Archives for category: architecture

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By Andrew Laing, PhD, Director, DEGW
Want to see a city that expresses the thrumming energy of modern American industrial capitalism at its apogee? See Buffalo, 1905. I went there last weekend and was astonished by the legacy of the urban architecture that tells an impressive story about the role of architecture in re-imagining space and the city for a super dynamic economy.

Start with Darwin D. Martin, the organizational genius who rose from selling soap on the streets of New York to become a senior executive of the Larkin Company. The Larkin Company was in effect a kind of Google or Amazon of its day: using modern systems of information (card indexes of customers) to optimize commercial relationships with consumers distributed widely across the continent linked together by mail order. Darwin Martin then found an architectural genius in the form of Frank Lloyd Wright who helped him re-imagine how the functional design of the workplace for the Administration Building of the Larkin Company could take their business to new level of effectiveness. Tragically, the Larkin Building was demolished in 1940.

But Darwin Martin also was inspired to use Frank Lloyd Wright to design a complex of residential buildings for his extended family and servants: The Martin House. Here Frank Lloyd Wright was able to explore the creation of a series of linked building in an urban landscape. A lengthy process of restoration and reconstruction now reveals the amazing ideas for domestic living that Wright created for the Martins. Flowing rooms and connected indoor/outdoor spaces open up to the landscape. A brilliant visitor center designed by Toshiko Mori is placed next to the house.

Just as the Larkin Building revolutionized how the design of office space could accelerate the flow of ideas and information, the Martin House suggests how living might be reinvented in the early twentieth century. Both of these commissions for Frank Lloyd Wright remind us that in our own age of fast growing global cities we need bold, daring and radical collaborations between clients, users, and architects to re-imagine our urban ways of living and working.


photo: Interior Design Magazine

By Katie Boothroyd
The UNWIRED WORKTECH11 Conference was held this fall at the new Nokia workplace in Sunnyvale, California. Many experts in their respective fields came to discuss and learn about topics including the future of the workplace and spatial considerations, what’s important for attracting and retaining talent, and how to “rationally” integrate virtual and mobile working into one’s work schedule.

This was my first time attending a WORKTECH conference so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Below are a few “take-a-ways” from the event: Read the rest of this entry »

By Emily Golembiewski
It was almost a year ago at the Designers Accord Global Summit conference in October, Peter Madden, Chief Executive of the UK-based Forum for the Future talked about how “the environmental movement has collectively failed to envision a sustainable future in which we would all like to live. The apocalyptic narratives, which have propelled much of the environmental and sustainability movement forward, are such a crushing, insurmountable bummer, that they are very difficult to orient creative and positive change around.” (from an excellent article by Andrea Mangini of Autodesk, posted on

As architects and designers, the very nature of our work builds a future and it takes a bold stance on what that future will look like, how it will feel, how it will engage individuals.
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This is part 3 of a three part post called The City is the Office, by Andrew Laing, Director of Strategy for DEGW North America. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

At both the Worktech and Festival of Ideas for the New City conferences, the new city of Songdo in South Korea was cited as an example of the smart city movement.  New kinds of technology are enabling more intelligent forms of urbanism. Yet it seems odd to me that given the sophistication of the technology, the physical architecture looks remarkably familiar.

Why would the provision of amazing new technological infrastructure not transform the architecture of the city? Is the idea that technology is a kind of invisible utility that merely services a conventional  architecture? Like some new kind of sewer system?
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