We Learn by Making

These days, the Heurista team is seldom covered in paint and hand-building our designs ourselves – well, it still happens sometimes. It’s in our blood, it’s who we are. We know what can be built because we know how to build. Our designs are informed by our knowledge of how materials feel when you shape them. Our shared history as makers allows us to dream bigger while staying within the realm of what’s practical, affordable, and safe. Now that we lead teams – inside and outside of Heurista – we hold those who make our designs with or for us to that same high standard.

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Story Captured In Just A Few Words: Children’s Hospital at Erlanger History Wall

In 2018, Heurista was awarded the design commission for the donor recognition and history exhibit in the new Kennedy Outpatient Center at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is a dynamic was environment designed to engage the community and provide positive experiences for children and their families needing outpatient services. Notably, the Kennedy Outpatient Center also heralds a new era in the evolution of the Erlanger Health System and the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. It is the first of several new buildings to be built in the coming years.

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Hammond School Innovation Center Supported by Philanthropy

Hammond School provides a unique pre-K through 12th-grade educational experience in Columbia, SC. The program focuses on character development, leadership, and experiential learning. The Innovation Center, completed in 2018, demonstrates the atmosphere where students at Hammond have the opportunity to learn and share experiences that go beyond what is available at many colleges. Education in facilities of this caliber is made possible through the support of philanthropists who support the school’s mission, vision and values.

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UAB Blazers - Community Support for the Team

A nearly unbelievable thing happened: for a while, there was no football at the University of Alabama Birmingham. This was a decision that rocked the university and the city, pulling them together in support of a sport that was integral to the community and its sense of place. Over a remarkably short time, the community stepped forward supplying the necessary enthusiasm and financial support to rebuild the football program at UAB.

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Child-focused Donor Recognition: Opportunities for Creative Design

Designing donor recognition for projects focused on children provides special challenges and special rewards. “Bright and colorful, playful, engaging, interactive…” are the first instructions we hear. If a brand manager or the architect is in the room, “integrated, coordinated, and tasteful” get added to the list. Facilities chimes in with “safe, durable, and easy to maintain.” The foundation reminds us, “we may need to add names later” and “it has to be cost-conscious.” Such was the case in Chattanooga, Tennessee but there is so much more to be said about the Kennedy Outpatient Center at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

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Creative Play: Cross County Shopping Center Playground

Heurista was engaged to help create a staged program of amenity improvements that will bring a park-like feel to the shopping mall. We were selected for our combination of creativity, project management skill, and expertise in sponsorship and recognition. Cross County acknowledges that they will need community partners to fund these new projects, ranging from seating that encourages a co-working style environment, a community art program, and renovations to existing hardscape that facilitate special events like concerts, fashion shows, and family activities.

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Creative Placemaking: Heurista’s Partnership with Edison Projects

Heurista works with Ed Manner and the team at Edison Projects to draw from experience in place-based storytelling for leading international property development firms ranging from the developers of Dubai’s Downtown - including the Burj Kalifa tower and The Dubai Mall – to Sung Hung Kai Properties who operate more than 50% of the public/private commercial properties in Hong Kong. Developers in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Morocco have engaged our thinking to welcome their communities.

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Challenges and Advantages for Digital Donor Recognition


There are benefits and compromises inherent in the decision to use a screen to present donor recognition. A traditional donor wall allows a passive viewer to understand a considerable amount of information about the relationship between an organization and its donors without reading a single name. One can glean an idea of the number of donors from the size of the list. If a hierarchy of plaque sizes or categories is part of the display, those details let the viewer know that people give different amounts. The location of the display, the environment surrounding it, and the materials used to build it all help indicate the value the organization places on its donor. The best donor walls motivate the viewer to consider giving and explain how to make a gift.

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Conference Wayfinding at the Touch of a Screen

When it comes to wayfinding technology, a conference app can make all the difference with an organization the size of ADRP. The best part was that app usage began way before the conference even started. Being able to sit as a team with our phones and decide who would go to which sessions, was a useful planning tool. Once on site, being able to find where we were to setup our booth through "Maps" made hauling gear into the venue much easier.

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