Setting the Stage for the Future of Higher Education – Insights from SCUP 2018 Annual Conference

  • September 12, 2018
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

Each year, members of the CannonDesign education team head to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2018 Annual Conference to learn about the latest trends in campus planning, and gather insights that will help inform our own designs and plans moving forward.

This year, five CannonDesign leaders – clockwise, from top left: Phil Dordai, Trevor Calarco, Mike Glaros, Jenny Miller and David Coleman – attended and report on their visits here. The conference presented a broad, relevant topic that is top of mind for planners on both the client and architect side: setting the stage for the future of higher education.

Talks explored challenges facing higher education, the impact of politics on campus, and how planners, administrators and designers can adapt to changing generational demands.

A key theme discussed surrounded how campuses are looking for creative ways to insert new or updated buildings within already dense campuses. Right-sizing and right-spacing facilities, finding ways to house multiple curriculums (even if disparate in nature) under one roof, and using data and analytics to find the most efficient use of space are just some of the methods planners are adopting to ensure student, faculty and administrative needs are met.

In a similar vein, campuses are also getting innovative in creating new subtypes of spaces or programs, such as creating new multipurpose student centers/unions that house shared environments. These ladder into the trend of incoming generations being interested now more than ever before in the quality of their experiences on campus. Students want accessible wellness centers, retail, dining, prayer spaces, etc. They want to know that they have spaces where they can proactively spend time, versus reactively finding them in times of need. As a result, planners and designers alike will need to continue to source new ideas for creating these proactive experiences, and give students spaces they want to hang out and spend time in.

A final hot topic of focus was the impact of politics on campus. As with many industries, issues like immigration policies are affecting international student enrollment numbers. And like other industries, it’s predicted that decreases in international enrollment could result in serious consequences for business plans in higher education institutions if those drops in enrollment from last year continue. It remains to be seen what these consequences will entail, but will be important to monitor, and prepare for.

Overall the conference provided interesting takeaways, but more importantly, challenged those that presented and attended to continue to expand their creative thinking within a campus planning framework. It will be interesting to see how these trends and insights are reflected within the physical campus space in the coming years.

Engineers Week Kicks off at CannonDesign

  • February 19, 2018
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

Engineers Week 2018 has officially begun and CannonDesign is ready to celebrate. Throughout the week we’ll be sharing insights from some of our engineers on topics ranging from the impact technology has had on the profession, to how we can all get more involved in opportunities outside of day-to-day project work. Be sure to keep an eye on our blog for posts from Ted Fowler, Christopher Barlow, Owen Dalton and Peter McClive.

We’ll also be hosting events across the firm, hosted by our Young Engineers group. The brainchild of Bill Cielinski and Brad Palmisiano, the Young Engineers began a little over a year ago to help CannonDesign colleagues get engaged, stay connected and transfer knowledge. We’ll capture the fun and share insights gleaned from the events.

Here’s to a great #Eweek2018!

Lynne Deninger Elected to The Boston Society of Architects/AIA Ethics Committee

  • December 7, 2017
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

Lynne Deninger, AIA, and Principal for CannonDesign, was recently elected to the AIA Ethics Committee for the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). The Committee serves the BSA through offering insights and mediating services for clients and peers surrounding an architect’s professionalism, integrity or competence according to the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (2012). The BSA consists of more than 3,500 members and provides professional development for members, advocacy on behalf of great design and fosters appreciation for the built environment.

In addition to serving as a Principal, Lynne is a member of CannonDesign’s board of directors and is the Boston office practice leader. A veteran within higher education design, she is respected for her interactive and collaborative approach.

Learn more about our Boston office >

CannonDesign Attends 2017 AIA Women’s Leadership Summit

  • October 23, 2017
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

Hilda Espinal, Carisima Koenig and Patricia Bou recently attended the AIA 2017 Women’s Leadership Summit held in Washington DC. The sold-out event brought together over 400 architects to continue the national conversation on equity in the design profession. Workshops and lectures explored topics including:

  • Equity and pay
  • The missing 33 percent
  • Process and outcomes for leadership
  • Business acumen and negotiation as a power tool
  • The language of power

As part of the Summit, the AIA Washington D.C. chapter also hosted the first ever WIELD event (Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design), where Hilda was a featured speaker. CannonDesign was honored to attend this event and is committed to fostering discussions surrounding women in leadership to help promote diversity and inclusion within the industry.

Ohlone Community College Heads #BacktoSchool Amid New Construction Efforts

  • September 7, 2017
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

16,000 Ohlone Community College students returned to Fremont Campus to a different scene than when they left for the summer. In addition to the completion of new athletic fields, construction has also progressed on the academic core buildings. Once complete, these buildings’ formal and informal gathering spaces will deepen the connection of students to their peers, as well as faculty and staff; leading to holistic learning experience.

While new construction on any campus is exciting, it can also take a toll on faculty and students alike in getting from point A to point B. In this case, however, the College planned ahead to make sure everyone onsite can easily find their way around campus. The village of temporary classroom structures positioned at the lower portion of the site (located at the north-west corner of the campus) will accommodate student classrooms displaced by construction. And the general contractor of the projects has made sure delivery truck crossings are supervised and truck drivers aware there will be increased pedestrian traffic. The supervision of vehicle and pedestrian intersections, coupled with a comprehensive campus signage effort by the college, will assist with wayfinding during this campus transformation.

This is an exciting time for Ohlone – we look forward to seeing these facilities continue to develop over the coming months.

Getting to Know You: Q&A with Buffalo’s New PK-12 Leader, Bill Zografos

  • July 17, 2017
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

An accomplished architect and project manager with more than 30 years of professional experience, Bill Zografos was recently named the PK-12 lead for Buffalo’s education market. In his role, Bill will help manage the day-to-day activities of PK-12 education projects, while guiding his team and CannonDesign partners to new project wins.

We sat down with Bill to catch up on his work to-date for CannonDesign, as well as what he sees as leading and fading trends within the education space:

How long have you been with CannonDesign?

I’ve been with CannonDesign for almost 14 years, having been first introduced to the firm through two former colleagues at my previous firm that left for CannonDesign. They showed me how the firm was changing the face of architecture and design; there was no way I could say no to the opportunities CannonDesign presented.

What brought you to focus on design for PK-12 education?

I basically jumped right in when I started; I saw PK-12 as a good niche market that allowed me to impact students in a positive way.

Tell us about what project/client/challenge/success you’ve been involved with at CannonDesign.

My memorable experiences revolve around the excitement of working with students; this is key for me. When you deal with adults it’s one thing, but when you get to work and engage the students, possibilities are limitless. They have no constraints on their thinking, and it’s always a high energy experience. It’s wonderful to see their expressions as they become more and more engaged with the projects and they can see their ideas come to life.

A project I’m proud of was developing a STEM wing for a regional high school. The design really pushed the envelope because it allowed an individual school district to have a hands-on role in selecting the technology featured in a local school. The wing also allowed the school to develop and established a series of academic and certificate programs, providing students with a wonderful cross section of hands-on tech experience. Students could study metal working, wood working, electronics, etc. and have great exposure to these items without going through a vocational-focused program.

In regards to a challenge – the biggest challenges we always face revolve around budget, especially in New York’s PK-12 market. Budgets are unfortunately getting tighter and tighter, and maintenance/repair budgets are being decreased in favor of operational needs in order to maintain programs. In the meantime, facilities continue to deteriorate. We try to find ways to give our clients spaces that will take them into the next 20 plus years while balancing existing conditions that need to be repaired.

What’s your design philosophy/approach/view?

You need to listen. Listen to what the users need, how they plan on using the space and understanding their expectation for their space. Only then can we truly engage with the client to ensure the space we design will meet or exceed their expectations.

It’s also important to take into account things clients may not have thought about, and use our experience and expertise to guide them. We function as education architects, so we need to be proactive and anticipate what our clients’ challenges will be 10 years down the road, and address them now.

What do you see as the leading and fading PK-12 education architectural trends?

Leading trend: In PK-12 it’s STEM or STEAM facilities and programs. They’re becoming more and more prevalent. While STEM/STEAM started out in the high school level, it’s now working its way down into elementary schools. As such, we need to work with our clients’ districts to determine how to create a facility that’s age appropriate, that supports their programs and can anticipate and adapt to changes down the road.

Fading trend: The traditional library (emphasis on the word traditional), and computer rooms. As more and more schools move to one-to-one computing, where every child has a device, computer rooms become obsolete. For libraries – students aren’t studying the way they used to at an oak or maple table and chair. They are more collaborative. As a result we’re seeing university-level student commons coming into the PK-12 world; more collaborative spaces with soft seating. We’re reducing the number of stacks, tables and chairs and allowing students to move freely and move furniture and engage in group studying. Again, libraries themselves are still very relevant, they’re just going to look and function differently.

What are your goals for the Buffalo office’s PK-12 education market?

I want us to reintroduce CannonDesign and our PK-12 education team within the state of New York. I’d like to focus on providing our clients and school districts with our resources to make their projects successful, exceed their expectations and continue to build a strong reputation for innovation and service in the industry.