Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Wishing You Happy Holidays and a Wonderful 2020

Credit: Mario Aachen
The holidays are here! It's a wonderful time to be with loved ones, exchange presents, and share in the joy of the season. Sadly, some families spend the holidays without gifts and sometimes even a hot meal or a warm place to sleep. It's easy to get swept up in all of the shopping and gift-giving frenzy, but taking the time to give back to our community can be the greatest gift of all. This holiday season, consider donating your time or resources to organizations that help our neighbors who are less fortunate.

Here is a list of charities and non-profits where your support can truly make a difference:
The true spirit of the holiday season comes from giving thanks and giving back by lending a helping hand to those in need. Give this season a whole new meaning by making the world a little brighter for others.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year

Friday, November 29, 2019

#GivingTuesday 2019

Giving Tuesday has become a tradition for Sparkflight Studios.  What better way to finish off a Thanksgiving holiday enjoying time with family and friends than to extend that gratitude into a gift for your community?

This year we're pleased to highlight a few community partners:

Family Promise of Las Vegas

UNLV - College of Fine Arts

Desert Research Institute - DRI

It is always difficult to choose recipients when there are so many good causes in need.  If you face this challenge as well, take a look at an article by Nurith Aizenman on KNPR's website: Why Giving Tuesday Raises an Uncomfortable Moral Dilemma.

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. 
– Maya Angelou  

Friday, November 22, 2019

Update! 2019 AIA Blueprint for Better Housing

Rendering of the proposed mixed-use site
In September, we introduced Sparkflight Studios' involvement in the 2019 AIA Blueprint for Better Housing, a mission to solve housing needs in our community. Anne was invited to be the Team Coordinator of the Multi-Family Mixed-Use group. She worked diligently with her team and alongside the charrette participants and members of the local community to create a design that was presented to AIA Las Vegas in October.

The team proposed a 381,000-SF mixed-use, mixed-income development on the west side of Martin Luther King Boulevard, south of Lake Mead Boulevard, in the 89106 zip code. The team chose this site due to the economic disparity between this zip code and the rest of our city, with a diaspora of community members seeking opportunity elsewhere. This community has an intense desire to preserve its heritage and build a vibrant future for its children; Anne and the rest of the dedicated charrette team worked hard to come up with unique and beneficial solutions to do just that.

Aerial view of the proposed mixed-use site
The team saw the potential for a self-sustaining, "business-residential-services" destination hub not totally reliant on cars or parking for its clientele. They designed a transit-center and mixed-income, multi-family residential center that would create its own foot traffic to sustain local, neighborhood-based businesses in an enterprise-focused, incubator environment.

The design concept was titled "Something to Come Home To," with four conceptual cornerstones: Economic Viability, Community Vitality, Sustainability, and Enjoyment. The mixed-use space would incorporate elements such as ample green space and plazas, solar panels, vibrant shops and restaurants, commercial offices, daycare facilities, event space, roof gardens, affordable housing, and an RTC transit hub. The center would be a multi-generational space for everyone to enjoy. 

A dynamic retail environment with common areas
This proposed model supports economic success by bringing customers and businesses together while meeting the local housing need. As community members, architects, and dreamers, the team envisioned a new path for an energetic, sustainable community. Something to come home to.

A walkable and bikeable development to enjoy

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Girls Day & Boys Nite Out Success

One of the many activity stations

On October 5th, Sparkflight Studios sponsored the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada at their annual Girls Day & Boys Nite Out. The event's goal was to create a fulfilling and exciting experience for the children, giving them the attention they deserve and leaving them with the confidence to grow and strive for the best future possible. And with one-on-one mentor support and 38 unique stations for all kinds of food, sports, fun activities, giveaways, and meet-and-greets with first responders, they definitely succeeded. Sparkflight Studios is proud to have been a part of this event, which hosted a record number of children and raised more funds than ever before, ensuring that the children and Youth Development Professionals in our community continue to receive their much-deserved support year-round.  We invite you to participate as a mentor, or with a gift, in 2020!

A happy child with her mentor

Friday, September 20, 2019

2019 AIA Blueprint for Better Housing

At the halfway point of the charrette
This year AIA Las Vegas put a call out to our professional community to coordinate a Blueprint for Better Housing.  This is our local chapter's response to a national project Blueprint for Better that challenges architects to work closely with community leaders to "...tackle key issues from rising water levels and more frequent natural disasters, to diverse housing needs and the increased urgency for sustainable design."

After coordination with community stakeholders, the AIA identified three housing categories: Multi-family Mixed Use, Workforce Housing, and Micro Housing.  Key locations within the city were targeted as virtual project sites, and an all-day visioning charrette was held in late August.  Happily, our design teams, six total, consisted of a mix of non-architects like business owners, bankers, government employees, developers--and a few architects and landscape architects too.  This event was just the start of weeks of accelerated research, proposals, number-crunching, and designing.

Anne was invited to lead a Multi-family Mixed Use group, and has been actively continuing the efforts for our site with the charrette participants, members of the local community, and our office team.  Sparkflight Studios is invigorated by this experience of listening and learning, and shaping form in response to community needs.  It's what we love to do!
  • Can a mixed use development be a catalyst for local business incubation? Yes!
  • Can urban housing have access to green space and fresh produce? Yes!
  • Can a triple bottom line* for sustainability drive a development? Yes!

* Triple bottom line is people, planet, and profit.  

The AIA Las Vegas will present the groups' conclusions in late October.
Look for additional posts with the developing project!

Preparing our presentation after a 12-hour day

Friday, July 12, 2019

Water Street is Lit!

Water Street District Canopy Sign

Water Street District has arrived on the scene, and Sparkflight Studios worked closely with the City of Henderson to prepare a dramatic, LED-lit sign next to the City of Henderson Events Plaza.  This 4′-6″ tall sign is rendered in an Art Deco font in keeping with the area’s style from the Basic Townsite era.  It features channel letters facing each side of Water Street with pre-programmed seasonal options like St. Patricks Day, Winterfest, Industrial Days, and of course, “Go Knights!”

Rendering in red; Water Street District Canopy Sign

Friday, June 28, 2019

Summer Brain Boosts

Just when vacation mindset was kicking in this year, we got to exercise our brains instead.  June was full of learning opportunities with the AIA National Convention and Graphisoft Archicad's international conference both here in Vegas.  There were lectures, showrooms, technical trainings, and of course networking.

Our team especially enjoyed the Archicad Key Client Conference! We learned new software tips, met fellow users from across the globe, and saw previews of where the tool is heading.  The BIMx viewer and construction tool continues to get better, displaying our 2D drawings with the model to improve the construction team's understanding of design intent and aiding coordination.  It's all good--especially the interoperability with Rhino for modeling.  And don't forget the cool T-shirts.
We're fans!!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

Thank you to all those who have served and paid the ultimate price.  We remember them, and their families, this Memorial Day.

See our tribute on Water Street...

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Earth Day 2019 - Project Drawdown

Often to mark Earth Day, we list some local events that contribute to the "greening" of our valley and list sustainable actions that we can all take.  Scroll down for that content...

This year the post is direr. Or, more hopeful depending on your disposition.  Small actions are wonderful, but not enough.  Mega steps are required if we want our next generations to be able to harvest food from the oceans, live in our coastal cities, and enjoy the diversity of fauna and flora that we do now.  There is no Planet B.

Today we see increasing extreme weather events and overwhelming scientific evidence of an anthropogenic-accelerated climate change.

As designers and occupants of this amazing planet, we must take responsibility for our role in the acceleration.  Other than designing for "resilience," what can be done to reverse global warming and related impacts?  Get informed.  Take action.

Here is the evidence that it is happening:
  • Global temperature rise
  • Warming oceans
  • Shrinking ice sheets
  • Glacial retreat
  • Decreased snow cover
  • Sea level rise
  • Declining Arctic sea ice
  • Extreme weather events
  • Ocean acidification
CO2 measurement from ice cores
source: Nasa.gov

Edited by Paul Hawken, and released in 2017, Drawdown and the related Project Drawdown is a beacon of hope. As stated by The Nation book review, "It will give you the best kind of hope, the kind that balances realism with radical vision."  Credible, global scientists and researchers identified and modeled the "100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change...[and] uncovered is a path forward that can roll back global greenhouse gas emissions within thirty years."  That's not the 2030 goalpost that many had hoped for, but perhaps a more realistic 2050.

Blast from the past:  See sustainabilty initiatives and reports from 2009.

Local Events:

  • Virtual 5k or 10k (March - April)
  • REVIVE Earth Day Festival (April 21)
  • Project Green - Pittman Wash Trail Building (April 27)
  • Thursday, March 21, 2019

    #NVBigGive for Family Promise

    It's so exciting to know that this project is coming to the Las Vegas Community!  Our office has been thrilled to work with Family Promise to design their Family Navigation Center.  YOU can be a part of making Las Vegas even better by contributing to Family Promise's capital campaign.

    Today is the #NVBigGive.  What can you do to make a difference?

    The mission of Family Promise of Las Vegas is helping homeless families transition to permanent housing and independence. This 8,745 SF Family Navigation Center is an extension of these values by providing spaces of learning, healing, and comfort.

    Did you know that...

    According to the 2018 Southern Nevada Homeless Census and Survey Comprehensive Report*:
    • Statewide in Nevada there are 7,281 individuals who are homeless on any given night.
    • In 2018 in Southern Nevada 15,000 children experienced homelessness and unstable living conditions.
    • Lack of affordable housing is one of the primary risk factors for homelessness.
    • Las Vegas ranks #1 in greatest shortage of affordable housing among metro areas in the nation.
    • For a single parent family to afford a two bedroom apartment in Las Vegas they need to earn at least $18.50 per hour for rent alone.
    * Facts and statistics from the Family Promise of Las Vegas website.

    Learn more on our website.
    Learn more about the national organization of Family Promise.

    Friday, March 8, 2019

    Tactility, Color, & Pattern

    Materials board for an office tenant improvement.

    A materials board is not an unusual object to find in our studio. It allows our clients to visualize their space with tactile feedback. In this particular presentation, we are complimenting the existing wall colors of beige and blue (P-1 & P-2) with earth tones emphasizing yellows and grays. Because the vertical elements are mostly homogenous, we selected a carpet tile (CT-1) with a non-directional patterning that creates a “shore-like” effect. 

    A majority of these products are sustainably sourced. Sustainability has always been an ethos of Sparkflight and selecting finish materials are an essential component of sustainable practice. For example, forbo (LT-1) is a global leader in sustainable flooring systems. Overall, they have the largest phthalate-free portfolio in the industry. Similarly, Interface (CT-1) offers sustainable products; this particular carpet tile has a 100% recycled content nylon in its yarn system and has virtually no VOCs.

    Material boards are a powerful tool because of their ability to communicate tactility, color, and pattern from an array of responsibly sourced products. Revisit the blog to see more material boards in the future!

    Thursday, February 28, 2019

    SFS Supports Fight for Healthy Lungs and Clean Air!

    Finish Line!

    Step, breathe in; step, breathe out. Scaling 108 flights of stairs and over 1,400 steps requires rhythm and patience. This past February our office participated in the American Lung Association’s Scale the Strat fundraiser as part of the Ninjaneers team.

    Participants climbed the stairwell of the Stratosphere to support research, patient education, and advocacy efforts. As you begin your ascent, you become aware that every step matters, no matter how small. Each increment is a small triumph. The same is true for the Lung Association: every dollar, every climb, every breath is a blessing and a gift. Sometimes we can be so focused on reaching our goal at the top that we can forget the joy of the climb. We are thankful to be a part of this important cause and look forward to doing it again next year!

    Written by James Maurer.

    Thursday, January 31, 2019

    World Market Center: Trends & Styles in Interior Design

    Walking into the World Market Center

    SFS recently had an office lunch at the Lou Ruvo Center before heading over to the World Market Center to view trends and styles in interior design. The SFS team observed several exhibits and was most excited at those that engaged the senses. To this point, the most extreme was TŌV’s “On Fleek” showroom— complete with an ice cream stand (and complimentary rosé). TŌV was an immersive experience in tactility, bold colors, and geometry. (Yes, plenty of millennial pink too).

    TŌV’s “On Fleek” showroom: candy, donuts, and Cardi B

    On the "Contemporary" floor there were several showrooms that allowed the team to investigate ways of combining materials and details of those mechanics:  How can brass and wood connect in sleek yet architectonic ways?  How can wood be used texturally? 

    More subdued than TŌV, but still interesting was Four Hands’ showroom. Sleek design with a rustic palette defines their catalog. For example, the Judson chair is a chorale of slung leather suspended within a black iron frame. Bleached ash armrests add warmth, and a tan leather head pillow completes the ensemble.

    We enjoyed experiencing interiors, furniture, and architectural design converge in these showrooms. With lots of inspiration to draw from, we look forward to implementing our creative energy on future projects.

    Left to right: Anne, James, Lucian (as Angry Bird), and Melina

    Written by James Maurer.