This year BRS headed to Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA for a camp-themed office retreat in the Rockies!Continue
Every year, we gather up our team for an all-office retreat to celebrate, strategize, and have a teambuilding adventure. This year we flew our Dallas team members in from Texas and started a caravan up into the Rockies for two days of some old-fashioned camp-style fun.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Tour
On our way to camp on Thursday, we stopped for a walk down memory lane with a tour of Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a BRS project that was completed nearly a decade ago.
To kick off Camp BRS, members of our Culture Committee greeted our team with personalized sashes (hand-sewn by the talented Christine Harwood) and instructions on how to earn merit badges at the retreat. Badges were earned for engaging in various camp activities, showing your BRS spirit, exhibiting superior “adulting” skills, or happening to get lost. Everyone was found with badges intact before we left.
Retro Camp Roller Skating
The first badges went to BRS campers who donned their favorite era’s uniform for retro roller skating night. Throwback fashion from the 1960’s to the 2000’s came out in full force as everyone realized roller skating is not just like riding a bike.
Lego Team Building Activity
Since no BRS event is complete without some form of competition, our Quality Assurance Leader, Zach Bisek, came up with a lego-building team activity to put all of our skills to the test. Teams were created with specific roles for team members so that everyone needed to plan and work together to build different types of lego structures. Watch a time-lapse of one of our teams in action here.
After some hearty competition, we took to the outdoors for some fresh air and outdoor activities. In addition to the nearly 300-foot summer tubing hill, campers tried their hands at archery, crafting, high ropes, and disc golf while some took a hike in the mountains or made a detour to check out Principal Dave Hammel’s tiny house nearby.
Following some invigorating activities, we gathered round to hear updates from leadership about the direction of the firm and talk about our plans for 2018. We continued strategizing into the night with board game competitions and skill challenges.
After a fun-filled 48 hours together, we headed home recharged and refreshed and ready to take on another year of challenges and make BRS the best we can be!
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Posted by Neil Arends on October 3, 2017 at 09:57am
Being partial to our canine friends, BRS was honored to be selected to participate in the Sustainable BARKitecture Dog House Competition held by Denver International Airport in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The competition tasked local architecture firms with designing a sustainable dog house for a current member of the Canine Animal Therapy Squad, or CATS program.
The volunteer dogs in CATS interact with passengers at the airport to help relieve the anxiety of travel, and teams were tasked with tailoring the design of the dog house to a specific CATS member’s size, personality and preferences. BRS was paired with Butler, an adorable Shepherd mix who doesn’t like baths - perfect for reducing water consumption.
We challenged ourselves to build a sustainable dog house on half of the allowed budget that incorporated a solar panel donated by Panasonic and also catered to Butler’s needs and interests. Following a kick-off meeting and design charrette, our team developed 3 defining guidelines for the design:
- Reduce environmental impact with a smaller building footprint with reduced energy consumption and water usage
- Reuse materials to lower embodied carbon usage to help prolong our current resources and protect future canine generations
- And to create a retreat for Butler by incorporating stimulating yet tranquil design features that allow him to recharge and continue to help others
After some quick sketching and modeling, the team settled on a simple solution that offered indoor/outdoor space to protect Butler from the elements, and a high contrast façade to create visual interest and provide some privacy. Our schematic design was approved by our own in-house quality assurance and control team.
Led by our BARKitecture committee leader, Christine Harwood, the team volunteered some late nights to gather the reclaimed materials and construct Butler’s retreat.
The completed dog house stores energy captured from the solar panel to charge a battery that can power up to 10 hours of automatic ball retrieval for Butler, and just happens to be right-sized for our team leader.
The dog houses will be on display at DIA through October 9th, and will be auctioned off to benefit the Dumb Friends League and their mission to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. Cast your vote for People’s Choice Award (13 and older) or Kid’s Choice Award (12 and under) today or put in your bid in the online auction to take home one of these amazing dog houses!Hide Full Post
Posted by Neil Arends on September 21, 2017 at 01:31pm
Edition 1.0 of the relaunch of BRS arts and crafts night.Continue
The BRS Culture Committee is putting a fresh coat of paint on an old tradition. To keep our creativity flowing in all directions, we have relaunched our in-house art program with an ongoing series of Maker Nights.
Each night will feature a different guest curator from one of our talented staff who is responsible for choosing the medium and providing artistic direction and inspiration [wine and beer].
The relaunch of the program was curated by Jen Jursnick, who brought all the tools for participants to explore form and color with the creation of custom stamps and patterns.
Our designers took some time to ‘ditch the digital’ and put the rubber to the fabric to put their sketches in living color.
The museum-worthy results will remain on display in our dedicated exhibit space [the refrigerator] until the next Maker Night when Mick Massey takes us to the easel with watercolors!Hide Full Post
Posted by Neil Arends on June 7, 2017 at 02:57pm
Explore a variety of solutions for recreation storage needs.Continue
As recreation design specialists, there are many elements that are not common to find in other types of buildings. One of those is ball storage. Most recreation centers have basketballs, soccer balls and volleyballs available for loan, typically found behind the control desk. Depending on client preference and the number of balls that are wanted, there are some different types of ball storage that can be designed. Here are a couple of the most common options.
Dowel Ball Storage
Dowel ball storage is one of our favorites. There are different variations depending on the amount of balls, space that is available, and whether you want the balls behind doors, or exposed to the public.
Putting balls behind cabinet doors creates a nice sleek look that can fit with the rest of the casework in the space. Some choose to have solid doors, while others like to show off the balls a little with mesh inserts.
These can be designed to have a lower cabinet or drawers for storage of other items or balls such as tennis balls, ping pong balls and pickle balls.
If limited on space, they can be narrow:
Dowel ball storage can also become part of the design and have the balls be visible to the public.
Cart Ball Storage
Cart ball storage allows for a simple yet practical way to store balls with the added flexibility of moving them to different areas of the building.
Typically, cart storage is designed to fit under a portion of the desk, so some early design is necessary to coordinate the size of cart.
Custom Ball Storage
Want a way to store your balls that really stands out? BRS can design a solution customized to your specific needs.
Posted by Ellie Lokken on June 1, 2017 at 10:30am
Virtual reality as a tool for design and client engagement.Continue
Virtual Reality is the latest technological advancement taking the architectural profession by a storm. This technology came to the profession in the late 1980’s and has evolved exponentially in the last 30 years to become the most impactful influence on architectural design since the introduction of BIM modeling.
Here at BRS we have begun to implement some basic virtual reality components into our design process. We created 360° panoramic views for the Woodland Park Aquatic Center that you can experience through a mobile phone, tablet or a virtual reality HMD (head mounted display). After this seamless addition to our workflow, anyone can delve into the immersive virtual world and analyze every aspect of a project.
This experience can give the designer a closer representation of how the finished space will feel and perform, giving them a clearer understanding of what they are creating so that they can convey the idea clearly to the client. From proportions to color representations, virtual reality helps bridge the gap of education and clear up miscommunication between architects, clients, and consultants that we are all so familiar with. 2D drawings can be difficult to interpret when trying to visualize the finished product.
Using virtual reality, we can greatly mitigate those big surprises that cause hesitation and design change during the construction phase and often have costly results. We have also found it to be particularly helpful when evaluating the safety of our recreational facilities and aquatic centers. It gives the designer the ability to check whether blind spots exist in the pool area or child watch zones. This creates safer spaces for children to have fun, with less risk of accidental injuries occurring in an unsupervised area.
We have only dipped our toes into this new virtual experience with these 360° panoramic views but will continue to explore and research how we can better implement this new and exciting technology into our professional practice.
Here are three 360° panoramic views of the Woodland Park Aquatic Center that is under construction and scheduled for completion this fall.
Posted on April 20, 2017 at 11:43am
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