Women in Architecture: Go west, young woman!

by Laurie Canup

Denise Scott Brown, one of my early heroines and a successful woman-architect, has recently been the subject of a flurry of discussion in the architectural community. A group of female students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design has petitioned to have Scott Brown’s name retroactively added to the 1991 Pritzker Prize awarded to her long-time design partner (and husband). As co-founder of her firm, Scott Brown has been a lead designer, collaborator, and writer for several decades and as such offered women inspiration as she was able to overcome the hurdles that so many of us faced. In this interview with ARCHITECT magazine, she talks about her experience as a woman in a male dominated field, and what it has meant for her to also be the “architect’s wife.”

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Why Hacker Started Paying for Parental Leave

by Sarah Bell

This year, Hacker implemented a new paid parental leave policy, covering six weeks at full salary for birth mothers and about four and ½ weeks full salary for a spouse of the parent who gives birth (adoptive parents get the same). This is in addition to the flexible paid time off granted to every Hacker employee.

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What’s Your Story?

by Becca Cavell

I recently attended a quietly inspirational SMPS event – a talk by Jelly Helm.  Here’s part of the SMPS pitch:

“You’ve seen his work with the Portland Timbers, Nike and Starbucks. He’s been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company and Men’s Health. Now, Jelly Helm comes to SMPS to share his passions on storytelling. Join us to learn the importance of storytelling in our A/E/C industry.”

I’m a fan of a good story and  after checking out Studio Jelly’s website I was intrigued to hear what he had to say.  He was actually very low key yet powerful. He disarmed us with some cute pictures of himself as a young child as he told us what we all know – how stories are an important part of learning and understanding our world. And how storytelling is becoming increasingly important in our professional world as we see the rising use of social media.

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What to Expect When You Are Expected Back to Work

by Sarah Bell

As the U.S. is one of three countries in the World to not have paid parental leave, and the mandated 12 weeks off is only for companies over 50 people, it is remarkably common for moms to return to work while their new baby is still very young. According to studies, 80% of women who were working while pregnant return to work, and the average maternity leave is less than 10 weeks. Looking beyond these statistics, returning to work following your maternity leave can be heartbreaking for many, and create a high level of anxiety.

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What Pro Bono Work Has Taught Us

by Audrey Alverson

Pro bono architecture: Why do we do it?

Hacker has long been a signatory of the 1+ Program, which challenges designers to dedicate 1% or more of their time to pro bono service – but through trial and error over the years, we often found it challenging to bring this work to fruition. After a few fits and starts, and some mostly small-scale projects and studies, last year we decided to put some teeth to our commitment to pro bono service. Through this process, we’ve learned that the problem was never a lack of desire or good intentions, but more so a lack of planning.

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Walking the Talk

by Annie Mahoney

In design, THA believes that architecture is best when it is an honest expression of the people and institutions it serves.

In the same way, THA supports a sustainable approach with its building projects and believes that the firm itself must also demonstrate these beliefs in daily office life and practices. This is not always easy.

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UW Bothell Science Building – Revealed!

by Audrey Alverson

Check out this great time-lapse video of the scaffolding coming down from our University of Washington Bothell Science & Academic Building. The project is expected to be complete in the spring, and open for classes Fall of 2014.

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To Go or Not to Go?

by Sarah Bell

The “Go/No Go” decision at an architecture, engineering or construction firm is arguably one of the most important and challenging marketing decisions a company faces. For the uninitiated, “Go/No Go” decisions simply refer to a firm’s decision to go after a project or not. It can happen as early as when one first hears about a project (even if it is years off), or it most typically happens when the Request for Qualifications or Proposals hits the street. Some firms have an incredibly rigorous process, answering dozens of questions, and assigning points to them that equate to a “Go” or “No Go” answer. On the opposite side of the spectrum, firm leaders loosely debate the proposed project and make their decision based on what their “gut” tells them. Either extremes can be flawed – one might be too rigid, not allowing for nuances or variance, while the other relies more on emotion than logic. So how does a firm implement and execute an effective “Go/No Go” process?

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They’re Not Buildings, They’re “Assets”

by Scott Mannhard

In the spirit of our continual pursuit of authentic sustainability, I headed to the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International conference in Seattle recently to hear directly from owners, operators and managers about what is important to them. These people must deal with their buildings – I mean “assets” – long after their architects have moved on to other projects. The owners and managers know what energy efficiency measures actually work to save both money and resources. They know if LEED certification was an important factor or not in reducing vacancy in their building. They hear first-hand what prospective tenants expect and require when leasing or renewing space. Given this abundance of information about how buildings are actually performing for people, it was remarkable to see so few other architects there to participate in the discussion.

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The Perils of “Glitz” in Information Design

by Nic Smith

Last week Edward Tufte, a professor emeritus of political science, statistics, and computer science at Yale University, visited Portland to give one of his storied courses – Presenting Data and Information. I had the opportunity to take this six-hour course, absorbing all I could from this legend of information design.

The take home message, as old as time itself: Content is key.

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