At Beyer Blinder Belle everyone’s seeing RED

The firm’s R&D initiative inspires its designers to develop ideas that could positively disrupt the practice.

August 23, 2016 |

Lissette Méndez-Boyer (left) and Natalya Shimanovskaya work on their FABRICation project at Beyer Blinder Belle’s New York office.

At Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, RED stands for Research (into innovative materials, processes, and methodologies), Exchange (of ideas via dialogue, inquiry, and creativity), and Develop (ideas and applications that align with BBB’s practice and culture).

The firmwide initiative has hosted guest speakers, created exhibit areas in its two offices (New York and Washington, D.C.), and launched an internal digital dialogue tool organized by channel (materials, processes, etc.) for sharing ideas and resources.

What really hit a hot button with staff was this spring’s Research Award competition. Teams from New York and D.C. submitted 10 proposals, each designed to support innovative ideas that could positively disrupt BBB’s practice. A blind jury of BBB and outside design professionals picked two winners to receive three-month research grants.

Natalya Shimanovskaya, LEED AP BD+C, and Associate Lissette Méndez-Boyer, both of the New York office, won for “FABRICation—Flexible Adaptable Block, a Responsive and Intelligent Construction.” They will explore fabric through knitting and crocheting, while conducting a parallel study of design through parametric application. The end result will be expressed in a physical installation.

A team of three D.C.-office BBBers—Associates Scott Archer, LEED AP ND, Associate; Caroline VanAcker, Assoc. AIA; and Elizabeth Ellington, AICP, LEED AP, Associate—and Architectural/Urban Designer Michael O’Neill of the New York office hit it big with “DDD”: Data Driven (Urban) Design. They’ll be looking into the firm’s extensive database of New York City and Washington, D.C., waterfronts and engaging GIS mapping tools to generate data-rich urban design models.

The RED teams will present their findings to the entire 195-person firm this fall.

 

Read about more innovations from BD+C's 2016 Great Solutions Report

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