Category Archives: Interior

Are We There Yet?

Proposed - Actual ; West Elevation

It seems inevitable that the closer we get to our destination we begin to get impatient. During the final portion of our journey, time seems to slow to a snail’s pace. Things are in slow motion compared to the high energy beginning of the trip. We have all been on that family trip either as kids or with kids when this phenomenon occurs. The length of the trip is not so much a factor (to another town, to another state) so long as it’s long enough to bring on that antsy feeling.

Well, I’m feeling antsy. Continue reading

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In The Spirit of Past Present Future

Happy Holidays to All and Wishes of a Peaceful New Year

Past-Present-Future slide 1

The holiday season tends to bring about joyful reflection on the year, spiritual celebrations and with the coming of the New Year, thoughts about what lays ahead. The Visitor Center Blog has been tracking what we believe is a special project in the making. We have been sharing with you each week a look into the challenges, successes and progress of the project. We have been sharing the process of achieving LEED Gold certification. We have progressed from a Vision with the Chickasaw Nation to being under construction and you have met a number of players along the way. This is the trail we have traveled. Continue reading

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From The Inside Out

Chickasaw Visitor Center Possible Lobby Materials

Interior design is today a broad field of skill sets, but the part we invariably relate to the design profession is the interior feel of a space which is largely influenced by the materials we see, walk on and touch. It’s like an artist’s brush that has been stroked across the interior surfaces creating a mixture of colors, textures and visual excitement. While the creativity comes from the designer, the direction is once again cast by the goals and objectives set by the client. The interior designer transforms the desired effects and feelings to be evoked into a palette of materials that together speak the language of the room to those who visit and experience the space. Continue reading

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And The Beat Goes On…

FSB Design Illustration: Birdseye View Chickasaw Visitor Center

While thinking of the design being something that continues on I could not help but flash on the classic ‘60’s hit, its syncopated driving bass line and closing lyric “and the beat goes on.” The 1967 pop hit is none other than “The Beat Goes On” written by Sonny Bono and sung by Sonny & Cher. Perhaps I’m giving up my generational age but the driving force of a project is the design and all the reasons it is what it is become the lyrics and legacy of the building as it lives on.

We’re into the final design phase of the Visitor Center. We have had preliminary design review meetings with the client and we have also had time to reflect on how well the design is achieving the project goals, LEED objectives and that the aesthetic character is right. The goals and objectives are more a matter of checking things off the list, but aesthetics are very subjective and we rely on an artistic maturity and the feeling that we created something special for the client. We get a thumbs-up from the Chickasaw Nation; that feels good. Continue reading


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Design / the continuous thread

FSB Project Phases for Chickasaw Visitor Center


When does it begin; when does it end? Design has its beginnings in the early dreams and vision of the client. Formalized design activity comes into play when the design professional engages in the project. These formal stages of preliminary design and final design initialize and refine the big idea respectively. While preliminary design creates the first generation of site and plan organization, final design investigates and resolves how the building components begin to integrate with one another. Final design sets the stage and direction for how the materials will blend and transition throughout the building. The pieces and parts of the architecture and engineering systems come together to form a composition of assemblies. These include floor assemblies, wall assemblies, ceiling assemblies and roof assemblies. However, the design effort does not end with final design. Continue reading

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Preliminary Design / the end of round one

FSB Illustration: Preliminary Design Elevations

The architectural character and palette of materials were outlined in the previous post on the “trail to creativity.” The materials must now be orchestrated into an expression of form that creates visual and physical texture. The designer is challenged with how those elements integrate with each other and flow from one the next to create architectural interest and character. It is all too easy to only think of the site and floor plan as flat planes. While the site and floor plans are represented as 2 dimensional illustrations, the challenge is to be thinking of the site and building as a 3 dimensional elements concurrent with working out the site grades, views, circulation, building access, building space needs, groupings, adjacencies and flow.

The integration of the architecture and engineering systems cannot be an afterthought to design; something left to chance. The results of this approach can be disastrous. So as the site and plans evolve, the designer must be thinking of how engineering systems are woven into the architectural solution. At times the engineering systems themselves become exposed expressions of the architecture. Continue reading


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Design / the trail to creativity

FSB Preliminary Design Graphics for Chickasaw Visitor Center

While defining the project, i.e. the problem, is paramount to arriving at the right solution, problem solving is at the heart of the design process. This is the primary skill of the design professional and it’s the challenge that keeps us charged and alive with creativity. As we engage ourselves in the creative process, each discipline must reflect on the project needs identified in the charrette then overlay it with the sustainable design criteria identified in the LEED workshop. Continue reading

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“En Charrette”/ the architectural statement

FSB Design Materials Collage / Wood, Copper, Stone, Glass, Natural Light, Water, Art

We are on the home stretch of the Charrette. We have set goals and played with the site layout but now we need to discuss the architectural character of the building inside and out. We began by reviewing the entourage of images of similar facilities throughout the globe that we had assembled as a part of Preparing for a Creative Exchange of Ideas. There was also the exploration of familiar structures nearby which included: Continue reading

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“En Charrette” / the project definition workshop

FSB Chickasaw Nation Visitor Center Project Definition Graphics

The real charrette is here. This is the day we explore creative ideas with the stakeholders. We have previously distributed the pre-charrette packet for the Program Definition Workshop. We are counting on everyone having done their homework by thinking about the various pieces of information we have sent them regarding ideas for spaces, ideas for the flavor and style of the building interior and exterior and what experience they would like the architecture to create.

I always ask the stakeholders, “if the building could talk, what would you want it to say to visitors, what do you want their experience to be and what feelings would you want them to have from interacting with the architecture?” Continue reading

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