The American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association have honored the new Austin Central Library with a 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.
The six-story, 200,000-square-foot building, which opened in October of last year, replaced the Faulk Central Library as the flagship of the Austin library system. The library was designed by San Antonio’s Lake|Flato Architects in conjunction with Shepley Bulfinch, and it features a signage and wayfinding program created by fd2s.
In announcing the Austin Central Library as one of this year’s award winners, the AIA called it a “technologically rich hub for innovation and cultural intelligence,” and said it has “created a framework for lifelong learning that bolsters a more resilient community.” The group also highlighted the emphasis on sustainability that has put the facility on track to receive LEED Platinum certification, including its heavy use of daylighting and its extensive efforts to capture and recycle rainwater.
The library’s fd2s-developed signage and wayfinding program reflects these themes of community, technology, and sustainability. The signage program helps create a welcoming, visitor-friendly environment that draws patrons from throughout Austin. It also clarifies and promotes the building’s sustainable features, including the 150-space valet parking area for bicycles.
You can read more about the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards on the AIA website.
For more images and a detailed description of our work on this project, visit our Austin Central Library case study.
Working with fd2s, the Oklahoma Health Center recently became one of the nation’s first academic medical centers to deploy a system of overhead vehicular wayfinding signage.
Commonly seen in large, high-traffic facilities like airports and professional sports stadium complexes, these elements reflect the size of the health campus and the complexity of its layout. The 325-acre Oklahoma Health Center campus includes 21 different member institutions with more than 17,500 employees.
The campus is home to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, as well as a major U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, a children’s hospital, and a growing biotechnology research campus.
Visitors encounter the signs as they approach the campus on North Lincoln Boulevard. The signs sort them onto the best approach for their ultimate destination, and then smaller-scale vehicular wayfinding signage directs them to the most appropriate parking lot, valet station, or drop-off location.
A lack of clearly articulated entry thresholds for the sprawling campus – as well as the wide range of possible destinations – make these over-the-roadway signs a critical component of the wayfinding program. They also play an important role in helping to define the area as a distinct medical and technology district within the city. Obtaining permission for the signs from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was a lengthy and highly involved process, but one that was worthwhile because of the value they deliver.
The complete Oklahoma Health Center wayfinding program also includes more-traditional vehicular and pedestrian signage, as well as a wayfinding-oriented website, printed maps, and staff training materials. Look for more details on the full project as these remaining elements are implemented later this year.
Austin’s new Central Library opened on October 28, and the 200,000-square-foot downtown landmark is receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from visitors and the media. The library, which occupies a high-profile location in the Seaholm EcoDistrict near Austin’s City Hall, is being applauded for its use of technology, its generous incorporation of public spaces, and its role in shaping the surrounding urban environment.
More than eight years in the making, the project was designed as the “library of the future” by a joint venture of Lake|Flato Architects and Shepley Bulfinch, and was constructed by Hensel Phelps. Our signage and wayfinding program for the project – fabricated and installed by Capital Architectural Signs – complements the facility’s world-class architecture and places a heavy emphasis on flexibility, sustainability, and the library’s role as a community gathering place.
For more images and a detailed description of our work on the project, visit our Austin Central Library case study.
As a continuation of our longtime support for the San Antonio Food Bank, fd2s recently designed and oversaw the implementation of donor recognition and wayfinding signage for the new facilities of its branch in the nearby community of New Braunfels. Founded in 2010, and originally known as The Kitchen Table, the New Braunfels Food Bank now reaches 58,000 food-insecure individuals on a daily basis.
The donor recognition program we created for the facility recognizes corporate and individual underwriters with wall-mounted panel assemblies that display donor names alongside images of nutritious food and the faces of people served by the organization. For wayfinding, we utilized elements that match those of the parent facility in San Antonio, featuring simple forms and a bold use of the Food Bank’s red brand color.
We’re pleased to share some exciting developments regarding new and ongoing fd2s wayfinding projects across the U.S. and around the world.
Galleria40 Phase II
At the Galleria40 project in Cairo, Egypt, our scope has been expanded to accommodate recent revisions to the mixed-use development’s design and circulation plan. As part of this expanded scope, we will update our wayfinding master plan to reflect a newly conceived event venue on the mezzanine level, and will also revise the plan to address a variety of additional changes intended to improve tenant visibility and create a more engaging shopping experience.
City of Navasota Identity Development
Civic leaders in Navasota, Texas, have asked us to add identity development to our existing wayfinding master plan project. We will utilize our understanding of the community to develop a graphic identity that conveys Navasota’s unique strengths, and will then incorporate this new identity into the final design of the new signage and wayfinding elements. The new identity will also be rolled out across the city’s other communication and marketing materials.
The Village Wayfinding Implementation
The Village Business Improvement District in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is moving forward with the implementation of our recently completed wayfinding master plan. The signage package has been released for bid, and fabrication and installation will be completed over the next three years. This implementation schedule will dovetail with a larger program of intersection reconfigurations and infrastructure upgrades in the district.
Texas State Capitol Wayfinding Enhancements
The State Preservation Board has engaged us to plan and design enhancements to the wayfinding program at the Texas State Capitol here in Austin. This includes new exterior wayfinding elements that will improve accessibility for disabled visitors, and new interior wayfinding and operational signage. A major goal of the new interior signage will be to clarify and expedite the increasingly complex security procedures at the building’s entrances.
If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve been busy with in recent months, we’ve added several new projects to the site’s On the Boards section, which is where we share examples of our latest in-progress work. These new projects include implementation work on previously created fd2s wayfinding master plans, as well as some totally new engagements.
The newly added projects range from healthcare donor recognition installations to citywide wayfinding systems and comprehensive signage programs for education, arts, and civic facilities.
For the City of Brenham, we created a new community-wide signage program that draws inspiration from a number of local design cues, ranging from the Maipole structure in Fireman’s Park to torch-cut metal commercial signage.
We are generating concepts for a 450-square-foot wall that will be a key feature in the main lobby of the new Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan.
For the large and diverse Denver Public Library system, we’re creating a systemwide wayfinding program that achieves consistency throughout the many branches, while also relating appropriately to each architectural setting.
For urban Miami’s densely developed Miami Health District we’re creating a wayfinding system that will clearly identify patient and visitor destinations, unify the overall environment and communicate a distinct sense of place for the district.
At the Oklahoma Health Center in Oklahoma City, we’re working on a multi-year, phased implementation of the wayfinding master plan that we created for the 20-square-block medical district in 2012.
We’re devising a creative approach for disseminating wayfinding information, recognizing donors, and sharing interpretive content at the new Robert B. Rowling Hall on The University of Texas at Austin campus.
At Austin’s Bass Concert Hall, which includes a new five-story atrium, we’re working with Texas Performing Arts to enhance the attendee experience by further improving orientation within the multi-level building.
We’re working with The University of Kansas Hospital on donor recognition and wayfinding programs for the new Cambridge North Patient Tower, along with enhancing their district-wide approach to identification and wayfinding.
With our recently designed wayfinding system for the University of Minnesota Ambulatory Care Center now in the construction documentation phase, we’re focusing on a donor recognition program for the new 330,000-square-foot facility.
It’s always gratifying to see the many components of one of our healthcare wayfinding master plans falling into place. This is even more true when parts of the plan are being implemented by the institution’s in-house team with the help of local consultants.
While we often provide full implementation services for our wayfinding master plans, we also enable owner involvement by creating comprehensive, detailed plans that allow each component of the wayfinding program to be implemented using the most appropriate resources. These well-documented plans establish a clear framework for the phased rollout of the wayfinding program, and create detailed standards for system logic, design, nomenclature, and sign locations.
The existence of this detailed plan ensures efficient, timely, and consistent deployment of the new wayfinding program, regardless of changes to the individuals or consultants that make up the implementation team. It makes wayfinding system deployment and management a highly structured part of an institution’s operations, rather than allowing it to remain a largely ad hoc endeavor.
The City of Huntsville recently engaged fd2s to revisit a comprehensive municipal wayfinding strategy that the firm originally developed for the historic Texas community several years ago, and now the updated strategy is back on the path toward implementation.
The part of the wayfinding initiative currently underway will be aimed at Huntsville tourists and travelers passing the city on nearby highways, with the goal of increasing visitors to the city’s historic district and other places of cultural significance.
The components will include strategically placed, custom-designed TxDOT guide signs that will direct motorists to the appropriate highway exit, and a system of custom community wayfinding signs that will help visitors find their desired destination. fd2s designed these wayfinding elements to reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage, incorporating historic iconography and architectural filigree inspired by the community’s landmark buildings.
The Texas Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the proposed locations of the guide signs. Once the fd2s team incorporates any TxDOT recommendations, the final signage plan, along with estimated budgets for fabrication and installation, will be presented to the Huntsville City Council for approval. fd2s will then produce design intent drawings for the approved wayfinding components, bid the project on the City’s behalf, and oversee the fabrication and installation process.
In keeping with its commitment to provide a pedestrian-centric campus experience, SMU has extended its engagement with fd2s to implement a system of identification signage for structured and surface parking. The new signage will facilitate easier identification of parking options at the campus perimeter for motorists, and therefore more efficiently convert them to pedestrians. The system will also allow special messages to be displayed at key locations for events that draw a large number of campus visitors.
Close on the heels of our wayfinding master planning efforts for the Loma Linda Health campus, the organization recently approved a five-year, multi-million dollar budget to create a new Health District. Utilizing a wayfinding and placemaking infrastructure, the end result will make the user experience as intuitive as possible by creating a sense of arrival, a sense of place, and coherent vehicular and pedestrian pathways.
fd2s will reengage with the original steering committee, which consists of representatives that represent the university and hospital, to confirm priorities over the 5-year plan and meet with City officials to determine how best to dovetail elements that are located within public rights-of-way.