Book Review

Is Wellness Design the New Sustainable Design?

A Review of Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives

By F. Jeffrey Murray, FAIA Posted on August 18, 2017

Image courtesy Harper Collins Sarah Williams Goldhagen’s new book, written for the general public more so than the design community, is timely, important and worth a careful read by design professionals. Her fundamental claim is summarized in the preface: “What the new paradigm of embodied or situated cognition reveals is that the built environment and its design matters far, far more than anybody, even architects, ever thought that it did.” (p. xiv) Her book is timely because in the last couple years we’ve seen new checklists and scorecards for ‘wellness’ design (14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, The Well Building Standard, Fitwell — to name a few).  Wellness design appears to be a trendy term for what has traditionally been called...

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Design Pittsburgh 2016

View All of the Winners of Our Juried Competition

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on October 27, 2016

ARCHITECTURE: Honor Award PROJECT NAME: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Knoxville Branch CLIENT: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh ARCHITECTURE FIRM: GBBN Architects DESIGN TEAM: Anne Chen, AIA; Amanda Markovic; Julian Sandoval ENGINEERS: Sci-Tek Consultants, Inc.; WBCM; WNA Engineering, Inc. CONTRACTORS: Shannon Construction Co. PHOTOGRAPHERS: Massery Photography, Inc. DESCRIPTION: Formally described as a bunker, this project transforms a brutalist 1962 building into an inviting destination for a diverse community. The deeply recessed entrances were moved forward to provide ample glazing that facilitates views to the street and daylight to the interior. Small additions at the front and side of the original building maximize the interior plan, providing a dedicated area for teens and expanded children’s area with an outdoor deck. JURY COMMENTS: With...

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Trends in Residential Design

Local CRAN Members Respond to Projections

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on June 16, 2016

“While it seems safe to assume that the design of U.S. homes will undergo fairly significant changes over the coming decade, it’s equally likely that these changes will be determined by fundamental economic and demographic developments….” writes Kermit Baker and Jennifer Riskus, the authors of  “The Coming Decade for Residential Design,” an article in AIA ARCHITECT looking at how home design will change in the near future. The article highlights the results of the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey. COLUMNS wanted to see how the survey and the trends compared to the local residential architectural trends, so we turned to AIA Pittsburgh’s CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network) and had some local members respond to the national information. Local architects Mary Cerrone,...

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In the Houzz

CRAN brings the design platform to Pgh

This past June at Convention, AIA National announced two strategic partnerships to enhance and connect architects in today’s technology-driven world. One such partnership with Houzz, the world’s leading online platform for remodeling and design, is hoped to develop technology initiatives to engage architects and increase the public awareness of how good design can enhance our lives. Next week, this partnership comes to our community, as AIA Pittsburgh’s CRAN welcomes Houzz Community Team member Michael Stein for a Houzz presentation ‘Technology for Storytelling: How to reach new clients and engage a global community’. For architects and other design professionals, technology tools extend far beyond space planning and drafting. Today, technology is used to communicate more effectively with clients, tell engaging stories...

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Call for Entries: TAP BIM Awards

Submissions due December 16, 2013

The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Knowledge Community is hosting its Tenth Annual Building Information Modeling (BIM) Awards competition. The competition is seeking projects that exhibit exemplary use of integrated and interoperable building information modeling. The Tenth BIM Awards Call for Entries builds upon the innovative responses received for previous award winners in 2005-2013. Since 2005, the AIA Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Knowledge Community has spearheaded an effort to highlight award winning “best of breed” case studies from the profession in the harnessing of Building Information Model (BIM) technology and processes to further design, construction and project excellence. Award winning projects will be recognized in AIA publications and electronic media, and also at the BIM Awards presentation prior...

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Run and Gun…

Are you ready to create your own videos?

By Patty Swisher Posted on November 19, 2013

Are you in a situation that’s ripe for shooting video, but there’s no time for preparation or pause? Do you want to capture real-time quality content, but there’s no time to set up lights, diffusion panels, scrims, and reflectors – let alone hire a professional videographer, write a script, and pay for editing and sound engineering? Welcome to the world of “run and gun” video production; it’s about capturing real-time quality content with no crew, no time, and no (or little) preparation. I talked with Lori Miller, Marketing Leader and Executive Coach at Perkins Eastman, about her first steps into video production. Q: What led Perkins Eastman to create its first set of videos? A: The senior living practice group had...

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So You Have a Twitter Account… Now What?

Navigating this new tool

By Patty Swisher Posted on September 11, 2013

In my first article, I shared the three easy steps to get started with Twitter. Have you followed the steps and signed up? How’s it going?  It has been said that your Twitter account is only as good as your Twitter news feed. Are you following at least 100 people, companies, business publications? These are the sources of information you will receive via Twitter. How useful that information is depends upon whom you select to follow. If you are still a little overwhelmed, here are a few tips to help you get more out of Twitter.  Download Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a free app with a paid upgrade., can be found at, and I am a huge fan! Hootsuite is more than...

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3 easy steps to get started with Twitter

By Patty Swisher Posted on July 10, 2013

Twitter. Tweet. Hashtag. Retweet. What is all this gibberish about the social media platform Twitter? Twitter is a microblogging service created in 2006 and currently has over 500 million registered users generating over 340 million tweets per day – and there are new people joining every day. Today, Twitter has become an excellent source for networking with business contacts, connecting at conferences or events, making new friends, following celebs and TV shows, and learning about breaking news from sporting events to natural disasters as they occur. According to the Twitter Help Center, “the real magic lies in absorbing real-time information that matters to you.” First, a little about vocabulary for Twitter. A tweet is a message that is 140 characters...

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Incorporating Keywords in Your LinkedIn Profile

Taking action to improve your brand

By Patty Swisher Posted on May 21, 2013

The last article was a general introduction about the importance of keywords, and if you had an opportunity to attend the panel presentation on social media at Build Pittsburgh in April, you may have a better understanding of the value and usefulness of keywords. Keywords are those three to five words that define who you are and how you want your clients to know you. Are you familiar with the classic marketing book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries  and Laura Ries? Law Number 5 says to “own a word”, with examples such as Volvo owning “safety,” or FedEx owning “overnight.” During the seminar, we talked about keywords in relation to LinkedIn profiles. I also recently read...

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Where to Start?

Becoming familiar with social media

By Patty Swisher Posted on December 12, 2012

So, I’ve volunteered to write this regular short post on Social Media in the A/E/C industry for Columns.  My goal is to share lessons learned with you. One of the first challenges is understanding what IS social media?  Here is a post that offers 50 variations on the definition of social media. Social media takes many forms including collaborative projects, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, and virtual (game) worlds. You will recognize the ‘big’ social media sites (platforms) and applications including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and most recently, Pinterest as well as perhaps Flickr, Vimeo, Tumblr, MySpace, and a list of others.  A variety of technologies may be applied when delving into social media including blogs, picture-sharing,...

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