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Can We Make New Office Buildings As Cool As Warehouses?

We are rapidly running out of old warehouse buildings to renovate, and selling space in the glassy towers of the central business district is difficult as corporate buildings become less and less attractive. We need a new building that is attractive to companies who cut their teeth in co-working incubators before seeking their own digs.

We are a society obsessed with the new. We want to look eternally young, drive the latest car, wear runway-fresh clothes and have up-to-the-minute technology at our fingertips. We do not care if the battery in our phones cannot be changed, because we are happy to simply get a newer phone. The American pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is a glittering glare of polish and gloss, all sparkling and new.

That is, unless we’re talking architecture.

Cannon Design's own St Louis Offices are located in a power house built in 1928. Image © Architectural Imageworks, LLC Ansarada / Those Architects. Image © Brett Boardman Donmar Dryden Street / Haworth Tompkins. Image © Philip Vile Cannon Design Regional Offices (St Louis) / Cannon Design. Converted industrial buildings "are big spaces vertically as well, trading the standard 9-foot (3-meter) ceiling in most office towers for soaring rafters". Image © Architectural Imageworks, LLC

How Should Cities Prepare for an Aging Boomer Population?

Since the end of the Second World War, one of the biggest agents for social change has been the "Boomer" generation, those born in the postwar years who thanks to a spike in birth rates in those years represent a disproportionate amount of the population. But as this group ages, what will their effect on our cities be? In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "How Boomers Will Shape the Future of Our Cities," principle at CannonDesign Peter Ellis outlines what his generation will need from the places they live as they get older.

I am an architect, and a designer of cities. I am also among the Boomer generation, the 65-year-plus demographic that, due to our increasing numbers, is creating a giant bubble at the upper end of the population charts.

We are not, however, aging like the generations that preceded us. “We will be able to give many people an extra decade of good health, based on what we are able to do in the lab now,” says Brian Kennedy, President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California. The primary triggers for most disease can be controlled, enabling people to remain productive well into their eighties, nineties, and beyond.

How will this “revolution” in human longevity impact our cities? Unlike our parents, Boomers have not moved to retirement communities, preferring, rather, to stay as long as they are able in their urban neighborhoods—where they can continue to lead active lives.

Welcome to the Wellness Center: A New Breed of Recreation Design

The Student Wellness & Recreation Center at Georgia College & State University. Image Courtesy of JWest Productions
The Student Wellness & Recreation Center at Georgia College & State University. Image Courtesy of JWest Productions

Until recently, student health and counseling services have predominantly been offered independently of athletics and recreation. But as institutions contemplate a more unified approach to health and wellness, the boundaries of these traditionally separated campus services are becoming blurred. Many believe that unifying these various programs and services under one roof is in the best interest of their students’ long-term health, as well as a potential budgetary and operational boon. 

This recent shift in mindset has supported the emergence of a new breed of recreation centers that is only anticipated to multiply. “We’re seeing more and more universities come to us with a new set of challenges and program needs, as opposed to simply saying ‘we need this type of building,” says Brad Lukanic, Cannon Design’s executive director of education. 

More on this new breed of Wellness Center, after the break...

Lansdowne Park Sports Center Proposal / Cannon Design

The redevelopment of the park, with the “Stadium in the Park” design concept, is an exciting urban design effort that encompasses a renovated stadium and arena, development of 300,000 sf of retail, renovation of heritage buildings, and an urban park for the people of Ottawa. Designed by Cannon Design, the project enhances both the history and the identity of the park by taking advantage of its location on the Rideau Canal. The result is a stadium in the park. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Environmental Awareness Week, Hosted by Cannon Design

From October 22-26, Cannon Design will host a prominent and diverse group of speakers to present at the Chicago firm’s 11th Annual Environmental Awareness Week. 

University of California Riverside Student Recreation Center Expansion / Cannon Design

Designed by Cannon Design, the expansion of the University of California Riverside (UCR) Recreation Center will provide additional fitness and activity spaces integrating with the existing building and site creating a unified recreation complex. Located at the north boundary of the main campus within the natural Arroyo Zone, the design also includes views to the Box Springs Mountains to the east. The building is scheduled to open in 2014. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Novartis Research Complex / Cannon Design (Maya and Toshiko)

© Toshiko Mori Architect
© Toshiko Mori Architect

Cannon Design recently announced that they are teaming up with Maya Lin and Toshiko Mori, FAIA to design a new, innovative research campus for Novartis, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry. The new $600 million laboratory and office complex will serve as the centerpiece of the company’s worldwide research operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and change the way Novartis conducts research. Doing so will help in promoting increased collaboration, idea-sharing, and teamwork. The entire project is slated for completion in 2015. More images and architects’ description after the break.

4 Things Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Healthcare

Rendering by Cannon Design.
Rendering by Cannon Design.

A few months ago, Deborah Sheehan, a Principal and Healthcare Leader at Cannon Design, was given the task of designing a prototype healthcare facility in Afghanistan, a country averaging about one hospital bed for every 2,400 people. The challenges that Sheehan and her colleagues faced were considerable: limited construction materials, few skilled tradesmen, political corruption, tribal rivalries. But the resultant design solutions were smart, low-cost, and high-quality – they had to be, after all. To a certain extent, Sheehan was expecting her team to come up with an innovative design; what she didn’t consider, however, was how applicable the design strategies would be to our own troubled system. In her article for HealthCare Design, “Beautiful, Broken, and Broke,” Sheehan outlines the 4 things the Afghanistan healthcare system does well, frankly better than the American,  and what we could gain by applying them here… Read after the break to find out the 4 design strategies employed in Afghanistan that could help our Healthcare System…

Jaypee Sports City / Cannon Design + Peter Ellis New Cities

Courtesy of Cannon Design + Peter Ellis New Cities
Courtesy of Cannon Design + Peter Ellis New Cities

Cannon Design, a leading international architectural, engineering and planning firm, recently announced that it has joined forces with Peter Ellis New Cities, expanding the firm’s urban planning and city design practice. Currently, they have been working on a master plan for the new Sports City in India, a comprehensive city plan for 1,000,000 inhabitants on 5,000 acres. Ellis and his New Delhi staff will be an integral part of Cannon Design’s planned expansion in India while his U.S. based team has joined the firm’s office in Chicago. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Top 100 Architecture Firms

© Joe Pugliese
© Joe Pugliese

Architect Magazine‘s third-annual ranking of American architecture firms takes a look at three factors: profitability, sustainability, and design quality. This whole picture approach provides an opportunity for small and large firms to go head to head, with a result of the best architecture firms, not necessarily the biggest. Some of these practices have been featured on ArchDaily like Perkins + Will, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Cannon Design, and Frank Harmon Architect. Take a look at the complete rankings after the break.

Pima County Behavioral Health Pavilion and Crisis Response Center / Cannon Design

Cannon Design shared with us their latest mental health center for Pima County.  The project creates a “holistic healing campus” to serve various facets of behavioral medicine.  By integrating the architectural design with the raw beauty of the Sonora Desert, the project “balances the challenges of a complex interdisciplinary program, unique environmental conditions, and a lean construction budget.”

More about the health center and more images after the break.