Week 10

I cannot believe that I have been at Hollis + Miller for 10 weeks now.. and that summer is over! But this internship has brought me so much more then learning small tricks in Revit and understanding the detailing language a little bit more. I think that the people and environment have really made this internship what it was. When I worked here over winter break last year I didn’t get to see enough of the firm to appreciate all of the work they continuously do to keep the amazing status. Being fully immersed in the working community helped me to get a glimpse of how great my work life after school can be.

With actual work this week it was a week of waiting. We were waiting to get into the new space of project we started the previous week. The existing building has three separate office spaces currently and one company is taking over the whole space. Eventually later in the week we were able to get into the space and measure everything we needed. I then created an as-built demolition plan in Revit to close our the week.  I wish I could have stayed longer to see this project play out. The specific clients we were talking with from the company had a different idea of how they wanted their new office space to be each time we met. I think it will be a challenging but rewarding project. I am interested in how to work with a client that can be stubborn or not have an open mind of all of the possibilities. I think that I am going to have to keep checking back to see how the progress is coming.

I am thankful for all of my experiences this summer and now I am even more excited to see how I can take this new knowledge back to school and how it will impact my future.


Miami Innovation Disctrict

I am not sure what to really think about this article. At a glance I think the concept of having an Innovation District, similar to a Silicon Valley of Florida, seems like a great pull to bring the city together towards one attraction. But as I look at the rendered design I am not sure if I like the complete technology feel of the exterior, an active skin. I think that architecture and design have completely advanced with new technology to be able to create more complex designs, but this building might be taking it a step too far for my liking.

The purpose of the mixed-use district is a success for the area. The article stated that Miami is a hub for beaches, culture, nightlife, art scene and technology. I think that this district will positively impact all of the above items. The building is also planned to have space for retail, office environments, living opportunities and performance and public spaces, a truly mixed-use building. I think the building is positive to be able to take advantage of the Miami weather and design large amounts of indoor/outdoor space.

Overall, I like the usage, but not the design. I am curious as to how the active skin will function. If one part has an issue will the whole area go down? Once one building experiments with actives skins a whole new area of technology in architecture will be introduced. I don’t think that I am familiar enough with futuristic technology to be able to feel comfortable with this design.


Nieminen, Robert. “Miami Innovation Disctrict.” Interiors & Sources. Stamats Communications, Inc., 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.

JE Dunn Kansas City Office

Hollis + Miller’s Design U at JE Dunn’s downtown KC office proved to help me fulfill quite a few requirements for my blog. The JE Dunn office was amazing. I think the main reason why I was drawn to the design in the beginning was because it’s modern design. This building was finished a few years ago. Most of the interior trends that are used are styles that are still very popular or are up and coming.

The shape and the layout of the building is very simple. It is simply three differently sized rectangles. Each different rectangle serves as a different area for use. I believe that this simple shape proves better then even a square because it decreases the chances of creating a cubicle maze for the employees. Three sectors provide the employees with different avenues of moment and usage. We were able to explore mostly the first floor although I wish I could have seen more of the building.



The finishes were all very industrial. The floor was a lighter wood shade, but the walls were very interesting. There were painted a black color but had perforated metal shields on them. These shields supported various job site and employee images. The images were lit by exposed track lighting. Splashes of color were also used as accent walls walking down the corridor. I think this was very important because I believe that each company’s office space should represent their brand. Company brands are becoming more important and are a great representation for clients that are guests in your building. One particular detail that I really enjoyed was the layout of the lighting. The surface mounted luminaries were places in more of a random pattern then in a specific grid. I believe that this helps with the flow of the room. It is not telling the user to walk in one specific direction at a particular speed. The lighting indicates that guests and employees can meander down the hallway at their own pace and direction enjoying the images on the walls.







This style of lighting also intrigued me because I have seen Hollis + Miller spec lighting very similar in some of our current projects. I was alway curious to see what it looked like once installed. I believe that for a corporate office space, this was the perfect usage for the main traffic hallway.

Another piece of the interiors that I loved were the bathrooms. It was hilarious because a group of girls walked in and the first thing we did was admire the design of the bathroom. It was different and more lively then I have ever seen. The walls had a bright blue and white subway tile with a large green painted cement column at the entrance. A glazed wall with a construction related graphic was also placed near the entrance.

IMG_9780 IMG_9783 IMG_9786

After seeing this new building and understanding more about the JE Dunn business, I believe that the interior of the building reflects the brand in a positive way. The interior has a very sleek industrial look to it with added pops of color and modernism added. These are the styles of projects I hope to work on. They get me excited to be able to get my hands on designing something similar and creating a design that allows employees to be proud of their brand and their company office.

Week 9

This week had an interesting spin on it. As opposed to working on projects that are nearing an end, I helped with a project that just began. This is a smaller scale office renovation project. Earlier this week was just the second meeting that we have had with the client. During the meeting we walked through their existing space trying to get a feel for how they currently work. We also photographed pieces of furniture that will be making the move. During the meeting that I attended we started to get a feel for what the client was looking for in their space. We did two different exercises that help us to gauge the feeling the client wants. The first exercise is called dot democracy. During this exercise we print out 20-30 precedent images on a single sheet of paper. The client then has 4 green dots and 2 red dots, they place the green on images they like and the red dots on images they do not like. Afterwards we ask them why they put the dots on the specific images. Usually it is because they liked one aspect of the design or a certain color used. The next exercise that we use is called the contrast study. In this we take several elements such as textural quality, sound quality, appearance, color an many more and create a scale between two opposite images. We ask the client to place a dot where they would like their new space to fall on the spectrum between the opposite images.

I enjoy doing these exercises with the clients because it puts more of a physical look on how their want their new space to be. The clients usually are not designers and don’t know the current design trends. With showing them images they are able to create their new office space in their head. These exercises also help people to voice their opinion. Anyone can say I like this image or I do not like this image, but when asked what you want your new space to look like, not everyone can answer.

This week a few reps took our interiors team our to Top Golf. It was my first time going to the new facility in Overland Park, and it was great! I love playing golf and it was a great atmosphere to get to know the reps and have more personal conversations. The set up is similar to a bowling ally, leading everyone to focus on one person hitting while everyone else can chat around the table.

Industry Leadership

This month I attended a Hollis + Miller quarterly Design U presentation. Through my time at Hollis + Miller I have learned how strongly the firm feels about their values. Each quarter Hollis + Miller has presentations called Design U. These presentations are meant to help you learn more about yourself so that you can help the firm through your own personal passions. Design U is a continuing education program while you are employed.

This quarters program was on Industry Leadership. During the program we spent the afternoon at the new JE Dunn headquarters in downtown Kansas City. The building is less then a year old, and it is beautiful! The guest speaker was the president of JE Dunn, Mr. Bill Dunn. He was the son of the founder of JE Dunn. He spoke about the core principles within his own company and specific rules they have stuck by to get the success they have. He had a few simple suggestions for Hollis + Miller. He said the best way to become a well known, successful company is to give back to your community. The more than you give back to your community the more people will hear about your name and the good work that you do. Also the best kind of leadership comes within. Starting from the partners down to the interns. Each person has their own passion that will help the company in some way.

This presentation really helped me to want to find my true passion within design and the work field. I am excited to see how this could help with my studies this next year and the development of my work and designs.

Can Classroom Furniture Improve Student Engagement?

The title of this article grabbed my attention because it deals with the education market. I have been emerged in the education market working at Hollis + Miller. I used this article as more of a comparison of how we design our schools as to what studies have shown work well with students and learning.

The first word that stood out to me when dealing with furniture in the classroom and classroom engagement was collaboration. The article stated the the number one factor in student-engagement was collaboration. Most classroom furniture is set up in a style to be movable and manipulated for each different activity. The most common learning surface is a table that can be designed to have movable writing surfaces as well as different dividers to be used for privacy. The table is easily morphed from lecture mode to team work mode. Hollis + Miller uses these sorts of tables often, especially in K-12 when collaboration is key. Hollis + Miller also creates areas called “a collaboration stair” which is similar to the concept of Pierce Commons. This area can be used for presentations or for individual or group projects.

Another common piece of classroom furniture is the individual desk. This is what I sat in all through high school. These desks are made for right handed writers and have a small storage space below the seat. This product has been updated to work well again with student-engagement factors such as physical movement and stimulation. A table system has been created by Steelecase that is designed for individual and collaborative interactions. This maintains personal work space, but the rollers on the chair allow for movement if the learning style needs to be moved.

I believe that current classrooms are focused on change and adaptability. Many different studies, including this article, have shown how engagement while learning increases participation. Teachers are able to consistently change their learning styles to adapt to their students current needs.


Bergsagel, Victoria. “Can Classroom Furniture Improve Student Engagement?” Getting Smart. Getting Smart, 29 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 July 2015.


Week 8

This week felt like production week in the office between deadlines and meetings. The first half of the week I spent detailing construction documents for the two Shawnee Mission Elementary Schools I have been working on for the past week. I am now slowly understanding the whole process of using the schedules and small annotations that make deciphering the construction documents understandable. I was even tasked at one point with going through the drawings and cleaning up dimension and annotations lines as well as checking names of sheets and drawings. I felt as though this was special because my coworkers felt that I had enough talent and knowledge about construction documents to freely make changes as I felt necessary. That studio’s 90% CD set for both schools was due Wednesday. It was just like in studio, the whole team went out for drinks after work!

Tuesday afternoon we had a very interesting company wide leadership self-improvement meeting. The program within Hollis + Miller is called Design U. The focus of this meeting was leadership. (I am going to talk more about this in my monthly events so I don’t want to give too many details away). One awesome thing I learned during this seminar was a way to increase the detail in Revit rendering. Revit cloud renderings can sometimes seem foggy and not clean. If you use a Revit rendering with a line drawing of the same image, the rendering becomes very clear and it is a quick, simple solution.

The second half of the week I went back to the studio that was working on the university fraternity houses. Their 90% drawing set was due Friday afternoon. I was tasked with creating a traditional brick and stone sign for in front of the houses. The sign also had a corinthian column as well as a roof. It will also be used to display upcoming events to the public. This task was interesting because there were a lot of smaller challenges that arose as I was creating the sign. I also have not modeled too much in Revit besides simple building elements. Creating a wall sweep was quite the challenge. The sign was about 2 feet thick, but you were not able to use just one wall for the whole sign. I had to create a new wall that contained just the exterior material to wrap around the whole sign as well as a wall that contained just the inner core. One trick that a veteran had to teach me!

It was a great week to get more and more comfortable within the firm as well as learn many new things!

Plug ‘N’ Play Offices Impact Design Culture

This article was very interesting because I have never heard of a Plug ‘N’ Play office before. A plug ‘n’ play office is a space that a startup company can rent to use as their office. The members of the renting company have to only provide technology. Furniture and finishes have already been completed.

I think that this service is a very handy from the consumers point of view. It gets the user into a very modern, workable office space that they did not have to design themselves. The offices also seem to be smaller in size, perfect for a startup. I believe that this type of office would also be easy to sell for realtors. Theses spaces have all of the perfect amenities.

A plug ‘n’ play office, I think, would be hard to design from an architects perspective. There isn’t a defined client, although the trend is more in marketing, advertising and technology. The design field is based on the product the client wants, and with these offices there is no client to specifically tell you “yes” and “no.” Most design oriented careers seem to enjoy more of a modern aesthetic; exposed ceilings, open collaboration spaces, solid wood furniture. All of the previous are also very expensive. Prices poses as another issues, there is not a client to tell you what you can eliminate and what needs to stay. I think that this could be a very interesting project for a new or younger employee at a firm. There isn’t too many constraints, and open to new design trends. I think I would enjoy working on a project of this type.


Interiors & Sources. “Plug ‘N’ Play Offices Impact Design Culture.” Plug ‘N’ Play Offices Impact Design Culture. Stamats Communications Inc., 1 June 2015. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://www.interiorsandsources.com/article-details/articleid/18967/title/plug-n-play-offices-impact-design-culture.aspx&gt;.


Week 7

Wow. I cannot believe that I have been at Hollis + Miller for 7 weeks now, summer flys by even faster when you are learning so much! This week I was able to move to another set of projects to help before deadlines. I have been able to help the interiors team with two elementary schools in the Kansas City area through several phases now. I helped in the selection of some materials, ordering samples, and material board layouts.

I enjoyed this week because I was creating new sheets, not fixing redlines, for the construction document set. I learned about many new kinds of sheets as well. I created control joint sheets and helped decipher where they should be placed. I created cubbies and marker boards for many classrooms. The 75% CD was due towards the end of the week so adding smaller details to all of the plans was a constant trend.

I also dealt with creating new kinds of tags inside of a Revit document. I was able to sit down with the partner that creates many small, specific details in Revit, and create a new tagging option for room tags. I learned that you are able to create certain specifications for the actual room tag that can be used on the room sign located outside of the room. The fact that we were able to create a material tag for these objects helped greatly through the project. I never realized how important one small aspect can be to one project.

Through my internship I have also started to become a lot more comfortable around all of my coworkers. I am also proud of how well I have started to do at crossword puzzles. They really take a lot of practice to understand each clue. I have also been talking at lunch to some past K-State graduates. It is nice to compare classes as well as ask advice for certain projects or even for my portfolio. Small school focuses can never escape the back of my mind even through summer.

Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?

As per my usually choosing for articles, I chose one that had an interesting title. I also understand how many thousands of Starbucks there are worldwide and I was interested to read the article. At the beginning of the article many different facts are stated from the business side of Starbucks. Behind every design and company there needs to be a strong backbone of leadership. Without an innovative lead designer, your business cannot be as successful as wanted. If you think of every restaurant that is popular towards the public, the face of design is constantly changing in order to grow with the public.

In the beginning, Starbucks had 4 different design themes based on feelings turned into coffee lingo. Depending on the community of the local Starbucks, one theme would be chosen. Towards the beginning of Starbucks’ existence this was a great plan; until the company reached thousands. Now, Starbucks has an idea bank of millions of individual light fixtures, furniture pieces, color schemes, and store concepts. In the design stage for each store, the local environment is used as an inspiration for the store theme. Local materials can be seen through the coffee shop. Starbucks has changed their design to be unique to each and every store instead of being another cookies cutter shop.

I believe that this concept can be applied to any type of design. Every architecture firm is known for at least one specific field of work. No matter how many schools or office buildings they design, they cannot be cookie cutter. In the design development stages of every project the client is interviewed and studied to determine what they want out of the building. In the end, the building is for the client, not for the actual firm.

In school we also have a design style that we tend to gravitate towards. As much as we like to sick to our style, we need to create each project based on what the user wants. Design technology and styles will always come and go helping us to update our preferences. Each client wants the building to be their own, and as designers its our job to provide that.


Wilson, Mark. “Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?” Co.Design. Fast Co. Design, 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 July 2015. <http://www.fastcodesign.com/3034441/starbucks-secrets-to-make-every-store-feel-unique#7&gt;.