Oculus - Spring 2015 - (Page 34)

feature: PRACTICE Architecture in the Social Data Era Transforming our practice to engage new data sources and design intents BY meLis s A mA rs H M ore than 15 years ago, I stumbled upon Bruce Nussbaum's introduction to the BusinessWeek/Architectural Record design awards. His words resonated with my craving for evidence of the capability and power of architecture to impact people and business. Architecture, in both design and theory, seemed to lack quantifiable measures of how it affected social structure, emotional and interpersonal experience, even cognitive and neurological impact. My pursuit of new methods for understanding, analyzing, and incorporating user behavior in the design process drove me to a summer internship with the Arup R&D team in London. There, we studied the unexpected wobble of London's thennew Millennium Bridge. It prompted us to think differently about measuring buildings, people, and their interactions. Along with engineers from a variety of disciplines, I spent several months exploring ways to discover what made this pedestrian bridge sway: the collective weight of crowds? Walking speeds? The density of the group? And, of course, monitoring structural results of acceleration. Analyzing data from recording devices on walkers' ankles, we discovered that a slow-paced, sauntering crowd eventually synchronizes its gait, inducing the collective force that excited the bridge. Arup engineers designed and manufactured a damper system to stop the wobble, and I discovered what would become the basis of my career. Since then, my passion for people, architecture, and measurement has informed diverse projects, ranging from campus master planning to globalworkplace guidelines. In each instance I work iteratively using data, discovery, testing, and design. At PLASTARC my team has expertise in sociology, anthropology, data visualization, environmental psychology, urban studies, organizational design, and knowledge management. Looking forward, I expect the next 15 years to be an era of optimizing architecture for human factors (physical, social, cognitive, and neurological), much as the last two decades have focused on learning to model ecological and environmental factors. Led by more data, this next development phase will move faster, and have an even greater risk of being taken out of architects' hands than the sustainable building movement. Architects must seize the opportunity now to deeply analyze and understand the consequences of the occupant experience. With these data, we can refine design to improve performance for occupants, and thereby show evidence of our value to society and clients. "It is a method of building teams that communicate and innovate. It is a way of telling customers who you are and what you stand for. Architecture is perhaps one of the least understood and most powerful business tools available. Yet architects, by and large, are unable to explain how powerful a role they can play in achieving business goals. And business people, by and large, remain unaware of architecture's bottom-line prowess..." ©Scott Leinweber - Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek, November 1999 34 Oculus Spring 2015 Dialogues from the Edge of Practice

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2015

First Words Letter from the President Repositioning All Around By Tomas Rossant, AIA
Letter from the Editor The Edge of New By Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA
Center for Architecture Center Highlights
One Block Over Rough Waters: Squalls continue over the redevelopment of South Street Seaport By Claire Wilson
Opener: Thinking Into Other Boxes By David Zach
Mars in the Bronx CASE gets new environmental technologies out of labs and into buildings at (relative) warp speed By Jonathan Lerner
Spinning Research Into Practice Intense experimentation with digital technologies is yielding remarkable designs and products by ARO By Lisa Delgado
A Results-Oriented Think Tank Defining architectural practice broadly enough to include research, theory, and public discourse, Grimshaw’s Urban Research Unit is a full-circle activity leading to a richer built environment By Bill Millard
The Resilience Factor Perkins+Will is making resilience design and planning a growing area of practice and income By Richard Staub
Socrates at the Drafting Table REX champions a slow thinktank architecture of methodical problem-solving By Janet Adams Strong
Architecture in the Social Data Era Transforming our practice to engage new data sources and design intents By Melissa Marsh
Museum as Incubator The New Museum hatches a multidisciplinary workspace to nurture creative entrepreneurs By Julia van den Hout
When Bottom-up Meets Top-down The benefits of community engagement in post-disaster rebuilding plans By Deborah Gans, FAIA
In Print Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made By Tom Wilkinson Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Birth of the Modern City By Jonathan Conlin Visionaries in Urban Development: 15 Years of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize Winners By Trisha Riggs, et al. American Urban Form: A Representative History By Sam Bass Warner and Andrew H. Whittemore Preservation is Overtaking Us By Rem Koolhaas, with a supplement by Jorge Otero-Pailos Reviews by Stanley Stark, FAIA
31-Year Watch Architectural practice once embraced dinner plates and candlesticks produced by Swid Powell By John Morris Dixon, FAIA
Last Words Eve of Construction By Rick Bell, FAIA
Index to Advertisers Alphabetical & Categorical Index

Oculus - Spring 2015