June 24, 2016

Three Dimensional Coordination Detailing

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.

AG-CP Team Divisions REV

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.

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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.

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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.


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SKA-17 Precast Axonometric Detail
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.

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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.

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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.

September 30, 2015

Shortlists Announced! Bialosky Team in Two Big Interviews Today (Good Luck!)

Today is a busy day for the Bialosky team as we have two interviews today both close to home and away.

The first is the renovation/ rehabilitation of Taylor Hall at Kent State University, which today houses the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED), the College of the Arts, the School of Communication Studies, and the May 4th Visitor Center. With the CAED moving to their new building in 2016, Taylor Hall will namely house the School of Visual Communications Design (VCD).

Taylor Hall Kent State University

Taylor Hall, the 1960's building set on "Blanket Hill", on the National Register of Historic Places, will be rehabilitated for Kent State's VCD program. The project is seeking LEED Silver Certification.

Shortlisted teams are:

  • Bialosky + Partners Architects
  • bshm architects
  • Payto Architects
  • Van Auken Akins Architects

The second interview for Bialosky today is in New York, for the renovation of the historic Carnegie Library in downtown Binghamton. Constructed in 1903 and listed on the registry of Historical Buildings, Carnegie Library will be renovated to house SUNY BROOME Community College's Hospitality Center.

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Over a century old, the Carnegie Library will find a new life as SUNY BROOME's downtown Binghamton campus, housing their Hospitality Program.

We are excited to team with Holt Architects for this endeavor! The architectural firm out of Ithica are also highly experienced in Higher Education projects, and ranked as one of Central New York's Best Places to Work (Sounds like we'd make a good team!)

Good luck to all of you today!

June 2, 2015

Edgewater Beach House Design Progress to be Unveiled at Ward 15 Community Meeting

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What: Ward 15 Community Meeting

When: Thursday June 4th, 2015 6pm to 8pm

Where: Louisa May Alcott Elementary School

Remember the Cleveland Metroparks Edgewater Beach House project? While things have been quiet publically, our team has been hard at work on its design! We have incorporated many ideas that were received at a series of public meetings in early December on the Cleveland Metroparks Lakefront Reservation planning and from the MindMixer project page! If interested you in learning more, please attend the Ward 15 Community Meeting, this Thursday June 4th from 6pm to 8pm at Louisa May Alcott School at 10308 Baltic Road.
More details:

Please join Councilman Matt Zone, Cudell Inc. and Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization for a special meeting to learn details about the upcoming improvements and reconstruction for the West Shoreway. Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will be in attendance, along with Great Lakes Construction, the contractor for the project to answer questions and address concerns stakeholders may have.In addition, representatives from the Cleveland Metroparks will be updating the community on the construction and timeline of the new roundabout and bathhouse/restaurant at lower Edgewater Park.We will also update the community on the Shoppes on Clifton project.There are so many exciting projects slated to begin this summer in our community, please plan on attending this important meeting to get all the details!

If you're a facebook user, you may RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/702273333216811/

For information about the West Shoreway reconstruction see ODOT's project page here: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/projects/ClevelandUrbanCoreProjects/LakefrontWest/Pages/default.aspx

May 13, 2015

The Year of the Advocate: Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Pro bono, civic, and community projects have always been deeply embedded in the culture of our firm. We wholeheartedly believe that as architects, we have a distinct responsibility to serve and strengthen our community. But the value of pro bono work runs deeper than the neighborhoods it touches, it has transformed and elevated our very profession. Pro bono projects are a powerful medium for architectural firms to grow and empower leadership and heighten awareness of local expertise that can often be overshadowed. Too often we hear bemoaning around awarding projects to outside architects.

LeBron said it best, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.” In Cleveland, “being of this place” means rolling up your sleeves, and chasing what you want. For Cleveland architects specifically, it means fueling ourselves (and each other) to rise up, advocate for architecture, and serve our city.

Consider the following article I wrote for AIA Cleveland as a call to our local design community - to challenge the notion of pro bono work being categorized as simply “other”, “charity” or “unpaid” projects, but rather as an ingrained part of architectural practice.


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Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA Cleveland President-Elect

For AIA, this year is intended to be "the year of the advocate". The recent national "I Look Up" ad campaign has engendered comments, both positive and negative, about architecture and advocacy (for more information on the campaign, read AIA Cleveland President Aaron Hill's recent article Why "Looking Up" Is Important). It is good that there are strong feelings about this, especially if you ascribe to the theory that any press is good press. But more importantly, the campaign has empowered dispersed dialogues to surface as one national conversation.

Personally, I believe that every year should be the year of the advocate for architects and architecture. As President-Elect, and a fairly new comer (or late returner) to active duty in AIA Cleveland, I have been educating myself on the issues that our local members prioritize as the most relevant and important to our community. In response to our recent member survey, most of the respondents felt that one of AIA Cleveland's most important roles was to advocate for local architects. Many architects feel they have lost power, voice and position as leaders of the built environment. Furthermore, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have suffered for years from a low self-image which has fueled a desire for outside experts. Compounded by an economic downturn spanning half a decade, this triple-whammy has left some architects in our community feeling under-appreciated and unable to compete for important commissions in their own market.

There have been past efforts at advocacy for local architects. The Design Forum of Cleveland was founded in 2006 as a multi-disciplinary organization with the goals of improving awareness of area design professional services, increasing the consumption of area design professional services, and enhancing and sustaining the professional careers within the local design community. The forum sought to educate area leaders on the quality of available services and the economic impact of the commissions going out of town. Unfortunately, the efforts foundered when confronted by the Cleveland malaise described above; Corporate cultures that inherently value the corporation over the community at large have failed to see the connection and synergy that strengthens them both, while political authorities focused on feathering their own nests or occupied with surviving the times.

Fast forward to 2015, Cleveland has been rightfully labeled as a "Comeback City", as a new sense of optimism pervades our town. The City of Cleveland has new momentum and the economic cycle appears to be stable and in our favor. Downtown Cleveland, no longer a ghost town at night, is experiencing a resurgence of pride from its residents. Clevelanders are feeling better about the future of their city and architects in Northeast Ohio similarly seem to be doing a bit better than years past. AIA Cleveland has new energy and engaged members in all stages of their careers. We have schools of architecture nearby who are engaged in the community and turning out great students, many of whom are choosing to stay in Northeast Ohio. Now seems like a good time to start the conversation again about local advocacy, and to develop our own virtuous cycle.

To propel the local architectural and design community to the  position of leadership and respect to which it aspires requires a concerted effort by the whole A&D community to work together in a collegial and non-self-serving manner; to strengthen and elevate the design culture of our internal community. If you want to be the best, play with the best; taking pride and ownership in our place calls for addressing challenges facing our community as thought-leaders of the issues we feel passionately about.

We become thought leaders by educating and pushing ourselves, by looking outside our own immediate surroundings, by learning from each other, and reaching out to the community at-large. I believe that local advocacy should not be the focus of our efforts, but rather the byproduct of how we lead our lives, demonstrate our creativity, navigate complex systems, solve problems, give back to and strengthen our own community.

If I look around, I see that this is happening even now in many encouraging ways, although we have never been good at bringing attention to ourselves. Just as it has taken many years for Cleveland to begin to understand its place as a world-class, second tier city, it may take a long time to establish Cleveland architects in the appropriate place in the hearts and minds of our fellow Clevelanders. That's no reason to stop trying.

I recently learned about a Not For Profit group in San Francisco called Public Architecture http://www.publicarchitecture.org/, who propose that firms donate 1% of their firm hours towards pro bono work and track these efforts* . I started thinking about this and wondered what percent of effort Northeast Ohio architectural firms are already donating pro bono to charity, faith-based, community development, or public policy agencies. My guess is it exceeds 1% of firm hours- Let's find out and demonstrate that we are the geniuses loci.

* Bialosky + Partners Architects exceeds this benchmark set by "The 1% Project", donating 2% of their firm hours annually towards pro bono work.

March 31, 2015

Designer Insights with Mandisa Gosa

Last week, Terry's Fabrics interviewed Bialosky+ Parnters Interior Designer, Mandisa Gosa - asking her 5 big questions about inspiration, the creative process, and advice for up-and-coming designers.

Designer Insights with Mandisa Gosa

Courtesy of: Terry's Fabrics UK

- Transcript -

1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?

Modern with Global Funk. I gravitate towards environments that are overall quiet and modern but have layered elements of vivid color and playful moments. A style of self-expression.

2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?

I like to establish a working relationship with a client that is built on trust. From that point it’s a matter of narrowing in on their aesthetic, likes and dislikes; bouncing ideas off fellow designers and looking for inspiration for design development.

3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?

I work with many extremely talented people each with their own unique design aesthetic. I respect and admire all who are able to express themselves through a positive outlet.

4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?

Inspiration comes from everywhere: books, magazines, art, and nature. A lot of inspiration comes from my children, nieces and nephews. They have the natural ability to be fearless and unbound when it comes to creative expression.

5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?

I am at this point in my career due to determination, self-confidence with an approachable leadership style, and grace. My piece of advice would be to follow the path that brings you the most joy; but be open to the guidance and knowledge that others have to share.