Posts Tagged ‘st. louis’

Members of IMPACT meet with area middle school students

The Aim High students pose for a group photo after spending the morning in HOK's St. Louis office.

The Aim High students pose for a group photo after spending the morning in HOK’s St. Louis office. 

Members of HOK IMPACT recently met with 70 area middle school students in the Aim High St. Louis program to help them learn about architecture.

The 5th to 8th grade students spend the morning learning about HOK and what it means to be a professional architect, then broke into small work groups where they were challenged to think like an architect about a space they are very familiar with – their own …

Taking Charge of Your Career

Jan De Weer advises to not be afraid to self promote. Jan De Weer advises the group to not be afraid to self promote.

Stacy Krell talks to the office about career advancement.

In the first of a year-long Careers by Design series, Senior Human Resources Manager Stacy Krell talked to the St. Louis office about “Taking Charge of Your Career!”

The session is part of an office initiative for 2014 in which professionals from around the office discuss topics ranging from general industry trends, looking in depth at ongoing and completed projects and career development.

Stacy’s overarching message to the staff was the need to take …

Your Next Lamp Purchase: Tread Cautiously

Cree LED Soft White 60w Replacement (9.5w) Cree LED Soft White 60w Replacement (9.5w)

Happy New Year.  Welcome to 2014.  As of January 1st, Edison’s incandescent A-lamp (40w & 60w) is now considered “illegal,” while recreational marijuana use in Colorado is not.  We have officially entered the new age.

You’ve probably been hearing about the incandescent light bulb ban for a while.  75w (and above) lamps have been gone for some time, but these lower wattage lamp bans are hitting home in a much more personal way.  As part of this global sustainable firm, I am excited about the energy savings that will occur as people purchase new lamp alternatives.  But as a person who enjoys (and …

Filling Santa’s Sleigh: HOK’s St. Louis Office Collects Toys for Tots

Thanks to Dianne Brown of our St. Louis-based firm-wide legal team for passing along this message. Well done, team!

Charlie, Dianne, Sarah and Kevin display a few of the gifts donated by our St. Louis colleagues.

HOK’s St. Louis office recently participated in The “Toys For Tots” Drive in cooperation with the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation and the Metropolitan Square building.

The goal of Toys for Tots is to help less fortunate children experience the joy of Christmas through the collection and distribution of toys.

Thanks to the generosity of the St. Louis office, a child’s holiday will be extra special because of your donation.

Special thanks to HOK volunteers: Sarah Dirsa, Dianne Brown, Charlie

HOK Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Metropolitan Square in St. Louis


PlaqueEarlier 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 …

Architectural Bucket List: Visiting the Priory Chapel at Saint Louis Abbey

Every day, our communications team writes about HOK projects around the globe. Although we’re very familiar with many of these designs, we know we’ll only be able to see a fraction of them in person.

HOK was founded in St. Louis, though, so I’ve seen a number of projects in the area. Gyo Obata designed the campus for my undergrad university in HOK’s early years. The firm designed my favorite museum, too. In St. Louis itself, I’m fortunate enough to see HOK-designed buildings – including the one I work in – nearly every day.

One of the projects on my “bucket list” of projects I’d like to see in person …

HOK Social Responsibility Chair Sarah Dirsa Named to BD+C’s 40 Under 40

Congratulations to architect Sarah Dirsa for being named to BD+C’s 40 Under 40 list!

Sarah, HOK’s social responsibility chair and founding director of HOK IMPACT, is passionate about public interest design. Some of her recent pro bono work includes Project Haiti Orphanage & Children’s Center and Potentials Resale Boutique. She was also instrumental in bringing the Next American City Vanguard Conference to St. Louis in 2012.

Click here to read more about Sarah and her fellow 40 Under 40 awardees from BD+C.

McDonnell Planetarium Marks 50 Years — Now, to Infinity and Beyond!

Photo courtesy St. Louis Science Center Facebook page

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 …

2013 Pi Day

Happy Happy Pi Day – Happy Happy Pi Day


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 …

Diversity Quilt (Part 3) – The Squares

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

Diversity Quilt (Part 2) – The Squares

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.

2. Anything fun we …

Terry Mattison Celebrates 50 Years with HOK

Senior specifications writer Terry Mattison is celebrating 50 years at HOK – and counting.

Members of the St. Louis office gathered on August 30 to celebrate with Terry, whose 11-page resume includes a staggering 341 HOK projects. That number likely would double if it included the projects he has unofficially touched by providing advice on building materials. Terry, who still arrives at the office by 3:00 a.m. on most days, joins an elite group. HOK’s other two half-century employees are Co-Founder Gyo Obata and Chairman Emeritus Bill Valentine, who retired last spring.

“A lot of things have happened while Terry has been creating great work at HOK,” …


Lightwork.  I can’t think of a better single word to describe what we do every day at HOK Lighting Group, the five-person lighting design team based in St. Louis.  2012 has been a very busy year for us.  It is more than half over, so I wanted to share some of the highlights (pun is unavoidable in our profession).  I also welcome you to follow me on Twitter (@LightworkPDZ) for continual lighting related announcements, observations and chatter.


The St. Louis Interiors and Lighting Groups have expanded and revitalized our workshop to include multiple lighting mock-ups including the HOK Product Design/Neoray recessed indirect …

Diversity Task Force STL

Diversity is an important role in each person’s life.  We understand diversity from things as simple as trying a new food, designing buildings in new ways, and knowing people who differ from ourselves.  Simply put, without diversity, life would not be like a box of chocolates (and really, who wants that).

HOK is certianly the type of firm the appreciates the dedication that people make to HOK, which is in fact what makes HOK the great organiztion that it is.  It is important to recognize the diversity of each of these individuals that make up the greater part of HOK.  To celebrate and enhance our diversity, as well as to show appreciation for …

HOK’s Bob Schwartz Elevated to AIA’s College of Fellows

Bob Schwartz
, FAIA, a justice planner and designer with HOK in St. Louis, has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2012 Jury of Fellows.

According to the AIA, the Fellowship program “honors architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.” Bob becomes one of only about 3,000 members of the 80,000 AIA members to receive this honor.

Since joining HOK in1979, Bob has dedicated his career to transforming the design of U.S. courthouses, pretrial detention centers, correctional and local law enforcement facilities. His design leadership has helped make …

HOK Leads Pilot Composting Initiative In Downtown St. Louis’ Largest Class A Office Building

The future of composting food and other biodegradable “waste” in large multi-tenant office buildings is unfolding in a pilot program orchestrated by HOK in its St. Louis headquarters at the One Metropolitan Square (Met Square) downtown.

HOK’s Terri Muckensturm and Mary Ostafi separate and discard food leftovers

A team in HOK’s St. Louis office is managing an $18,000 grant engaging eight Met Square tenants in the pilot program that began on October 26, 2011. Through December 12, 2011, the tenants have recycled 11.33 tons of food waste for composting, averaging more than 1.5 tons of food each week. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans discard more than 96 billion pounds of …

GOOD for St. Louis and Portland

Calling creative minds itching to get their ideas for solving the big hairy challenges of the cities of St. Louis and Portland out to the world!  GOOD Design and  CEOs for Cities have teamed up with a grant from ArtPlace to expand their GOOD Ideas for Cities, which taps creative problem solvers to tackle real urban challenges and present solutions at live events across the country.  

You can follow it all on Twitter  or visit link here, but for right now, the big thing to do if you live in one of these two cities is to throw your hat into the ring to see if you can be one of the …

Postcard from Forest Park

What’s a truly authentic experience? For me, is was running through Forest Park in St Louis last week between our board meetings. Wow! When did they put that there? I’ve run in some pretty nice urban parks around the world (thanks, HOK) but Forest Park is extraordinary. It’s where I go in my head when I go running. Now I’ve been there.

A White Paper and an Award for HOK’s Net Zero Emissions Building Prototype

How feasible is it to expect new buildings to reach net-zero emissions? Building Design + Construction features the zero carbon prototype office building designed by HOK and the Weidt Group in its new white paper exploring that topic. Visit the white paper home or go the the HOK “Lessons from a Zero Carbon Prototype” paper directly. Thanks to BD&C Editor-in-Chief Rob Cassidy for his excellent work on the NZEB White Paper!

More exciting news about Net Zero Court: The HOK-Weidt Group design just won an Innovator Award in the Growing Green Awards sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council’s …

Lighting St. Louis Up Blue

(Above Image: Missouri History Museum)

Over the weekend, prominent buildings across North America and the world — including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada — turned their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and commemorated World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2.

Over the past few weeks, HOK Lighting Group in St. Louis has been assisting Autism Speaks’ awareness campaign by involving St. Louis on a grand scale for the first time.  The Light-It-Up-Blue campaign has been running strong across the nation (and world) for a few years, but 2011 saw a 400%+ jump in the total number of projects …

STL Team Fights for Air at ALA’s ‘Master the Met’

A few endeavoring HOKers participated in the American Lung Association’s 2011 Fight for Air Climb on Saturday. As one of the ALA’s many stair-climbing events nationwide, roughly 1,000 participants accepted the challenge to ascend the 42-story Metropolitan Square building in downtown St. Louis.

The Met Square building – the tallest in the Gateway City - happens to be home for HOK St. Louis. HOK designed the building in 1989 and it remains our office’s home base today.

HOK’s Master the Met team – Cathleen Feland, Elizabeth Baird, Mary Ostafi, Bob Powers and Jodie Schiro – raised more than $900 for the ALA.(The event as a whole brought in a whopping $313,500!)

Women Across HOK | Stacy Sensel + Anne Rogles

In this blog series you have heard from the women designers; from architects to interiors to graphics and landscapes.  Today I bring you another side of HOK, one not often gracing the pages of Architectural Record, well, let’s face it not ever.  But a side I would argue equally important.  Meet Stacy Sensel and Anne Rogles, a dynamic duo who take on the world of numbers, invoices, Deltek and Concur.  They fight the fight every day and still come back early, and I mean early, the next morning to do it all over again. They are our Business Manager and Accounting Specialist – the $$ side of the …

Tim Gaidis Helps St. Louis Launch its Greenhouse Gas Inventory

HOK and other architectural firms are working to reduce the carbon emissions of the buildings we design. Yet to reverse climate change, we need to look beyond the impact of individual buildings and create regional plans for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

These days you’d be hard-pressed to find a municipality that isn’t battling budget problems. How can a city afford to conduct a thorough greenhouse gas inventory — a careful accounting of greenhouse gases emitted to or removed from the atmosphere over a period of time — when it may be struggling to come up with the money it needs to fix potholes, pay its police offers and educate …

Holidays at HOK St. Louis

The St. Louis office has been busy with holiday activities this month! Here’s a look at two of the events…

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Our leadership team recently served up a delicious holiday lunch during the first-ever HOK St. Louis Leadership Potluck. The leaders - including Vice Chairman Clark Davis, CFO Bob Pratzel and friends – donned aprons and gloves (and, in some cases, Santa hats and other holiday accessories) to serve turkey and stuffing to STL’s HOKers. Dozens of employees joined forces to create… well… the largest potluck I’ve seen in my life.

Earlier this month, some particularly creative members of the office put their skills to use for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. For the third year in a row, an HOK crew (on …

Freno | Implementing the Urban Rain Garden

A pilot project is generally a project designed as a test or trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of a full program or product.  It was time we started doing this with FRENO.  It has been in development for 2 years, and we’ve built prototypes, models, animations, etc.– it was time to get our hands dirty!  Partnering with the Downtown Community Improvement District, HOK helped to choose an appropriate site in downtown St. Louis, and began the plans for installation.  The first of many to come, we learned some valuable lessons installing FRENO for the first time.  Read on for our findings:

Location, Location, Location!   Situated away from historic buildings (and their challenging below-grade vaults), the location for this raingarden

Lunchtime Bike Ride

I’d claim that I took off on some great lunch time adventure along a quaint river road bike trail, but alas, I did not.  I must live vicariously through my coworkers these days (being 9 months pregnant is quite the deterrent to do much of anything).

About a week ago, my boss and avid cyclist Steven Crang took off at lunch time to catch a ride.  He did in fact take a portion of the  River Road Bike Trail that leads from downtown St. Louis to Chain of Rocks Bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois over the Mississippi River.  Today, Steven and avid cyclist cronies Ruben Aya (recently

Gyo Obata’s St. Louis Book Signing

Left Bank Books in St. Louis’ Central West End is hosting a book release party for Gyo Obata tonight!

Obata book signing

Building an 88-Story Tower in 2 Days?!

Watch the HOK Model Shop craftsmen in [time-lapse] action as they create a three-dimensional model of an 88-story tower.  Kim, Victoria, Michael and Vince relocated to their new digs in downtown St. Louis a few months ago.

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The new facility expands the capabilities of HOK to create three-dimensional models for building design, planning and site development, product development, custom crafted interior decorative elements, and full size mock-ups of building details.

Fruit My Cube.

Fruited HOK Cube

The St. Louis Office has begun participating in a new service called Fruit My Cube.  The Farmer’s Market in Belleville, IL has come up with a new business idea that connects hungry office-bound folks with healthy snacks.   Our employees can sign-up to have their cubes (or in our case workstations) “fruited.”    For $9.99/week we receive a box filled with 16 pieces of fruit and vegetables delivered to our office.  The fruit & veggie types change weekly and selections are seasonal.

This week our box contained apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, plums, pluots, baby carrots, a tomato, and an avocado. That’s a ton of fruit, so the STL …

A Fitting Tribute to the ‘O’ in HOK

GyoObata bookcover_LO

Most architects with the prominence and portfolio of Gyo Obata are expected to publish some type of vanity book honoring their work and career.

Gyo wanted to mix it up a bit.

Rather than producing a standard puff-piece homage to himself, he decided to include the perspectives of his clients (what a novel concept). Active listening has always been a signature element of Gyo’s work, so the approach is fitting – and refreshing.

Published by The Images Publishing Group, Gyo Obata: Architect | Clients | Reflections features 30 projects spanning five decades – and stretching from St. Louis to Saudi Arabia.

The new book also includes …