Ethos is a new annual internal publication created and published by VMDO staff that represents the characteristic spirit of VMDO’s design culture and forms a profile of how we work, what we value, and who we are within each given year. Each Ethos publication should reveal and celebrate what goes into the making of our architecture – i.e. key statistics, details of construction, iterative process explorations, and ideas worth remembering. Decidedly not a monograph, each Ethos is a scrap book, treasure chest, or yearbook, of what matters most to VMDO.
The purpose of Ethos is to create a forum for exploring a common definition of design quality and to unite VMDO’s three studios (K12, Higher Education, and Athletics + Community) under a shared banner. With a yearbook-like concept in mind, with different sections created by different authors expressing different styles, Ethos’ creative voice seeks to recognize the multiple people, perspectives, and collaborators that influence the firm’s project work while uniting everyone under a common commitment to design quality.
Each year around the time of our annual firm-wide meeting in March, each of VMDO’s three studios will choose a different project that is “significant” to them in some way (by their own definition) and explore that significance through text, images, graphics, designs, renderings, and data that share the story of that project to date. Complementing these materials are transcribed interviews featuring the project team that offer personal testimony about why the project was selected and what it means to the studio and to the firm.
For each nominated project, each studio discussed the following questions:
- Why is this project significant? How does the project reflect and further the firm’s mission?
- How does the project raise the level of design excellence at VMDO?
- In what ways does the design elevate the client’s program and initiatives?
- How did the team solicit stakeholder input?
- How does the design take responsibility for its stewardship impacts?
- How does the design actively support occupant health + well-being?
- How does the design address resilience and climate change?
- How did the design process and team further accumulated knowledge at VMDO?What important ideas, studies, tools or resources were piloted by this project that might be useful to others?
- What lessons has the project team learned on this project? What would we have done differently if we had the chance?
For our Athletics + Community studio, it was important that the project be constructed so that they could share lessons learned about materials, installation, and performance. In K12, the selected project was a proposal for a design competition that never ended up moving forward but expressed the style and type of collaboration that the studio hopes to embody in all design efforts. In Higher Education, the selected project successfully won a national design competition and the studio wanted to share lessons learned about its scale (the largest in VMDO’s portfolio) and new design and construction strategies employed due to the project’s location in Miami.