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A Conversation with Keith Bentley: The Evolving Form Factors of Computing

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

CTO Keith Bentley walks through the evolving form factors of computing that led to his co-founding of Bentley Systems, helped shape the company’s development work the past 30 years, and will continue to have an impact on its strategies going forward.


Advancing BIM Toward “Level 3”: Compounding Benefits

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Among the multitude of viewpoints regarding a “new level” of BIM aspirations, I would like to offer Bentley Systems’ perspective, as a leading software provider dedicated to “sustaining infrastructure,” on how and why the advantages at each BIM advancement can accumulate exponentially.


Urban Campus Concept Leads to Better Work Life Balance

Monday, August 4th, 2014

The modern workforce has shifted its focus to better work life balance. As a result, businesses are looking to developers to innovate the physical work environment.


In a series of interviews with StoryTrack’s video production team, Clark Machemer, Vice President of The Rockefeller Group, explains how the urban campus is allowing companies to attract and retain top talent, by catering to their professional and personal priorities. And will also allow companies to continue their growth trajectory for the future.

Lori Dowd: What is the driving force behind the innovations in design and engineering for corporate America.


Building Information Modeling Q+A

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
  1. What is BIM?

BIM is most recognizable as a product and collaborative process.

As a product, BIM becomes a Building Information Model – a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during the facility’s lifecycle from inception onward[1]. A Building Information Model includes 2D and 3D computer graphics enriched with non-graphic attribute information describing the components of the design. It may be requested as a project contract deliverable, provided during facility handover, and used for operations.

As a collaborative process, BIM becomes Building Information Modeling – a process by which a group of designers, contractors, material suppliers, and facility owners work together, sharing information about the project. Advanced BIM offerings provide a collaborative process featuring an increased depth of information modeling – beyond design visualization to performance simulation, optioneering, and operational immersion – and increased breadth of information mobility, facilitating collaboration among multiple project disciplines from design through construction and operations.


AECCafe Call for Bloggers – Extend Your Reach and Exposure!

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Do you have something to share with the AEC community, such as opinions, thought-provoking topics, or commentary?, the leading architecure, engineering, and construction portal is seeking the following types of blogging contributor categories:

  • Industry Expert/Consultant Blog
    • Provide thought leadership, industry expertise
    • Benefit by promoting yourself and your expertise
    • No cost involved if the article is not promotional in nature
  • Guest Blog
    • Tied to an existing blog on AECCafe
    • Write one blog post or post periodically
    • No cost involved if the article is not promotional in nature
  • Custom Blog
    • Will have a unique name and identity
    • Produce at least one blog post per month
    • No cost involved if the articles are not promotional in nature
  • Custom Corporate Blog
    • Industry-leading companies, such as software and hardware vendors, service bureaus, etc.
    • Multiple logins for publishing blog entries from multiple authors
    • Cost is $700/month or $6,000/year.

AECCafe has 75,000 unique visitors per month; as well as 16,000 subscribers to our daily newsletter and AEC Weekly. Translation: People like to spend time at AECCafe.



Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Chip Crawford Forum StudioModern landscape architecture uses cues from nature to solve environmental challenges and create more sensitive design.

During 30 years in landscape architecture, Chip Crawford, FASLA, Senior Principal at Forum Studio, has witnessed the pendulum swing in landscape design.  No longer intent on leveling the earth and displacing nature in the path of development, modern landscape design integrates the existing natural environment to create better built solutions for the earth and those who use the space.

StoryTrack:  How do you begin to plan a development where there are existing natural systems?

Chip Crawford: We spend a lot of time analyzing what we call the genius of the place. What is it about the environment, about the circulation systems, the roadway systems, the soil types, the hydrology, the vegetation… that we can learn from as we begin to solve a problem on the site.

ST: Does that lead specifically into creating sustainable architecture?

CC: Landscape architecture is rooted in sustainability and doing what’s right for the planet in design and in materials.  Some of the most current thinking about materials is around sustainability but also performance. For example, we’ve paved parking lots and roads for years.  But now, people are realizing we can use permeable paving, which recharges the watershed and actually cleans the water.



Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

A principal at one of the most successful Design Build firms in the country discusses the integrated delivery model, the importance of collaboration and what keeps him up at night.

Kirk Warden Clayco

As Senior Vice President and Partner at Clayco, Kirk Warden has been instrumental in implementing the company’s integrated delivery model. This process encompasses architecture and design, engineering, technology, finance, real estate and construction, all under one umbrella. Warden recently sat down with StoryTrack CEO, Lori Dowd, explaining Clayco’s innovative approach.

StoryTrack:  How do you approach risk allocation in Design-Build construction?

Kirk Warden: It’s about getting the right people in the room at the right time so you know exactly what the risks are with a client’s project up front. It allows building owners to make much more educated decisions along the way. And it helps us identify exactly where the risks are and how to mitigate them before they become disasters.

ST: Give me an example of a recent design-build project.

KW: The owners of the St. Louis County Health project requested an integrated design-build delivery.  They needed a 90-thousand square-foot, two-story, LEED certified building–with a fixed price. So we used our collective talents, our integrated services, because we knew it was the right solution for them. The facility was for people not as privileged as many of us.  And most people think well you just give them a very basic and rudimentary building because it’s an institutional type use.  But we designed and built a facility that people are proud to walk into. It’s a jewel in the community. We spent four months working hand-in-hand with the customer before we even won the job. The project came in on-time and on-budget and far exceeded everyone’s expectations.



Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The passionate author of six books discusses green certification, the importance of implementing sustainable design, and the thrill of a double platinum.

Michelle Cotrell

With noteworthy projects around the country and numerous industry awards, this young LEED expert is leading the way for world class sustainability documentation. But helping clients find the balance between environmental, social and economic factors remains a daunting challenge.  StoryTrack sat down with Michelle Cottrell to unravel this integrated process.

StoryTrack: Often LEED certification can feel like checking boxes, why does it make sense for an owner and developer?

Michelle Cottrell: Without trying to oversell LEED, the reason it’s so successful is because it’s a holistic rating system. Sure, it’s a tool in which to measure performance. But we don’t just measure the performance in isolation. We look at many different aspects in tandem—we look at the development site, how water is used, how the mechanical system coordinates with the lighting system. We examine the construction materials, the indoor environment in terms of air quality and the exterior environment. And that’s just a start!

ST: Tell us about the potential savings.

MC: One project is saving over $500,000 a year in comparison to a conventionally built structure in a similar corporate setting. Those are substantial dollars. That project was designed with a narrow footprint and we were able to incorporate a lot of natural light into the space, all the way to the core. Because of that we incorporated a daylight harvesting strategy.  We’re using what’s naturally available and therefore save on energy.

ST: One of your recent success involved a LEED double platinum ratings, is that unusual?



Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The principal of Forum Studio talks about the future of office design, invisible architecture and collaborative design principals.

Chris_Cedergreen_Forum_StudioAs the St. Louis based Forum Studio looks forward to 2014, its president, Chris Cedergreen contemplates the future of design. His approach to a diverse range of high-profile architecture and design projects, among them the Express Scripts and Flour Corporation headquarters, is passionate and nuanced. StoryTrack CEO, Lori Dowd, sat down for a conversation with Cedergreen.

StoryTrack: What will be the defining issues for the office buildings of the future?

Chris Cedergreen: Buildings have to be designed for the future so they have a future.  The design must actually anticipate change because it’s inevitable, and arriving at bullet train speed.  Office space needs to be very flexible, almost laboratory like space. As organizations return to profitability and growth, they want to control costs but they don’t want to sacrifice efficiency and creativity.

ST: In your experience, what is the design process driven by?

CC: The design process is ultimately driven by the people that are going to use the space. How can we affect people’s lives in a very positive way. It’s the enhancement of our built environment and the natural environment. How we combine those two and make the experience of life more positive.

ST: You’ve talked about this idea of “invisible architecture,” can you describe this?

CC: Invisible architecture is the way the design influences what you feel in a space or in the spaces in-between.  What matters most is what transcends the workspace:  productivity, interaction, collaboration, creativity, innovation.


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