Conducting Effective Building Project Kick-off Meetings

It has been said the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  A building project journey is measured by the time frame of anywhere from several weeks to several years and the first step required to achieve a high quality project is an effective kick-off meeting.

Since no two projects are identical, no two kick-off meeting agendas are identical.  However, the following matters should always be addressed.

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Hudepohl’s Smokestack, a Queensgate Architectural Icon

Author's own photo

Author’s own photo

The former Hudepohl Brewing Company building, recently purchased by the Cincinnati Port Authority, has been providing myself and other employees of Queensgate something besides a wall to look at outside our windows ; a history lesson and charming reminder of the golden era of brewing in Cincinnati.

Although the brewery and a significant portion of the building are no longer there, the recent purchase of the building inspired me research and track down some of the history behind this iconic smokestack.

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Local Company Collaboration Explores the Art of Coupling Preservation with Modernization

What do you get when you mix two local companies working on a local historical project?  An exercise in preservation with a twist of modernization.  Cincinnati based K4 Architecture & Design teamed with the Rookwood Pottery Company for the opportunity to work on an addition to one of the libraries first opened by Andrew Carnegie  in 1903, the Avondale Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County.

If you have ever been to the Avondale Library, there’s no doubt you have stopped to marvel at the ornate tile entrance. What better way for the Avondale branch to commemorate 100 years of success and service to the community than to team up with a company with 150 years of experience in hand crafted tile under their belt.  Here is a firsthand look at our collaboration and process with the Rookwood Pottery Company.

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How to Create an Infographic in 5 Easy Steps!

Last month we decided to take on the challenge of creating our first Infographic.  We wanted something new and fresh, while remaining objective and in quality content providing mode.  The idea was to address information gleaned from recent trade show conversations with our clients and prospects, that many bank branches in our service area are in need of remodels and are in the information gathering phase of the remodel process.  The development of the Infographic turned out to be a little more challenging than expected, but we are so pleased with the end result.  The 5 Steps below are general guidelines to point you in the right direction of Infographic creation.

Is it time for a branch remodel?  Take this 6 step branch assessment.

Is it time for a branch remodel? Take this 6 step branch assessment.

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The “No-Vacation Nation” is Still Alive and Well

The term “No-Vacation Nation” came out of a Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) report issued last year and cited facts that a) the United States is the only “rich” country to not guarantee their work force days off, and b) some European countries mandate at least 20 paid vacation days a year, and some even more than that (Germany, France, and Britain receive roughly six weeks of time off).

Big deal, they get more vacation in the rest of the world, but we probably use all the vacation time we do get, right? Wrong! In a survey reported on CNBC in April of this year, only 25 percent of employees took all their time off, and even more frightening, 15 percent reported taking no vacation days at all!!

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How to Obtain Permits for Your Building Project

To assure an expeditious process of obtaining permits (zoning, building, electrical, etc.) needed for a building project, the Architect must begin by finding out from the applicable governing authorities what codes apply.  In so doing, it is important to determine if the nature of the project and/or the site on which it is located will be subject to any requirements above and beyond those included in the normal zoning and building codes – e.g.:

  • Special requirements that apply to projects on sites that are located in a wetlands or a flood plain.
  • There may be a local design review board from which approval must be obtained – particularly for projects in downtown areas.
  • The Board of Health has requirements applicable to projects such as restaurants.
  • The local Fire Department may require fire hydrant(s) to be provided on the site.
  • The USDA and FDA have special requirements relating to food processing facilities such as meat packing plants.

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Canstruction Cincinnati: A Behind the Scenes Look

As most of the U.S. has been consumed with March Madness;  vigorously filling out brackets by tracking player statistics, loyally standing by your alma mater, or choosing teams based on most stylish uniforms, we at K4 have been involved in some madness of our own.   Since November we’ve been scouring the grocery store aisles for the perfect canned food labels and weighing, measuring, and comparing various cans to see how they stack up against each other (literally) in preparation of the 2014 Canstruction Cincinnati competition.

Canstruction is an international community service project of the design and construction industry to benefit community food banks.  Architects, engineers, designers and contractors compete to design and build fantastic giant-sized structures made entirely out of canned foods.  After the structures are built and the winners declared, the creations go on view to the general public as a giant art exhibit.  At the close of the competition, all of the food used in the structures is donated to the local food bank for distribution to community emergency feeding programs.

Now that the 48,586 pounds of canned food collected this year are safely stacked at the Freestore Foodbank, I thought I would give you a behind the scenes look at what led to the design, build out, and award win of our Canstructure – “Fighting Hunger One Fork At A Time.”

final picture 640

Author’s Own Photo
K4 & HGC Canstruction 2014
Fighting Hunger One Fork At A Time

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Financial Brand Consistency in the Physical and Digital Space

The financial brand can encompass many components in both the physical and digital space, including:  products and services, front line service, the branch design and environment, the website, social media, marketing materials, signage, credit cards, branded technology, community sponsorships, advertising, etc.  Being brand consistent means being consistent in everything you say and do, with everything the customer can see, hear, or touch.

The task of creating or maintaining brand consistency can seem daunting and strategy development can be difficult when taking into consideration the above marketing properties in both physical and digital spaces.  So how does one begin brand alignment and how do you best maintain brand consistency throughout the process?

Let’s hear from two experts from different ends of the spectrum.  First the physical space – Jeff Klump, President of K4 Architecture + Design; a firm providing Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design and Constructions Services, specializing in the financial industry.  For the digital space, Kristin Sundin Brandt, President of Sundin Associates, a marketing agency for banks and credit unions.

Jeff Klump, President of K4 Architecture + Design & Kristin Sundin Brandt, President of Sundin Associates

Jeff Klump, President of K4 Architecture + Design & Kristin Sundin Brandt, President of Sundin Associates

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For the Love of Design…

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, some of us at K4 wanted to share what we love about design and why.  We hope you enjoy this post and that we may inspire you to appreciate the design your interact with in your daily lives.

Sandy Tenhundfeld, Project Manager/LEED AP

I am going with the LEGO set.  I love that when you design with them, there are infinite possibilities while at the same time, there are constraints.  You are constrained by only using specific pieces/sizes etc., but you can come up with infinite designs!  Even better than the design elements are the hours I spend with my children having fun while learning at the same time.

I also absolutely love the Museum Center.

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3D Printing: Bridging Digital Design with the Physical Environment

If it was unclear from the majority of my blog posts, one of my many passions is computer modeling. Computer modeling is beneficial in many ways, from initial rough designs all the way down to the final built project; the model can provide unique views and detailed conditions that may have otherwise been overlooked. A lot of my projects, primarily any carpentry projects I might be embarking on, start out as computer models. In fact, just about everything that requires some kind of planning for me starts out as a computer model. These models allow me to find potential problems when I start building things and address them before they become issues. Sadly these models only exist in the digital world, but do they have to?

The world of 3D printing is a rapidly expanding industry. 3D printers may very well be joining the ranks in plotter rooms of professional offices, or even sitting next to your trusty inkjet printer on your desk.  What is currently available allows people to print 3D models of items or small parts to go in a larger contraption.  Recently announced at CES 2014 (does being an IT Manager qualify me to go next year?) is the Replicator Z18 3D printer from MakerBot Industries.

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