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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 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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What Sets It Apart?

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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 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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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 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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From the Government Studio, General

Their Hubris is Stunning

By Jim Nielson, AIA, Senior Principal and Director of CRSA’s Government Studio

If I have the self-confidence to lead a design team into a newly imagined world no one has ever visited before, that confidence can be the catalyst for creation. But with it I can also lead followers astray. If I am proud of my achievements, that pride may motivate me to accomplish great things—unless I am so proud I become arrogant and start thinking of myself as invincible. Transformative architecture depends to no small degree on self-confidence and pride. Yet unrestrained, pride becomes hubris, also known as arrogance.

Continue reading

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Why We Do What We Do #1: Why We Build Up

“Why We Do What We Do” is an ongoing series exploring common practices that architects and builders have employed for hundreds of years, and how those same practices are being reinvented, but not necessarily replaced, in the modern age. Other entries include: “Why We Draw” and “Why We Model”

Wuhan Phoenix Towers

Concept for the Phoenix Towers in Wuhan, China (http://goo.gl/bymDyi)

Architecture and Design journal eVolo recently reported on preliminary plans for a new “World’s Tallest Skyscraper”. Continue reading

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From the Marketing Department, General

Lesson Learned: I Ran Out of Time

StopwatchBy Fran Pruyn, CRSA Director of Marketing and Business Development

Everything takes longer than you think it will.

I have always prided myself on my time management.  I am pretty convinced that I know how long it takes to go to the store, feed the horses, do the laundry, put together a cover letter for a proposal.  My dad taught us to always be on time, if you can’t be a little early, and I always am. Or was. Continue reading

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From the Site Studio, General

The Great Divide: Marketing vs. Management

Daybreak UTA Station

Daybreak Light Rail Station – Part of CRSA’s continued work for the Utah Transit Authority

By Kelly Gillman, AICP, ASLA | Kelly Gillman is a Senior Principal at CRSA and leads the Landscape Architecture and Planning Studio. He also holds an MBA from Westminster College.

We often say that doing quality work is the best form of marketing. The idea is that our day-to-day performance speaks louder than any brochure or resume. But is this true? And if so, to what extent?

Continue reading

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From the Preservation Studio, General

Can My Historic Building be Green?

By Rachel David, LEED AP BD+C | Rachel is CRSA’s Sustainability Director and the coordinator for all the firm’s LEED Certified projects. 

Can my historic building be green?

It’s a common question tied to the assumption that modern technologies and materials are automatically more sustainable. It can be surprising that often the greenest building is the one that is already standing.

Moab City Center

The LEED Silver Moab City Center is a remodeled 1923 school. The massive masonry and operable windows were retained to assist with natural cooling.

Continue reading

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From the Government Studio, General

If you are a Duck…

By Jim Nielson, AIA, LEED® AP. Jim is a Senior Principal at CRSA and a member of the Utah House of Representatives.

A Northrup Grumman official once explained the firm’s award-winning initiative to provide employment for disabled veterans this way:

“If you are a duck, you tend to hire ducks.”

True. As an Oregon Duck myself, I am partial to U of O graduates. But I agree, we should not hire only ducks.

In architecture, we know intuitively how different backgrounds and points of view combine to help us see beyond our own perspective and build something better. Continue reading

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