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The Suzhou Museum is one of the last great works of Chinese-American master architect I. M. Pei, and honestly, one of the best contemporary pieces of architecture I’ve seen. Set among a backdrop of historic architecture and gardens within Suzhou, the museum is sensitive to its context, organized according to historic Chinese building principles, yet unapologetically bold in its contemporary simplicity. Only an hour from Shanghai by train, this great Chinese canal city was high on my list of places that deserved a weekend visit during my time here in China.
By Simon Grayson
Last weekend saw me trying out for the first time both cycling in Dallas and the "new" bike in order to see a bit more of the wider area surrounding Downtown. Rather than looking to the Trinity River trail I decided to head out in the opposite direction east, with an aim to use the Santa Fe railroad to head up to White Rock Lake" and back again.
With an exciting and eventful first week in London wrapped up, the opportunity to attend the England vs. San Marino soccer match with some colleagues from the office was the bow on top. Being a big fan of "football" my entire life, seeing England play was an amazing opportunity that I couldn't pass up. The game was played at the Wembley Stadium, a legendary football venue that made the entire experience that much more exciting. After getting off the tube, we followed a mass of football fans, all dressed in authentic England gear, toward the colossal stadium. With its iconic illuminated roof arch, the stadium appeared almost magical, reminding me of my first professional football match my dad took me to when I was four or five years old.
By Simon Grayson
Week two, and work and life have quickly settled down here largely unhindered by language (aside from the occasional confusion on both sides over the odd vernacular term...) Other than size and scope and terminology over work stages, the process that we’re going through of evolving a concept and presenting to Clients is all relatively familiar, and Revit skills have proved to be easily transferable between my experience in London and the work here in the States.
With a population of more than 23 million, Shanghai is a city with remarkable vibrancy and pace. Apart from the sporadic tai chi and dance groups dotted throughout the area, the streets are consistently packed with droves of people commuting within this city’s extensive urban network. It’s become part of my daily routine to dodge the many scooters and taxis in this city that unashamedly disregard any sort of pedestrian traffic. With so many millions on the streets, it seems that they’ve given up on pedestrian courtesy and opted for the “get there at any cost” strategy.
We arrived in London about a week ago and were welcomed by Melissa Voelker from our London office. Melissa gave us a tour of the flat and its surrounding areas. Although remarkably small at first sight, the flat has proved to be very efficient with all the necessary essentials provided. It is located in Chelsea, an extremely clean, safe, central town within walking distance to many well known areas of London, making it ideal for sightseeing.
By Simon Grayson
Greetings from Dallas! I'm Simon Grayson, one of the 3rd quarter Xchange fellows. Originally from the London office I am currently spending three months working with the team in Dallas.
By Zack Lamp and Ryan Rankin
Over the last year, Zack Lamp and Ryan Rankin have gotten to know each other very well through the many hours of work on the MGM National Harbor Project. It made sense, now that college football conference games have begun, for them to make an initially simple wager that of course quickly escalated into a social media phoneme between Zack’s Alma mater, Texas Tech and Ryan Rankin’s Alma mater, Oklahoma State. After what was a grueling, nail biting battle between the almost 300 yards of penalties, injuries, and turnovers Oklahoma State pulled out the win leaving Zack nothing less than defeated. As the Oklahoma State Cowboy Alumni from HKS Dallas scavenged around for Oklahoma State team memorabilia, Zack was cladded from head to toe in orange. A photo shoot took place and here are the results. Zack is a great sport and I think it exemplifies the kind of collaboration, team comradery, and great attitudes here at HKS Architects. Enjoy.
By James Frisbie, Identity Group, HKS, Inc.
When it comes to mustering your forces around the brand, coercion doesn’t work. Why? For one thing, the overuse of tedious rules and regulations – no matter how well-intentioned – creates drag and can pull focus. You’re much better off hiring smart people and freeing them up to use their unique skills and experiences toward solving problems in real time. But perhaps the bigger issue is that of brand compliance versus brand engagement. All people, no matter their occupation or ranking, want to feel that they are being given an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. In other words, our natural inclination is to want to be engaged. But by enforcing a strict doctrine of behavior and a “check with me first” style of management, we can actually dampen those inclinations. And what’s at stake might be more than what you think. The top-down style of brand engagement might actually inhibit your organization’s ability to innovate.
This year’s DC Canstruction theme was ‘Playing with your Food.’ The team started the competition brainstorming ideas – soccer, musical instruments, Play-Doh, sand castle – trying to pick something that would be constructible out of only cans of food, provide the most cans for the Capital Area Food Bank and was the most fun. The final concept was ‘CANimal Cracker Box: The Great Escape,’ playing off of everyone’s fun memories of the Barnum’s Animal Crackers in the circus style box.