Expertise

The Ecology of Education: Designing Optimal, Evolving Learning Environments

The role of the designer is to immerse themselves in the world of the user groups they design for while keeping an eye on the bigger picture, pulling in knowledge and inspiration from a variety of sources. How we live, work, and learn is constantly changing, and so too must the practice of how we design for the built environment. With this desire to understand user groups as well as address fluctuating needs and circumstances, our approach to design must be responsive and facilitate the...

Cushing Terrell Seattle Unveils its New Downtown Office

Multidisciplinary design firm Cushing Terrell occupies 9,000 sq. ft. office space in Seattle’s Waterfront District.  Relocating from Lower Queen Anne, the Cushing Terrell Seattle team joins other businesses committed to reoccupying and revitalizing Seattle’s downtown. Needing to accommodate a growing staff and adapt to a shift in workplace expectations, the team, led by Associate Principal Chris Aageson recently moved into the seventh floor of the Agen Warehouse building ...

Aspen Lumberyard Project: Envisioning What Affordable Housing Can Be

The term “affordable housing” has at times come with a certain stigma, but this should never be the case, and as imaginative designers, we have the power to change this perception. Everyone deserves a healthy, desirable, affordable place to live. Affluent places such as Aspen, Colorado, thrive because of the people who power commercial, civic, and service-based jobs. In this fast-growing resort town, the city is working to address affordable housing needs through human-centered developm...

Alan Bronec, PE, Named Director of Cushing Terrell’s Infrastructure Group

Multidisciplinary design firm, Cushing Terrell, enhances its strategic focus on key growth areas — energy services and energy infrastructure design.   Alan Bronec, Principal and Director of Infrastructure Cushing Terrell has announced that Alan Bronec, who currently serves as Principal in Charge of Electrical Engineering, will serve as Director of the firm’s Infrastructure Group. This organizational change aligns with the firm’s strong gro...

Montana State University’s Beloved, Historic Romney Hall Awarded LEED Gold

Celebrating a sustainability milestone inspired by generations of forward-thinking students. Originally constructed in 1922, Romney Hall is one of the most noteworthy buildings on Montana State University’s (MSU) campus in Bozeman. Prominently located along Grant Street and adjacent to the open greenspace of the Romney Oval, this iconic building contributes significant value to the MSU Historic District, and is listed on the National Register of Historic...

Data-Informed Design For The User Experience At Work

With the right tools, metrics, and processes, Cushing Terrell’s Sandi Rudy and Jennifer Moore share how we can develop a better user experience at work. After months (or is it years now?) of working from home, we’ve had plenty of time to customize the home office just-so, making micro-adjustments to suit our moods and comfort, optimize for online meetings, and account for both expected and unexpected disruptions. Now with pandemic decreasing in severity, and the possibili...

Urban Planning: What Cities Can Learn from Minneapolis’ Commitment to Community

The Root District is pulling out all the stops to create an equitable, sustainable, and appropriately dense community in the heart of a major metro area.   There are three red sheds you can see as you drive north on the I-94 overpass from downtown Minneapolis. These sheds are home to one of the oldest farmers markets in the city, part of a neighborhood that is now being called the North Loop Root District. Since 1876, this small corner of the world (First Street and Henne...

Land (Re) Use and Climate Change: Breathing New Life into Old Buildings

Adaptive reuse gives us the opportunity to meld past and present and create a deeper, more meaningful sense of place, all while realizing environmental benefits. The basic concept behind recycling is that it reuses an existing item. In some cases, the item is reused in its existing form: a water bottle is refilled again and again. In other cases, the item is adapted for a new use: a water bottle (or many water bottles) is transformed into a pair of sneakers or yoga pants....

Up for the Task: Custom-Designed Furniture That Does It All

Learn how a team from Cushing Terrell, Corti Construction, and Cumming Corporation (above) designed mobile, flexible furniture to support a space for artists and creatives.  With just a little imagination, a single piece of furniture can serve a broad range of functions. A dining room table, for example, often becomes a place for art projects, card games, and even an office workspace (especially in the past year). But a dining table was built primarily as a place for eati...

Cushing Terrell Promotes Shannon Christensen to Principal

Christensen, AIA, LEED BD+C, joins senior leadership team of multidisciplinary design firm Cushing Terrell. Shannon Christensen, Architect, Project Manager, and Principal Shannon Christensen, project manager and leader of the firm’s architecture practice, has been named principal, joining Cushing Terrell’s senior leadership team. Christensen was chosen due to her extensive experience managing the strategy and growth of the firm’s largest s...

[White Paper] The Fluid, Sustainable Future of Retail

Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha are the stakeholders of the planet’s future. They consider consumption a matter of ethical, social, and sustainable concern — and this has a major impact on the future of retail. In the second installment of our Future of Retail research, Cushing Terrell's Retail Design Studio in partnership with Associate Professor Rebekah Matheny from the Ohio State University Department of Design, describe insights into how ecofeminism and intersection...

Greenbuild 2021: More Than Just a Ripple, Let’s Be the Wave

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a renewed emphasis on health, wellness, and resiliency — in our schools, workplaces, grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and all the ways we gather together and seek care for ourselves. In parallel, and to the degree they’re intertwined, we’ve also seen corporate and government climate pledges reach new heights in the effort to curb the negative impacts of global warming. Companies are being challenged to do better by a workforce with new concerns ...

An Energy Expert Answers the Question: What Is Carbon Neutrality?

Big companies and organizations have been in the headlines lately as they make carbon neutral pledges, publicly stating their commitment to slowing the effects of climate change. These goals are admirable, but are they attainable? And perhaps equally importantly, do we really understand what it means to be carbon neutral? In the building industry, the carbon conversation has been ongoing for years, and those who study carbon emissions are keenly aware that the built environment is a maj...

[White Paper] Driving the Future of Retail Through Experience per Square Foot

How do we optimize for experience in physical retail environments? By engaging the senses, integrating brand and placemaking, and prioritizing wellness. The physical retail environment has become even more crucial for driving sales, even at a time when there's a preference for the convenience of online shopping. The key to engaging consumers in physical spaces is to design in a way that maximizes in-person experiences. These immersive, unique opportunities to interact wit...

Designing Educational Facilities for the Next Generation of Healthcare Workers

There are an estimated 175,900 job openings for registered nurses each year through 2029 — and these are not positions our country or communities want to leave unfilled. The figure comes from a 2019 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it highlights the need to continue building this essential workforce. It also correlates to building and updating learning facilities to best train healthcare workers so they can step into their fields well prepared to keep the nation safe. It’...

Having ‘the Talk’: Solar Now vs. Solar Readiness

This is how the story begins: Your client has a new project and is committed to making a difference through zero net energy (ZNE) goals. As a member of the design community committed to ZNE, you’re stoked. This is the path to a better built environment. All parties understand what’s at stake (the future of our planet) and the substantial impact buildings have (36% of global energy use*). But as it turns out, the protagonists in this story have hurdles to overcome. Guiding...

Office Design Today: Expect the Unexpected

The future is hard to predict, but a few design tricks can help.  Of all the places we’ve mused over returning to since the onset of the pandemic, toward the top of the list is the workplace. While there’s no across-the-board strategy that’s been adopted to get us there — and some workers never left their posts — one particular sentiment has risen to the top: Office work will never be the same.  We know that work environments must support the changes in how we’ve come to ...

In the News: Cushing Terrell Proposes Land Use Changes in Response to Recent IPCC Climate Reports

Director of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture, Keith Walzak, identifies opportunities to slow climate change through revised land use tactics. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report this summer on the state of the warming planet, declaring: "It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land." Findings from the report — approved by 195 governments and based on more than 14,000 studies — also s...

Reduce, Re-use, Re-imagine: How to Slow Climate Change by Slowing Urban Sprawl

The case for compact, vertical, walkable urban neighborhoods In the U.S., we’ve typically defined upward mobility as outward growth: larger properties, bigger homes, more cars. But as we’ve stretched out and claimed more for ourselves, it’s come at the cost of the environment and a comfortable future. Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the state of the warming planet, stating: “It is unequivocal that human influe...

Three Ways to Keep Costs Down While Building Material Prices Are Up

With material costs reaching local maximums, it’s time to get creative and think beyond the steel and lumber we know and love. Price spikes like we're currently facing result in a number of challenges for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. But backorders and shortages don’t have to mean pausing or cancelling a project; rather, they may simply mean making smart, conscious design decisions that support sustainable and efficient development. So why not revisit our mo...

Randy Rhoads, RA, joins Cushing Terrell as Executive Director of Affordable Housing

Rhoads will lead education efforts, partnership development, and creative design solutions for affordable housing projects across the United States. Randy Rhoads, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Cushing Terrell welcomes Randy Rhoads as Executive Director of Affordable Housing. Rhoads brings more than 30 years of experience in the design of residential, commercial/retail, education, and government projects to his position with the ...

Placemaking in Pocket Parks: Sustaining Authenticity in Urban Neighborhoods

Placemaking can help us identify and attribute certain characteristics to growing neighborhoods. When we imagine urban green spaces, our mind’s eye may conjure up images of major parks — the likes of Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Millennium Park in Chicago, or our very own Olympic Sculpture Park here in Seattle. But often, the most beloved green spaces in cities have the smallest footprints: spaces outside our homes where we go to seek ...

Tech by Design: Shaping Work Environments for Technology Companies

Technology companies not only are known for developing innovative products, but also for how they’ve influenced the modern workplace. From creating environments that support flexible work and function as a home away from home, to research and development labs that inspire creativity — the goal is to enable collaborative, productive teams united by the innovative work they do and their unique company cultures. As we continue to see growth in the technology industry, with federal and stat...

USP 800 Compliance: Best Practices for Designing Compounding Pharmacies

Designers are tasked with creating built environments that are safer and smarter than yesterday. Some of these choices are evident to a casual observer — clearer access to emergency exits, for example — but many are unseen and vitally important. This includes the technologies and systems used in buildings to contain hazardous materials. When it comes to compounding pharmacies, this work may require room pressurization controls, improved ventilation, and proper protective barriers. As st...

Watch the Webinar Recording: Indoor Air Quality Solutions for Healthy Schools and Healthy Students

The past year has been a period of reactionary change for schools, with the pandemic requiring a pivot to remote learning, hybrid options, and careful re-openings. With the opportunity to be proactive, incorporate lessons learned, and effectively invest COVID-19 relief funding, school districts are planning upgrades to their facilities that improve health, safety, and learning for the long term. This challenge found our team looking at the issue of indoor air quality (IAQ) from multipl...

The Power of Public Art: Enhancing the Places We Call Home

A natural offshoot of our team's architecture, engineering, graphic design, and landscape architecture talents, contributing to public art projects is one of the ways we stretch our creative muscles. The most recent example is a concept created for the Carpio Sanguinette Park design competition.  Incorporating art into our public spaces has incredible benefits — for individuals, communities, and local economies. Art draws us out. It inspires questions, dialogue, contempla...

Indoor Air Quality Solutions for Healthy Schools and Healthy Students

What you need to know to improve IAQ as kids transition back into the classroom. The work to assess and improve indoor air quality (IAQ) is a top priority for school districts as they look to best utilize billions in COVID-19 relief funds and prepare for post-pandemic, in-person learning. With this much-needed funding becoming available, there’s an incredible opportunity to combine lessons learned from the past year with an amplified commitment to designing healthy school...

Sustainable Design Solutions for Delicate Natural Environments

Future-proofing our protected lands Few countries can boast having the range of natural environments that we do in the United States. From the rocky peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the Gulf Coast wetlands — and all of the national monuments that dot the landscape in between — these scenic places are the stuff of great field trips, road trips, and vacations. But if we want to continue making these great American memories, it’s up to those tasked with the maint...

Cushing Terrell hires Keith Walzak AICP, ASLA as Director of Planning and Landscape Architecture

Walzak will focus on sustainable urban planning and post-pandemic housing and development needs for mid-sized communities across the western United States.  Keith Walzak, Director of Planning and Landscape Architecture Cushing Terrell welcomes Keith Walzak as Director of Planning and Landscape Architecture. Walzak brings 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors leading efforts to build thriving communities through healthy, ...

Cushing Terrell Promotes Nine Team Members as Firm’s Newest Associates

New associates demonstrate the energy, activism, community engagement, and design excellence of our team. Cushing Terrell, a multi-disciplinary architecture, engineering, and interior design firm, is proud to announce the promotion of nine team members to the role of associate. These team members come from across the firm’s locations and serve clients in a variety of markets. In addition to strengthening client relationships and leading projects, teams, and strategy, the...

Design for Comfort in the Workplace: The Benefits of Post Occupancy Research

A post occupancy evaluation (POE) can reveal a lot about how a building’s design performs in the real world. This is particularly important when it comes to assessing whether a design successfully addresses the needs of building occupants. While design teams work diligently to predict and address various needs as part of the design process, the real world is full of variation and change, especially when it comes to the way people think a space will be used versus the way it's actually u...

Microgrids: A Solution for Modern-day Energy Challenges

Interest in microgrids has been growing as the country (and the world) confronts more frequent, extreme weather events and an increased urgency to consider alternative energy sources in the face of climate change. Microgrids aren’t a new concept (most early energy grids would be considered microgrids), but they're fast gaining traction for a variety of organizations as a way to address modern-day energy challenges. Traditional utility grids vs. microgrids W...

Post Occupancy Evaluation Q&A: Get to Know Your Building and its Occupants

So much can be learned from the buildings and spaces we inhabit, as well as from the people who utilize them. The value this knowledge can bring is the focus of our post occupancy evaluation team. We use our research and expertise to help you learn more — whether you're a building owner, facility manager, developer, or other stakeholder interested in the overall health of your buildings, would like to know more to inform upgrades and renovations, or would like to plan for additional des...

The Park Academy: Education Design Turned Inside Out

For an AIA Austin design competition held earlier this summer, I joined a few team members to take on the topic of what learning environments might look like in a post-pandemic world. How could the design of these spaces support in-person education and help address the need for reduced class sizes, social distancing, and enhanced cleanliness, as well as ensure the health, safety, and well-being of students and teachers? This was an exploratory exercise to encourage out-of-the-box thinki...

Cushing Terrell Launches Multidisciplinary Infrastructure Group

The team will focus on land development, water resources, transportation, and energy services. Cushing Terrell is pleased to announce the creation of Cushing Terrell Infrastructure, the firm’s newest vertical market. This multidisciplinary group will be dedicated to projects associated with the development of national and local infrastructure. “The formation of this specialty group within Cushing Terrell builds upon our belief that design integration opens the doors for d...

Audio interview: Architect Tony Houtz discusses today’s distribution center with industry veteran Dave Irvin

A near-universal truth for designers: the best way to learn about the needs of a unique type of space is by speaking with the people who use it. It's something we do at Cushing Terrell for every new project. For the sake of catching up on current events and learning how COVID-19 has affected distribution, I spoke with Dave Irvin, General Manager of Eagle Beverage, a veteran Montana beer distributor and long-time acquaintance. We covered topics spanning current market conditions, scaling...

COVID-19 design solutions: Assessing school facilities for readiness

How and when we go back to the physical school environment is understandably a hot topic. It not only involves the health and safety of our children, but also their ability to learn what they need to be successful adults. The longer the disruption and uncertainty, the tougher it will be to get back to normal — a "normal" that will inevitably look very different from what we're used to. School districts are currently considering all sorts of scenarios and of those, there will still need ...

COVID-19 design solutions: Rethinking air circulation in patient and operating rooms

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck, some of the "behind the scenes" first responders were engineers. Given our team's work in healthcare design for clients such as Billings Clinic, Bozeman Health, and SLC Health/St. Vincent, our mechanical engineers were tasked with developing solutions for air circulation and ventilation in patient and operating rooms to prevent the spread of airborne infection. With so many unknowns about COVID-19, it was critical to provide areas where p...

Energy Modeling: Digging into the Data to Optimize Design Decisions

When it comes to making design decisions, there are many factors to consider and innumerable scenarios for each project. While the ideal scenario must fit within the project budget, two related considerations are lifetime operating costs and energy use. With so many possibilities, how do we help our clients make the best decisions? A key tool we use at Cushing Terrell is energy modeling. With energy models, we review potential building performance scenarios long before construction and ...

#EarthDay2020: This Is What LEED Platinum Looks Like

Making design decisions that are responsible, sustainable, and resilient takes an effort — a team effort. You need to know where to start and the best resources for everything from energy modeling and building performance solutions, to material selection and post-occupancy evaluations. At Cushing Terrell, our Green Advocacy Council serves as the primary resource, but the expertise for sustainable design solutions extends throughout our firm. To realize the design of spaces that consider...

Diversity, technology, and knowledge: Adapting to change in the A/E industry

Chief Knowledge Officer Jim Armer There's never been a time when our firm's ability to adapt, and our team's resiliency, have been so greatly tested. We’ve survived downturns in the economy and responded to local and national crises, but the shift we’re undergoing now — as a global society in response to the current pandemic — is something that could fundamentally change how we all live and work, for the long-term. As our industry comes together to partn...

Design for experiential learning and workforce readiness

The need for a skilled workforce in high-demand fields and the ever-increasing cost of a university degree have not only led to a shift in the predominant education models, but also a shift in how we design learning environments. One of the newer models — career and technical education (CTE) — is a hybrid version of vocational education, melding both academics and hands-on training. It targets students earlier in their learning journey and covers a broad range of industry sectors (see s...

Creating a powerhouse team of interior designers

Growth means coming together, and this is exactly what our interior design team did as part of a strategic summit held late last year at our office in Austin, Texas. With 26 interior design professionals across Montana and in major metros such as Austin, Boise, and Seattle, not to mention high-profile national and global clients, the need to establish interior design as its own service sector within our firm was evident. This change helps support our goals to fully capitalize on the tal...

Cushing Terrell Appoints Greg Matthews, AIA, as President and CEO

The firm also adds a chief knowledge officer to the executive leadership team President and CEO Greg Matthews Cushing Terrell is pleased to announce the appointment of Greg Matthews as president and CEO of Cushing Terrell. Greg replaces the firm's outgoing president, Scott Wilson, who will remain with the firm and continue to serve on the board.  Greg will lead the continued growth of the architecture and engineering design firm, which inc...

Refrigerant Technologies: The Options and Why they Matter

According to the non-profit research organization Project Drawdown, refrigeration management is one of the top solutions to global warming. This significant impact is why the state of California is taking steps to drive big changes in the cooling and refrigeration sector. For a recent session at the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council’s  (NASRC) Low-GWP & Energy Efficiency Expo, I teamed up with Tom Wolgamot from DC Engineering to talk specifically about the options for...

Design’s role in creating safer cities and neighborhoods

Look around you. When out and about in your city or neighborhood, are the streets and buildings well-lit? Are buildings and open spaces well aligned for visibility and wayfinding? Are public/common areas comfortable and do they invite community gathering? Now notice how you feel. Do you have a level of comfort that inspires exploration of your surroundings? Are transportation stations/stops accessible, obvious, and protected from the elements? Are you confident you can safely get where ...

Design at the intersection of health, wellness, and retail

Consumers are time-conscious, and at the same time, they’re shifting to a lifestyle defined by health and wellness. As a result, the concept of well-being is taking on a whole new meaning in the world of retail. Today’s retailers are looking to strike a balance between efficient shopping and the desire to slow down, indulge, and connect. Thus, in this age of convenience, retail design must meet consumers where they are, both physically and emotionally, throughout their shopping journey....

Leading the charge (and the change)

Working to advance holistic environmental sustainability, the Cushing Terrell Green Advocacy Council (GAC) serves as a collective knowledge and resource base for our firm and our clients. The team is made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, but all share a common belief in the importance of advocacy and education when it comes to integrating sustainable design and sustainable practices into our projects, business operations, and company culture. We know full well...
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