A day in the life of CannonDesign Marketing

  • April 22, 2017
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

Alex Hammarth - Marketing Careers at CannonDesignAlex Hammarth works in Marketing for the firm. Learn about her day-to-day responsibilities and why she decided to choose a career in marketing.

What led you to pursue a career in marketing at an A/E firm?

I actually came from a journalism background and found that in addition to writing and reporting, I was just genuinely interested in storytelling. I also like the challenge of learning something highly technical or nitty-gritty (and in architecture, there’s plenty of that) and translating it into a robust marketing story. Finding out what a company can do differently than the competition can be a huge asset when pitching to a client, but if it’s not marketed properly, the message can get lost entirely. I like that colleagues can rely on me to get that message across and give me the creative freedom to do so. There’s also a business development element to marketing that I’m drawn to because you need to learn the business inside and out in order to craft a unique narrative. This includes learning about recent trends in the marketplace and seeing how the business evolves as a result of those trends, which tells you that the company you’re working for is much more than their revenue, it’s what innovative ideas they’re bringing into that industry.

How long have you worked at CannonDesign?

Only one month! But I already feel a part of the CannonDesign family. I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome, which living in New York City, says a lot.

What is your role?

As a Marketing Coordinator, I work with people of all levels, from Principals to Designers, to create proposals and presentations for new and existing clients. Recently, I’ve been working on projects for our Healthcare and Education practices. Even though I haven’t worked in either of those industries, the real takeaways aren’t all about industry knowledge. At the end of the day, the impact of our projects is what matters most–whether it’s working with hospitals to create more inviting spaces for patients or helping a university preserve its history while building spaces for generations to come.

Describe an average day working in the Marketing Department.

I wouldn’t say there’s ever an “average” day in Marketing, but that’s what I like about it. Our team is usually working on multiple proposals at once, and despite them being deadline-driven, everyone is always on the same page when it comes to being accountable for their own work. I could be putting together a proposal for a college campus library renovation, but rather than just put together our top library renovation projects, I’ll take it a step further to research the underlying goals of that institution and get a feel for their brand history in order to understand what matters most to them. That research makes all the difference because then I’m able to put together a more thoughtful proposal that speaks to their needs. I’m also lucky to work with our national network of subject matter experts, who fill me in on trends in a certain practice that can sometimes get the client thinking about something they maybe hadn’t realized. Hopefully, the end result is a proposal that says we understand your problem and here’s how we can help you solve it.

Learn about our immediate career opportunities >

York University Breaks Ground on New Student Centre

  • October 10, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

York University students and faculty members gathered last Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking of their new Student Center located on the university’s Keele campus in Toronto. Unique to the university, the 126,000 SF building will be the second student center on the campus — designed to complement the services offered in the original centre while responding to the changing needs of the campus’ large and diverse community.

York Student Center

The project is the result of a 2013 referendum in which the student body voted in favor of a second building devoted solely to student space. The referendum secured the highest voter turnout in the history of Canadian post-secondary institutions, with approximately 90 percent of students voting in favor.

Set to open in spring 2018, the programmatic aspirations of the building are to create a “living room” for student life that is broadly embraced by the campus community. It will house space to satisfy the most critical student needs: study, meeting, lounge, studio, club offices, assembly, and multi-faith prayer space.

The design process involved extensive public engagement with the student body, and quite literally every aspect of the design was influenced by student input. “In all of my time as an architect, I’ve never participated in such a collaborative design process,” notes Hector Tuminan, CannonDesign’s project leader. “The student body and our team worked alongside each other from the start, and the student centre that’s getting built today is truly designed by the students, for the students.”

Located at the north end of a significant campus green, the building’s central location will make it easily accessible to the 50,000 students who attend classes on the campus. The design includes an array of sustainable and user-led initiatives, including bicycle parking, showers, green roofs, high-performance glazing / curtain wall, gender-neutral washrooms, and extensive use of natural lighting to promote principles of community safety, accessibility and environmental sustainability. The exterior landscape is folded seamlessly into the design, making the exterior areas a true extension of the interior assembly spaces. The transparency of the building acts as a design response to the student body’s desire to be open, welcoming and inclusive.

York Student Center

In a statement released by York University, Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto’s Chief Planner, commented that, “The modern, iconic 4-storey multi-purpose building that has been designed to overlook Roy McMurtry Green will undoubtedly become a campus landmark and lasting testament to the commitment and vision of today’s York University students.”

Learn more about the Student Centre on York University’s project website >

Curbed Washington DC Features UDC Student Center

  • July 29, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

The University of the District of Columbia’s “super sustainable” student center is featured on Curbed Washington DC. The article draws attention to the role the building is playing in creating a new front door for the university, as well as shifting the university’s image from being a commuter campus to one that engages students socially and academically outside of the classroom.

Designed by our Arlington office in association with D.C.-based Marshall Moya Design, the building is positioned to be the first LEED Platinum student union on the east coast and one of only a few in the entire country. Highlighted sustainable features include a 14,000-square-foot green roof, a rain garden, photovoltaic panels, and toilets that flush with captured rain water.

Earlier in the year — reflecting on the importance of the building — UDC President Ronald Mason Jr. noted, “This building is a symbol of where we want to be and what we want to represent in terms of our role with the District. It’s state of the art. It’s attractive. It’s sustainable. And it’s in a location that gives us a face into the broader community.”



LA BisNow Features Chari Jalali in Office Design Trends Article

  • July 20, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

ChariLA BisNow recently posted a story titled, “What You Need in the Office of Today,” that features opinions from various design and industry leaders on how offices are and should evolve into the future. Our Chari Jalali was able to contribute a quote as part of the article. LA BisNow is one of the leading online business publications in LA and is ready extensively by our target and potential client audiences. Below is the quote from Chari and a link to the full article.

More organizations are opting for open workspaces and adding amenities, from rooftop gardens and cafes to fitness spaces, as a way to empower their employees and attract top talent

– Chari Jalali, CannonDesign Principal

Read the full article online >

Q+A with Director of Healthcare Interiors, Jocelyn Stroupe

  • July 16, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

Jocelyn StroupeCannonDesign’s Director of Healthcare Interiors, Jocelyn Stroupe, shares her thoughts on the interior design industry as a whole, what’s on the horizon at CannonDesign, and what inspires her.

What is the biggest misconception about what interior designers do?

The biggest misconception is that we only specify furniture and select finishes. We are trained to consider the entire interior environment spatially as well as all of the details that are necessary to construct spaces. Interior designers bring a comprehensive approach that focuses on the operational, functional, social, and psychological issues for those who experience interior environments.

In particular, healthcare interior designers comprise a highly specialized segment of the interior design profession that addresses environments for a range of facilities including acute care, senior living and ambulatory care. The particular needs of those who utilize healthcare facilities, either as a patient, resident, family member or a caregiver, are addressed through an understanding of the issues that impact safety, infection control, codes and standards as well as environmental factors that provide comfort – with the overall goal of transforming the healthcare environment into an environment for healing.

How do you see the role of an interior designer evolving in the next five to ten years?

As health systems try to maximize the impact of every square foot through new operational and care models, significant change management issues arise. Interior designers are taking on more of an advisory role by helping systems consider the implications of these changes and their transition to new space. In the next five to ten years, our role will include managing the evolving cultural change that is associated with the physical changes. In order to solve this level of complexity, I see interior design teams comprised of those from other disciplines, including environmental psychologists and workplace strategists.

An emphasis on health and well-being is also emerging and interior designers are uniquely positioned to understand how interior space impacts health and healthy behaviors.

What is the most important or critical aspect of the evidence-based design process?

The evidence-based process is one where decisions are based on the best available evidence throughout the design process. It is a very formative process where options are evaluated and analyzed before construction begins, resulting in solutions that are sound. We use an evidence-based approach in our work because it provides a rationale for a given solution that is based on how the environment can affect outcomes.

We’ve heard the firm will be launching experiential design as a service in 2017. How would you describe that service, and how is it different than interior design?

The patient experience continues to be top of mind for our clients – maybe more so than ever before as it is now more explicitly tied to reimbursement. While creating a healing environment is of utmost importance, so is the focus on quality and outcomes. In the face of increased mergers and acquisition activity, the importance of branding and image has been elevated. The experiential design services will define the story of a brand in ways that focus on experiences for patient, families and staff, and will define meaningful engagements for each of these stakeholders.

Over the course of your career, what has been your favorite project to work on?

This is such a difficult question to answer since I cannot identify only one! I am drawn to projects with unique challenges and enjoy the relationships that are built over the course of the project. One of my favorite projects was for Banner Good Samaritan in Phoenix several years ago. The team was highly multidisciplinary and the collaborative process extended to all professions, the contractor and the client. We collectively set goals and worked together to meet them. When the project was completed, we had achieved what we set out to do and had built amazing personal relationships in the process.

What location have you traveled to that has inspired you as a designer?

The most interesting location I have traveled to was Morocco.  Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Marrakesh and a seaside city, Agadir. Marrakesh was incredibly rich – the souk was a marketplace filled with all types of products for sale. The color of the textiles and spices were amazing and the people were fabulous negotiators! The Jemaa el-Fnaa is a marketplace and square and in the evening had snake charmers, dancers and even a dentist, who set up his tools of the trade on a card table. We were driven across the Atlas mountains and desert from Marrakesh to Agadir. It was interesting to sit on the beach looking across the Atlantic Ocean from the opposite direction from how we see it in the US!

Learn about our immediate career opportunities >

AIA National 2016: Advancing BIM, Design Innovation and More in Philadelphia

  • June 1, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

CannonDesigners share their experiences from the AIA National Convention 2016

One of the most anticipated annual events for designers – The AIA National Convention – took place in Philadelphia on May 19-21 and CannonDesign was well-represented. Billed as the ultimate convention for the architectural profession to share cutting-edge innovation and ideas, this year’s event drew more than 21,000 attendees and featured over 500 sessions including world-renowned speakers like Rem Koolhaas and Neri Oxman.

Several CannonDesigners were able to attend the event this year and share their experiences and key takeaways with us:

Brian Skripac speaks about BIM and Digital Practice

BIM digital practice tweet“As expected, the convention had a wide range of sessions that covered the application of BIM in practice, including the session I had the opportunity to lead titled “Advancing from BIM Management to Digital Practice.” I was truly excited by the response to this session, which focused on how we’re working to reinvent the BIM process for greater quality and usefulness. The effort in establish quality BIM strategies and planning efforts was certainly a recurring theme during the convention. In addition to this planning effort, other topics included managing the risks of model sharing and the need to enhance communication and collaboration around BIM (which points back to the strategic planning effort).Extending this conversation further, other presenters explored how emerging technologies like mobile solutions and virtual reality are becoming a more common part of the design process, which is very similar to what we’re seeing here at CannonDesign.” – Brian Skripac @BrianSkripac

Philly in the early morning before the AIA National Convention 2016.

Philly in the early morning before the AIA National Convention 2016.

A great event in a great city

John Phung now lives and works in our LA, but did spend a year living in Philadelphia, a city he loves. He was able to take this great photo of the city on a morning run before the convention activities got rolling.

Sessions that left an impression

“The session entitled ‘“Getting Decisions that Stick”’ left a strong impression on me.  I have always been interested in the process of decision making and the psychology behind how and why people make the choices they do.  This lecture discussed the flow of decision making, leadership techniques and ‘problem-seeking’ methodologies. Perhaps the key takeaway for me is the statement “Don’t ask for decisions.  Facilitate them.”  That statement aligns with CannonDesign’s philosophy of being our clients trusted advisors.

Other takeaways include:

  • Leadership requires both high intellect and emotional intelligence
  • We facilitate informed decisions that are only as good as the information known at the time of the decision
  • A thought provocting Forbes article was referenced: ‘”It’s not all about EQ: Study suggests a new balance between emotions and Intellect“‘
  • The presentation offered a look at different learning styles – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic

– Stephen Winikoff @swinikoff101

AIA 2016 National Convention

“I had a great time at the AIA conference. Along with the amazing sessions and inspirational keynotes, I would have to say my favorite part about the conference was meeting old colleagues and connecting with new individuals from around the country. I think some of the most important assets in the architectural community are its people. It was interesting to learn what other teams were trying, and whether or not it was working. When you’re at the AIA conference, it doesn’t feel like a competition to make your firm seem the greatest, it feels like one large collective learning experience where everyone learns from everyone else.” – Hunter Young

AIA National Convention 2016 connecting entrance“I mostly attended for the seminars, of which I attended 11, all technically based, and they confirmed that we’re doing a lot of things right in understanding the science of building envelopes.  I also enjoyed the product floor, seeing and touching new materials and products, and discussing new technologies with manufacturers’ representatives.” – Frank Sturniolo

Solving big challenges

The conference was an opportunity for the industry to come together as a whole to teach, collaborate and learn. We look forward to participating and contributing to the conference for years to come.


Grand Opening: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Golisano Center for Community Health

  • April 10, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

Thursday, June 9 marked the grand opening of the Golisano Center for Community Health at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) in Niagara Falls, New York. The 26,000 sf facility offers integrated care to adults and children with special needs, including developmentally and intellectually disabled and other at-risk individuals. Aimed at preventing the local special needs population from “slipping through the cracks” of the healthcare system, the Center includes the following components in one cross-functional building intended to promote holistic health:

  • Behavioral health/primary care clinic
  • Health Home program of Niagara County
  • Headquarters for local social services agency Rivershore, Inc.
  • Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, which provides space for multiple community agencies to work together (i.e., Child Protective Services, local police, care providers)
  • Community Services Suite that provides collaborative workspace for various local programs and services (i.e., navigation program, community outreach, Cancer Services Program of Niagara County, P3 Center for Teens, Moms & Kids, and Project Runway)
  • Learning Hub, which offers a multipurpose classroom and work stations for educational programs and onsite training for future care providers

Project: Golisano Center for Community Health at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Designed as a warm, inviting, barrier-free and non-institutional environment, the center seeks to address numerous population health factors that have a negative impact on behavioral health outcomes in the community. According to recent studies, high proportions of mentally ill residents don’t regularly receive treatment for their condition; chronic health conditions go largely untreated in the behavioral health population; and high emergency department utilization tends to result from the first two factors. By offering physical linkage between the Golisano Center for Community Health and the existing Emergency Department and Heart Center, non-emergent patients who present at the ED can be referred to primary care after hours to encourage appropriate utilization. Co-locating various services and community resources empowers patients to take advantage of all of the Center’s offerings to better manage their health and keep up with preventative care.


The official ribbon cutting!

In his remarks during the opening ceremony, NFMMC President and CEO Joseph Ruffolo stated, “The Golisano Center for Community Health is about breaking down silos, casting aside the barriers that segregate and isolate, and fostering inclusion – inclusion right here, right now – while providing quality care in a culture that respects the worth and dignity of every person we see.” The Center has been open and serving the community since mid-May.

Learn more about our Healthcare Expertise >

Hamilton speaking about (and with) San Diego State University at ACUI

  • March 15, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

Craig Hamilton and his Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union partners will present “A Sustainable Union is Possible – Learn How We Did It!” at the Association of College Unions International conference in New Orleans.

Check out the ACUI conference here >

About the session

SDSU’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union is the culmination of student-led planning and leadership. Completed in 2014, the union was certified LEED Platinum in 2015. We’ll share lessons learned and honest advice to those considering sustainable building design and operations – how fiscal, operational and design assumptions play out in actual use – with outcomes and performance experience.

Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at ACUIThe Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union is a student-led initiative funded by student approved fees. It epitomizes the students’ commitment to sustainability and planning for the future. The union focuses on environmentally responsible design solutions and operations.  It is student union building in the California State University system to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Craig will speak with Lynn Cacha, director; Glen Brandenburg, director of facilities and sustainability; Dan Maringer, assistant director.

Learn more about our Education Expertise >

Pukszta, Burnette Talk “Great Places to Work” with Becker’s Hospital Review

  • March 10, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

How leading healthcare organizations are putting staff satisfaction front and center

Organizations with great healthcare staffTonia Burnette and Michael Pukszta, Health Practice leaders at CannonDesign and Mary Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of University Minnesota Physicians, are featured in a recent Becker’s Hospital Review article discussing the attributes of great staff environments in healthcare. The three discussed the renewed focus on creating great places to work, design features that can positively influence staff, and how staff spaces can improve care delivery.

On the Renewed Focus on Staff Environments
Pukszta noted the growing emphasis on improving the patient experience, sharing “It used to be all about creating a positive patient environment. That is still a priority, but now a focus on staff is included in design.”

“As leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure our staff has a good experience at work,” added Mary Johnson. “We value our employees, and we want to create an environment that they enjoy and where they can do their best work. Part of being a good leader is providing your employees with the tools and resources they need.”

On Staff Amenities That Make a Difference
Pukszta shared that things as simple as the size of patient rooms, the proximity of resources, and the number and layout of touchdown areas — shared spaces where clinicians can work when they are not meeting with patients — can really add to overall work quality and experience.

Organizations with great healthcare staff“Breaks during the workday are brief — employees may not have time to go for a walk, but one thing we’ve done is build outdoor balconies and gardens dedicated to staff right outside of their lounges to help increase access to daylight and fresh air,” added Burnette. The open-air balconies dedicated to staff working on patient floors at Southwest General Hospital (pictured at left) provide a great example of this concept.

On Helping Staff Improve Care Delivery
The new spacious, flexible collaboration space that connects to all of the clinic’s specialty areas at the new M Health Clinics and Surgery Center is referenced as a strategy for allowing subspecialists to access one another as quickly and easily as possible.

“One of the most common comments we’ve received from providers is how impressed they were with how easily they can walk from one collaboration space to another to consult with each other,” stated Johnson.

“We’ve learned lessons from contemporary workplace environments — from offices such as Facebook and Google. Both employees and technology are mobile. People enjoy having the ability to collaborate and work in different zones,” added Pukszta

Learn more about CannonDesign’s health expertise >

Two CannonDesign Health Facilities Finalists for Architizer A+ Awards

  • March 10, 2016
  • Author: Terri Swiatek

Architizer A+Two CannonDesign health facilities – the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and Kaiser Permanente Kraemer Radiation Oncology Unit – have been named finalists in the prestigious Architizer A+ Awards. In their fourth year, the A+ Awards is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products and seeks to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world.

While a jury selects an overall winner for each category within the A+ Awards, anyone can vote for the Popular Choice winners in the same categories. Fans of CHUM and the Kaiser project can visit the below links to vote and view all the projects nominated. The winners of the vote will be announced April 12 and all winners will be celebrated at a gala event in New York City later this year.

Vote for CHUM

Vote for the Kaiser Permanente Kraemer Radiation Oncology Unit

The CHUM occupies two full blocks in the heart of downtown Montreal and is one of North America’s largest academic medical centers. Born from the merger of three hospitals (Hotel Dieu, Hopital St. Luc, and Hopital Notre-Dame), CHUM replaces outdated facilities and brings these entities together in a single-site institution. An anchor of the Quartier de la Santé – Montreal’s new health district – the development will seamlessly combine teaching, research, and healthcare and solidify Montreal’s standing as a health and science hub of excellence.

The Kraemer Radiation Oncology Center is a state-of-the-art medical center that brings its oncology radiation services above ground and into the light. The design focuses on the distinct needs of cancer patients and their treatments schedules, which typically occur five days a week for five to eight consecutive weeks. To alleviate stress and discomfort that comes with treatment, the building harnesses natural light, views to nature and soothing interior colors.

View more of our Health Facilities Work >