Author Archives: rdgeditor1

More than Fixtures and Lamps: Lighting Design is ART – VISION – SCIENCE

In architectural design, it can be easy to consider lighting as a simple, utilitarian set of decisions about where to place fixtures and how to control them. However, as RDG’s lighting designers understand, good lighting combines an attention to multiple factors: safety, efficiency, mood, ambience, technology, cost-effectiveness, energy, and more – even aspects of wellness for those who spend time in the lit environments we create.…

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What Do We Do With This Big Empty Industrial Building?

Thanks to a building and manufacturing boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s, plenty of big industrial warehouses, factories, and similar structures stand in urban centers and small cities across the Midwest. Many now sit empty; stoic relics of a bygone time that present challenges to their communities.…

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Transparency, Collaboration, Comprehensiveness

This is second in a series of articles sharing insights from our work with St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU’s) Comprehensive Facilities Planning process – a rich experience, full of learning for all!

Key to the planning effort in SCSU’s Comprehensive Facilities Planning Process were the commitment to provide transparency throughout the process, to cast a wide net in order to achieve a truly comprehensive Plan, and to involve as many people as possible who might be impacted by the Plan.…

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Common Myths about Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse

Whether you’re a commercial developer, public entity or homeowner, it can be daunting to consider how to make your historic property work for your needs yet remain feasible for future generations. But let’s be clear – much of what you may have heard about restoration projects probably isn’t true.…

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Designing a Revitalized Community

A community isn’t magically revitalized by spiffing up a building or two. Creative vision, thoughtful planning, and revived key places and structures can impress and energize locals and visitors alike, enhancing pride of place and making further changes seem not just possible, but desirable.…

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The Dam Plan – A Place For All

There has been an urgent call recently to connect people back to natural places, especially in urban settings. Research shows people are more likely to advocate and care for their environment when they have a strong attachment to a place. In Des Moines, one of the greatest resources we have—the reason the city is located here in the first place—is the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, which flow through the metro and connect south of Principal Park.…

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Clear Strategic Principles to Planning

This is first in a series of articles sharing insights from our work with St. Cloud State University’s (SCSU’s) Comprehensive Facilities Planning process – a rich experience, full of learning for all!

It’s a basic tenet of planning that clear, aligned, strategic principles, articulated and understood from the highest level and throughout an institution, are foundational for a successful plan.…

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Creative Placemaking: Storytelling About People and Culture

The term “Creative Placemaking” has become one of those overused phrases or buzzwords that has either lost its meaning, or perhaps, never achieved the significant denotation that would help establish a common language. How did this happen? So often, we begin to categorize and label, to help us talk about concepts that aren’t always so easy to understand.…

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What’s So Special About that Farmhouse?

And what does it take to preserve its history?

The one and a half story, wood-framed structure sits just off Highway 141, south of Coon Rapids, Iowa. It could be a farmhouse on almost any Iowa country road: unassuming, practical, a cobbled-together mass of additions and renovations that has served hard working farm families through the years.…

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When there’s too much and not enough

In 2014, St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota had too much, and not enough. Like many institutions of higher education, SCSU found itself with too much aging infrastructure competing for limited deferred maintenance dollars, too much capital wrapped up in facilities that didn’t meet current and future needs, and – maybe surprisingly – just too much real estate.…

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