Design for Innovation


Interview with Bob Wandel

“Do you know Jack Nicklaus?” Bob Wandel asked me. It told him I was familiar.

“Jack and I went to school together, so it was fun to work together so many years later.” After deciding to build a golf course for the specific purpose of having a tournament, Nicklaus hired the original master planner from the west coast, Desmond Muirhead. It was decided that a golf course wouldn’t be able to survive on its own; it needed outside income. It was Jack who designed the golf course and Muirhead designed the surrounding community in Dublin, Ohio.

Throughout the course of two years, several architects, a landscape architect, and several developers would meet once a week to discuss the project. Bob told me that our work, specifically, was published in a national magazine for contributing to the design of cul-de-sac housing. “Do you know what a cul-de-sac is?” he asked. “I do,” I replied. He described the concept for me. “Cul-de-sacs are out in the country. The concept was that when you drive into a cul-de-sac, it had a certain kind of tree or a certain kind of sound, so if you went home drunk at night, you’d know where you were,” he said and I, of course, laughed. “No, I’m not kidding.” He told me that this idea was of interest to the national magazine: that neighborhoods could be developed aesthetically by not only sight but also by landscaping and sound.

This idea was very progressive for the time. There was a recession and a lot of our work was considered to be too risky and forward thinking, so they didn’t end up taking to the idea and went with conventional subdivisions. I asked him if they considered that a huge loss at the time. He said “No. Well, yes and no. The houses exist. They’re there. We learned so many other things about working with a community and zoning and land planning. We didn’t lose.” He went on to tell me that they did an analysis on the number of houses sold in the area in recent years over $100,000. It wasn’t many. It was such an economic stretch, but the developers built the houses anyway.

“Fun fact: the original design was all done by hand. This was before we used computers. You have to find that drawing,” he declared. 

* The sketch Bob was referring to is at the top of the page.

1972 Pop Culture Facts

Nobody could have been bored in 1972. Hacky sacks were kicked. Pong on Atari was giving everybody tennis elbow. HBO began broadcasting. Also, washing dishes was at its finest when Dawn stocked the shelves with dish soap and made all hands silky smooth. Static cling was an all-time low when Bounce introduced dryer sheets into our lives. Never again did we have to endure the embarrassment of having a sock stuck to our sweater. Carnival Cruise Lines began inviting passengers to vacation with them and even though you’re not supposed to wear a watch on vacation, you could if you wanted to because digital watches were on board.