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Sasaki at ABX 2018

Now in its seventh cycle as Architecture Boston Expo (ABX), the largest construction conference in the Northeast attracted over 8,000 attendees this year, including a strong showing of Sasaki designers.

How Do You Practice?

Principal and architect Christine Dunn, AIA, presented “Practice Paradigms: New Business Models that are Challenging Traditional Practice” with David Gamble, AIA, principal of Gamble Associates, and Mark Pasnik, AIA, founding principal of OverUnder. The session explored how emerging design practices are moving away from conventional expertise-based towards discipline convergence and transdisciplinarity. Dunn, Gamble, and Pasnik surveyed attendees to understand where their respective practices are heading; each person was asked to draw a diagram explaining how they practice, and to locate their practice on a graph that explored the relationship between firm size and degree of specialization.

Devil in the Details

Principal and architect Victor Vizgaitis, AIA, and senior associate Meredith McCarthy, AIA, gave a presentation with Carrie Hawley, principal at HLB, and Marisa Wohl, Director of Workplace Experience at Akamai. The group spoke about the importance of branding in a company’s physical space, what “brand” means in the design of a workplace, and how to achieve a space that feels unique without sacrificing functionality or financial responsibility.

Shifting Gears: An Urbanist Take on Autonomous Vehicles

Princpal and landscape architect Isabel Zempel, ASLA, and planner Alykhan Mohamed presented reserach findings from Mohamed’s team on autonomous vehicles and the future of cities. The interdisciplinary panel of speakers led a discussion on how urban design can help cities better manage the transition to autonomous vehicles and networked mobility. Questions included ‘how soon can we expect to see autonomous vehicles as a significant mode of transportation?’, ‘what are the key decisions that designers and policymakers will face?’, and ‘how will autonomous vehicles impact the urban fabric, and what are the key opportunities for architects and urban designers to intervene?’.

Design Technology Throwdown 2018

As one of the faces of ABX 2018, senior associate and architect Brad Prestbo was integral in promoting the expo, championing the conference’s mission of advocating for high-performance design, advanced design technologies and incorporating maker culture into the design process. With the help of Felipe Francisco, he also led a pre-conference workshop, Advanced Enclosure Detailing, where participants redetail mid-century buildings for the 21st-century.


During the expo, Kyle Martin of Gensler and Prestbo hosted the second annual Design Technology Throwdown, a four-hour competition in which local firms demonstrate how they use advanced technologies in the design process. Teams are given a design brief 24 hours before the event starts to develop strategies. All design work needs to be completed during the 4-hour competition. This year’s judges included Sasaki’s Director of Digital Practice, Luis Cetrangolo, AIA. Photos of the event can be viewed here.

No Tools Required, Permeable Pavers, and More

In addition to the presentations, several dozen pieces created by firms such as Sasaki and Payette, as well as the BAC and MakeTank, were exhibited on the expo floor. Special thanks to Sasaki’s Graphics team for their overall support. Included in the exhibition were the following Sasaki projects:

  1. Cardboard Construction:  An interactive exhibit where participants can create their own, or add to a sculpture with modular pieces, designed by Felipe Francisco.
  2. No-Tools Required:  The zero-waste and flat-pack bench that wowed crowds at last year’s ABX returned, design lead by Andy Cole.
  3. Spoons:  Various studies of hand-crafted and CNC milled spoons, designed by David Morgan.
  4. Video Game Booth:  A popular attraction, especially with those looking to play throwback games, electronics by Patrick Murray.
  5. Permeable Pavers:  Mock-up board and physical samples from our in-house research and fabrication project, led by Courtney Goode.
  6. MakeTANK Pavilion:  A flexible node example was on hand, along with the Mood-Swing stool.
  7. IIDA Fashion Show:  Sasaki’s looks, and the double-x logo sign were on hand to showcase unique material and fabrication methods.
  8. Incubator Screen:  In collaboration with Jaywalk Studio, the clear plastic prototype was on display, showcasing mass-customization techniques.

Photos can be viewed here.

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