Four Exciting Takeaways from Innovation Accelerated By Design

  • November 26, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

The inaugural Innovation Accelerated By Design event hosted by CannonDesign’s Los Angeles office explored the role of design in spurring innovation. Last Thursday, more than 100 designers, educators, health and business leaders and innovators came together to hear leaders from Kaiser Permanente, Showtime and University of Utah share thoughts on how design can fuel innovation.

Hosted at the Herman Miller Showroom, Innovation Accelerated By Design welcomed inspiring presentations, sparked interesting dialogue, and offered exciting peeks into the future of design. The event featured a series of TED-style presentations followed by a panel discussion moderated by CannonDesign’s Director of Strategy, Swapna Sathyan.

Our moderator and speakers (From L-R) Swapna Sathyan, Mehrdad Yazdani, Troy D’Ambrosio, Sunil Shah, Jana Winograde

Starting with this inaugural event, our team is excited to build on the momentum generated and continue to feature thought leaders and industry experts through various channels and events in 2019 and beyond. For those unable to attend or simply interested, here’s a look at four key takeaways from last Thursday’s event.

Internal Disruption is Important
Sunil Shah, Kaiser Permanente’s VP of Facilities Strategy, Planning & Design, kicked off the evening with a thorough look at the health system’s legacy of innovation. He shared that from Kaiser Permanente’s perspective, “(their) buildings need to be a beacon – so what does that mean for design?” From breakthrough cancer centers, to its Health Hub concept, and even its new School of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente consistently leads the health industry in generating novel ideas to meet shifting customer demand and preferences.

Sunil was clear that this innovation doesn’t just happen and he shared that Kaiser Permanente is fully aware it must constantly “internally disrupts ourselves” to foster these exciting ideas and concepts. Sunil then focused more on how his team has opened around 50 medical office buildings since 2015 that reshape patient experience in healthcare. He shared that in healthcare, “Customer experience matters. Brand matters. The healthcare doctor’s office has a much broader role than an episodic event that happens in people’s lives.”

This recognition guides so much of Kaiser Permanente’s design efforts and they’ve rooted their visionary responses to elevating customer experience in “design, technology, services models and operational models.”


Unleashing Creativity Can Be Intentional
As one of the leading entertainment media companies in the world, Showtime Networks is a paragon for fueling creativity. The company’s President of Business Operations Jana Winograde shared how the company has redesigned its workplace in Los Angeles to empower its creative people and culture for the decades ahead. She highlighted, “For Showtime, it was about having a space that encouraged the creative process in every way, and creating and designing spaces for that.”

Jana touched on numerous features of the new workplace (set to open in 2019) as she shared renderings and video fly-throughs. She touched on how the company integrated technology, screening rooms, collaborative space and pushed the design solutions to inherently inspire those who will work within it. She also focused her presentation on Showtime’s need to “design a space that can adapt to industry change.” Jana shared that with the entertainment industry seeing new entrants in the form of technology companies, company culture, and recruit and retain is shifting in dynamic new ways.

“We looked across industries for the best workplace ideas and pushed ourselves to think about what we’ll need today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, to thrive. It’s a moving target; that’s how we think about our business, and we brought that same perspective to the workplace design process.”

Welcome Ideas from Everywhere
Troy D’Ambrosio, the Executive Director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at University of Utah, then took the stage to share how just two years after the university opened its breakthrough entrepreneurial education building, Lassonde Studios, it has quintupled the number of student-led startups on campus. “Last year, we had over 500 startups and 100 of those are still running,” he shared. Beyond this startup amplification, Lassonde Studios has also helped the University of Utah jump up in national rankings, increase student engagement on campus and accelerate funding streams.

In his presentation, Troy identified “unique compression of talent,” as a core driver for this success. Lassonde Studios welcomes students from all disciplines and levels to live in its 400+ residences and every student on campus is welcome to use its ground floor 20,000 square foot entrepreneurial hangar. The building enhances this idea of idea-sharing, as Troy added, “not only did we mashup students, but we mashed up types of spaces, like open collaborative zones, prototype spaces, workshops, hackable spaces, you name it.”

Troy added that one of the defining marks of Lassonde Studios is that students define it. “I walked in recently, and there was someone riding a scooter, someone playing the piano… it’s non-stop action and it’s 24/7 for those who live within it.”


It’s an Extraordinary Time to Be a Designer
Our own Mehrdad Yazdani helped close the series of presentations with a look at how the design process is evolving and why it must continually evolve to help organizations meet their ever-present challenges. After enthusiastically telling the attendees it was an extraordinary time to be a designer, Mehrdad shared that “we are living in a world that is rapidly changing. The emergence of new technology, (the) convergence of new generations – everything about how we work is changing.” To accommodate this change and stay relevant, Mehrdad concluded, “designers must change, too.”

Mehrdad’s presentation then focused on how prototyping, emerging technologies and new processes all help designers engage their clients and identify new solutions and opportunities that never previously existed. Having worked with Sunil from Kaiser and Troy from University of Utah closely, Mehrdad was able to highlight anecdotes from the design processes that informed their projects and unite the presentations dynamically.

“In such a remarkably evolving world, design is a common denominator that can help businesses, health systems, educators – it’s a powerful tool to help us create a brighter future.”

Inspired by the series of presentations and discussion, several audience members had questions for the crowd. The group also enjoyed the atmosphere of the Herman Miller showroom, food and drinks after the formal presentation had concluded.

Our team was thrilled with the quality of speakers for our inaugural event, their insightful presentations and we look forward to building on the great start to this event series.

Deb Sheehan Named to National Design-Build Institute of America Board of Directors

  • November 15, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has elected Deb Sheehan, CannonDesign’s executive director of strategy, to its national board of directors. In this role, Deb will join a board composed of design-build innovators from across the country focused on promoting the proven efficiencies of an integrated design-build approach.

The DBIA is an organization of more than 5,000 members. It functions as the industry’s preeminent resource for leadership, education, objective expertise and best practices for design-build — the fastest growing method used to deliver construction projects in America.

“The value of design-build project delivery is immense, and it is quickly becoming the premier way to deliver capital projects,” said Praful Kulkarni, fellow board member, 2017 board chair and chairman of the nomination committee. “Deb has devoted much of her career to advancing innovative ideas related to project delivery and will be a tremendous asset to the DBIA as we continue to grow and guide the future of design-build.”

With a background in business management, engineering, architecture and construction, Deb has overseen the design and delivery of more than $4 billion of design solutions for client organizations across the globe. She has led several high-profile projects delivered via integrated project delivery (IPD) and spearheaded the creation of CannonDesign’s construction delivery services division, which offers in-house design-build and construction support services. Recognizing the immense value of prefabrication, Deb also led CannonDesign in co-founding Integrated Modular Design (IMD) — a company offering prefabricated, modular building solutions that can be fully customized to meet client goals for design and functionality.

“The way architects and contractors deliver projects is quickly changing,” said Deb. “There is a lot of waste and inefficiency in traditional delivery methods and design-build has proven to deliver enhanced outcomes to clients. I’m thrilled to help the DBIA continue to evolve and broaden its influence on project delivery across the country.”

Deb, along with her fellow newly appointed board members, will assume this board leadership position in January 2019.

Celebrating 35 Years in DC: How We Started and Where We’re Going

  • November 14, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

We wanted to take a moment and reflect on the office’s 35 years in the DC area, and also re-introduce our practice and highlight the amazing things happening in our office through our clients, markets, culture and people. In 2019, we will focus on one of these topics each quarter and give you insights into how we are evolving to meet the challenges of our world.

Looking back for a moment…
Our history in DC began with the acquisition of Faulkner, Fryer and Vanderpool Architects in 1984. At that time, CannonDesign was expanding and growing — with five offices and 280 people — but still much smaller than what we are today.

We have been extremely lucky to develop incredible client relationships over the years, working with so many notable Washington, DC institutions in all major sectors including hospitals, corporations, schools, universities and government entities.

And leaping forward in 2019…
In 2019, we will focus on one of these topics each quarter and give you insights into how we are evolving to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world.

  • Clients – We plan to feature the incredible clients we have partnered with to create lasting change in their organizations. We can’t wait to hear from them. 
  • Markets – We are excited to see the fusion of markets and blurring the lines between science, education, corporate and health. We will explore this growing trend through interviews, project features and market research. 
  • Our Culture – We are so proud of our culture here. We will highlight how we are advancing the practice with innovative technologies, leading sustainable strategies in the built environment and integrating our services and project delivery methods to better serve our clients. 
  • Our People – Our people are most important to us. We have an incredible amount of new talent and we can’t wait to share their stories with you. 

Do you like cake?
To celebrate all of you — our clients, stakeholders, partners and friends — we will be holding an anniversary party in Fall 2019. We’ll have interesting conversations, networking opportunities and, of course, cake.

Three Ways Quebec’s Largest Academic Medical Center is Combating Cancer

  • October 31, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

Rising 22 stories high and four floors below ground, the new Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) is the largest hospital in Quebec and contains one of the largest cancer treatment centers in Canada. The extensive size and scope of the cancer treatment center is designed to respond to the increasing demand for cancer services in Montreal, Quebec, and across Northeast Canada and the Maritimes.

While the building design and its size are unique and impressive on their own, the way care is delivered within the cancer center, and the breakthroughs in research, are also hallmarks of the cancer care philosophy at CHUM. We’ve highlighted three ways CHUM is a model for other providers to follow in the future:

Breakthroughs in Immunotherapy
Oncologists at CHUM are harnessing technological advances in immunotherapy to treat patients in both the hospital and ambulatory clinic. Located in the adjacent Université de Montréal Hospital Research Centre (a building designed and completed by a separate consortium in 2014), a cleanroom cultures cells for clinical treatment using an advanced closed-system cell sorter – one of only about 20 such units in the world, and the first of its kind in Canada.

The final cellular product – produced at the Centre d’excellence en thérapie cellulaire at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont of CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’île-de-Montréal – is then injected into CHUM patients as part of their personalized treatment. Scientists and oncologists at CHUM are currently using immunotherapy for patients who are no longer responding to standard treatments – targeting some of the most aggressive cancers and late-stage diagnoses.

CHUM’s standing as a center of academic medical excellence and its strategic research partnerships is helping to foster breakthroughs in cancer care.

Unmatched Cancer Treatment Capacity
As one of the most comprehensive cancer treatment centers in North America, its total size equals 125,513 sf in combined inpatient and outpatient areas. The CHUM Integrated Cancer Center (CICC) is recognized by the Department of Cancer and Social Services (DMC) as a supra-regional center for the specialties and treatment of complex cancers. In addition, as a center of regional expertise, CHUM is designated as a BrachyAcademy educational center for multiple specialties and a global Training Center in Brachytherapy techniques.

Located on two floors below grade, the CHUM’s radiation oncology department houses a wide array of technologically advanced treatment options, including:

  • 10 linear accelerator vaults (with two more planned in Phase 2)
  • 2 high-dose brachytherapy vaults
  • 2 MRI rooms
  • 2 CT and 1 PET/CT scanners

Of the 12 vaults, two include TomoTherapy, one houses a CyberKnife, and one is dedicated to a VERO®, the most advanced stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) system available in the world and only found in a handful of locations in North America.

Located on the top two floors of the ambulatory tower, the cancer center houses medical oncology spaces to support ambulatory oncology clinics and the infusion center — including 67 exam rooms, 58 infusion bays with stunning views of the city, dedicated lab spaces, a dedicated USP 797 & 800 compliant infusion pharmacy, and dedicated administrative and clinical offices.

Human-Centered Design
While treatment approaches and breakthrough technology are most critical to helping cancer patients, CHUM also offers important access to nature and opportunities for respite to elevate the patient experience. Breaking down the project’s scale, public space components are woven into the campus to make it as open, transparent and welcoming as possible. To eliminate the confusion that is inherent with large, complex medical centers, the space provides clear and supportive visual cues to reinforce a path of travel with defined destinations to assure patients and visitors.

CHUM includes a number of publicly accessible rooftops gardens that recall medicinal herbs dating from the founding of New France. Expansive windows in patient rooms, waiting areas and infusion treatment spaces offer some of the best views of the city. The same consideration for access to nature and daylight is applied to staff zones and lounges that provide views to the surrounding landscape and balconies to support moments of respite and reflection.

An expansive public art collection, integrated throughout both the inpatient and outpatient areas, is intended to reduce stress, provide moments of reflection, and support wayfinding. One piece in particular, “La vie en montagne,” provides an uplifting experience in the outpatient clinic using mosaics of ‘‘radiant’’ words that make up its mountain peaks.

Each of these elements contributes to the innovative care delivery model at CHUM, setting a new precedent, particularly for the design of public healthcare, and generating a new era in cancer treatment within Montreal and beyond.

Learn more about our cancer care expertise >

Three Ways Jacobs Medical Center Elevates Cancer Care

  • October 15, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

UC San Diego Health’s Jacobs Medical Center is a visionary healthcare building that functions as three hospitals – housing centers for women’s and infants, cancer care and specialty surgery – in one 10-story building. The building has been widely recognized for its patient-focused design, with media coverage from CNN, Architect’s Newspaper and Dezeen while winning both a Fast Company World Changing Idea award and the AIA National Healthcare Design Award in 2017.

While these accomplishments celebrate the design and key features of the medical center, we wanted to call special attention to specific spaces in the hospital focused on cancer care. In Jacobs, floors four through six are home to the Moores Cancer Center, where multidisciplinary teams of specialists, surgeons and oncologists build on advanced tools to deliver personalized care and cancer treatment trials. With 108 beds, the cancer facility nearly doubles UC San Diego Health’s capacity to treat cancer patients in the area.

Here are three unique elements of Jacobs Medical Center that bolster its ability to deliver quality cancer care:

Pressurized Air to Reduce Infection
The air in the Moores Cancer Center’s blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) floor is positively pressurized and specialty filtered to help reduce the risk of infection for patients with compromised immune functions. These measures allow patients to leave their treatment rooms, walk around open areas of the unit and visit with family and friends.

“(Previously) patients (could) leave their room during certain periods in their treatment but only if they wear a mask because of the vulnerability to infection during this time,” said Edward Ball, MD, director of the UC San Diego Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program. “With the purified air there will be no living things, no viruses and no bacteria floating around. Patients can leave the room and not worry about getting sick.  When people are stuck in a room for so long; these differences are critical.”

This change allows physicians to be more at ease with patients outside of their rooms and empowers the BMT floor to deliver a higher level of care. Physicians can do more in one place, keeping patients more relaxed and in familiar environments as opposed to having to be whisked off to other floors for tests or monitoring.

Cross-Disciplinary Team
Jacobs Medical Center has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) – part of the National Institutes of Health. This designation is reserved for cancer care facilities with the highest achievements in cancer research, clinical care, education and community contributions. NCI-designed comprehensive cancer centers have higher survival and recovery rates due to the fullness of care, diverse oncology disciplines, subspecialty expertise and multidisciplinary teams they support.

At Jacobs Medical Center, multidisciplinary cancer care is in the building’s DNA. Care teams supported in the Moores Cancer Center include specialist from:

  • Medical oncology
  • Surgery
  • Radiation oncology
  • Diagnostic imaging and radiology
  • Psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Nursing
  • Social work

These multi-disciplinary teams can better work together in the new space to determine and execute the best course of treatment for each cancer patient they serve. They also have access to state-of-the-art equipment for minimally invasive and robotic surgery, 3D visualization techniques, and other treatment approaches of brain tumors, prostate cancer and other cancers when needed.

Infused with Nature
Extensive research suggests access to nature can enhance patient care and outcomes. Jacobs Medical Center is designed as a “garden hospital” due to the unique ways it fuses building and landscape. Multiple elevated gardens and terraces bring nature up to the cancer patient levels and patient rooms have expansive windows that overlook the nearby canyon, oceans and sunsets. The Moores Cancer Center specifically offers a Bamboo Garden which houses clinical and research space for UC San Diego Health cancer services, staff and patients.

Outside of patient rooms in the Moores Cancer Center, daylight filters throughout the floors and family rooms are in prominent locations at the end of corridors to allow maximum light and views.

Each of these elements contributes to making Jacobs Medical Center a cutting-edge destination for patients needing cancer care from San Diego, Southern California and across the country. It is a model for other providers to follow in the future.

Learn more about our cancer care efforts >




CannonDesign Takes Part in 2018 AIA Day of Service

  • October 10, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

With the arrival of fall’s changing colors and cooler temps across the U.S., we thought it would be good to look back at one of our favorite days of summer 2018: the AIA Day of Service on June 23. With the National AIA Conference in Manhattan this year, AIA New York leveraged the final day of the expo to encourage visiting and N.Y.-based architects to give back to diverse communities in need and our team was proud to take part.

A few highlights from that great day:

  • Widespread Impact–Volunteers worked on various service projects for non-profit organizations across the city, from Sunset Park to Chelsea, Harlem to Washington Heights, to the Upper West Side and Queens. This citywide approach amplified the day’s positive impacts.
  • Design Community–The event brought the design community together as a single team. Representatives from CannonDesign, FXCollaborative, Perkins Eastman, James Wagman Architect, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects and 1100 Architect all took part which was great to see.
  • Team Focus–Each group was able to focus on a specific effort as part of the day. Our team helped the Center Against Domestic Violence (CADV) upgrade their multipurpose room. The CADV promotes the economic independence of domestic violence victims, educates young people about abusive relationships, and provides support services and housing to clients on their journey from victim to survivor. Thanks to Ryan Koella, Siobhan Lee, Deborah Verne and Carisima Koenig from our NYC Office for their time and effort.

Both AIA New York and HunterDouglas Architectural posted strong recaps of the AIA Day of Service. HunterDouglas even included our Ryan Koella in their recap video.

Numerous people and organizations helped make CannonDesign’s contribution to the Day of Service a success, including:

  • Tarkett provided flooring supplies
  • EzoBoard contributed a felt column cover
  • Benjamin Moore donated paint
  • Stalco Construction, PK Painters and JoMark Flooring all donated time, professional labor and expertise
  • Several NYC-based CannonDesign employees contributed money to help purchase IKEA furniture and other needed supplies
  • United Rentals provided Home Depot supplies for the project
  • AIA volunteers and staff from CADV all helped throughout the day

“This was a great team effort and it wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of so many,” said the CannnonDesign team of the event. “Our work that day has inspired the CADV to continue improving the space. After seeing what we helped them achieve that day, they committed to updating the ceiling in the space. It was a fantastic experience driving valuable results for the organization and those they serve.”

Following the full day of service, participants met at the Center for Architecture for a reception that marked the end of the conference. Designers and volunteers shared ideas, lessons learned and experiences from the Day of Service that will inform future events for AIA New York and the AIA National Conference.

We were thrilled to be part of the event and look forward to future opportunities to make a difference in New York and through the design profession.

Photos: Jake Frisbie

CannonDesign’s St. Louis Office Celebrates 10 Years in Historic Power House

  • September 18, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

In 2006, CannonDesign saw a rare opportunity for its St. Louis office in one of the city’s signature buildings: a vacant steam-heat power plant built in 1928 as part of the city’s post-World’s Fair economic re-development efforts.

Ten years later, after a major redesign and adaptive re-use process that gutted its interior and created a new-meets-old design concept, the Power House is still generating positive energy for its occupants — our St. Louis headquarters — its neighborhood, and its city. We celebrate its first decade with a look back at its history and impact.

When built, the Power House powered a dozen downtown city buildings, including City Hall, the Kiel Opera House, and multiple municipal buildings and courthouses. Its coal-burning mechanics were visible to the public through the glorious 26-foot-tall arched windows. A significant building for residents, the Power House was a flagship of great civic initiative and a pillar of municipal pride.

But in 1980, after more than a half-century in operation, the plant was decommissioned. Falling sharply into disrepair, its beautiful brick facade became an eyesore; its roof infamously sprouted trees — an ironic last hope for life on this blighted neighborhood cornerstone. A landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the Power House needed new fuel.

It sat vacant for some 25 years, until CannonDesign purchased it as a new home for our St. Louis regional office. The team quickly realized its potential as a truly unique office environment, and as an emblem of the neighborhood’s rebirth.

Under the project leadership of principal Thomas Bergmann and design leadership of David Polzin, the new design that emerged reflected CannonDesign’s ideals of creativity, collaboration and sustainable design.

“We wanted the office to be demonstrative of our values. We wanted to inject the work environment with an atmosphere that would stimulate design exploration; we created multiple soft spaces for teams to come together to collaborate, and we pursued LEED Gold certification, working with our engineers to understand building performance,” says David.

The challenge was a small building footprint, but a large volume of space. The immense interior was gutted to its brick shell, maintaining the only massive steel plate columns. A whole new interior was injected into the brick shell, calling for “ship-in-a-bottle”-precision construction methods.

All-new HVAC, plumbing and electrical infrastructure were added; concrete foundations were exposed as walls for conference rooms; and two new floor plates were added above the ground floor to make use of the building’s dramatic height. By holding the new floors away from the exterior walls, all employees benefit from access to significant daylight and beautiful beautiful panoramic views of the neighboorhood.

[Learn more about the Power House’s adaptive re-use design in High Performing Buildings.]

The new design was an immediate success for CannonDesign’s 100-employee St. Louis team, as David explains: “The most gratifying part about the building has been the joy of seeing it used as it was intended … it has been transformative for our design culture.”

It also signaled a new day for its community. Since opening, the office has renewed the area’s interest in adaptive re-use of its historical structures, and has inspired a new generation of similar projects throughout the design-build landscape.

For CannonDesign, the project has garnered us with multiple international awards, including the AIA Institute Honor Award, the SARA Distinguished Building of the Year, and the ARIDO Project of the year, among others.

But beyond awards and recognition sits the nearly century-old truth of the great Power House — that in generating and distributing power to a city, even a hallmark building is more than its beams and bricks. When it becomes a city’s hub of energy, growth and later rebirth, it becomes the very cornerstone of its identity.

That the company’s vision in 2006 paid off is an enormous feather in our cap, to be sure. But that it did so in honor of the city’s legacy of design, industry and midwestern sense of community, is an even bigger reward.

Happy new 10th birthday, Power House! A toast from your CannonDesign family, working hard to fuel your next 90 years!


You Do What? Unique Jobs at CannonDesign

  • July 20, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

MARK HIRONS / Furniture Designer

As a design principal in our commercial practice, Mark believes truly great buildings are designed from within — responding first to those who use the buildings and ultimately enriching the lives of all who interact with them. He also believes good design permeates all facets of a space, from the colors and materials on a wall to the detail of a door handle and the furniture placed throughout.

Many years ago while working with an entrepreneurial client, Mark had the opportunity to create an extremely customized experience by designing functional sculptural furniture. Since then, he’s created more than 50 furniture pieces and launched two different lines, Vertex and Avant, which are sold and advertised internationally by Decca. When appropriate, Mark continues to design furniture for his clients spanning a broad portfolio including the University of Chicago Law School, Metropolitan Capital Bank, Millipore, Roche and Zurich.


LAURA PETERS / Photographer

From textile designer and wedding photographer, to trader on the Chicago Board of Trade and administration in our Chicago office, Laura’s journey weaves through decades of varied and vibrant life paths. After stepping in to help photograph local office events in her downtime, her talent was spotted quickly – she then became CannonDesign’s first ever in-house photographer.

Now Laura says she is truly “living the dream,” traveling the country doing what she loves: telling stories through photography. No two days are ever the same for her while she juggles photoshoots of our people and our projects — from large-scale hospitals and workplaces to many of the portraits you see in PRISM. “After only a year into my current position, I have seen such amazing work from our designers firsthand,” said Laura. “I also love working with a team for the first time in my career. They motivate me to be a better photographer and I feel like I’m contributing to something bigger.”


DAN GREEN / Facility Optimizer

Dan admits that maybe it was a “Brady Bunch complex,” but he has been interested in architecture ever since eighth grade. To help pay his tuition to Penn State University, he enrolled in the ROTC, which led to a 22-year career in the Air Force, including four years of active duty, and retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During that time, Dan oversaw more than $50 million in military projects for the Air Force, Army Corps of Engineers and N.Y. Air National Guard.

Dan was hired as a quality leader in the Buffalo office in 2007. After realizing how many clients were struggling with operating and maintaining aging and inefficient infrastructure, he teamed up with Joe Cassata to launch Facility Optimization Solutions (FOS) — a service that helps clients more effectively manage their existing facilities and assets. Since its launch in 2013, FOS has become one of our firm’s core service lines, and collectively, the team has provided assessments for more than 225 million sf of space.


PAUL MOSKAL / Compliance Director

After obtaining his law degree from the University at Buffalo, Paul pursued a career in the FBI that lasted 30 years. He worked long-term undercover assignments as a marathoner, a hedge fund operator, and an organized crime lawyer allegedly using drug money to pay bribes and develop luxury hotels and golf courses. He supervised kidnapping and extortion squads, worked in the National Press Office, and tracked down spies from foreign governments. He’s traveled the world, working stints in London, Rome, Port-au-Prince and Toronto, to name a few.

Now as our firm’s director of compliance, Paul ensures everyone in the organization, regardless of job duty, understands the law and the firm’s policies and procedures, and adheres to them to further our firm’s goals. In addition to leading the CannonDesign program, Paul has partnered with nearly 30 A/E firms to help them kick-start their efforts. “I’ve never sketched a drawing, but I can help my colleagues navigate situations so they can do their jobs to the best of their ability and design buildings that contribute to the benefit of society as a whole,” said Paul. “Supporting my colleagues in this regard is a role I take great pride in.”


ERNESTO PACHEO / Design Visualizer

After studying Architecture at the University de las Americas Puebla, Ernesto moved to the U.S. and got his first job in Miami in the model shop of a small design firm that focused on coastal high-rise apartment buildings. He then moved to St. Louis and continued his education in graphic design, which ultimately led to his role as a design visualization lead at CannonDesign.

Ernesto is widely considered a “jack of all trades” in our St. Louis office, though his expertise is in 3D modeling, rendering, interactive design, 2D/3D animation and virtual reality. Since joining, he’s introduced a number of cutting-edge software programs to the design process and has created stunning animation videos of current and proposed designs. Most recently, Ernesto played a key role in our firm’s adoption of multi-user virtual reality — allowing multiple users to virtually experience a space at the same time. “Technology and advanced software allow us to push the boundaries of design, and our team in St. Louis is great at encouraging that exploration.”


BOWIE / Office Dog

Dubbed the “Happiness Ambassador,” Bowie, a goldendoodle and licensed service dog, has many roles in our Denver office. He has been coming to work with his owner, Talia Rubin, since he was only a year old. Every day, Bowie braves the car ride (not his favorite), then “Scooby Doo runs” to the office door with excitement. His personal duties include joining meetings in the conference room, sleeping with a toy in his mouth, watching the kitchen microwave during lunch, and offering a game of fetch and tug-of-war with anyone willing. Talia says she has tried to teach him Revit, but he hasn’t quite mastered it yet…

Bowie wears a bow tie every day to the office. Talia, who was tired of buying all of the bow ties, started to make them herself and now sells them on When Bowie is not in the office, he enjoys being a therapy dog at Denver Health Medical Center.


ANDY LEWIS / Equipment Planner

In 2005, while Andy was in a user group meeting for an ambulatory surgery center, a medical equipment planner kept interrupting his design presentation, saying: “We can’t do that.” That guy drove Andy crazy, but spurred a desire to learn more about equipment planning to become a better healthcare architect. So he started to educate himself, and the rest is history.

Now, Andy leads a team of specialty medical equipment planners out of our Houston office. His day-to-day includes producing Revit models to ensure all MEP and utilities are in the most optimal place, living in a database called Attania that contains millions of items with pricing and cut sheets, and conducting user group sessions to guide clients toward better solutions. Fairly new to the firm (via our merger with FKP), Andy’s goal is to provide medical equipment services on every CannonDesign health and science project going forward.


STEVE COPENHAGEN / Laboratory Planner

With a degree in biological sciences, Steve began his career at his family’s programming and planning firm focused on technical science facilities in different environments including academic and healthcare. After 30 years at the firm, Steve was looking for the next challenge in his career and joined CannonDesign in 2005. This career change gave him the opportunity to work on larger and more complex projects across the globe. Currently, Steve acts as a subject matter expert for technical lab design and is typically the guy to step up and say “yes” when someone asks, “Has anyone ever done this?” on a project.

“I’m inspired every day by the researchers who are at the forefront of science. I get to design cutting-edge facilities to help them discover the next breakthrough,” said Steve.


Michael Shirley and Steve Kopp: Improving Pediatric Cancer Care Through Design

  • July 20, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

When Michael Shirley and Steve Kopp, designers in our Houston office, were approached by Texas Children’s Hospital to help improve cancer care for children in sub-Saharan Africa, they didn’t have to mull it over.

Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), they learned, is an initiative between three institutions – Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers; Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital (BIPAI); and Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation – focused on building long-term care facilities. They also educate healthcare staff to improve the odds of thousands of children with cancer, 90 percent of whom currently die from the disease each year. The ask? To design care centers that are economical to build, self-sufficient to operate and maintain, and flexible enough to address the difficult site conditions and contexts of the region.

It’s a special cause, that’s for sure,” said Michael. “When they asked for help, we got really excited about it.

Prognoses are so poor in Africa because cancer isn’t typically diagnosed until it’s too late and treatment is difficult to access. Families sometimes have to travel for weeks to get to the closest cancer care center.

“Steve and I took a two-week trip to Africa to meet with health officials in three countries,” said Michael. “It was an eye-opener. We saw families camped out on a floor of a ward where there were only eight beds, open windows and stifling tropical air. You have to ask yourself: How do these folks ever get healed?”

After realizing the limitations on the ground – unreliable electricity, lengthy and unpredictable construction timelines, limited access to materials, poor city infrastructure, Michael and Steve got to work. “We had to get creative,” said Steve. “Finding the right mix between something they can maintain and something that will meet expectations was a challenge.”

Based on past Texas Children’s projects in Africa, hospital administrators knew it was hard to manage the quality of construction. “We knew upfront that offsite prefab construction was the way to go. That, and speed, were our guiding principles,” said Michael. “What we came up with is rather complicated and insular – a large building made out of shipping containers with cooling capabilities and lots of sunlight and fresh air.”

Exterior design concept

Robust generators, window cooling units, rainwater harvest and stormwater control were all integral to the success of the design, but high importance was also placed on cultural preferences. “We discovered that people in Africa want to be outside,” says Michael. “They live outdoors and want connection with nature and daylight, so we made sure that there are operable windows and the ability to open the building up to prevailing winds. This really helps formulate a sense of place.”

With construction of the prototypes, Texas Children’s will be able to send additional physicians to the region to educate in-country doctors and nurses.

“The first step is to build these temporary facilities and the long-term goal is to build inpatient pediatric cancer hospitals,” said Steve. “Texas Children’s has been sending one physician over at a time, but the goal now is to be able to send rotations through these countries to train even more professionals.”

Interior design concept

Michael and Steve hope to continue working with the team at Texas Children’s to also design the permanent care facilities. “I think it’s incredible that we’re able to offer the children in this country medical care,” said Michael. “The effect that this will have is critical. It feels like we are doing something that will really make a difference.”

“This is a great opportunity to provide care in that setting,” said Steve. “This is going to change the state of care in Africa and have a huge trickle-down effect to other areas of care beyond cancer. We’re honored to play a role.”

Peter McCarthy: Building on the Foundations of Food

  • July 20, 2018
  • Author: CannonDesign

Architect Peter McCarthy knew where he was headed from an early age. With a mother insistent about her dreams for her son and a hands-on father always tinkering away in his wood shop, it was clear design was in Peter’s future.

“My mother started telling me that she thought I was going be an architect somewhere around the age of eight. Things grew very quickly from there, in terms of being construction-minded, very hands-on,” says Peter. “When I was a kid, my tree fort in the backyard was published in the local newspaper. The history of architecture goes way back for me.”

In addition to designing buildings, Peter also builds with food, as an amateur chef. While abroad in Japan, a visit to the famed Tsukiji Market inspired him to consider the intersection of the culinary and construction worlds.

“To experience the market in action, you have to stay up all night, since it opens at around 2 a.m. After riding my bike halfway across the city, and killing time to stay awake, I spent the early morning hours witnessing one of the most amazing events on earth,” says Peter. “You’d see tanks of sea life that you would swear are from another planet, and in the next breath, watch whole tuna the size of refrigerators sliding across the floor between sellers and buyers in the auction. As a spectator, you are a part of the action, trying not to get run over by the miniature pickup-truck-sized vehicles zooming around the complex.”

Enjoying these new sights and smells, Peter settled in for the ultimate sensory experience: taste.

“The action slows down around the time the sun rises. I found a small four-seat shop at the edge of the market. The owner buys his stock for the day right there at the market and he prepares whatever makes sense,” Peter recalled. “He spoke just enough English that I could order, but not enough that we could converse. So I sat there exhausted, but energized, and ate a modest bowl of rice, seaweed, and raw tuna in relative silence.”

Peter’s visit was a turning point – not just for his culinary taste, but in his professional work.

The six months I spent in Japan were where I really started to connect food and design in more literal ways.

His exploration of food began, like most people, at home, and flourished abroad.

“It started as a family thing, but really amplified from traveling. The more I was exposed to different international cultural approaches, the more it grew,” says Peter.

“I don’t have a signature dish per se, but I have somewhat of a process for building a dinner for friends and family. On the practical side, I first take the time to understand diet preferences and restrictions. After that I try to design around the seasons and what’s best that I have access to. I have relationships with a few local farms around here and people always like hearing about an ingredient’s origin and freshness. Then I see what it evolves into on the plate. This narrative is very similar to the architectural design process and how the designer is the link between countless building materials and systems and a final project that is customized for a client’s needs.”

Peter can chart his growth in the kitchen with his growth as a designer, pointing at a few specific instances where he had the chance to expand his studies.

“It grew opportunistically. I didn’t know that my interest in cooking, ingredient sourcing, our relationship to food, and design would really come together until I was exposed to a culinary school design project. Once I was really involved in that project, I was able to see all the levels that culinary education builds on. It was really the perfect mix of my personal and professional interests,” he says. Sometimes the two disciplines converge in a perfect marriage.

“I’m currently working on a project with the University of Buffalo that’s aimed at evolving the traditional dining hall model to meet student demand in a way that makes it more invigorating. Student dining centers today are starting to be modeled after places like the Chelsea Market in New York — spaces that are demand-driven and have a lot of hype around it. They have the flexibility to meet ever-changing consumer demand, both in terms of the offerings but also in the healthfulness of what’s being served.”

Learn More About Peter’s Thoughts on Culinary Design >