CannonDesign to Co-Present at RBMS 2019
A New Program at CannonDesign: Baltimore Encourages Designers of the Future
Last month CannonDesign’s Baltimore office opened its doors to students from the Baltimore Design School (BDS) for a new program aimed at providing a glimpse in a day of a designer. Where prior programs have focused mainly on visiting and teaching in already familiar school environments, the first-ever Designer for A Day brought students into a working design office to engage them in activities focused in the day-to-day work of CannonDesign.
The day began with a welcome and introduction to CannonDesign Baltimore, led by Mike Glaros, the Baltimore Office Practice Leader. Students reviewed the agenda for the day, went on a quick office tour, asked questions about the profession, and received a Designer for A Day lanyard to mimic actual CannonDesign business cards.
The day was filled with activities focused on giving students the experience of working with design professionals and showing how their current design school experiences are setting them up for future success in the design industry. The activities included:
- The Impact of Design: Baltimore design leaders spoke to the students about the process of design, and current projects on the boards. Students received sketchbooks and were tasked with sketching vignettes of the city of Baltimore from our office. Led by Kent Muirhead and Ryan Pietrowski.
- Working with Other Disciplines: Showcasing the complex teams designers work with, and the means of communicating ideas across a large design firm, students had a conference call with a structural engineer in Buffalo, NY. After learning the collaborative nature of design, the students formed groups for a spaghetti tower competition. Led by Ashley Roe, Christina LoConte and John Roach.
- Utilizing Digital Tools: Digital Practice leaders in our office shared how we use exciting computational tools in the design process to bring our projects to life – including a Virtual Reality demonstration of a current project. Led by Adam Louie and Ricardo Orfila.
- Using Color + Materials: Focused on an exercise of redesigning our current lobby space, students worked with interior designers on the planning process and selected finishes and furniture to create a finish board. Students had to present their final boards and design inspiration in mock client presentations. Led by Erin Crowley and Briana Blowe.
- Graphics + Marketing: With our marketing group, students learned how graphic design impacts our marketing work, and how project proposals and interviews are put together. Students saw how design professionals utilize the same computer programs and techniques that they are learning at BDS. Led by Karen Martin, Caroline Smith and Kellie Johnson.
The day concluded with a lunch Q+A session between students and mentors from CannonDesign. It involved meaningful conversations with students about planning their futures and the importance of goal-setting and perseverance. Each future designer left with a personalized portfolio that included their own sketches from earlier in the day, photos and lessons from each activity, their new nametag, and advice on pathways to becoming a future design professional.
The concept for the program was formulated in mid-summer 2018 by Ryan Pietrowski, an emerging leader and designer in the Baltimore office, and member of the firm’s NEXT Council. Conceptualized as an outreach program that would build partnerships with local students interested in design pathways, the program’s mission quickly developed into expanding the diversity of future designers – influencing and encouraging future careers for students that may not have considered the design profession before.
Relying on nationwide connections within CannonDesign, as well as within the local Baltimore Architecture community, Ryan and several members of the Designer-for-a-Day team met with groups including the Baltimore AIA and the Baltimore AIA Future Architecture Resources (FAR) teams to discuss goals of the program, seek out lessons learned from similar events, and to gain insightful contacts to help create an impactful event. Through these meetings, the Baltimore Design School was suggested as a perfect partner for our pilot program. The mission of the Baltimore Design School, a public middle and high school in Baltimore City, states: “It all started with a desire to provide city students with an outlet for design.” The mission for the Designer-for-a-Day program matched perfectly with the mission of BDS.
“People don’t often realize that we are a 6-12 Baltimore City Public School. We experience the beautiful struggle of all that goes with an urban landscape and that’s part of why it’s all the more rewarding as we graduate each new class and come closer to fulfilling our mission of expanding the diversity of the design professions.” – Christine (Chris) Frederick, a parent of a BDS graduate and Director of Communications and Engagement for the school.
After months of planning, CannonDesign Baltimore’s first ever Designer-for-A-Day was a great success. The chance to provide students a glimpse to their design futures was rewarding for every member of the team. In the coming years, we hope to grow the program to influence more future designers with the same mission of expanding the diversity of the design professions. Thank you to everyone who helped with the planning and behind-the-scenes work to make the event special. We hope our new partnership with the Baltimore Design School continues to grow, spinning off into multiple events throughout the year, growing our professional engagement with these future designers.
“The impact of this professional engagement went far beyond the office. It offered another stepping stone on our path to Designing the Future.” – BDS Designer for a Day article
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Monica Pascatore to Lead Session at the 2019 National Recreation and Park Association Conference
Earth Day 2019: What Will We Do In the Next 11 Years?
It has been 49 years since our first Earth Day in 1970.
Forty-nine years is quite a run. The passion and awareness ignited during those inaugural events in 1970 have driven significant positive change in our relationship with the natural environment. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and many will undoubtedly hoist up that number proudly.
This year, however, let’s focus on a different number: 11.
According to a report released in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we must halve our emissions by 2030 to avoid a future defined by catastrophic climate change. That deadline is just 11 years away.
CannonDesign knows we must bring critical focus in this short span of time. Nearly ten years ago we signed onto the AIA 2030 commitment. In it, we pledged that all new buildings, developments, and major renovations we design will be carbon neutral – requiring no fossil fuel or GHG-emitting energy for operations. Instead, we’d rely on clean energy to power our built environment.
We knew then this would be a massive challenge, but one worth striving toward. Like many decades-long plans, when our commitment was signed we had the benefit of time. Today, we do not – but we do now have a few resources almost as valuable.
Our firm and industry have made great strides in advocating for low carbon building solutions. In doing so, we’ve educated ourselves, learning how to best monitor our progress and promote our most important and innovative ideas.
Ten years ago, building energy use was quantifiable by a small percentage of engineers and an even smaller percentage of architects. Technology was available but was not widely used or known.
Today, thanks to our industry’s continued leadership through the American Institute of Architects, Architecture 2030, and with help from incredible partners in the software community, we have sophisticated tools that are both accessible and integrated into our workflows.
We are fast approaching the year 2030. While we have had many successes, the transition to carbon neutrality needs to accelerate significantly. Time is not on our side, but we can use that reality to motivate us.
Of course, Earth Day, environmental awareness, and sustainability are about more than just building energy consumption. We must also think about how we’ll take action related to embodied carbon, material health, and resilience among other issues key to the building industry. While more generally, plastic pollution, air/water quality, and forest protection loom larger than ever. There are many ways we can individually recognize Earth Day 2019.
Our planet faces rapid, perilous and unprecedented threats from climate change. It has become the greatest challenge of our time. We have what it takes to meet this challenge, but we will need courage, commitment and sincere urgency to help us achieve our 2030 goals.
Time may not be on our side. But, Earth Day is a chance to look around and recognize the millions of people who do stand with us. Around the world, companies, institutions, cities, states, and nations are stepping up their commitments and demanding better. We are lucky to work with some of these organizations as they clear paths for others to follow.
We all have an impact on this planet and therefore a chance to ensure that is a positive one. This is our hope, inspiration, and potential – that together we can honor the vision of those who launched Earth Day 49 years ago, and preserve this planet as we know it for the generations to follow.
VT Student Wellness Project Showcased at AIA Baltimore Health + Wellness Exhibition
The Virginia Tech Student Wellness Project was on display recently at the fourth annual AIA Baltimore Health + Wellness Showcase. Intended to be a discussion within the design and construction community of Baltimore, the event highlights projects making a positive effect on health and wellness. As an AIA Baltimore Member and the project’s lead designer, I was excited to present the project – discussing an overview of the project’s process, its integration of programmatic elements and departments, its unique design features, and the transformative effect it will have on holistic student wellness at Virginia Tech.
In the call for submissions, AIA Baltimore described the effect designers have on developing healthier communities:
“Cities and communities that foster healthy living, mental well-being and social cohesion don’t just happen. It takes forward thinking and innovative designers to create spaces that make healthy living a natural component of everyday life. And those spaces are brought to life by a diversity of professionals: The urban planner who designs new bike lanes throughout the city; the landscape architect’s healing garden for children; the contractor who brings the adaptive reuse vision to life; the architect’s design of a school that becomes a community anchor. Everyone has a role in shaping healthier communities.”
Projects ranged from conceptual hospitals to landscape redevelopment along the Baltimore Inner Harbor, to drug recovery centers – all highlighting aspects of the health and wellness spectrum. The showcase also provided an opportunity for architecture thesis students at nearby Morgan State University to present projects focused on creating healthy environments.
Below is the Virginia Tech SWS board on display at the showcase. The project was recently highlighted in an article by Campus Rec and will be the subject of a presentation (by Mike Glaros and me) at the Association of College Unions International 2019 Conference in Indianapolis.
A Day With Baltimore Design School
Our office is partnering with the Baltimore Design School for Designer for a Day. This is a program that will give students the opportunity to visit our office and see how their work in school relates to the profession. The Baltimore Design School is a public city school that has a focus on architecture, graphic design and fashion design. As a public school, BDS follows the state curriculum but strives to integrate design thinking into every aspect of education. I had the opportunity to tour the school yesterday and learn about how it has evolved since opening its doors seven years ago.
It was an insightful experience for multiple reasons:
- I was able to meet professionals from other design professions and active volunteers in the Baltimore community, all with the same goal to help these aspiring designers pursue their interest.
- The school building is interesting, as it was an abandoned men’s retail warehouse for years and transformed into the space it is today, which is not your typical middle school/high school.
- Most importantly, I learned from the school’s Communications Director that only 30% of their first graduating class went to college for design. She explained that many families don’t support these programs as a career. This stuck with me and reiterated that Designer for a Day can really impact a student and allow them to see firsthand how their passions can translate into a substantial career in the future.
The photos below show views of the space, student work, and some of the studio spaces (classrooms).
Explore our Baltimore Office >
A Long-Term Internship in Baltimore Inspires a Bright Future
When high school sophomore Brayan Perez began his internship in CannonDesign’s Baltimore office, he never knew how much his experience would influence his future.
Brayan, a 4.0 student in his senior year at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, is now positioned to graduate with incredible college and university prospects. His unique three-year internship with CannonDesign has taught him not only technical skills in his desired field but also how to communicate with project teams and gain the confidence needed to conquer anything that comes his way.
At Cristo Rey High School, students are required to participate in a Corporate Internship Program (CIP) where they can learn and grow through entry-level jobs at businesses and non-profits throughout the Baltimore area. Through CIP, the students are able to contribute to the cost of their education by working five full days a month. CannonDesign has been a proud supporter of the program for three years.
Students are welcome to explore different internships as an option, but Brayan, who wanted to gain as much STEM experience as possible, decided after his first year that CannonDesign was the right choice for him. He worked with a diverse team of leaders to learn the ropes. Briana Jones, a rising leader in the Baltimore office and a member of the firm’s prestigious NEXT Council, was Brayan’s direct supervisor, overseeing his schedule and work. Erin Crowley, with a background in Interior Design, was another one of Brayan’s supervisors, giving him an even broader array of tasks and perspectives than many would experience on an AEC team. Adamant about not giving Brayan mindless “busy work,” his two mentors empowered him to make meaningful contributions on an array of projects that even a seasoned professional would be proud of.
His portfolio includes the 340,000 sf University of Maryland Cole Field House that combines athletics, medicine, research and entrepreneurship into a one-of-a-kind fusion facility. This was the first project he was introduced to, contributing to markups, room tags schedules, and making sheets graphically correct. Then, during his junior and senior years, he helped document the elevations of spaces within the orthopedic clinic for the Design Documents deliverable.
The Towson University Science Facility is a 300,000 sf building designed to serve present and future faculty and student needs. Brayan was able to collaborate with coworkers picking up markups from team Bluebeam sessions. He also worked with Alec Dumond on slab edge coordination plans that were regularly distributed to the structural engineers, as well as working with Alec on a curved stair section details for the 95% Construction Documents set.
Sheppard Pratt Health System’s new hospital campus is a 156,000 sf hospital that focuses on mental health treatments. Brayan was asked to create a collaborative room for employees while merging the collaborative core with the stair to minimize wasted space. This exploration was fun and unique to Brayan, as he largely worked more independently on these tasks and regularly reviewed his design ideas with people on the team, like Christina LoConte. He worked with new software, like Rhino and Grasshopper, to create the collaboration space and model stairs. Afterwards, Brayan 3D printed the collaboration room with the help of Adam Louie.
Virginia Tech’s War Memorial Hall offers students remarkably unified health and wellness programming long into the future. This has been a long-time project for Brayan that has given him exposure to the phases of a project and a complex understanding of how higher education and health are tied into this one project. He had the opportunity to get involved in the early stages of space planning and preparing for user meetings. As the project progressed, he was just as involved, helping to push the design intent for the interior of the building and working with the team to put together the latest set of DD drawings.
While on the Lancaster General Hospital project, Brayan contributed to the Quality Check/Quality Assurance process for the Phase 3 100% Construction Documents. For the multi-phased hospital renovation project, Brayan helped with the wall type schedule and markups while learning about the challenges of a multi-phased project. For the wall type schedule, he went through the plan and checked if the wall partition types were correct and made sure to coordinate the wall partition schedule as a reference to make any corrections on the wall types. As the project neared its “Issue for Construction” deadline he referenced Ashley Roe’s markups and corrected any graphic mistakes in the Construction set.
Aside from project work, Brayan has always been very interested in learning more about our engineering practice. Briana leveraged a NEXT connection to structural engineer Julie Shaw in St. Louis. Julie worked with Briana to amass a mentoring group of emerging leaders across the firm that they called Mentoring Academies by Engineers (MAE). The team allowed Brayan to truly run the show, using Microsoft Teams to manage communication. Through one-on-one collaborative and discursive academies, Brayan was able to hear more about their roles and learn about all of the different engineering disciplines. Brayan is currently applying to colleges and universities for engineering, so this provides him with a great opportunity to learn more about this particular academic and professional career. Colin Hale and Trevor Ingstrup have given Brayan great time and insight thus far, with anticipated mentoring from structural and plumbing before his last day at the Baltimore office in May.
But it was not only the phenomenal project experience and career insights that Brayan credits to the CannonDesign internship. He also learned valuable soft skills that he will carry with him for the rest of his career. At the outset, he admits he was a quiet kid and was nervous working in an environment surrounded by adults. But, after mentoring from Briana and other members of the Baltimore office, he became more comfortable contributing to group meetings and sharing ideas.
Brayan is a shining example of what a high school student can accomplish in an engaging and welcoming internship program. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors in college and beyond!
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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Building 201 Celebrates Topping Out
The team from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Building 201 recently celebrated the topping out ceremony – reaching a significant milestone in the design and construction process.
Explore the project here >
This iconic building will house the Research and Exploratory Development Department (REDD), an innovative and creative organization at the heart of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s current research and development team.
Jim Schatz, Head of Research & Exploratory Development, gave an inspiring speech during the ceremony. A few of his remarks are below.
“Today we reach an exciting milestone in the journey from design to construction of an amazing new facility here at APL which we usually refer to simply as Building 201. We envisioned a new kind of laboratory facility for APL … A building that would be an active and inspirational part of the innovation process. A building where you could walk down the central hallway, look up, and see blue sky…”
“For many decades to come, scientists and engineers of all kinds will come to this facility to invent the future through imaging, discovering, disrupting and realizing solutions to some of the greatest challenges our country has ever faced.”
A few photos from the ceremony: