Thought Leadership

We are constantly thinking, diagramming, debating…

 

As architects, designers, consultants and healthcare activists, MKM sees itself as a think tank – empowering staff and collaborating with clients to seek out and develop innovative strategies across the care continuum. Our team is full of creative, curious, passionate people. We are makers, artists, techies, poets, researchers, inventors, problem solvers, data geeks, daredevils, and philosophers in our industry’s booming creative culture who wholeheartedly believe that good design can make the world a better place. 

MKM Leadership Collaboration

Effective design is measured by its ability to balance between independence and health. As designers, our responsibility is to understand how our work affects people's dignity, comfort, security, and happiness. Take for example the Oxo potato peeler. The design was meant to improve the tool for an arthritic hand. There is an inordinate amount of science embedded within the product's design, all of which you likely don't notice. You simply pick up the peeler, use it, and put it back into the drawer. It was inherently designed for the sensitivities of a frailer population yet done in a way that appeals to a much broader demographic. This is the measure of good design - specialized solutions that appeal to inclusive audiences. In that way, we think of each of our projects as our potato peelers.

Publications + Speaking

Over our 40-year history, MKM has received numerous awards.  From projects ranging from historic preservation to sustainability (MKM completed the first LEED Platinum building in the state of Indiana), our approach has allowed us to produce awards-winning projects for over three decades. The following is a select list of recent awards and recognition received by the firm. View the full list here.

MKM continually strives to grow and cultivate new ideas.  Our staff works tirelessly to understand and explore emerging trends within the industry through both commissioned projects and research-driven explorations.  In doing so, we have established an interactive research initiative that allows us to explore new and innovative thinking.  These efforts have produced as series of white papers, symposia, and conference presentations exploring ideas from Lean Healthcare to smart growth strategies. The following is a list of our recent publications and speaking engagements. View the full list here.

The Global Age-Friendly Community Movement
Livable Community For Aging Populations

Forthcoming: Considering the Future State of Our City

Early 2020 sparked what would become a world on fire. Many of us felt isolated, relegated to experiencing the world through endless virtual meetings, curbside services, and clumsy remote work arrangements as we watched over 850,000 of our neighbors lose the battle during a global pandemic. All the while, as we were confined to our homes, it seemed as though we witnessed a waning of the American spirit through our televisions. From the death of George Floyd to the invasion of the United States Capitol, we found ourselves forced to assess our behavior – as a nation, as a community, and as an individual.
 
It’s important that we take a moment to reflect on what we have learned about our communities and ourselves. To begin that process, this project assembled a group of leaders (economists, artists, architects, urban planners, entrepreneurs, social workers, etc.) to explore what ideas they consider to be misunderstood or underappreciated when envisioning the future of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The result was this collection of essays – 20 ideas from 20 voices, that hope to shape community development for the next 20 years. 

Forthcoming Book Cover

Interested in a printed copy?

Printed copies of Forthcoming: Considering the Future State of Our City are available for local pickup at MKM architecture + design, 119 W. Wayne St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, for a suggested donation amount of $20. Proceeds will be donated to the United Way of Allen County

 

 

Email: info@mkmdesign.com for more information.

Health is Membership

A new video conversation series, Health is Membership, looks to better understand the connection between placemaking and well-being. Hosted by Principal, Zachary Benedict, AIA, the show will sit down with innovators across the care continuum and examine how we can redefine a culture of health throughout the Midwest. 

 

Community well-being is a systemic issue with interconnected concerns ranging from public policy to social isolation. When one realizes that a zip code has a more immediate impact on our health than our genetic code, it is easy to see how complicated this problem has become, especially within the Midwest. As the poet Wendell Berry once noted, "community – in the fullest sense; a place and all its creatures – is the smallest unit of health and to speak of the health of an isolated individual is a contradiction in terms."

As architects working in northeast Indiana, MKM understands the challenges the Midwest faces in improving the health and well-being of its residents. Each month, he will interview physicians, economists, urbanists, politicians, poets and everyone in between, to highlight the specific problems facing our communities and consider the most effective ways to improve health outcomes and quality of life. The show aims to cultivate a discussion that reminds communities that health is not a metric, but a membership, one that requires everyone play a part.

 

View the series on our YouTube

Fishbowl

Every few months we shut down our downtown office to host a public event we affectionately call the Fishbowl. It's an afternoon where we invite some of our closest and most interesting friends to reflect on their careers, share their work, and discuss their ideas. With topics ranging from technology to toilet paper, the Fishbowl is intended to provide an intimate venue to talk, share, and learn about innovations in community health and well-being. But most of all, its allows us to grow as designers together. 

MKM Fishbowl with Susan Mendenhall

MKM BSU Scholarship

For many years, MKM has demonstrated our commitment to higher education in a variety of areas. With our entire leadership team consisting of graduates of Ball State University’s (BSU) College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), MKM established CAP’s first formally endowed scholarship – awarding top students at an annual capstone design competition on campus. The scholarship is intended to recognize and foster students who have demonstrated a talent for design and share our passion for architecture. 

 

You can view the most recent award winners here.