This year (and every year) K4 is thankful for our clients who allow us to practice our passion for a living and keep us in business, our partners who we enjoy working with, and a really cool building designed by us that keeps a roof over our heads and keeps us all warm (too warm for some, too cold for others depending on your gender or where you sit….)
We are most thankful for our employees, the pulse of K4, the people who make our home away from home what it is. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’d like to personally thank our employees for their contributions to K4 throughout the year, professional or personal, that are appreciated and definitely don’t go unnoticed.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
― John F. Kennedy
We begin learning about the power of three during childhood with Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the three choices of too hot, too cold, or just right. We continue our formative years spending time with Three Little Pigs, The Three Musketeers, and Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
Why three? Humans like choices, but not too many choices. Two is not enough and four are usually too many; so we opt back to three. When we are in danger or face a dilemma, we want options to choose from, but too many choices confuse our brain and we become at risk.
The basic and stable geometric shape of the triangle has three sides. Structures that carry a lot of weight, such as bridges, are based on elements like triangles. And if you ever served in the Armed Forces or were a Boy Scout, you learned to discover your location by triangulating: using three points 120 degrees apart to figure out your spot in the forest.
The cost of performing a task can usually be fairly closely estimated, if not precisely determined, before the fact. Furthermore, that cost is sometimes a small fraction of the cost of not doing it. This thinking is especially true of feasibility studies as illustrated by a scenario I have seen played out more than once. The chain of events begins when a company, needing more space, calls on someone in their facilities department to plan a new facility, addition or renovation.
Next, a workable preliminary floor plan is developed and bids are solicited from qualified contractors. At this point, the facility owner may be ahead of the game. It is not unusual that someone can be found in-house who is capable of developing a floor plan to satisfy the company’s circulation and space requirements. However, that person may have no knowledge of the multitude of other requirements (zoning, code, ADA, storm water detention, energy demands, etc.) that must be complied with. Without a feasibility study, considerable time may be wasted taking bids, arranging for financing, awarding a contract and moving ahead with final design before some previously unknown requirement presents a problem that does not lend itself to a cost effective solution.
Since the object of a feasibility study is to arrive at a very critical decision affecting the future of your company, it is essential to proceed through a comprehensive, well thought out process. The most basic components of the process include:
- Assembling the in-house team
- Defining objectives
- Gathering available data
- Preparing the scope of professional services required
- Procuring professional services
- Carrying the study through to completion
From creating simple 3D studies to fully modeled building concepts, Trimble Sketchup (SU) is capable of it all. Out of the box, Sketchup comes with a relatively simple toolset in the world of 3D modeling. Sketchup offers tools that other similar programs can do, but at a much quicker pace. That’s where plugins come in to play; scripts can be loaded into Sketchup to expand the programs functionality and improve productivity. The following plugins are my personal favorites which have significantly improved our workflow when working with Sketchup. All of these plugins can be downloaded from the Sketchup Extension Warehouse if you are using Sketchup 2013 or via the links if you are on an older version.
As a designer, every day tends to be different. There are some days where I sit down in the morning and have the ability to crank out thoughtful, inspired designs and others when I can’t seem to get in the zone. On these days it feels as if I’ve hit a wall, my mind is completely blank and I am straining to bring forth even the smallest amount of creative energy. Sound familiar?
From the urban dictionary, Designer’s block is defined as: “When any form of a designer can’t come up with creative ideas. Similar to writer’s block in the sense that nothing gets done. I can’t think, I have terrible designer’s block!”
Even the best and most experienced designers experience this type of scenario, but what can you do to help get back in the groove and turn your day around? Here are a few tips to unclog those creative juices and get back in the zone.
The New York Times article, “A Place to Hang Out (Read, too),” explores the redesign of Donnell Library Center, located at the base of a high rise hotel across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. This article case study’s an example of what seems to be a larger emerging trend in library design and illustrates the changing role of libraries in American cities today. In this digital age, with information at the touch of a finger, there is a great debate over the role of libraries. New library design has placed more emphasis on spaces for people to connect than for book storage and shelving. As their civic roles become broader; the library must adapt to the needs of the diverse, technologically trained population. With your favorite book or article just a click away, libraries need to redefine their roles within the community while maintaining a creative, welcoming space that still maintains the values of reading and learning.
“Let’s not pretend that things will change if we keep on doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, and to any nation.
For all crises bring progress. Creativity is born from anguish, just like day is born form night. It’s in crisis that invention is born, as well as discoveries, and strategies. Whoever overcomes a crisis, overcomes himself, without being overcome. Whoever blames his failure on a crisis neglects his own talent, and is more respectful to problems than to solutions.” - Albert Einstein
Who are Gen Y? Gen-Y are those born between 1980 and 1992. They have grown up with technology, have baby boomer parents, are peer oriented, and tend to lack brand loyalty due to the multiple products and services available to them and ease of comparison via the Internet.
Is your goal to attract and increase your Gen Y customer base or to reduce the average age of your members? That’s a lucrative goal to have because, “Gen Y-ers who are now struggling with college debt are set to take off financially in the near future with income set to surpass Gen X in 10 years, making them the highest earning generation in the U.S.,” says Missy Zakett, VP of Enterprise Banking for Western Union. Gen Y are the wealth accumulators of the future! So how can you market your products and services to this younger, tech-savvy generation? Financial institutions will need to approach Gen Y in a distinct manner while understanding their needs.
You’ve been chosen, or have decided to attend your industry’s annual conference or convention. You won’t be alone. Exhibit Surveys Inc. says the exhibition industry saw meaningful upticks in 2012. And if you are a first time attendee you will have lots of counterparts: the same survey reports that 38% of attendees are first timers; and 45% of audience members at any show attend no other conferences or shows. The shows we participate in are a lot of that type, single industry in a single state which means if you want to pick up new and emerging trends, see new equipment, or connect with colleagues, you need to attend that conference.
Hopefully not all of your images of conferences/trade shows or exhibitors and attendees are based on the comedy film Cedar Rapids, but if you are attending an industry conference or trade show in the future I hope you keep in mind the suggestions I have listed below. They are based on over 25 years of attending or exhibiting at conferences and trade shows. They might not always work in every situation but they will help prepare you to get the most from the show.
Is it possible that something you see every day could inspire you to make a difference? This is the concept behind IBM’s Smarter Cities campaign in which they’ve created environmental advertising that is both relevant and functional to start a conversation. The conversation they hope to spark is how to make your city smarter. IBM set forth to not only tell people about their mission to “[create] solutions that help cities all over the world get smarter, in order to make life in those cities better” but to also help people live it. The advertisements are printed on material that is bent into shapes that form benches, ramps, and overhangs. These pieces are placed in areas of the community and then used by the citizens.