CannonDesign Promotes Two from Within to Co-Lead Engineering Practice
Modern Healthcare Recognizes CannonDesign as Leading Health Design Firm
Designing a Mixed-use “Mobility Hub” in Downtown Buffalo
201 Ellicott is a mixed-use affordable housing and fresh food market project currently being planned for downtown Buffalo. We were part of a previous design for this site in late 2015/early 2016 that envisioned a mixture of higher-end luxury apartments, underground and above-ground parking, office space, and a grocery market. After the project was placed on hold and further studies were conducted gathering community input, the program was redeveloped into something much more appropriate for the area and city.
This site will be one of the first “mobility hubs” for downtown Buffalo, providing residents and the community with a place of alternative transportation opportunities, supporting the idea of vibrant, livable and walkable communities. The project is currently being reviewed by the zoning and planning board, and is moving forward with great anticipation and excitement. Some renderings of the project thus far:
Learn more about our work in Buffalo >
Laurier Brantford YMCA Wins Top Honors in WNY Interior Design Awards
Amy Latimer: Transforming Cities with Leading-Edge Food and Hospitality
Amy Latimer’s day-to-day responsibilities read like a career resume. As president of TD Garden, Amy directs and oversees all operations at TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics and host to many of the world’s most popular music and entertainment acts. The dynamic center hosts 150-plus events and millions of guests each year.
She’s also critical to The Hub on Causeway – a 1.5 million sf retail, office, hotel and residential development, being built on the parcel of land directly adjacent to TD Garden and the original site of the old Boston Garden. The project brings new hotel and residential spaces to the area, along with a 20-concept food hall, new restaurants and the largest below-grade grocery in Boston. All to say, every day, around the world and across oceans and time zones, Amy is leading some of the most dynamic food, entertainment and development projects in the industry.
Kind enough to spare a few minutes for our team, Amy recently connected with me to talk about The Hub on Causeway, trends in food and hospitality development, and more.
Delaware North’s efforts span the globe; what trends are you seeing that will shape food and hospitality for the decade ahead?
My work takes me around the globe, but Boston’s definitely home. And one thing we’re seeing in our city that’s happening all over is that landmark restaurants that have been around 50 years are now closing. Nobody can believe it, but at the same time, it’s very predictable. You have to evolve or you risk irrelevance. The days of the same people coming every Friday are over. That’s not a sustainable model.
Today, success in food and hospitality comes down to numerous factors. At the core, you have to deliver excellent, high-quality food. The market is so competitive, that anything less won’t survive. If you can do that, you still have so much else to navigate. Technologies like Uber Eats mean fewer customers may walk through your doors, but you can still reach them if you embrace that shift. New generations crave experience, so you can’t just build it and they will come. How do you connect with customers via entertainment, happy hours, free fitness classes – this is part of a food operator’s world and business plan now. We’re taking all of that into consideration inside TD Garden and also with The Hub on Causeway project. We know it’s going to be transformational for the neighborhood, but I think it’s also going to be a leading-edge model for urban food and hospitality development.
The Hub on Causeway is such an incredible opportunity. In what ways will it transform the neighborhood?
Just five years ago the area around TD Garden had no real residential component and its culinary scene was essentially pubs that happened to sell food. That’s all begun to shift, and The Hub on Causeway is going to push that to an entirely new level. This project alone introduces a new hotel, more residential space and commercial space. And, when it comes to food, we’re opening a food hall with authentic Boston concepts, new full-service restaurants, Star Market (the largest below-grade grocery in Boston) and a 1,500-peron live music venue – it’s night and day.
This project takes the place of the original Boston Garden, which had been a parking lot for the past 19 years. The Jacobs family’s vision, the idea to have this incredible mixed-use retail and new front door for TD Garden, I think we’d have been the first sports arena to have that had we opened when they first envisioned. After several years of thorough planning, we’re well on our way to realizing the transformational benefits this project will have on the immediate neighborhood and city of Boston as a whole.
You reference residential, commercial, entertainment. That rolls off the tongue, but those are different types of customers with different needs. How do you serve them all?
That’s a good point. The project also sits on a major transportation hub for Boston, so there are 50,000 people walking through each day besides the 400 apartment units, and the hotel that doesn’t really offer any food or beverage. So, you’re right, we need to come at it on all different levels.
Star Market (the grocery store) really embraces prepared food for those who seek healthy options they can grab and take upstairs quickly. So that really serves many of the residents and local employees. The approach our Delaware North and Patina teams have taken in the food hall and restaurant is going to foster community. I think sports are still one of the last real communal experiences in our social fabric. You go there with your family – it’s a multi-generational experience – and food is a huge part of it. The Hub on Causeway will foster that communal experience directly outside the building as well.
There’s definitely a line with all the different types of people who will be our customers. But, I think with the food hall, restaurants, entertainment offerings, we’ve created a scaled system. And, then you add the grocery store – I just think we’ve created a 360-degree ecosystem of food that will allow us to take care of every single person who comes through.
You said new generations crave authentic food experiences. Whether it’s an airport, TD Garden, The Hub, how do you create them?
[Laughing] That’s the secret ingredient; you want me to give it away? In all seriousness, authenticity is now a business strategy. So, when we’re selecting operators for our spaces, we search high and low to find ones that are unique and help create that experiential component. There is no tried and true anymore; you have to put in the effort to create something truly original.
We’ve certainly done our research and have several of these authentic Boston concepts planned for the food hall. We can’t share the plans just yet, but fresh, local seafood is most definitely an anchor for the space. I think there are thousands of entertaining, delicious reasons to visit TD Garden and soon The Hub on Causeway will add nearly two dozen more.
Read more on HORIZON >
CannonDesign to Move Buffalo Office Downtown to 50 Fountain Plaza
Demystifying the Translational Workplace: Six Strategies for Open Innovation and Knowledge Transfer
The 21st century has seen remarkable healthcare breakthroughs. These advances are largely driven by the speed at which organizations can translate scientific discoveries to applications that benefit patients and communities. Whereas this process has traditionally been slow and cumbersome, today’s organizations are rethinking their business models and environments to ensure they support each other and generate faster and better outcomes.
But simply putting researchers and clinicians in the same building with hopes that serendipitous collaborations will ensue will often not yield the outcomes organizations seek. Based on our experience, we have found that success often depends on building an open innovation ecosystem — a living lab that integrates concurrent research and innovation processes with patient care. This takes traditional translational health science environments to new levels by making them more permeable and better capitalizing on inter- and intra-disciplinary approaches within and outside of the organization. These ecosystems are not only optimized to support health and research collaborations but partnerships with academia, foundations, pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, start-ups and more.
Gates Vascular Institute and UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute
You can imagine the different flows of knowledge and communication that occur in such a complex environment made up of different people, approaches and goals. Although the ways people capture knowledge and convert it to answers will always be complex and varied, we have developed six key strategies established through precedent and research that create consistent interaction and knowledge exchange within these new translational environments.
- Focus on proximity. Research shows the average frequency of person-to-person interaction drops by half when separated from 15 to 50 feet, and half again from 50 to 150 feet. All to say, the importance of physical proximity cannot be understated when it comes to sharing knowledge and speeding up complex processes. Although housing everyone on the same floor is always ideal, if it’s not possible, visual and physical connections such as open stairs between floors can play a big role in enhancing proximity. As an example, at the Novartis-Penn Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies (CACT) in Philadelphia — an environment focused on groundbreaking research that enables a patient’s own immune cells to be reprogrammed in the lab and re-infused to hunt and destroy tumors — locating scientists and technicians on the same floor and within close proximity to the greater University of Pennsylvania campus helped reduce the time it takes to create “hunter cells” for patients by 50 percent.
The CACT (located in the South Tower, highlighted) is completely interconnected to the larger immunotherapy program at Penn Medicine and enveloped by the greater university campus
- Find inspiration in urban life. If you look at the city or community you live in, you’re likely drawn to certain places for specific purposes. You go to parks for fresh air, bars and restaurants to unwind, museums to experience culture, etc. These destinations draw people out of the comfort of their homes to interact with the world around them. This same mindset can make a big difference when trying to encourage researchers and clinicians to leave their comfort zone to interact with others. So rather than looking at the environment as a workplace, we look at it as if it were a micro city with connections (pathways and circulation routes), culture and destinations (atriums, collaboration areas, outdoor spaces), neighborhoods (hubs housing specific types of research), and services (shared technology areas, cafes, coffee zones). This approach turns workplaces into micro-cities that naturally bring disparate people together and bring greater awareness into an organization. Read more on this strategy, here.
- Employ a Kit of Parts. In translational settings, we always advocate for providing numerous options calibrated to different types of workstyles and preferences. We have found that employing a kit of parts — typically a collection of modular spaces supporting various types of work — provides the flexibility needed to maximize the productivity of collaboration and “heads down” time. It also fosters an open innovation platform through its ability to provide space for visiting teams, outside alliances or internal novel partnerships. The modularity of these parts allows for change; configurations can shift regularly to provide the varied experiences that keep innovation and creativity fresh.
Example kit of parts
- Use the workplace as a living laboratory. The scientific process is driven by experimentation. This same mindset should be applied to translational areas. Although we always conduct in-depth research on human behavior and space utilization before designing a workplace, sometimes the needs of occupants change, or they don’t translate to the work environment as originally planned. But if the work environment is designed as a living laboratory intended to continually change, that’s OK! Once the space is open, we can gather data in several ways— for example, employing sensors to track actual activity and observing occupants using the space — to learn more about what’s working and what might need to be changed.
Actual workplace utilization analysis
- Design for lingering. Whereas creating shared spaces is important in uniting individuals and teams, the success of these spaces often depends on the interactions that unfold within them. To increase interactions, we leverage utilization data to predict what spaces (and what characteristics of spaces) might lend themselves to lingering. For instance, our data suggests that enclosed collaborative spaces can be anywhere from 3x-10x more intensively utilized than open collaborative areas — depending on the organization. This data can help us better understand why people prefer lingering in these enclosed spaces and how we can prompt similar utilization in other areas throughout the workplace.
Rice University’s New Emerging Science & Technology (NEST) Center includes collaboration portals located across its floorplan designed for spontaneous interaction and defined by bright green, writeable glass panels
- Encourage collaboration, but keep a keen eye on distraction. Many workplaces today function as distraction factories, and according to a University of California, Irvine study, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task after you’ve been distracted. In workplaces for translational health science, open collaborative environments without opportunities to “escape” are guaranteed to lead to distraction. Our kit of parts concept also provides variety in the configuration of the workplace to enable individuals to work in areas that best support the type of work they’re focused on during any given day.
Although the research unfolding in translational health science facilities is complex, designing workplaces that foster the type of knowledge transfer so critical to their success doesn’t need to be. By understanding what it takes to design environments that prompt authentic collaboration, purposeful integration, open innovation, and create a healthy, happy and productive work experience, we can create workplaces precisely calibrated to translate ideas and research into tomorrow’s healthcare breakthroughs.
Ryan McPherson: Graduating the Next Generation of Climate Change Warriors
As the University at Buffalo’s (UB) first ever Chief Sustainability Officer, Ryan McPherson exudes optimism and inspires action when he speaks about environmental stewardship. “If we are going to keep our planet sustainable for future generations, we need to step up to the plate in every phase and way immediately,” he echoes in the early stages of our recent conversation.
But Ryan is much more than just passion and talk, he’s also ensuring UB leads the way when it comes to climate action. He, his team and the entire university have built a comprehensive strategy to help UB reduce its carbon footprint and educate students to be positive ambassadors for Earth through a people, planet and profit approach. He’s helped UB earn recognition as the No. 3 university overall in the Times Higher Education (THE) first-ever global climate action rankings, too. And, he’s confident the university will continue to lead and contribute more and more each year in the future.
Ryan recently took time to chat with us about UB’s plan for the future, how they engage students, his background and more.
Ryan McPherson speaking at the 2018 State of New York Sustainability Conference.
Let’s start with the recent No. 3 ranking in the Times Higher Ed report. That’s awesome recognition, can you speak to what efforts made that possible for UB?
It’s a great honor for the university. There are a number of people doing excellent work on climate action planning that deserve credit for their efforts. Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and it’s something UB takes very seriously. We want to be a paragon for how academic institutions can make an impact in preserving and evolving our planet for the future.
The university’s work in climate action goes back decades, but it became formalized in 2009 when we established our first official climate action plan. It was a good plan and foundation at the time, but as years passed, it needed revisiting and that’s what we’ve been focused on lately. We needed to fully integrate it with a campus-wide energy plan, we needed to better visualize the data and educate our peers and the community, we needed to harness our collective data in new ways. That’s been our focus as we reorient that original climate action plan.
Essentially, our efforts are threefold. We seek to lessen our footprint, advance solutions to global challenges via research, and create the next generations of climate action advocates and warriors through our teaching. We must ensure our curriculum and operations are pedagogical learning tools for climate action. It all boils down to research, teaching, engagement and action.
Your UB’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
I’d love to tell you it’s all strawberry shortcake, but no, advocating for climate action isn’t always easy work. That’s okay though, like Tom Hanks said in “A League of Their Own”: “It’s the hard that makes it great.”
In my opinion, the key challenge is balancing our need to inspire and motivate young minds around this common purpose of climate action while not giving in to the overwhelming current odds we face. Climate change is happening at an alarming scale and there are moments where I do pause and fear for the world our children will inhabit and the environmental challenges they’ll face. But you can’t stay there. You can’t lead from that position of doom and gloom because it’s disempowering. You need to point toward those making positive change, be eternally optimistic, and also convey a critical sense of urgency. It’s a huge messaging challenge that we need to confront with hope and possibility, because failure is not an option here.
Do you believe we can ultimately overcome the odds we face when it comes to climate change?
Absolutely. I talk to students all the time who look at current data trends and wonder if we can overcome. You have to remind them that we actually do this frequently. Fifteen years ago, every restaurant in America left customers walking out smelling like cigarettes, now you can’t smoke in any of them. Look at how quickly perceptions and attitudes have changed toward same-sex marriage. Look at the great strides we’re making with the Cancer Moonshot. When we bring enthusiasm and energy to important issues, change happens. I believe the change we need will be brought to life by our millennials, Gen Z and future generations in similar fashion.
That shifts the lens a bit more toward today’s students. How do you engage them in your climate efforts at UB?
Today’s students are so critical to all of this. And, I’m sheepish to admit that when I stepped into this role, I focused mostly on strategies to help UB lessen its carbon footprint. It took me a bit of time to realize the greatest potential lied in our student body. Yes, let’s work toward carbon neutrality, but let’s also strive to graduate thousands of sustainability-literate students who are ready to prioritize our planet and leverage all of our vast human capital every year – that’s the greatest potential for higher education.
Truthfully, student engagement is our core business model today. Regardless of their desired profession or future career, any student can become an advocate for climate action. So, we work to knock down silos and engage every UB student. We want to arm them with the intellectual capital to be game changers. They are our future, and we need to help them understand what it means to commit to a life of advancing the sustainable solutions we need.
What tips would you give other universities trying to bolster their climate action planning?
It’s key for each institution to understand their own realities and culture and work forward from that baseline. The idea that there’s a cut-and-paste solution is false, that will never work.
That said, it’s important for colleges and universities to understand this is a connect and collaborate world, so we must invest in relationships. We have to inspire change, because simply ordering people to change behaviors will never work. I think one of the best things any institution can do is work to shine light on the individuals and groups really making positive strides with climate action. If we can tell their stories in digestible, inspirational and actionable ways – that’s how you build a coalition and ensure action. We do this in person and through numerous university communication channels. I think UB’s President Satish Tripathi did that years back when he created the role of Chief Sustainability Officer in 2011. Shine light on those advancing climate action, inspire change, understand failure is part of the process but not achieving our objective is really not an option.
What change do you hope we see in the next five years when it comes to climate action?
There’s so many changes I’d love to see, but let’s focus on two. First, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals that we should achieve by 2030. They look at environmental stewardship, but also how we fight extreme poverty, alleviate food insecurity, advocate for gender equity and much more. I hope these goals are understood much more broadly and we’re on successful paths toward all of them.
Secondly, I hope the entire globe is mobilized to address climate change in five years and the United States is leading the charge. I also hope we’re not just doing it from a position of fear, but we also recognize the incredible ways advocating for climate change can spur economic evolution and growth and advance human vitality. I hope we use our response to climate change as a means to thrive. That should be the purpose of our work.
Read more on HORIZON >
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.
UB Shares New One World Café Renderings and Engages Students