Biking, Architecture, and the Economic Benefits of Wasson Way.

As a mode of transportation and recreation, biking has grown exponentially in popularity over the past decade, according to a recent CNN report. Slow to initially embrace this trend, Cincinnati has begun to implement more trails, bike lanes and even bike sharing, all with successful results.

One of these potential trails which offers the possibility of connecting numerous eastern Cincinnati corridor neighborhoods is the Wasson Way.  The proposed route of six and a half miles would stretch from Xavier University to the existing Little Miami trail near Mariemont. It would re-purpose an existing right of way which is not longer used by the Norfolk Southern Railroad company and remove their railroad tracks to be replaced by a paved, lit and well marked trail. If completed, the trail would connect Evanston, Norwood, Hyde Park, Oakley, Mt Lookout, Fairfax, and Mariemont.

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What Is Interior Design?

My role at K4 is an Interior Designer.  So when someone asks me what I do for a living and I tell them I am an Interior Designer their first reaction is “Oh cool, you have a fun job,” followed by “Can you come and do my house?”  This common misconception led me to write this blog post describing Interior Design and breaking down the differences between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator.  There are some pretty major distinctions, as described below.

Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator

Projects undertaken by an Interior Designer vary widely as the profession is multi-faceted and not always clearly defined.  Terms such as decorator and designer are often used interchangeably. However, there is a distinction between the terms that relates to the scope of work performed, the level of education attained, and often, professional accreditation as an Interior Designer.  Another big difference is that Interior Designers typically work more on commercial projects where Decorators focus more on residential projects.

What is Interior Design?

Interior Design is creative discipline which requires developing and implementing practical solutions that are applied within a space to complete a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants.  It is the process of shaping the experience of the interior space, through the manipulation of spatial volume as well as surface treatment.  It draws on aspects of environmental psychology, architecture, and product design in addition to traditional decoration.

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Achieving Effective Communication in the Role of the Architect

Effective communication is a necessary component of any high quality service.  Achieving effective communication begins with transmitting clear, concise information and following-up to see that it has been received, understood and, if necessary, responded to.


The design and construction of a building project entails addressing numerous issues over a time frame lasting anywhere from several weeks to several years.  In addition, many matters involve the input of several interested parties viewing the matters from different perspectives.   Consequently, the process will frequently entail prolonged give-and-take communications by more than two participants as opposed to a single transmission of information which is replied to with unqualified agreement.  Below are a few things I’ve learned over several decades while playing the architect’s role in this process.

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5 Lessons Learned from Designing & Building Banks for 25 Years

Starting my career in the Financial Industry as Director of Corporate Architecture at Fifth Third Bank and subsequently as President of K4 Architecture + Design, I’ve been very fortunate to be in the business of designing and building banks for over 25 years.  Although the banking industry has undergone immense changes during that time period, the five lessons below I’ve found to hold true; even as the integration of technology, ever changing regulations, and the size and scope of branch locations and services rapidly evolve and lead the branch transformation movement.


As the number of U.S. households that utilize electronic banking services increases, one might assume consumers to place less value on a bank’s physical location. According to The Financial Brand’s 43 Retail Banking Myth’s, “not all customers want to do everything remotely and people still want local advisory services.”  Also, while the myth of branch decline has received widespread attention, “there is a still place for a brick and mortar experience albeit with fewer bricks and less mortar. We need to rethink the branch model and experience, but bankers will be offering a strong physical (and digital) presence for decades to come.”

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Convention Was Great…Now What? Part II

Part I of this post was written when K4 was on the brink of attending three conventions/trade shows/annual meetings in three weeks, and was spoken more from the perspective of a convention attendee.  Fresh from attending those shows, and with a break in our trade show schedule until Spring 2015, I thought I’d share with fellow marketers how we recap and measure the season and ROI of attending a convention as an exhibitor.

1.  Work LinkedIn…Again.  Did you send any pre-show invitations to connect, hoping to meet someone?  If you happened to meet them at convention, congrats, send them a follow up message thanking them.  If not, send them a message expressing that you are sorry you missed them, but you’d still like the opportunity to meet.

2.  Evaluate Pre and Post-Show Email Efforts.  Now that you’re not so much in the thick of the show season, it’s a great time to check out the reports and analytics behind those pre and post-show emails.  Who opened your emails?  What was the click through rate?  What within the email did people click on?  Who unsubscribed?  Use this intelligence to build better email communications for the next season.

Author's Own Campaign Stats

Author’s Own Campaign Stats

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Implementing Revit into the Architectural Workflow

Embracing change can be difficult.  It doesn’t matter what field you work in today, technology has probably impacted how you operate in the workplace.  While in the long run technology can help increase efficiency and production, implementing it into our workflow can be painful.

Architecture is obviously not immune from this transition.  Using BIM (Building Information Modeling), whether it be Revit or one of the other competing programs, has become the expectation for many of today’s projects.  I have personally been involved in the transition from 2D drafting to BIM at two separate firms and wanted to share a few important insights I have made.

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Convention Was Great…Now What? Part I

K4′s trade show season is in full swing!  See our convention and trade show schedule here.   With so many shows coming up in close proximity of each other, I felt inspired to write about the slump that can often happen after a trade show and how to avoid it.

We’ve all been there.  You leave convention inspired by what you’ve learned, excited about new connections you’ve made, motivated to implement change upon return to work, and armed with a ton of free swag to offer your staff in exchange for embracing the mighty and positive change that is coming.  Maybe you even won an iPad.

You have great intentions of embracing everything the convention offered to you.  But after missing a few days of office time, an overloaded email inbox, and the return to the daily grind, you find you have a lot more to do than simply working off five pounds of convention food and drink.

While most of us can relate to Post Convention Depression, what can we do to reap the benefits from all the learning and networking we actually did while there?  Whether an attendee or exhibitor, one can benefit from taking at least one or more of the steps below to turn the contacts you made at convention into business relationships, and the knowledge you gained into a plan of action.

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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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