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Design Inspiration

What influences good design? I've been thinking a lot lately about what influences there are on a building design. From the way that a home is laid out to how a large skyscraper soars into the sky, there are a lot of different things that can inspire design. And inspiration can come from anywhere. It can be as simple as a metal footbridge, or as abstract as the mission of a government agency.

For example, in Green Scene, we take a look at the new state-of-the-art headquarters for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The 2.4 million-square-foot office building consolidates six of the agency's Washington, D.C.-area sites, and was viewed as an opportunity to evolve the organization's culture into a unified, collaborative and mission-focused environment. Designed through a joint venture of RTKL/KlingStubbins, the building design is rooted in the agency's mission and motto of "Know the Earth, show the way." The main office building forms the shape of an eye, while the overall design concept is based on the "terrestrial" meeting the "celestial." Click here to read more about the largest LEED Gold certified federal building in the world.

On the other hand, the campus site and topography helped create the inspiration for the addition on the Iowa Western Community College Performing Arts Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh takes a look at how the architects used inspiration from metal footbridges on campus to create an addition clad in Weathered Steel panels from Holland, Mich.-based Dri-Design. Find more here.

Inspiration really can be found all around us. In this month's Know Your Products section, four manufacturers take a look at a variety of projects that feature metal mesh. From a community center to a university, an exhibition space to a parking garage, architects drew upon inspiration for each of the designs, which utilize metal mesh, both as a functional and aesthetic feature.

Inspiration is what drives us to create bigger and better things. Whether that's a building or a novel, each of us draws upon inspiration at times. What inspires you?

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