Decoding the 2015 Terrapin Holiday Card


Decoding the 2015 Terrapin Holiday Card


Click the cropped image above to find the hidden and not-so-hidden imagery in our 2015 holiday card!

The holidays always see the Terrapin team reconnecting with family and friends — whether that’s in New York City (or just north of it) or in our hometowns in Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Georgia, New Jersey, and Oklahoma. Before heading out and leaving the office plants to fend photosynthesize for themselves, we sent out a holiday card filled with elements of our work. Did you find all the hidden imagery? And were you able to interpret them? It’s okay if you didn’t! Most of our team couldn’t quite put their finger on all the details our graphic designer Joshua Rhodes of Josh Makes packed into the card (Side note: be sure to visit his website to check out his other designs, illustrations, artworks, and creations). So, rather than keep the details to ourselves, we’ve written a guide explaining the symbols and information. Though, we did leave a few for you to identify.

Click the holiday card thumbnail, and let’s start from the top and work our way down:

1. Charging Bull Statue

Located just outside our office at the northern tip of Bowling Green, the Charging Bull statue greets the team each morning — as well as a few hundred, if not thousand, tourists daily. This one’s a bit hard to find; so here’s a hint: it’s not only honeybees flying through the air in our holiday card.

2. Swarm Intelligence

Representations of our bioinspired innovation work made it into the card in a few places: one is the remarkable intelligence of swarming, flocking, and schooling organisms. We’ll only provide a murmur of a hint on this one.

3. Our View

In the middle of 2015, we expanded our team and shifted into a new office space down the hall from our old one. While we needed the extra space, we also inherited a spectacular view of The Battery and New York Harbor and a certain Lady who resides in those waters, tasked with enlightening the world.

4. Phoebe

Terrapin’s work focused on ecological design (lovingly branded as “Phoebe” here at Terrapin) is hiding in the innocuous water tower. Designing a built environment for people that is also home for the natural environment requires rethinking our use of everyday resources such as water.

5. Bank of America Tower

While we still love to talk about our work with COOKFOX Architects on the Bank of America Tower, we can’t wait to share the results of our ongoing productivity study taking place there once it’s concluded. Stay tuned!

6. Religious Institutions

No stranger to creating energy master plans for large campuses, Terrapin is working with religious institutions in New York City to reduce their energy use across the city, fulfilling the mission of these places of worship while contributing to state and federal goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

7. Building A Sustainable New York

The city skyline, crane, and smokeless chimneys symbolize our ongoing work to develop a pathway to reduce New York City greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

8. 40 Second View

Though at least one team member thought this described the quick zip to the top of the newly opened One World Trade Center, this bit of biophilic design data comes from this study which reported 40 second views to a green roof improves concentration and boosts sustained attention, supporting the value of healthy cities and workplaces.

9. Net Zero Energy

Another one that is fairly hidden: the outline of a certain southern U.S. state where Terrapin is working on a community-scale, net zero energy project.

10. Paley Park

The blue-hued trees combine two biophilic elements of Paley Park: its water feature and honey locust trees. The park is featured in one of three new biophilic design case studies we recently published. Each study includes a project summary, descriptions of the utilized biophilic patterns, a critical analysis, and images, plans, and sections of the completed project.

11. CO2 Concentrations

The two CO2 concentrations (ppm) represent the findings of UTC’s Cognitive Function Study, which showed the effect on cognitive functions of increasing carbon dioxide levels in office spaces. These functions — such as the ability to make decisions, the capacity to pay attention, and the ability to provide information — significantly decrease as indoor air quality deteriorates.

12. Honeybees

Represented here and inspired by honeybees, Encycle’s Swarm Logic technology is the translation of the strategy described in #2 above. Using bioinspired innovation, companies like Encycle are transforming the built environment by tapping into nature to develop high-performing technology.

13. A Turtle Dove?

How’d that turtle get in the tree? Maybe it’s a turtle…dove. Hyuck-hyuck-hyuck; we’ll show ourselves out.

14. Red Light

Nope; that’s not the equation for the flux capacitor. The string of information describes the wavelength (nm), illuminance (lux), and intensity (W/m2) of red light and refers to this study’s findings that suggest red light’s ability to increase short-term, daytime productivity.

15. You and Everyone You Know

Did you know you’re in there? Well, at least in spirit, you are. The silhouettes symbolize our work being driven by improving people’s — all people’s — lives.

16. The River

Aiming to integrate the local economy of Buffalo and the ecosystem services of the region’s watershed, our project with the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper includes wide ranging stakeholders and studies the importance of water for regional agriculture, recreation, manufacturing, and households. The project just completed its first phase, and we’re excited to share more details as further phases commence.

17. Joy to the Squirrel

We’re pretty sure that phrase was an autocorrect error while the group was submitting ideas for our holiday greeting. Even if it was a mistake from one of our machines, we liked it anyway. And a number of us also love the classic film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and its scene involving an interloping squirrel in a Christmas tree.

18. Terrapin Logo

And, possibly the easiest to discern, the snowflakes throughout the card are abstractions of Terrapin’s hexagon logo. We hope that your holidays were wonderful and that you’ll join us in building a brighter future in 2016!