“Adaptable” Buildings are the Thing in Healthcare Architecture Today

FlexibleHospitalDesignWhen designers were considering the infrastructure of a major renovation at a children’s hospital in Minneapolis earlier this decade, they didn’t just think about how the hospital would look the day the renovation ended. They looked decades into the future and made sure the design was flexible enough to accommodate the inevitable changes on the way.  “The discussion of flexibility is becoming more important today,” one of the designers says. “Money is scarce and hospitals want to get more bang for the dollar.” Continue reading

Could a public art installation be start of a trend?

RainbowCrosswalksDowntown might be getting a little brighter. Recently the City Council passed a resolution that will make four downtown corners a little more colorful. Call it crosswalk art. Hollywood, London and Toronto are just a few of the cities that have it. They’ve turned their white lines into the colors of the LGBT flag.

The crosswalks on Bettie Naylor Way (also known as 4th Street) could be added to that list by the end of the year. See the full story>>

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Registered for the Turkey Trot Yet?

20167440_SAThanksgiving is around the corner. Have you registered for the Turkey Trot yet?

The ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot began this cherished holiday event back in 1991 with a dedicated group of only 600 runners. Since then, Austin’s Thanksgiving Day tradition has grown considerably.

In 2013, they had nearly 20,000 participants from 48 states, making it the largest 5-mile run in Texas. Proudly, they donate one hundred percent of event proceeds to Caritas of Austin. Caritas helps the working poor and provides them with education and support to gain self-sufficiency.

ThunderCloud Subs has been a fresh, fast and healthy part of Austin for 39 years with 29 locations in Central Texas. Being uniquely Austin, ThunderCloud is serious about giving back to the community.

ThunderCloud has now raised more than $2 million for Caritas of Austin through the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot.

Have you read these books yet?

Great gift ideas for architects in the family!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere Architects Trick-or-Treat: Amazing Cemetery Architecture

It’s not likely that many architects dream of designing headstones or mausoleums, but that architecture clearly outlives, so to say, buildings made for the living.

One great recent example of cemetery architecture, the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis, won a 2014 AIA National Honor Award. This mausoleum, designed by Joan Sarano and John Cook, is built into a hillside to preserve the cemetery’s pastoral quality. The exterior of the two-level mausoleum features split-faced gray granite, white mosaic-marble trim, and bronze doors. Click here to learn more.

“Funerary architecture is an incredible opportunity to create something meaningful for a community,” Soranno writes on HGA’s website. “The mausoleum allows visitors to experience a sense of peace and calm in an environment conducive to contemplation and healing.”

Another recent award-winning cemetery structure is the Islamic Cemetery in Altach, Austria. The cemetery, designed by Bernardo Bader, won the Agha Kahn Award for Architecture in 2013. The cemetery serves the area’s Islamic population, which makes up about 8 percent of the residents.
The cemetery includes several buildings made of reinforced concrete for the walls and oak for the ornamentation. A lattice-like system of red concrete walls delineates five grave fields oriented towards Mecca and a rectangular one-story building in a simple but monumental design. Learn more here.

The jury citation read, “The Islamic Cemetery, in its restrained and measured expression, belies a complex cultural negotiation… Simple in expression and poetic in form, it not only engages the natural landscape in an intelligent manner but also suspends any notion of declaration.”
The projects above won awards, but what cemetery monuments do architects build for themselves? A new book called “Their Final Place: A Guide to Graves of Notable American Architects” by Henry Kuehn describes the final resting places of 150 famous architects. Only of the few of them reflect the work of the architect, surprisingly.

“It seems strange that these great architects, who created landmark structures during their lives, put so little thought into how they themselves would be memorialized for time eternal,” Kuehn writes. “Apparently most of these architectural giants, like most of us ordinary people, either did not feel like dealing with death or felt that a lasting memorial for them was not important.”

Exceptions to this rule include Mies van der Rohe, who is buried under an appropriately austere gray granite slab in Chicago’s Graceland cemetery, and Louis Sullivan, buried in the same cemetery under a granite block decorated with nature-inspired intricate decorations.

Learn more about Kuehn’s book here.