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Studio Visit> BAM Architecture Studio
New York-based firm employs a business-centric approach to design.
Acorda Therapeutics Headquarters and Research Labs
Albert Vecerka / Esto

BAM Architecture Studio takes great pride in its ability to solve complex design problems through focused attention, providing solutions that satisfy the client. This ability to deliver pleasing programs has catalyzed rapid growth in the firm. Launched in 2000 (November 16 at 9:00 a.m. to be exact), BAM now boasts more than 31 employees spread throughout two offices, one in New York City and the other in Durham, North Carolina. The principals are even considering opening an office in California.

The firm’s co-founders include husband-and-wife team Ross and Pamela Cole and Brian Spence. Pam, as she is known, is an NYU Stern School of Business graduate. She “runs the firm,” according to Ross, who concentrates on the long-range planning of projects. Spence focuses on getting the work completed on time and on budget.

BAM began in a rather idiosyncratic way for an architecture practice: It prepared a business plan. As unusual as this may be, more architects should consider launching their firms in this way. The plan won an enterprise competition at NYU and allowed BAM to secure funding capital to start up and begin looking for clients.

The firm also claims, perhaps because of Pam’s business expertise, not to operate like a traditional architecture office, but like an architecture and engineering firm. According to Cole, this means “each design decision integrates aesthetic and contextual imperatives with those of budget, program, materials, technology, and construction.” It is apparently not just a public marketing stance but integrated into the office structure, which aims to provide “a well managed design process with decisions made by informed professionals,” said Cole.

By following well-established company protocols, projects stay on time and within budget. It is for this reason that the firm has an impressive list of corporate clients, particularly in the fields of health care and entertainment, who continue coming back to the firm to work on newer projects. Yale University Hospital has retained the firm numerous times and NBC has brought them back to rethink at least 100 small-, medium-, and large-scale design projects in an around their Rockefeller Center headquarters. For example, BAM is currently redesigning the green room for NBC talk shows.

Albert Vecerka / Esto

Acorda Therapeutics Headquarters and Research Labs

Ardsley, New York

Biotech campuses are an important component to developing an economic strategy for the Hudson Valley. This company needed a clean modern image for their placement on the Ardsley Park Life Sciences campus in Westchester County, and that is exactly what BAM delivered. Both the interior and exterior of the facility are BAM projects and perfect examples of their ability to give their client a clean modern appearance and a workable corporate headquarters and research facility.



Courtesy BAM Architecture Studio

NBC Henson Hallway Project

New York City

The late Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, used to hangout in a particular end of the NBC hallway while waiting to appear on talk shows. He drew Muppet-like faces on the plumbing pipes that rise up through building. NBC made the decision to not cover up the pipes, but turned it into a small side attraction. The network hired BAM to design a theatrically colored and decorated frame around the pipes, creating an impromptu shrine to Henson.

Courtesy BAM Architecture Studio

Yale New Haven Hospital

New Haven, Connecticut

Pediatric cardio catheterization hybrid operating rooms are tension-inducing places in the best of times. At this New Haven hospital, BAM softened the hi-tech space with hidden colored lighting that washes down the walls, creating a calming environment for the patients and the operating physicians.

Courtesy BAM Architecture Studio

West Pavilion Yale New Haven Hospital

New Haven, Connecticut

This is another example of BAM’s ability to deliver pleasant, human-centered designs that are clean, pleasant, and, in this case, child friendly. BAM redesigned the interior of a 1990-era structure that needed to be updated to provide the type of modern health care that people expect today. The renovation gave the ever budget-conscious client a star attraction to show off to potential patients.

William Menking