Archive for the ‘In the Studio’ Category

St. Louis Interns Inspire, Collaborate and Discover with ReFabSTL

As summer winds down, internships are wrapping up for Cari, Scott and Thomas in the St. Louis office. During their time here, the interns have been involved in a variety of projects and experiences. In addition to working on project work for sports & recreation, healthcare and corporate projects, the group was also involved in site visits and one-on-one meetings with local leadership. Each of these experiences aimed to give the interns a greater understanding of the different facets of an architecture practice.

Cari, Scott and Thomas onsite at the BJC HealthCare Kingshighway Campus Renewal project. Cari, Scott and Thomas onsite at the BJC HealthCare Kingshighway Campus Renewal project.

As a group,

Making a Mark in Downtown St. Louis

After being in our new space for a few months, the St. Louis office employees were pleased to see the official exterior signage go up last week. The new sign is a welcome street presence for the office, adjacent to the Old Courthouse and the expanded Arch Grounds, still under construction. The large HOK logo, which wraps around the building to be visible from 4th Street as well as Market, will also be lit at night.  Employees are excited to use the outdoor terrace now that the weather is warm, and are proud to have signage marking our spot in the city.

The large HOK chop being put into place. The large HOK logo being put …

Earth Day, Every Day: HOK’s Toronto Practice Donates Sample Library to Students


When HOK’s Toronto practice moved offices last month, we made a conscious decision to downsize.

An open plan office and more agile workers meant paper copies had to be transferred online and recycled, and a smaller library dictated a need to reduce sample and material quantities.

To practice what we preach with regards to sustainability, our samples were reduced, reused, recycled, and donated.

In an effort to leave no footprint (and reduce our contribution to landfills), many office supplies and small pieces of furniture were sold or given away free on such sites as Kijiji or to interested parties within the larger office building. The majority of the sample library was donated to schools and creative initiatives.

The following list is by no means …

HOK in Dallas Hosts a Tour

The team from HOK’s Dallas office hosted a presentation and tour of our office for a group of interior design students from OSU. Jim Halloran, Justin Drabek, Hoshi Brooks and Kelly Davis lead the effort.

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HOK’s Recreation Design Team Celebrates National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day

In celebration of the National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day, HOK’s team of recreation designers, all avid fitness enthusiasts themselves, shared their favorite ways to be active.


In addition to running, hiking, biking and kickboxing, other favorites included aerial acrobatics, CrossFit competitions, rugby, scuba diving and break dancing. The team’s passion for wellness is evident throughout their work and their commitment to healthy, active living in their daily lives.


Special kudos goes out to Emily, who shared her workout tips and pictures from when she was nine months pregnant!

National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day was started by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) in 1999 to celebrate …

HOK’s Dallas Office Hosts Graduate Students From Texas A&M

A four-year graduate studio from Texas A&M joined our Dallas office for a presentation and tour by a few of our office leaders. Their particular studio is entirely healthcare focused. Ben Crawford, Curt Parde and Darden Beckham led the discussion and tour.

Ben talking Students Students w Ben conf table

HOK’s St. Louis Office Moves to New Downtown Location

A prefunction space outside of three smaller conference rooms. A prefunction space outside of three smaller conference rooms.

HOK’s St. Louis office recently relocated to 10 S. Broadway in downtown St. Louis, across the street from the Old Courthouse and Ballpark Village. The new open work area is a considerable change from the previous space and allows for increased flexibility, featuring touchdown spaces and collaborative bench seating. A new two-story interior space will offer a variety of work settings for small and large gatherings and opens to a new outdoor street-level patio.

HOK Net-Zero Energy Design Competition: D-breath


Four designers from HOK’s Beijing office – Philip Kwong, Yuhai Cheng, Xiaoqian Yang and Summer Su – entered the firm-wide Net-Zero Design Competition as the team “D-breath.”

The net-zero competition challenged HOK’s teams to create a conceptual net-zero energy design for a building on a site in their local community. Teams were required to use HOK’s Sustainable Analysis Tool to obtain climate data, set energy use intensity (EUI) targets and estimate the size of on-site renewable energy systems required to reach net-zero energy.

The D-breath team designed a public medical office northeast of the 2nd Ring Road in Beijing, where there is a massive air pollution problem. The site sits quietly in the neighborhood of the famous Linked Hybrid …

HOK Net-Zero Energy Design Competition Winner: soLAr


Five designers from HOK’s Los Angeles office – Jessica Ginther, Frank Cauthen, Jamila Valero, Zach Capehart and Kris Surichamorn – competed in the firm-wide Net Zero Design Competition as the team “soLar.”

The net-zero competition challenged HOK’s teams to create a conceptual net-zero energy design for a building on a site in their local communities. Teams were required to use HOK’s Sustainable Analysis Tool to obtain climate data, set energy use intensity (EUI) targets and estimate the size of on-site renewable energy systems required to reach net-zero energy.

The soLar team designed a mixed-use building on a site in downtown Los Angeles. The team’s design won first place in the internal HOK …

St. Louis Team Tours 700 Market Project Site

Thanks to Jason Pierce, project architect in St. Louis, for this post.

Aimee and Tom

HOK’s Aimee Rowbottom, project manager, and Tom Kaczkowski, project lighting designer, share interesting facts about the 700 Market building. It is the youngest building on the National Historic Registry, sat vacant for approximately 10 years and contained more than 150,000 bricks, including 20,000 special radial and angle bricks.  

A group from HOK’s St. Louis office toured a current project at 700 Market in downtown St. Louis. HOK is part of the team updating the building originally designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee for the General American Life Insurance Company.

The building opened in 1975 but has been vacant since 2004, when General American moved …

HOK Toronto Gets Nutty

Getting everything ready for Nutella Fest! Getting everything ready for Nutella Fest!

Of the many things the HOK Toronto office can be deadly serious about, food and festivals make the top of the list. And Nutella’s upcoming 50th anniversary provided the perfect opportunity to merge the two, and smother it with Nutella.

On Thursday May 15, HOK Toronto’s nutters and nibblers came together for Nutella fest 2014, a gathering to honour Nutella’s 50th Anniversary with homemade Nutella goodies.

Inventive treats included:

  • Nutella stuffed peanut butter cookies with sea salt
  • Nutella empanadas
  • Nutella with chips for dipping, aptly and humorously named the “Captain Obvious”
  • Nutella-Pear Crumble
  • Nutella Croissant
  • Nutella wrapped in phyllo pastry
  • Nutella Gelato
  • Blizzard cookies featuring, you guessed it, Nutella

Create, Inspire, Connect, Care

This time of year HOK’s values are shared with the City of Houston through volunteering, donations, and community involvement.

HOK Movember 2013

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.

We Care Event

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….

A Season for Family, Sharing, and Being Thankful

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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 …

Build it Forward

Team HOK with their student team leader Cassandra Team HOK with their student team leader Cassandra

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 Houston Supports Fun + Fundraiser

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!

Right Brain with Left Brain Personalities — or Vice Versa?

Guest Post By Angela Zwink, HOK Visual Communications, Houston

As the Knowledge Manager of HOK Visual Communications, I was really curious to know where we fall as a group. Are we collectively right-brain or left-brain dominant? I quickly ran through the personality attributes that define the left brainers and right brainers and this is what I found, starting with the left brain:

Words and Language — Check. I have to say we are pretty good in languages as almost half of our team is bilingual. In Houston, additionally, we all are slowly learning a new word everyday in Espanol from our very friendly office custodian.

Logic and Critical Thinking — Check. We have located and programmed a …

Leaving Space for People too.

This is a short post I’ve written as a guest contributor for a friend at Otto. Check out other amazing posts on design and products at 3Rings!

There’s an intrinsic dilemma that all architects and designers carry with them: the struggle with the idea of control. We lose precious sleep over the often unknowable outcomes of our projects.

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An ever-present but less contemplated thought is the impact of those outcomes. While this also can be “unknowable,” designers can draw on evidence and research to predict the impacts of projects with more accuracy. From a business culture standpoint, we crave predictability. Yet, it rarely leaves room for growth, …

Gingerbread Build Off

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 Skyspace in Houston – Lighting – Architect Magazine Page 1 of 3

James Turrell’s latest project is an architectural pavilion that frames an artwork—and an artwork that accomplishes an …

The Bikes of HOK Washington, DC

As you know, it’s Bike to Work month and the DC office is kicking butt. Today is no different, especially because it is national Bike to Work day. I counted 19 bicycles in the office, and that doesn’t include those people who parked outside or used Capital Bikeshare bikes (there is a station right outside the office).  BTWD is practically religion in our office.  First question everyone asks is, what swag did you get?!  This is immediately followed by, “oh, I went to a different pit stop, we didn’t get that!”  Today my top swag item was a “Bike Arlington” reflective vest, one-size-fits-giant-people.

So…for those of you who were wondering how our four teams …

Pretty Female Architects

I was curiously Google-image searching the term “female architect” one afternoon and the results were stereotypical as expected; hard hats inside finished buildings, abundant rolls of paper, every face with a huge smile and the occasional Zaha head shot (go girl!). Another observation was that every female is young and attractive; this made me wonder where that portrayal was conceived?

Soon after, I came across an article in February’s “Architect” magazine (p.29) stating that “Only about 3% of executives in major American corporations – including architecture firms- are women (according to McKinsey & Co.).”

I wasn’t so shocked; it’s a man’s world we’re infiltrating, and only for the last few generations. However, the …

GreatPier in (moving) Images

The Navy Pier Pierscape Competition website has been updated to include the full videos and design booklets

The other submission books and videos are up as well, so check those out too!

How it Happened: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at HOK and Partners’ Proposal to Transform Navy Pier

You may have heard by now that for the past 8 weeks we’ve been busy over here at HOK preparing for the Pierscape at Navy Pier Design Competition. Joined by collaborating firms !melk  and UrbanLab, the design was finally presented to the public on Tuesday. 


The team included !melk., Urban Lab, Terry Guen Design Associates, Thirst, Zoe Ryan, Conservation Design Forum, HR&A Advisors, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Sam Schwartz Engineering, Leni Schwendinger LIGHT projects, CMS Fountain Consultants, and Karin Bacon Enterprises.

We always see (and drool over) these competition entries, but very rarely do you get to peel back the covers and see what really goes into the preparation of these submissions, so we thought we’d give …

Fall Fun, Fairs and Festivity at HOK in San Francisco

Let it never be said that San Francisco HOK-ers don’t know how to have a good time. Take a look at the lineup of events from this fall – and you’ll agree that we can party like rockstars!

October: Wellness Fair: We kicked off the festivities this fall with a health fair to make sure we were all medically certified to have a good time. Practitioners from the Pure Wellness Intl Team, Kaiser and Concentra were at hand to answer questions, along with posture and stress screening, chiropractic advice and healthy snack samples.

October: Pumpkin Carving Contest: HOK SF then flexed its creative muscles with a pumpkin carving contest. Look below for the winners!

Sometimes Oprah is Pretty Smart

…OK, a lot of the time Oprah is pretty smart. 

The reason I say Oprah is smart today is (once again) due to an article I ran across on CNN: “The New Rules for Succeeding at Your First Job.”  There are some great ones in here (like “never stop taking notes”), but there were a couple that REALLY stuck out to me:

“Think About Presentation” – Oprah suggests that you format everything beautifully.  I agree.  For starters, do not EVER give your boss something that hasn’t been spell checked and read to make sure you didn’t say “panty” instead of “pantry.”  She doesn’t want to see it, and she wants to …

Welcome to HOK Airways

On Thursday 22nd September, London’s property industry came together to celebrate the inaugural HOK London Annual Party on board HOK Airways.  Having celebrated a number of  successes and project milestones particularly in our Aviation  sector, we chose this theme for our 2011 Annual Party.  On the following evening we opened our doors to the public in celebration of the London Design Festival.

We wanted to celebrate 2011 with clients, partners, consultants supporters and journalists whom we have had the pleasure of working with through this challenging yet rewarding year.

Planning began in June and we made it just in time to register to be part of the London Design Festival. Weekly meetings were …

Create, Inspire, Connect, Care


Power to the people – especially those who turned out to attend the Interior Design Regulation celebration August 4 honoring the successful efforts to keep the interior design profession regulated in the state of Florida (more info in 10 May 2011 post). The IIDA event featured guests Senator Jack Latvala, Senator Jim Norman, Senator Arthenia Joyner, and Representative Darryl Rouson. Special kudos to HOKer Kelly Betts for having such a STRONG voice throughout the debate!
More power to HOK and the exhibit we had at the ACA (American Corrections Association) conference in Orlando this week. We were represented by the JBU team and the amazing justice projects across HOK. I had the …

Biking to work in the FL sunshine

A local paper columnist interviewed HOKer Anna Vasquez, as he explored the option of bike commuting in the Florida summer heat.  The humorous article featured some tips from Anna that I can relate to as a fellow commuter. I especially love the outfit tip – matching shoes are a must, but I must admit I forgot my entire dress once!

Read the article here:

See me rollin’, ridin’ dirty – tbt*.

Mockups and Music

Okay, so I was trying to be alliterative… it’s not really a mockup, it’s the real thing!  The first sign to attach to the Freno Raingarden System arrived today and will soon be installed at the pilot project here in downtown St Louis.  This sign will help people to know what’s going on, the benefits of urban rain gardens, and to learn more about the system itself.  Nice job, Matt, Jim, and Paul!

Also, we got to admire the sign against the backdrop of some wonderful jazz music in the center space, courtesy of Jazz St Louis.  The three student musicians were in as a part of …

Create, Inspire, Connect, Care

By “Cars 2”… well Maybe.

An interview on ABC’s “Nightline” highlighted Pixar’s studio space designed for creativity.( – the studio tour starts about half way through this 6 minute interview by “Nightline’s” Bill Weir.)

 This place yields billions of dollars a “cartoon” and looks super fun to be at for 70 hours a week (sorry social life you may be replaced). 

So, maybe a hospital, airport, or even a federal courthouse isn’t as profitable as a feature film but can it be? If we could create architecture and the world that surrounds us in a place that harbors creativity, can it be?

I’m bringing a scooter to work …

HOK Anniversary Surprise from Outer Space!

These images say it all – there are some very creative people at HOK!

 Kim Frey, vice president and business manager has been with the firm for 30 years this month – what a huge accomplishment!  The traditional 30th anniversary gift is Pearls but we decided to surprise her with aluminum, A LOT OF ALUMINUM! Besides, it’s much more shiny, flexible, affordable, and best of all- Recyclable!!!

Kim “sincerely wants to thank each of you for the pleasure of being part of this great group of professional for all these years, …