Design on the Haus
Back to school, back to work—September is the time we begin to reconnect with the various responsibilities of our lives, after (hopefully) enjoying the less-demanding pace of the mid-year. Before we completely surrender summer, here’s a selective list of coverage Hausman clients received in August. Next week, we’ll delve into educational opportunities offered by architecture and design schools.
Architectural Digest reports on Torre Reforma, Arup‘s new project in Mexico City
A rule-breaking home by Dillon Kyle Architects is toured by Houzz
YIMBY New York checks on the progress of Francis Cauffman‘s healthcare center in Brooklyn
Museo Picasso Málaga by Gluckman Tang is cited by Metropolis as one of the best interiors of the 21st century
Visual Merchandising and Store Design visits the Panama City branch of luxury retailer Felix by Kevin Kennon Architects
W Architecture and Landscape Architecture‘s dynamic St. Patrick’s Island is profiled by Parks and Rec Business
In addition to being a global sports spectacular, the Olympics (at least in the modern televison-era) is known as an arena for marketing and merchandising sponsorship. This commercial aspect of the Games is just as competitive as the athletic component. Swoops, arches, apples, and more: graphic logos abound on every surface, vying for attention. In a way, this is historically appropriate; the Olympics are Greek in origin, and logos is a Greek word meaning “word.”
Successful logos have some core qualities. They are simple, cleanly rendered images. They are memorable; it’s important to create a distinct and lasting impression. Logos avoid trendiness, which makes a design—and by extension, the company it represents—look dated and out of touch. A timeless look will communicate the message most effectively. The image must be versatile. This means it should be suitable for a wide variety of uses: for small and large applications, reproduced on different materials, in black-and-white as well as in color. Finally, a logo should be appropriate to the business. The mark ought to convey something meaningful about the company and its values.
The good sports at AIGA gave us permission to share some of designer Milton Glaser’s thoughts on Olympics logos. Here, we’ve excerpted a few of his comments on some winning imagery…
Tokyo, Summer 1964
Appropriately redacted and without any confusion. The parts fit. Score: 92 out of 100
Athens, Summer 2004
The olive branch representing the games is executed in a fresh and unexpected way. Because it looks less like a corporate logo, we feel more affectionate toward it. The blue feels right reflecting both the event and Athens at the same time. Score: 90 out of 100
Barcelona, Summer 1992
This mark is unexpectedly convincing. The 3 strokes representing the human figure have a good scale relationship to the world ‘Barcelona ’92’ and the rings. Score: 85 out of 100
Rio, Summer 2016
A presentation that looks fresh and contemporary. The athletes joining hands at the top are executed in a way that works well with the other elements. It feels like something new. Score: 85 out of 100
…and his observations on some less successful logos:
Paris, Summer 1924
Bad beginning, the elements are unrelated visually and the imagery is confusing. The surprinted lettering is unreadable. Score: 20 out of 100
Berlin, Summer 1936
Strange and lacking focus. The Olympic rings become subordinated to the eagle and bell forms. The spirit of the Olympics is totally absent. Score: 20 out of 100
Los Angeles, Summer 1932
A visual disaster; combining the rings, a laurel leaf and the American shield in an overlapping pattern is impossible. The typography goes on its own unrelated way. Score: 25 out of 100
The Rio games may be over, but we’re happy to help wean sports fans off their recent diet of swimming, gymnastics, and track and field [to say nothing of badminton and water polo], with a survey of some memorable Olympic architecture.
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Golf is a sport of precision and balance, and the design of this complex reflects those qualities. Locker rooms, lobbies, pro shop, and administration areas are located in small, low buildings around a courtyard, with views opening to the course beyond. The translucent fabric roof over the plaza funnels rainwater into a collection tank; the water is used for grounds maintenance.
The concept for this building was inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion, creating spaces and a surrounding environment in sympathy with the riverside landscape of the Olympic Park. An undulating roof sweeps up from the ground as a wave, enclosing the pools of the Centre with its unifying gesture. After the Olympics, the facility was downsized: the wings were lopped off, and seating capacity reduced from 17,500 to about 2,500.
The architect was fired from the job in mid-construction; that’s just the first salvo in a fusillade of failures for this stadium. More than a decade after the games were over, the retractable roof was finally completed in 1987; functionally deficient, it was removed in 1998 and replaced by a fixed roof. The 575-foot tower element of the stadium contains a funicular, which runs up to an observatory. The 56,000-seat stadium was used for several years for professional baseball and football games; today, the deteriorating structure is infrequently used as an events venue.
Through its dynamic, curving walls, the design of this venue evokes the flow and precision inherent in competitive shooting. Three buildings sport crisp, white double-curved façades studded with brightly colored circular openings, which act as ventilation intake portals. They also function as tensioning rings, keeping the PVC-fabric façades from flapping in the wind. After the Olympics, the buildings were dismantled—as intended—flat-packed, and shipped to other sites for use.
The last full month of summer, August presents a final opportunity to enjoy recreational pursuits—as a spectator or participant—before the autumnal commitments of school and work return. In weeks to come, we’ll take a look at the architecture of the Olympics, as well as the graphic branding of the Games over the years. Today, we’re indulging in a survey of a rarefied design sector: yachts designed by architects and artists.
Frank Gehry sets sail in Foggy, which he designed in collaboration with German Frers. Titanium details and wavy, lattice-like ports give the 74-foot daysailer a most unusual presence. Foggy was built at the venerable Brooklin Boat Yard in Brooklin, Maine.
Dazzle camouflage certainly influenced Jeff Koons’ design for this 115-foot craft (christened Guilty) and we detect a bit of Roy Lichtenstein in the comic-book colors and Ben-Day dots, too.
Koons’ Guilty accomplishes optically what Zaha Hadid’a Z-Boat does in three dimensions. Its squared-off bow defies conventional thinking about what constitutes a streamlined vessel; nonetheless, it conveys an impression of speed and power. The 24-foot powerboat was produced in a limited edition of 12 by Shoreteam.
Not a slack halyard or an untidy coil in sight—John Pawson’s B60 is shipshape, indeed. Pawson teamed with naval architect Luca Brenta to create a sloop in his signature minimalist style. The hull, a graceful arc of polished carbon fiber, seems to float above as much as in the water.
For a more accessible seafaring experience, we recommend any of the excellent Around Manhattan tours, produced by the NY AIA in partnership with Classic Harbor Line. Expertly led by professors and practitioners of architecture, the tours offer a waterfront perspective on landmarks new and old from the vantage of teak- and mahogany-detailed, 1920s-style yachts.
At last month’s National AIA Convention in Philadelphia, Hausman president and PR champion Tami Hausman delivered another powerhouse presentation on fusing traditional and digital marketing tools. Sharing the stage with Brien McDaniel (FXFOWLE) and David Roccosalva (EverGreene Architectural Arts), she coached the audience of architects on crafting winning strategies for effective integrated communications. If you missed the lecture and want tips on how to develop and deliver your message, you haven’t lost out—click HERE to view clips of the presentation (and other winning videos) on Hausman LLC’s YouTube channel.
If your summer days aren’t quite as lazy as you’d like, and taking a full-fledged vacation is not in the picture, don’t worry—we’ve compiled a short list of simple day-trip destinations that can refresh you just as much as a week on the beach. All of our suggested sites are homes and/or studios of artists, so you can tap into the creative vibe and further your own artistic interests during your visit—kind of a busman’s holiday.
Garrison, New York
Overlooking a water-filled quarry in the Hudson River Highlands, mid-century designer Russell Wright created the interiors for his home and studio; David Leavitt was the architect for the house, which was built in 1960. Trails wind through the 75-acre woodland garden. A program of music performances and art installations continues throughout the summer; guided tours are offered May through November.
Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio
Abiquiu, New Mexico
This adobe compound was in a ruined state when Georgia O’Keeffe’s first visited the property in 1945. After a four renovation, she moved into home and converted a stable into her studio; she lived there until 1984. About 50 miles from Santa Fe, the property is open for tours from March through November.
Grant Wood Studio
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Grant Wood painted American Gothic in this studio in 1930. Located on the second floor of a modest 19th century brick carriage house, he remodeled the raw loft, creating an unexpectedly interesting and space-efficient live/work home. The building is open for visits from April through December.
Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio
Kansas City, Missouri
The humble-yet-heroic paintings and murals of Thomas Hart Benton offer a powerful look at American life in the 1930s, with the people and culture of the Midwest his most frequent subject. The artist worked in this studio for 35 years, until his death in 1975. The property is open from April through November.
At our mid-sized architecture office, I wear many hats: My official title is marketing coordinator, but I’m also administrative whiz, technology trouble-shooter, and webmaster. Our partners recently decided to commit to working with a public relations firm, but I’m not quite sure what they’re looking to accomplish. Can you advise me on where, oh where to begin? How do I figure out what that means, and then find the company that’s right for us?
Millinery-Maddened Millennial in Minneapolis
Well, Millinery, it’s good to know that someone else has not skipped off to the beach for the summer! Otherwise, the Doctor would get very lonely in the office—talking to the plants is good for a little while, but inanimate objects are not always the best office-mates. So, I’m glad you are reaching out, and you have come to the right place!
There’s nothing that I like more than a good strategy, which is the first item on your PR agenda. Most important, from the outset, you need to establish some goals. Just think about it: you can’t run a race without knowing where the finish line is! So, when your partners say they want to hire a firm, what exactly are they trying to accomplish? Many people think that public relations is press, and that’s a big part of it. If that’s your goal, then you have to determine what kind of press you want: local or national; business press, trade, or design press; project-related articles or trend stories.
Now, the Doctor tries to make it easy for you, of course, but she also wants to give you a lot of options! And, don’t forget, it’s probably some combination of all these things. Some people are “either/or” types, but I like to think of myself as a “both/and” person when it comes to outreach. On that note, going beyond press, you should also think about other ways of building your influence. Let me be clear: we love press—yes, we think it’s the bees’ knees—but you can also get a lot of buzz through speaking engagements, professional organizations, and being active on social media.
See, Millinery, I bet there’s a lot more than you bargained for! But the Doctor wants to point you in the right direction. I suggest that you try to get as many specifics as you can from the partners, and that will help you figure out what kind of firm you need to bring on board. When you have your goals, you can look for the right partner.
On that note, it’s low tide, and I’m off to the shore to stick my toes in the sand….
July is the month when vacation season starts in earnest. Temperatures climb, work weeks shorten (if you’re lucky), and the beach beckons. We’ve rounded up some architecturally auspicious summer homes by the shore (perhaps you’ll recognize a few of them) where we’d be very happy to while away a few days.
Designed by John Lautner in 1970, the Arango House still has an avant-garde appeal. Overlooking Acapulco Bay, its solid, swooping forms handily defy easy categorization.
A vivid bit of vernacular design, the photogenic “beach boxes” of Australia’s Brighton Beach are an architectural inheritance of sorts, passed from one generation to the next. When one of these colorful cabanas does come on the market, the asking price—around $200,000 AUD—belies its size.
Photograph by Bill Maris
An instant icon when it was built on Cape Cod in 1968, the Cooper House by Gwathmey-Siegel featured a peace-keeping program: the childrens’ bedrooms were separated from the parents’ master suite.
Photograph by Matt Lord
Clever photography and superlative engineering imbue this home, the Pole House Fairhaven by f2 Architecture, with the illusion of floating over the Australian coast.
Post-modernism is having something of a moment, now, so we’re including this Malibu beach house by Michael Graves on our list of seaside retreats.
North of LA in Oxnard, the Vault House overlooks the Pacific. Architects Johnston Marklee designed the geometric exploration in 2013.
Frank Gehry‘s Norton House has been a landmark on the Venice, California boardwalk since 1984. The “lifeguard tower” structure, inspired by the homeowner’s erstwhile summer job, is used as a writer’s studio.
Moorish meets Moderne in this spirited stylistic hybrid. In Alys Beach, not far from the epicenter of New Urbanism, Seaside, Florida, it’s designed by Jeffrey Dungan Architects.
Reaching out over the waters of Canada, the Two Hulls House illustrates MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple Architects’ continuing interest in pared-down forms set in a primordial landscape.
At this Malibu residence, Richard Meier forgoes his traditional white facade in favor of a slatted screen of wood. How very Cali.
The harbinger of a Bay Area regional style, Condominium 1 at The Sea Ranch was not initially well received by its developers, who sent a terse telegram—”Stop work. It looks like a prison.”—to architects Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, Bill Turnbull, and Richard Whitaker in 1965.
Continuing his look at the creation of an architectural monograph and managing a multi-media publicity campaign, Brien McDaniel, Communications Director, Senior Associate of FXFOWLE, reveals the details of publicizing Reveal Filter Evolve Effect (ORO Editions, 2015), the latest publication from FXFOWLE.
A select number of copies of Reveal Filter Evolve Effect (representing about 300-350 of our contacts in New York City) were packaged in custom tote bags and hand-delivered by messenger. All of these bags included a personal note from a member of the FXFOWLE leadership. The remaining 1,200 monographs were mailed via a specially designed box, with or without personal notes. Only once we knew that everyone on our list had received a copy of the book, did we publicly announce that the monograph was published.
Why did we reverse the typical sequence of events for the book launch? We wanted to get the biggest bang for our buck—meaning no one really knew we were publishing a book and we wanted harness that element of surprise. This was achieved via an e-blast to our entire database and a press release (yes, this form of communication is not yet dead). To raise the monograph’s visibility across all of our social media channels and to give it an identity at all of our events, we created a logo inspired by the book’s design.
Every piece of communication about the launch—whether a press release, an e-blast, or social media post—included a link to an announcement of the monograph on the FXFOWLE website. This not only increased traffic to our site over the course of a year, but it also gave us the opportunity to tailor our online message, highlighting the firm’s culture and services. The announcement was featured on all seven of the website’s landing pages and on the News page. Reveal Filter Evolve Effect also lives in its entirety in ISSUU format on the Profile and Publications pages. However, we did wait to upload the book until after the launch was completed—a period of almost nine months.
As part of the launch promotion, we developed a series of panel discussions (open to the public, as well as invited guests) to connect with our audience in fresh ways. These talks also posed strategic opportunities for business development, press relations, and to initiate new partnerships or strengthen existing relationships. Such was the case with the AIA|DC Chapter, the National Academy Museum & School, and Open House New York. We teamed with these organizations to host events and programs, which helped us reach new, diverse groups.
For example, our exhibition at the National Academy gave us a chance to share with our audience a unique firm initiative over several months. Throughout the run of the exhibit, FXFOWLE partners conducted personal tours of the show for colleagues, clients, and potential clients, allowing them to enhance existing relationships as well as cultivate new contacts by presenting a personalized, inside perspective on the firm’s work and mission. An invitation-only dinner was staged at the gallery, making for a truly extraordinary evening.
We also collaborated with leading publications, such as Architect, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Preservation, and The Architect’s Newspaper, in innovative ways. While this didn’t generate any major coverage (nor was that expected), the experience served to deepen the editors’ knowledge of FXFOWLE and the culture of the firm.
The results of our campaign were a revelation, and truly gratifying. We had overwhelmingly positive responses from all corners—even though it didn’t translate into work (which we knew it wouldn’t). We developed new partnerships; expanded our press coverage to include art, book publishing, and general publications; and received not one, but two reviews of Reveal Filter Evolve Effect. We also saw significant spikes in website traffic each time we posted news about the monograph; overall, our social media traffic increased more than 20% for 2015. Something we didn’t think about at the beginning of our planning was that preparing for the book launch was the perfect opportunity to update FXFOWLE’s contact database; after doing that, our bounce-back rate dropped from 20% to 2% within three months. And finally, the monograph drove internal conversations about our brand, from project reviews and presentations to discussions about our website and marketing messages.
While creating a monograph and orchestrating a year-long multi-media campaign is certain to raise the visibility of your brand, there are plenty of ways ways to achieve that goal. Here are a few ideas—adaptable for any scale or budget—about how your firm can connect with targeted audiences:
If you have space in your office for an exhibit (it doesn’t have to be a large area), consider curating an art show highlighting your in-house talent; many architects sketch, paint, or are passionate photographers. You could also feature study models and drawings to pull back the proverbial curtain on your firm’s working process. Plan an opening reception and invite key contacts to build one-to-one relationships in a setting outside of meetings and industry-related events.
Team up with your AIA chapter, AEC colleagues, or even a local publication to self-produce a topical event or panel discussion. Don’t forget that your clients and consultants can be partners, too.
Seize the opportunity presented by a holiday, or a project-oriented or company milestone, to create a one-of-a-kind announcement. Because we’re all saturated with emails, e-blasts, and other electronic input, you might consider using a hard-copy format in order to stand out. There are many online self-publishing companies (such as Lulu and Blurb) that offer inventive products and designs to promote your brand at any price point.
If none of these strike a chord with you, be creative. And despite their ubiquity, e-blasts are still a great vehicle to connect quickly with your audiences…just make sure all of the information on your website is current and correct before you hit that Send button!
Brien McDaniel, Director of Communications, Senior Associate, for FXFOWLE, has over 23 years of communications, media relations, and special event management experience for higher education, cultural institutions, and architectural practices. At FXFOWLE, Brien is responsible for ensuring that all communication strategies are integrated with the overall vision, values, and strategic business goals of the firm. He also leads the FXFOWLE’s social media initiatives and secures press coverage across all international media outlets.
Today, Brien gives an overview of the planning process behind the release of Reveal Filter Evolve Effect, the latest monograph from FXFOWLE. Next week, he’ll go into the details of producing and publicizing the book, and the results of the outreach.
A brand is worthless if it doesn’t connect with the right audiences in a relevant way.
I came across the above quote while preparing a presentation on FXFOWLE’s monograph, Reveal Filter Evolve Effect (ORO Editions, 2015) for the 2016 AIA convention. I was immediately drawn to it because it encapsulates everything I try to accomplish in marketing and communications, but in particular, it’s a “hit the nail on the head” description the strategic approach I took in planning the book’s release.
My presentation on the FXFOWLE monograph launch was part of a panel discussion (along with Tami Hausman and David Rocosalva of EverGreene Architectural Arts) which focused on the advantages of combining traditional and digital marketing. If you are planning a multi-media campaign, whether for a new monograph, a project announcement, or marketing initiative, I hope my recent experience might inform your efforts when promoting your brand.
A little background about Reveal Filter Evolve Effect (since I’m talking about a book, think of it as a prologue of sorts) will give a bit of perspective on the project. Since the firm’s founding in 1978, FXFOWLE has published three monographs. The two previous books are very traditional and follow a structure common to many monographs: a look back at a body of completed works. For Reveal Filter Evolve Effect, we wanted to break away from the conventional and place more emphasis on the firm’s philosophy and practice. This was a strategic opportunity to be memorable and unique, and, like the aforementioned quote, to connect in a relevant way.
Who is your audience?
With a limited press run of 1,500 copies, we knew we couldn’t send a book to everyone in our database, nor could we afford to do so. The initial edit of the list was easy; staff, colleagues, clients, potential clients, and of course members of the media would receive a copy. But who else should we reach? Well, since we wanted to better connect with academia, we added deans and professors from prominent architecture schools to the list. And then we thought to include influential people—specific individuals such as real estate developers, business professionals, and industry experts who are persuasive, admired, opinionated, and have their finger on the pulse (It didn’t hurt if they had huge Twitter followings, too, which would help our launch announcement go viral). These were people with whom we had little or no existing relationships, but wanted to connect or engage with them further.
What are your goals?
We identified four objectives for our launch campaign:
- Initiate strategic partnerships and build new relationships with potential clients, organizations, and key influencers.
- Strengthen our reputation as a design firm or even reshape that perception.
- Promote our firm culture.
- Last and not easiest: Get Reveal Filter Evolve Effect reviewed in at least one architecture/design publication.
How do you shape your approach?
Because we wanted to approach the monograph’s launch consistent with the manner in which we developed its concept and design—to be different, set ourselves apart from other firms, to be super-heroes (like my good friends and colleagues at Hausman Communications)—we opted not to go the traditional route with a firm-wide party or a one-off event. We brainstormed (yes, that meant a lot of meetings!) and came up with three concepts:
- Create strategic opportunities to share big ideas.
- Find the most effective, thoughtful, and surprising ways to connect with our audience.
- Whenever possible, elevate the design dialogue.
How are you going to accomplish everything?
To follow through on these approaches, in the six months preceding the release of Reveal Filter Evolve Effect, our team of three partners, two marketing/communication coordinators, a graphic designer, and myself laid the groundwork for a series of special events that would provide simultaneous opportunities to publicize the book and the FXFOWLE brand. Panel discussions, invitation-only dinners to facilitate one-to-one connections with VIPs (we called them ‘salon dinners’), traditional book signings, college lectures, and an art exhibition that highlighted the firm’s creative process allowed us to reach a diverse, targeted audience in memorable ways.
Next week: We look at the details of producing and publicizing the book, and the results of the outreach.