Last month, PDH Academy interviewed Bialosky Cleveland Associate & Business Development Director, Theodore Ferringer. Head over to the PDH Academy Blog to learn more about his thoughts on the Must-Have Skills for Building Professionals.
The production and execution of the built environment are not separate endeavors, but are byproducts of a truly collaborative relationship between the architect and builder through a common language. Coordination sketches are the vehicles of collaboration, with the power to reaffirm design intent through constructability, stitching the design and construction processes together. Often, these sketches are restricted to the two-dimensional realm of construction drawing overlays, but as technology evolves so can our visual language and ability to communicate three dimensionally. These details respond directly to the growing complexity of building systems in unique conditions where revisions to two-dimensional details will propagate confusion across multiple trades and project teams.
In 2015, Bialosky Cleveland and Walsh Construction Group endeavored to improve coordination through shared Building Information Modelling (BIM) and three-dimensional coordination sketches, when required, at the American Greetings Tech West Building in Westlake, Ohio. As an extension of the American Greetings Creative Studios and Headquarters, the project is located immediately to the South of Crocker Park. Inherent to the large amount of concurrent growth at Crocker Park, the project required intense collaboration between multiple project teams with the same completion date of Summer 2016.
In all of these projects, Bialosky Cleveland is the common thread with varying roles, empowering a collaborative attitude on-site. By nature of the project location, adjacency and programming there were a number of items that required a greater level of collaboration which illustrate how project complexities were resolved through three-dimensional coordination sketches.
The project’s primary design gesture includes opening up the corner with glazing, highlighting the planar expression of the brick façade, which is continued through the parapet. To execute the design intent properly, a series of sequencing diagrams were generated and included in the construction documents illustrating how the insulated metal panel wall is to be flashed into the brick wall assembly. These diagrams acted as a tool to guide work in the field without being unnecessarily prescriptive.
A challenge ever present in the design and detailing of Tech West was its siting with two facades bound by a 5 floor parking garage, requiring (2) two-hour fire walls separated by an air space. Both walls bear on a shared foundation with building expansion joints by two separate project teams, leading to a series of critical coordination details that responded to changing project schedules and construction sequencing.
The stair and elevator core of the parking garage provided an added challenge as it rises above the Tech West parapet before falling to a guardrail height precast parapet. The use of three-dimensional detailing helped expedite discussions of scope ownership and responsibility in the field, evolving as agreements were made by all parties to clarify the path ahead.
Concurrent to the resolving of the building expansion joint details was the drainage at the base of the building separation airspace, which was required to be connected to the Tech West storm water. Here, timing was critical as grouting and caulking had to be coordinated by both projects to ensure constructability while maintaining the integrity of the drain path.
Issues related to site/context presented a different set of challenges as Tech West has no true site scope of its own, but is bound by Crocker Park Phase Three to the North and the American Greetings Creative Studios and Headquarters Plaza to the East and South. As Tech West came into being after the Plaza was designed, revisions and site coordination had to be finalized per grading and egress requirements to set the through wall flashing elevation prior to construction of the brick veneer façade. The three-dimensional sketch concisely reconciled information from 3 projects, turning a potentially lengthy coordination effort into a brief conference call without holding up construction progress.
These coordination snapshots only offer a glimpse into a lengthy and complex process, but highlight the critical need for a collaborative approach to the construction administration effort. In all of this, American Greetings and Mark G. Anderson Consultants, played a critical role in expediting the approval process, making comprehensive sketches evermore important in closing the feedback loop. For any language to be universal it has to be legible, and three-dimensional construction details, when required, ensure the designer and contractor are on the same page. The American Greetings Tech West Building is an example of how collaboration can improve in the field throughout the building process as projects and adjacencies grow in complexity to ensure design intent is not lost.
2016 has brought along quite a few changes here at Bialosky—new projects, new hires, a new place to call home at 6555 Carneige Ave, a new name, and a new brand identity to celebrate and highlight these exciting milestones.
The first step in rebranding was to clearly define our promise to our clients and the process though which we make that promise a reality. To do this, we took a step back to analyze our design process and the values we hold as a firm. This introspection allowed us to define the four core values through which we interpret all aspects of the work we do: innovative, responsive, enduring, and beautiful. These four words and their corresponding promise were the jumping off point for the creation of the new Bialosky Cleveland identity.
Sketch, Discuss, Revise, Repeat
The cornerstone of the new identity is the name shift from 'Bialosky + Partners Architects' to simply 'Bialosky Cleveland.' Although we didn't intend for a name change when we set out on our rebranding mission, the name change grew organically out of the logo design process—reaffirming the value of an iterative design process of thoughtful discussion and intentional revisions. The design process began with a series of rough sketches exploring the basics of graphic identity: typography, mark, and color. These initial sketches were reviewed and discussed by our team and used to tease out successful ideas for further exploration. During the first round of sketches, we were drawn to concepts with bold typography that were simple, timeless, and clean while nodding to the idea of integration, cooperation and partnership. As these initial concepts were explored and refined, we found ourselves pairing down each iteration more and more until we landed on the final mark: a bold typographic treatment, stating simply 'who we are' and 'where we're from.'
This pairing down of the logo to its key parts led to the discussion of what exactly it would mean to simply be 'Bialosky Cleveland.' Bialosky's equity is not only tied to its leadership and history as an architectural firm, but also to its employees and its multi-disciplinary approach. We are a diverse group of individuals anchored by strong leadership and an even stronger history. We are architects, planners, interior designers, engineers, and environmental graphic designers. It's how we answer the phone and it's what our clients call us—we are Bialosky. The name change makes more sense now than ever before.
Color & Type
Pushing the ideas of simplicity, flexibility, and equity was key in the continued development of the Bialosky graphic identity. Blue—representing trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, and intelligence—has always been at the core of the Bialosky palette. The updated palette plays off of this equity with a bold pairing of blue/black and cyan. A classic navy and middle gray provide depth, while a bold pop of warm red rounds out the palette with an unexpected brightness.
Strong typography is the basis of the Bialosky Cleveland logo and is a pillar of the extended identity. The typography pays tribute to the equity of the past Bialosky + Partners Architects marks while adding a contemporary twist. The primary Bialosky typeface, Knockout, is a condensed sans-serif that subtly nods to the Bialosky + Partners condensed logotype of the 1990s. The secondary typeface Gotham, a geometric san-serif inspired by mid-twentieth century architectural signage, is a well-balance blend of new and old that adds a great deal of flexibility to the identity.
Function & Application
The flexibility of the new identity is continued throughout its various applications. As an integrated architectural firm, the Bialosky brand needed to be easily translated across a number of platforms from formal business letters and proposals, vibrant marketing collateral and environmental graphics throughout the office.
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Bialosky + Partners Architects recently earned a Merit Award at the 2015 AIA/IIDA Cleveland Design Awards, for conceptual planning and design of The Midway Bicycle Network for a stakeholder group led by Bike Cleveland. Thanks to all involved, in particular, Bike Cleveland Executive Director Jacob Van Sickle, Board Member Barb Clint, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, and Ohio City Inc.
The Midway seeks to re-utilize the historic infrastructure of Cleveland’s former streetcar network and leverages excess vehicular lane capacities to create an 80+ mile protected cycle track network. Protected cycle tracks provide continuous physical protection to cyclists while still being a part of the curb-to-curb street right of way. While the application of this typology to Cleveland is wholly unique, protected (or separated) cycle tracks are common throughout the world and are proven to make streets safe and comfortable for “all users from 8 to 80”. This infrastructure provides significant economic benefits and significantly increases the mode share of cyclists. Learn more about this vision at midwaycle.org andbikecleveland.org/midway/. Follow the project on Facebook here:facebook.com/TheMidwayCleveland
Editor’s Note: The Bialosky team was proud to have Chris Persons be part of our team for a summer internship this past year. Chris is currently pursuing his Masters of Architecture at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. This is a recap of an installation at this year’s Ingenuity Festival Cleveland that Chris and colleagues collaboratively designed, fabricated, and installed.
The design team for this piece included myself Adam Prtenjak, Greg Stroh; electronics and arduinos (an open-source electronics platform) by John Popple and myself; budget and grant acquisition by Greg Stroh and Nick Young; and construction was completed by Michael Carnessali, Adam Prtenjak, myself, and Nick Young.
The [switch] box is intended to be a low-resolution speculation on future architectural possibilities when digital technologies disrupt traditional built environments. Digital technologies< i.e. sensors, big data, smart cities > have the embodied potential to mediate spaces in a manner with no comparable historical precedent. In this case, the line drawn between user and observer of space in the form of a wall is blurred. Exterior passersby [observer] trigger, through an arduino-linked sensor, a binary color change of a specific interior module, thus informing the construct’s occupants [user] of ambiguous yet located activity outside. This tactic can not only be scaled up indefinitely; it can be implemented through digitally complex mechanisms to fundamentally alter the relationships between users, observers, architecture, and digital technologies.