitable organizations.
HOK represented their bowling skills amidst whacky bowling rules and silly scorecard names to contend with. With bowlers named “Citrix nightmare, BIMMY Hog, and Navisworks,” it was truly an architectural themed fundraiser that challenged us to bowl like zombies, on one foot, and with our eyes closed!
The 5th annual bowling fundraiser raised funds for the Texas Architects Committee (TAC) which promotes the interest of architects in Texas and raises funds to make campaign contributions to those seeking election or re-election to political office.
Big THANKS to our very own Janis Brackett for arranging our participation in this fun event!
A group of designers in HOK’s Toronto office won the Global Group’s “Best Seat in the House” chair design competition with their “Kill Bill” entry.
To coincide with the Toronto International Film Festival, designers from more than 50 Toronto firms were asked to decorate entries in a cinematic theme to portray a favorite movie, screenplay, actor or actress.
HOK is one of 23 teams competing in the architectural and engineering coed softball league this year. With the recent growth of the office, the team is a fun way to meet outside the office environment and enjoy a hot dog and cold beverage at the same time. As one could imagine, the rivalry runs deep in the profession and it’s evident with teams we play against showing fierce competition. The HOK team plays double-headers every Monday evening and I’m happy to report the team’s first victory was almost a blow-out with a score of 12 to 1!
This month we honored Ed Abboud with a lunch event to show our support of his great accomplishment of 40 years with HOK, YES 40! Along with his HOK family, Ed’s wife, children and grandchildren were able to join the celebration and coincidently it was also 40 years ago that day his daughter was born! He shared stories about his journey through which he has observed the advances of technology and the sustainability of construction with the less experienced staff, which includes all but a handful of us!
Congratulations Ed, and THANK YOU for your continued excellence.
In his own words, he express his thanks below.
“Your thoughts, e-mails, words, cards, hugs and gifts have truly touched me …
Over a year ago, Kristy (HOK Miami) and I decided to book a trip to Peru… fast
forward to June 2013, and we have returned from 10 days of majestic beauty and
historical ruins. The tour included Lima, Chinchero, Sacred Valley of the Incas
(Urubamba and Ollantaytambo), Cusco, and Puno (with a boat ride on Lake
Titicaca and a visit to the floating islands of Uros).
Along the way to Puno we had the opportunity to stop and visit a local elementary
school. Prior to our trip we had collected school supplies which we were able
to hand deliver to the school children. Thanks to all of you that donated items and help put
a smile on these young deserving children’s faces!
Imagine going to a lecture hall that automatically transforms into a banquet hall with minimal human effort.
This is truly an option at the the Plenary Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Recently a guest from Australia enlightened me….so I am excited to pass this along. Check out this place out in action!
Congratulations to the St. Louis Science Center, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium today! This hyperboloid structure, designed by HOK Founding Partner Gyo Obata, opened on April 16, 1963, in Forest Park.
“The strength comes from the shape,” HOK architect Roger McFarland said in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. “Think of an egg; it’s tiny but strong. It’s a beautifully simple concept. But once you start looking at the construction photographs, you realize how difficult it is to build something so simple.”
In 1966, architecture students from Washington University in St. Louis unknowingly …
Another successful HOK Structure’s Pi day has come and nearly gone as I write this. As always it was an enjoyable event for all; we brought pie, we ate pie, we recited pi. This was the St. Louis Structural Engineering group’s sixth annual event to celebrate the mathematical constant pi, an irrational and transcendental number represented by the Greek letter “π”.
To celebrate, we hosted an event inviting colleagues in our office to bring in a pie and participate in a “Best In Show” pie contest (and of course to eat pie) in addition to hosting the “most recited digits of pi” contest. Winners were awarded with …
Not only have I been seeing this NYT article (Relax! You’ll Be More Productive) circulating around Facebook lately, but a coworker also just emailed it to our whole group. It seems that many people are yearning for both increased productivity and relaxation – and this article by Tony Schwartz just may be the golden ticket to helping us achieve that magical balance!
It seems a bit counterintuitive at first. Schwartz states that they key to achieving greater productivity is not found through getting swept up in a whirlwind of working/going/doing longer and faster, rather, it is found in quite the opposite state: that of relaxation and rejuvenation.
What do a 5.5 million-square-foot research university in Saudi Arabia and a 6,000-square-foot orphanage in Haiti have in common? Inspired by sustainable architecture on two vastly different scales, their bond will soon help hundreds of children begin their journeys home.
Sal Gimbert, a structural engineering technician in our St. Louis office, posted this photo on Facebook the other day. Shared here, with her permission:
Using my grandfather’s (Alexander F. Newlands) slide rule this afternoon to get some work done from home. My mother and my grandmother passed it on to me as a Christmas gift this year. He was a civil engineer and ambidextrous. I never knew him, as he passed when my mother was two years old, but I feel influenced by him daily. Beauty in the smallest things. Powerful moment for me. Happy Holidays all!
T’was a warm winter day in Houston when the 4th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off took place in Hermann Square. HOK’s team built a holiday version of James Turrell’s Skyspace that was made of green cake covered in parsley, white chocolate, ginger bread, and various candies.
Thanks to our builders and strategists:
Jasmine Brown, Deinte Dan-Princewill, Alex Lara and Leming Yang.
Candy Strategists: Lauren Flemister, Ashley Craig and Sara Bullington
…and those who came to support and vote!
Follow the link below to explore more on the built pavilion:
A continuation of the HOK Diversity Quilt posts … today we are featuring “all about me” squares. We’ve found that each square represents the maker in a unique way, and the next two were uniquely made:
Donovan Oliff (Assistant General Council) – “Donovan”
1. Did you have any inspiration in making your square (and what process did you use to make it)?
I wish I could point to something interesting as a source of inspiration. To tell you the truth, I was a little intimated by all the stunningly creative people working in our office. My knowledge of artistic media is limited to what I was taught to use in grade
As part of the HOK Diversity Quilt posts, I’ll be highlighting some squares. I want to share the ideas and talent that have come from this project; I also want to give others inspiration; I mostly want to show you that making a square is easy and fun! Today I’m sharing three squares…each a simple idea basically using blank fabric squares and some fabric markers. Simple says a lot!
Matt Lindsey (ARC Print Shop) – “Tic Tac Toe”
1. Did you have any inspiration in making your square?
I loved playing Tic Tac Toe as a kid and I wanted to put my inner child in to the quilt.
2012 Diversity Week in St. Louis brought some fun activities to the staff, but the one I was (and still am) most excited about is the Diversity Quilt.
The quilt, a scheme brought to life by Penny Malina, represents the “joining of small pieces of fabric as a whole allowing us to see how each individual square is integral to the completed quilt”. The drive for squares began in July. The Interiors group donated old (discontinued) fabric samples, new muslin squares were cut, and notions were provided. It’s been wonderful to see …
HOK has been ranked as the #1 BIM Architecture firm by Building Design + Construction, but what does it take to achieve such wide adoption of new processes and technology? Change management is a paramount concern when a large, multinational firm undergoes such a radical transformation. Back in 2009, our firm decided to officially retire the term “CAD” and proclaimed November 5 as HOK’s BIM Day. For historical reference, Guy Fawkes Day was key to selecting this date.
On the fourth anniversary of our BIM Day, we are embarking on another leg of our journey to buildingSMART. As BIM has become synonymous with a specific software tool (like Revit), we recognize the need to expand …
Hope all you HOKLifers get out there and rock the vote. Today, you can make a difference in your community – whether you live in a swing state and your vote for President really counts, or you have some exciting propositions or amendments on your state ballot.
I was really excited to vote today – lots of cool stuff on the ballot.
I live in Virginia
That’s 13 electoral votes of swing state. I received more phone calls, junk mail, junk
dropped off at the door, and visits from fembot canvassers than I care to remember. I also got invited to victory parties by both Obama and Romney. So glad that my vote is going to
Eat the frog first?! That’s what Fast Company Magazine recommends in Kevin Purdy’s article What Successful People Do With the First Hour of Their Day. I am not one to eat the frog first, for sure. My day usually starts about an hour before others show up at the office. This allows me some time to get my list of things to do together, catch up on email and voicemail, and sart checking a few things off my list. I typically accompany this start up time with a cup of “fancy coffee” and some breakfast (usually greek yogurt).mmm…coffee!I save my frog eating for mid-day. I wondered if …