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Productivity + Delegation

CRSA Blog-roductivity-delegation

Productivity + Delegation

Productivity guru Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, once spent 10 days in complete isolation to study how social interactions impact productivity. He followed that by watching 72 hours of TED talks in one week to explore how overloading the mind translates into retention, learning, and of course, productivity. From these and many other experiments, he recently extracted “Four Common Mistakes Making You Less Productive”. Continue reading

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From the Site Studio

Maximum Impact: Urban Open Space in 3 Steps

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Pocket Park Fyrisan, a floating park in Uppsala Sweden, is a fresh approach to Urban Infill and public space. See more at Metropolis’s “Urban Tactic: Floating Garden” (http://www.metropolismag.com/January-2015/The-Floating-Gardens-of-Uppsala/)

Imagine watching an aerial time-lapse view of a few city blocks. You see a continuously undulating scene—a  living, patchwork quilt where buildings go up, come down, and pockets of open space fill in around them. There is a dialogue between developed space and open space that is crucial to humanizing cities. Like bubbles of air or shafts of light, open spaces give room and context to their built counterparts. And harnessing this space is at the heart of urban and landscape designers’ ethos. Continue reading

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From the Preservation Studio, General

Beautiful Work Done Beautifully: A Case Study

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Monsignor Mannion in the Cathedral of the Madeleine

At CRSA, we’re big fans of historic restoration and renovation. Its a chance to save something that would otherwise cease form existence, to care about future generations, to learn about past generations, and to just appreciate the skill of architects and builders who have come before us. Continue reading

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6 Key Terms for Key Profit

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Architecture firms design buildings in exchange for compensation. With the exception of pro bono work, that’s the premise everyone agrees to when they sign a contract. And we measure the success of that exchange in lots of ways…and use lots of terms to describe those measurements. It may be Project Management 101, but here are six of those key terms, and why they matter. Continue reading

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The Not-So-Minor Detail

Magna Library

Many forms of lighting working together to illumine the Magna Library

Louis Khan once said, “We only know the world as it is evoked by light.” This strange, ephemeral substance touches and shapes every part of our physical world. While we cannot fully explain it, as Architects we can, and must, harness it. Such harnessing can look like a lot of things from day-lighting to task lighting to background lighting. Considered below are seven examples of the ways we use light, helpfully ordered in the acronym “D.E.T.A.I.L.S.”: Continue reading

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Rethinking Writing #2: Six Typos You Might be Making

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We spend a lot of time writing—conveying ideas. Writing is critical to communicating, but it is not the same as thinking. It takes some processing. (Check out our last article, Rethinking Writing  #1, for a discussion of this concept.) And while we are certainly not all called to be language master’s, there is a certain level of competence expected in professional communication. Don’t be left on the embarrassing side of these common mistakes: Continue reading

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Rethinking Writing #1: Write Like You are Writing

Write Like You are Writing

According to The Atlantic, you write close to a novel’s worth of emails every year[1]. And that’s just email. With that much time and effort spent on one form of communication, it begs certain questions. “What do you write?”  “What is your style?” Even: “Why do you write?” But one question that is less often asked is: “How do you write?”  Yes, how. How do you actually go about getting what’s in your head onto paper (or screen)? It may not be as simple as you think (pun intended). Continue reading

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From the Marketing Department, General

Generational Disconnect

GenerationalDisconnect

By: Just Another Millennial

9:00 AM | Alright—with emails out of the way, I sit down and open Facebook. Yes, Facebook. At work. This is the new age of Social Media and, being comparatively young, I have been tasked with reworking our corporate persona to start winning a new generation of client. The first step? Let’s see what some of our competitors are trying. Continue reading

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For Business’ Sake

For Business Sake

Architects are dreamers. Architects are visionaries. Architects are agents for community development and societal change. But Architects are also employees, of real businesses, trying to make real money to live real lives. It’s not a glamorous concept, but it is foundational. All too often there is an underlying assumption that the “higher order” aspects of architecture like refined spatial relationships and bold gestures cannot coexist with such day-to-day aspects like billing projections and profit margins. There is an artificial dichotomy that says business cannot be beautiful, and beautiful design cannot make for good business. Continue reading

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From the Site Studio, General

All Aboard: The S-Line Streetcar Video

In 2010,  CRSA was hired by the Salt Lake City RDA to develop the existing rail corridor between  Central Point Station and Sugarmont Drive in Sugarhouse. Working with the RDA and the Utah Transit Authority,  CRSA conceptualized the corridor for  use as a greenway and a  new streetcar line. CRSA Designer/ Project Manager Steve Cornell  and Lead Landscape Designer Bryce Ward narrate.

You can view the full video here.

Or learn about individual segments of the S-Line in one of our segment videos here.

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From the Marketing Department

To Boilerplate or Not to Boilerplate

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Photo by Roger Griffith.

Boilerplate. To most, it’s a word for reusable content. To a Selection Committee, it’s a word that may send shivers down their collective spine. And to Marketers? It’s a guilty habit all too common and intractable.

The term comes from the early 1900s and refers to the sheet steel that was used to make boilers. This steel was more durable than softer, printing press metals, and thus it was suitable for mass reproduction of things like labels and stamps. Continue reading

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What Sets It Apart?

CRSA FWL Cover Img

Utah boasts a single Frank Lloyd Wright project: the Stromquist House, built in 1959 in Ogden, Utah. Like many other Wrightian houses, it is laid out with clearly articulated public and private areas, separated by a utility area. And like many other Wrightian houses, it is a gem among a sea of common dwellings.

What sets it apart?

Thought.

Every nuanced detail has been thought about. Continue reading

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From the Site Studio

Environmental Ranking for the Environment: Sustainable SITES Initiative

Swaner Board WalkThe U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System is a well know certification criteria for assessing the environmental impact of new and remodeled building projects. But what about the impact of the landscapes near and on which those buildings sit? The Sustainable Sites Initiative and the corresponding SITES™ Rating System is a collaboration between the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanic Garden. It is an environmental ranking system specifically for the land, and covers things such as Open Spaces, Plazas, Yards, and Commercial/Government Grounds. Continue reading

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From the Preservation Studio

Paid to Preserve: Historic Tax Credits

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People are generally happy about saving our historic buildings, right? They have a charm and irreplaceable quality that even casual inhabitants notice…until you add a price tag. Unfortunately, preserving historic buildings is not always cheap. While the building being preserved of course already exists, renovating, restoring or rehabilitating it has to be done in a pre-existing context that isn’t always cost-effective. Many of the techniques for cutting costs used in new construction simply can’t apply to existing, and especially old existing, buildings. This reality, pitted against the fact that historic buildings nevertheless have some intrinsic value, is largely why tax incentives have sprung up at both national and local levels. They are a way of affirming both the cost and value of preserving the past. Continue reading

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From the Site Studio

A Community Worth Caring About

Urban Design. Smart Growth. Complete Streets. Livable Cities. We have many terms all driving at a core concept of “place making”—using design principles, demographic research, emerging technologies, and case-study experience to create truly human-focused environments. The Sugar House Redevelopment is a collection of projects with that aim, and is beginning to see the results of years of effort: the creation of a place worth visiting, worth living in, and worth being proud of. (*Note: Of the features listed below, CRSA designed the Monument Plaza and the Street Car Greenway)

SugarHouseWalk

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From the Preservation Studio, General

Peeling Back History at 411 Brigham Street

Wall Mansion Front Entry

In 2014, the team of CRSA and McCullough Engineering & Contracting began peeling away the walls of the Enos Wall Mansions. Yes, physically, but they also began a process of peeling back the layers of history on this 135 year old building, uncovering three intersecting lives and five intersecting clients. Continue reading

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From the Government Studio, General

Salt Lake City: Assimilated by the Borg

SLC Federal Courthouse

Learn more about the Thomas Phifer & Partners designed courthouse here: http://www.architectmagazine.com/government-projects/united-states-courthouse-designed-by-thomas-phifer-and-partners_o.aspx [Photo: Scott Frances]

By Jim Nielson, FAIA, Senior Principal of CRSA’s Government Studio

A few years ago I worked with subcontractors, friends, and family members to build a home I had designed for my parents. Today my younger brother, who purchased the home after my mother passed away, reports that while people under the age of 20 fall in love with the home almost universally, the reaction of older visitors is mixed. They either love it or hate it. Continue reading

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A New Light on Surveying

Casino Star Original

Casino Star Theatre Case Study: Original Theatre (1912)

Traditional surveying creates an imaginary line between two points. It’s a way of creating a grid that can help locate and define existing terrain and structures. It’s simple, but it’s artificial. Think about how the eye maps terrain and objects. The eye also sees in straight lines, but does so continuously—like a sheet draped over everything in range.

What if we could imitate that same behavior with light? Enter: LiDAR Continue reading

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From the Government Studio

Accessibility: Comprehensive, Early Design Considerations

Successful and comprehensive Accessibility in architecture requires the whole team. From the owner to the architect to the contractor, and all the codes in between, it requires foresight, research, review, and communication. The end is more than worth it, so let us help you get started with this Early Accessible Design info-graphic.

CRSA Accessibility Infographic

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Looking Back and Looking Forward

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January is a turning point–a time to look back at all that did happen in a year, and a time to look forward to all that can happen in a year.

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Hand Craft

fehrenbacker sketch book

Robert Fehrenbacker, a project manager from our Idaho Falls office, set out to sketch every day for a year. His medium is watercolor pencils.

A couple of months ago, we posted a blog on “Why We Draw”, outlining why CRSA thinks hand drawing is still a relevant part of the architectural profession. This month, we revisit that theme, not so much to argue a point but to celebrate the practice. In our professional and daily work, CRSA employees draw. Below is a small collection of the magic that happens when hand and paper meet. Continue reading

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From the Government Studio

Inside the Fence: The Challenges of Working on a Military Base

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This article is adapted from an Interview with the CRSA Government Studio’s David Triplett, AIA and Debbie Adams, AIA. The interview was conducted by Fran Pruyn on October 10, 2014.

So what makes working on a military base unique? Talk about the day-to-day work you do.

Manuals. There are manuals for everything and you have to know them and know how to apply them. Continue reading

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From the Marketing Department, General

Hey There!

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By Fran Pruyn, CRSA Director of Marketing and Business Development

I have the attention span of a gnat. And I am not alone.  We’re listening to an engineer explain something about the boiler in the building at the university.  The guy sitting to the right of me is checking his Facebook feed.  The woman sitting to the left of me has drawn a beautiful butterfly on her notepad.  Not sure about the fellow across the table from me.  He might be spellbound, or he might be dazed.  I am writing this blog. Continue reading

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