5 Steps to Awesome Design for Education!

There is no uniformly accepted idea of what defines a 21st century school, so how do you begin to rethink updating facilities? Here at BLDD, we start by Thinking BIG. Through our five-step design-thinking process, students, educators, administrators and architects collaborate as co-authors of a design.

Add a little spice to your space!

Thanks to Forrest Gump, we all know that “life is like a box of chocolates,” but here at BLDD Architects, we say “design thinking is like making guacamole.”

Our design-thinking special sauce is called “Think BIG,” and it’s a recipe for success. Let’s dig in.

5 ways to Think BIG, for every personality type.

Are you the traditionalist? The minimalist? The dreamer? We’ve got the perfect way for you to start your day. Mom always said that breakfast was the most important meal!

Now that you’re off to a great start, we hope you’re hungry to learn more about Think BIG … starting with, what exactly is it?

Work Hard Play Harder: An Inside Look at BLDD

At BLDD we pride ourselves on our diverse work portfolio, our incredible staff, involvement in surrounding communities, and above all, the fun we have together outside of work hours.

Can design make it easier to find God?

Imagine visiting a new city and trying to find anything without the help of Google Maps. Would you feel frustrated? Lost? Wondering how people ever found their way before 2005?! That’s pretty much how church newcomers feel on Sunday mornings. Visitors often arrive at a new church nervous, uncomfortable and a bit lost. They have…

The BLDD family is growing again.

We are once again excited to announce new hires in all of our office locations! Our BLDD family continues to grow to meet the needs of our fantastic clients. First up, Kayla Peck. Kayla spent the last two summers as an intern in the Central Illinois office of BLDD. She now joins us full-time as an…

No more of the same ol’ thing for senior living.

Senior living communities are facing more challenges than ever before! Money is tight, buildings continue to look like something out of a time capsule, and potential and current residents are no longer the only ones being courted by new competition. You now have to worry about your staff and directors being recruited by competitors, too….

Kankakee Community College’s New Advanced Technology & Education Center Moving Forward

The $7 million Advanced Technology Education Center (ATEC) is now under construction on Kankakee Community College’s (KCC) Riverfront Campus with completion expected in the Fall of 2018. The 21,000 square-foot ATEC building will be home to KCC’s renewable energy programs.  It will contain classrooms, labs, offices, and support spaces to provide hands-on technical training in fields…

LyondellBasell’s New Administration Building

LyondellBasell’s new state-of-the-art $30 million Administration Building in Clinton, IA.  This new blast proof facility includes administrative offices, training rooms, a control room, laboratory, break room, clean room, and multiple maintenance shops. The building is designed to streamline operations by having multiple departments under one room.

Expanding our network of friends with iSPI

At BLDD, our changing workplace also includes fewer square feet of permanent office space and the opportunity to telecommute.  We’re still together in the office some days, and working remotely other days.

Branding isn’t just for big business

When you think of branding, what comes to mind?  Apple, Target, Pepsi, Volkswagen, McDonald’s, Oprah??  The retail/B2C world is filled with great examples. These B2C giants have been at it for a long time, and there’s lots to be learned.  Most of all, that branding isn’t just for big business anymore.  Due to an increase…

Welcome to the BLDD Family!

We are excited to announce multiple new hires in our Central Illinois and Chicago office locations. These talented new team members will support increased project demand and help achieve continued growth throughout the firm. First up, Nineveh Rasho! Nineveh joined the Chicago office as an Architectural Intern in September of 2017. Her admiration for architecture…

How to reimagine your worn-out gym

In my 30 years of being in the profession, I have witnessed my fair share of school gymnasiums built in the 50s and 60s.  When a school district can finally afford to build a new competition gym, the old gym typically becomes underutilized and often times an eyesore.  But it doesn’t have to be that…

Takeaways from the 2017 A4LE Conference

The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) annual conference is where some of the world’s greatest school facility minds get together to share their experiences, knowledge, and accomplishments. Each year I’m eager to go, looking forward to the learning we’ll bring back to our practice. This year we had more to look forward to, making our…

Coloring outside the Lines: A Reluctant Philosopher

For the past 20 years I’ve been designing buildings for BLDD.  For much of that time as a lead designer submitting and interviewing for prospective work.  Invariably the dreaded question will come up; “What is your design philosophy?” Each time I receive the question it triggers an internal eye-roll. It’s not that I don’t understand…

Benefits of Building Mock Up Rooms for Healthcare

At the start of the design process, two of the most important things you and your staff can do is 1) tour other healthcare facilities that have similarities to your future building program and 2) build mock-up’s of those rooms that will be repeated in your facility, are highly technical, or are undergoing significant changes…

Coloring outside the lines: Musings from the BLDD Design Department

When the firm tagline is #becauselifedeservesdesign and you are tasked with leading design for the firm, you would think we would be more uptight!  In reality the design department at BLDD is having the time of our life. Working side by side since April in a common studio has been a great thing for our…

My Stand-In Cheerleader: why I don’t pay motivational speakers

In the marketing department of our Central Illinois office, between the buckets of LEGOs and the cabinet of Post-Its, there lies a cardboard stand-in, left over from a trade show long since passed. It’s a silhouette of someone jumping, arms raised and knees bent. I’ll be honest, if you gave this thing some pompoms and school…

The Evolution of Fitness Centers

I recently had the opportunity to present to a community group on behalf of the City of Bloomington, IL, Parks and Recreation Department.  While public speaking isn’t one of my favorite things to do, it’s a whole lot easier when it’s something I am truly passionate about…fitness and the facilities where fitness occurs. While fitness…

How LEAN Design Impacted the new Genesis Davenport Healthplex

When the Genesis Health System (GHS) embarked on the journey to build a new medical facility from the ground up, they had the chance to dramatically reimagine their workplace and provide an even more enhanced and supportive environment for patients and their families. With a focus on minimizing waste and any non-value added steps, the…

The future of the architecture firm: a mix of human and high tech

How can creative, professional service firms set up a work environment that’s not just a place to shelter employees, but one that’s a strategic tool for productivity, collaboration, and growth? BLDD Architects is answering this question by reimagining where and how they do their best work.  According to President Steve Oliver, both team collaboration and…

Associated Colleges of Illinois – 65th Anniversary Benefit Reception

My wife and I had the honor of attending this event on a lovely evening in downtown Chicago at the historic University Club on Michigan Avenue.  There are certainly worse ways to spend a Friday!  While an evening in the city and the opportunity to catch some blues music afterward is something we love to do,…

Transgender Toilet Rooms – The Scoop

The issue of transgender toilet rooms has been a hot topic in the news a LOT recently!  And, I bet, as a building owner, you’ve been asked how you will accommodate this segment of the population.  So, the first thing you did is call a trusted Architect or Engineer to ask this specific question…and the…

Should you build new or renovate?

This is a fairly typical question that plagues building owners.  It is not unusual for clients to assume that, to get what they want, they have to build new…and ‘we’ certainly can’t afford that! Owners will often overlook the tremendous value in their existing facilities.  This is understandable if you were looking at the (typically)…

‘Making a difference’ gets personal

Last week, we posted about the many talented people of BLDD who created artwork to make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s. This week, I wanted to share a personal story behind the artwork that I contributed to the effort, in honor of two very special people…. my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother. Alzheimer’s…

New Trends in Clinic Design

It’s no secret that healthcare organizations across the country are shifting more and more services to outpatient settings. The move makes sense for a number of reasons:  1) the ability to reduce costs, 2) improved outcomes, 3) increased access, and 4) increased market share.   The development of clinics is further inspired by healthcare reform pressing…

Making a Difference

Alzheimer’s affects both its victims and those who love them. This disease hit close to home at BLDD when one of our own, Mike Cardinal, was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the young age of 56.  Mike was a principal in our firm, but so much more than that.  He was one of the…

Because Life Deserves Design

In the Mohegan tribe in upper Connecticut, children receive descriptive names when they’re young. As they grow into adolescence, they receive a new name that reflects their experiences. Names may even change several times over a lifetime. “Because Life Deserves Design” is far more than an acronym for our name at BLDD, it’s who we…

Moshing to bands and idolizing Bear Grylls… meet John M.

John Maynerich (better known as Mayo around the office) has been a member of the BLDD family for over 15 years.

John realized his love for architecture as a kid, creating buildings from Legos and Lincoln Logs or any other miscellaneous item around the house that would satisfy his imagination of the built environment.