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Tag archives for | design

Tag archives for: design

Pinterest and architecture, really? really.

I have been having a lot of fun lately with Pinterest, a social bookmarking site where users collect and share photos of their favorite events, interests and promote their companies and services.  I know many architect and design colleagues use Pinterest for these purposes and more, but wondered if you do too? Follow CFA on Pinterest!

Pinterest is the third-largest such network behind only Facebook and Twitter, and it is expanding in countries around the world. Of interest to us, most significant architecture publications and prominent architecture firms have a Pinterest account with multiple “Boards” with today’s architecture and design news or a firm’s latest work.  A great example would be the online architecture magazine, Dezeen (Follow Dezeen on Pinterest»). Their latest Board is an ongoing collection of “best hotels” (See our new hotels Pinterest board»), which is very interesting.  Two good examples of an architecture firm’s beneficial presence on Pinterest, are the popular work of Zaha Hadid and SOM. 100’s of Pinterest users who admire architecture or work in the field will “Pin” a project they admire.  Just look at how popular the works of these two firms are among the Pinterest community  Zaha Hadid and SOM

This post by Scott Meyer on Digital Homesteading titled, “Six ways Architects Can use Pinterest” breaks it down.

Six Ways Architects Can Use Pinterest

by Scott Meyer on October 19th, 2012

Pinterest is the fastest growing social network and there are many creative ways to use it for your business.

Fentress Architects from Colorado recently downloaded our most popular (and free!) ebook, The Advanced Guide to Pinterest. After reading it, they wrote to ask how architects specifically are using Pinterest. Let’s take a look at six ways architects are using Pinterest:

Architects on Pinterest

To kick it off, annharr87 provides a great slideshow highlighting some of the best practices for architects on Pinterest. As you can see, grouping styles of homes into boards creates an easy way for clients to browse fun and sometimes fantastical homes. Showcasing your homes is a key use of Pinterest.

Showcase Homes

View the slide show

Share interior design ideas

Another effective use of Pinterest is to help consumers with ways to improve their homes. MB Design in Vermont provides home improvement ideas as well as interior design ideas:

1. Screen-Shot-2012-10-15-at-4.05.58-PM

Provide Tips

This firm is doing a good job of giving viewers valuable resources that they can use on their own. These are the true drivers of traffic to bring users to your site. Once there, make sure you offer them valuable content and ways to capture their information as a lead. If you can follow-up with them and continue to offer advice, you’ll have them hooked.

Many “best ways to fix your (insert thing) in your home” type pins are shown below. These are great to get customers in your door.

2 Screen-Shot-2012-10-15-at-3.42.09-PM

Showcase work in bite-sized pieces

This firm, DxDempsey Architecture in Scranton, PA, is doing a wonderful job of organizing their pins and creating them to be very relevant to viewers. They are showcasing their own work, which is a key detail in winning customers. They show their home portfolio, retail stores, commercial properties, bathrooms, living rooms, etc, all that they designed themselves. This gives the consumers an idea of what they can achieve with DxDempsey.

3 Screen-Shot-2012-10-15-at-4.00.59-PM

In addition, this will encourage customers to pin their finished DxDempsey spaces on their own pages, and link back to the company. This greatly increases visibility, especially when you consider that 85% of pins are repins.

Enable user-generated content

Consumer-generated content is very important for architecture firms, as they are highly reliant on their clients for feedback and popularity. By enabling them to upload their own content and link to your profile on Pinterest, as well as share your content on Pinterest, you will increase your website traffic and also customers will assign more credibility for your business as visuals communicate so much more than words.

Attract specific audiences

Another firm, TCA Architecture from Seattle, WA, knows what they are doing on Pinterest. They include a variety of board types, and they are showing the public that they truly care about the environment with their first board being “Sustainable Architecture.” This will appeal to the environmentally conscious customers and is a way for this firm to stand out among their competitors.

4 Screen-Shot-2012-10-18-at-5.35.04-PM (1)

This firm is also doing a good job of showing architecture in a variety of lifestyle viewpoints, which gives them more reach with different types of customers and reminds viewers that everyone encounters architecture in their lives.

Pinterest for Architects

Pinterest is a perfect media to showcase architectural work. With the visual nature of architecture and the fact that it is the fastest growing social network, it should be at the center of any architectural firm’s social strategy.

My Recommendation: What are you waiting for?

Follow CFA on Pinterest! My two favorite boards lately are “Building I like today” and “Buildings I don’t like today”.  Tell me what you think of my choices in the comment section.


Learn more

Need more help? Free resources to teach you how to use Pinterest along with the myriad of other social networks. Visit our resources page to download our free guides to social networks and digital marketing. You can also sign up for digital foundations class. This free email series will walk you through the most important concepts and networks for building a successful digital marketing strategy.


Related

Inside @Pinterest‘s beautifully spare new headquarters. http://f-st.co/J05eMfa pic.twitter.com/BXtoKe6yEb

The architects’ guide to Pinterest

What the Heck Is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You.

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How to transform independent contractors into employees

First, make an architecture or interior-design independent contractor into an employee by formalizing the person’s work arrangement and paying him or her regular wages. The IRS and its interpretation of payment and work plays the most important role in deciding a person’s status. At our staffing firm for architects and designers converting a independent contractor to a full-time employee is a third of our business.
Characteristics of an independent contractor

The IRS views an independent contractor as a person who works apart from the firm, and the rules governing them are not extremely clear cut. This wide room for interpretation has led to disputes in a number of workplaces. Fortunately, the status of an independent contractor is not as ambiguous as that of intern architect or draftsman.

By definition, an independent contractor is a person who has a significant amount of control over his or her work, achieves goals independently from the firm, doesn’t need to adhere to all the firm’s rules, uses his or her own equipment and doesn’t require close supervision by a member of the firm.

Characteristics of an employee

An employee must follow the set rules of the firm. He or she receives payment through a W-2 rather than a 1099 form. An employee uses the firm’s equipment to complete jobs, has a title with the firm and is subject to supervision by a member of the firm.

The transformation from contractors into employees

4 Key Points

  1. A person’s status changes when the firm takes them under its wing. Typically, this process involves the following aspects: training, giving the person authority to make decisions for the business, assigning the person key duties to perform and redefining the person’s work status as permanent, off-probation or retained for a set period of time. The process is complete when the new employee understands their work responsibilities and begins a project on behalf of the firm.
  2. It is critical that the person understand what it means when he or she has become an agent of the firm. The best way to accomplish this task is in writing. The new architect or interior designer and the owner of the firm should sign a letter of agreement stating the worker is now an employee.
  3. You can ratify and celebrate the change in a person’s status by providing them with business cards that state their title and contact information. Having a letter signed and dated by the owner that contains a start date is also helpful and thoughtful for those changing from independent contractors into employees.
  4. Finally, it is meaningful for the firm to circulate an internal announcement that they have hired the independent contractor as a full-time employee.

 

Source list:

http://www.cons4arch.com/
http://www.aia.org/akr/Resources/Documents/AIAB095064
https://www.mbopartners.com/resources/article/what-is-independent-consulting

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Architecture Billing Index

Architecture Billing Index

Firm Billings Remain Solid in October

Architecture firms anticipate relatively slow adoption rates for new and emerging technologies in design and construction

By Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, AIA Chief Economist
U.S. architecture firms reported another solid month of growth in October 2015. The AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was 53.1 for the month, demonstrating a solid increase in firm billings that was just below the 53.7 score for September. New project inquiries, with a score of 58.5 for the month, and new design contracts at 51.7, point to healthy business conditions at architecture firms. However, both readings fell a bit from their September level, suggesting that growth may moderate just a bit in the coming months.

Architecture Billing Index

Click to expand

The overall strong performance in business activity in recent months is beginning to show a regional pattern. Firms in the South have been reporting continued strong business conditions through the year, while firms in the West have been reporting acceleration in billings over the past few months. In contrast, Northeast firms have been reporting weak conditions in recent months, and Midwest firms—while reporting growth—have seen billings increase at a somewhat slower pace.

Firms in all the major construction sectors reported healthy conditions in October, with the strongest growth coming from commercial/industrial firms. Residential firms recorded their second straight monthly increase after   seven straight monthly declines. Institutional firms saw growth on par with September, but their ABI scores have been declining for the past several months, indicating that the pace of growth of billings at these firms has been moderating.

In Spite of International Concerns, U.S. Economy Doing Well

The economy sputtered a bit in the third quarter, producing only 1.5% growth at an annualized basis. However, there appears to be some firming in economic conditions to date in the fourth quarter. There was a net increase of 271,000 payroll positions nationally in October, well above expectations, and the strongest monthly increase so far this year. That pushed the national unemployment rate down to 5.0%, its lowest level since early 2008. The construction sector has been an important contributor to the employment front, adding 31,000 payroll positions for October and 159,000 through the first ten months of the year. Construction has thus accounted for almost 8% of payroll gains so far in 2015.

An improving labor market, coupled with continued low gasoline prices, has improved the consumer’s outlook. The preliminary consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan jumped up in November to its highest level in several months. This has produced higher levels of consumer spending, as retail sales—after netting the lower amounts spent on gasoline—saw healthy gains in October. A key test of the perceived health of the economy will come in mid-December when the Federal Reserve Board decides whether an increase in short-term interest rates is warranted to prevent potential future overheating.

Innovative Technologies May Not Yet Be Ready For Prime Time

In the design professions, as in other sectors in our economy, change is inevitable, but the pace of change may be slower than commonly thought. In an effort to see how the profession might be evolving over the coming five to ten years, this month’s question to the AIA’s Work-on-the Boards panel looked at design and construction elements that might be increasing in importance over this time period.

Topics covered included the areas of design and construction process and techniques, building characteristics, building features and systems, and construction materials. Several of the areas deemed to be becoming more widespread over this period are already fairly widely utilized, such as lighting technology systems (LED, day lighting/natural light), water conservation/efficiency, and energy efficiency designs and retrofits. The overwhelming majority of respondents felt that these design elements would be increasing in importance over the coming five to ten years.

However, other recent innovations that typically have garnered more attention may not reach the same levels of adoption over this period according to architecture firms. One example is the use of robotics in the construction process. Only one in nine respondents feels that this technology will significantly increase in importance over the next five to ten years. Conversely, about four in ten respondents feel that there were be no significant increase in this technology over the coming years. The results were not much different for 3D printing used in the construction process. Only about one in six respondents feels that this technology will significantly increase in importance in the coming years.

This month, Work-on-the-Boards participants are saying:

• After a late summer lull, clients seem to be back at their desks, making decisions and issuing RFPs and RFQs. Prospects for 2016 are looking up.
—33-person firm in the West, mixed specialization

• Firms are very busy and fees are slowly catching up with personnel salary increases.
—6-person firm in the South, institutional specialization

• Northeast (other than NYC) is still struggling to come out of the recession.
—4-person firm in the Northeast, mixed specialization

• New problem for us, long-predicted: talent shortage. Could increase staff by 15-20% if people were available. I expect this to last a long time.
—20-person firm in the Midwest, commercial/industrial specialization

Additional Resources:

Join the AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community to receive more practice-related content

Reference:

The ABI Work-on-the-Boards Survey Panel is open to any AIA member who is principal/partner of their firm. Apply to join the ABI panel by completing a brief background information form on your firm here.

Article originally posted on the AIA.org Website.

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Perkins Eastman

Assembling a City

Perkins Eastman designs a city on the former site of an Atlanta car factory

The City of Doraville, population 8,300, is a 15-mile drive from downtown Atlanta. The suburban enclave is also the last stop on Atlanta’s METRO Gold line rail transit system. Around the station, Stan Eckstut, principal at Perkins Eastman, has designed a “city-within-a-city” on the 165-acre site of a former General Motors assembly plant, adding a heavy dose of transit-oriented walkability that developers at The Integral Group hope can entice city-centric millennials to the city’s fringe.

“It is a city, there’s no question,” Eckstut said of the development, dubbed “Assembly, Doraville, USA.” His master plan design—a mix of about 50-percent public space and 50-percent developable land sandwiched between railroad tracks and an interstate highway—embraces density around the Doraville transit stop, connecting to the city’s historic downtown with an armature of parks that will guide development over the next decade.

Eckstut said streets and public spaces organize development parcels, which are envisioned as fluid land-use designations rather than prescribed uses—much like in a real city. In turn, market forces guide what ends up getting built. Eckstut cautioned against the pitfalls of large-scale “Renaissance plans,” that guided 20th century urban renewal, and today have influenced heavy-handed development in China. “The issue is creating something that can be implemented over time with many ideas and many innovations,” said Eckstut. “You need to focus on how it will get implemented and how you can create a fabric where things can evolve and change—much like the grid of Manhattan.”

Assembly sits on one side of a 30-foot-tall freight and transit rail line, one of the busiest in the Southeast, and Doraville on the other. Eckstut said connecting the two was important to create a real urban place. He plans to build a 60-foot-wide tunnel beneath 13 active tracks, an expensive feat, to create connections that can also foster density.

“The plans that preceded us all had bridges that went over the tracks,” said Eckstut. The massive approach ramps required for such a structure precluded creating a compact town center. “I realized I could bring a street right under the tracks and meet up with grade. That became the whole scheme.” Eckstut said the street—an extension of Doraville’s civic heart, Park Avenue—will form the framework for the rest of the development. “This is the glue that connects the historical town center with the new 165-acre site,” he said.

Just inside, an approximately 1.7-acre “Transit Square” serves as the forecourt to the larger parks system. From here, everything in Assembly is an easy walk. “I drew a circle with a radius of about 1,200 feet—a five minute walk,” said Eckstut. “When you reach a five-minute walk, the world changes—people don’t walk after that.” You can get just about anywhere in Assembly in five minutes, and your walk will always be close by a park.”

Eckstut said that Assembly’s park system is a sustainable machine for the entire neighborhood. “Most large-scale projects today have one major sustainability challenge: keeping stormwater on site,” he said. “The best way of doing that is creating a park system. Wherever you have streets, you’re going to have rain gardens.” Rather than build wide sidewalks, Eckstut hopes these gardens will create a more intimate and vibrant streetscape.

Eckstut said streets and public spaces organize development parcels, which are envisioned as fluid land-use designations rather than prescribed uses—much like in a real city. In turn, market forces guide what ends up getting built. Eckstut cautioned against the pitfalls of large-scale “Renaissance plans,” that guided 20th century urban renewal, and today have influenced heavy-handed development in China. “The issue is creating something that can be implemented over time with many ideas and many innovations,” said Eckstut. “You need to focus on how it will get implemented and how you can create a fabric where things can evolve and change—much like the grid of Manhattan.”

Assembly sits on one side of a 30-foot-tall freight and transit rail line, one of the busiest in the Southeast, and Doraville on the other. Eckstut said connecting the two was important to create a real urban place. He plans to build a 60-foot-wide tunnel beneath 13 active tracks, an expensive feat, to create connections that can also foster density.

“The plans that preceded us all had bridges that went over the tracks,” said Eckstut. The massive approach ramps required for such a structure precluded creating a compact town center. “I realized I could bring a street right under the tracks and meet up with grade. That became the whole scheme.” Eckstut said the street—an extension of Doraville’s civic heart, Park Avenue—will form the framework for the rest of the development. “This is the glue that connects the historical town center with the new 165-acre site,” he said. Perkins Eastman

The City of Doraville, population 8,300, is a 15-mile drive from downtown Atlanta. The suburban enclave is also the last stop on Atlanta’s METRO Gold line rail transit system. Around the station, Stan Eckstut, principal at Perkins Eastman, has designed a “city-within-a-city” on the 165-acre site of a former General Motors assembly plant, adding a heavy dose of transit-oriented walkability that developers at The Integral Group hope can entice city-centric millennials to the city’s fringe.

“It is a city, there’s no question,” Eckstut said of the development, dubbed “Assembly, Doraville, USA.” His master plan design—a mix of about 50-percent public space and 50-percent developable land sandwiched between railroad tracks and an interstate highway—embraces density around the Doraville transit stop, connecting to the city’s historic downtown with an armature of parks that will guide development over the next decade.

perkins eastman

Everywhere within the Assembly development is a five-minute walk away.
Eckstut said streets and public spaces organize development parcels, which are envisioned as fluid land-use designations rather than prescribed uses—much like in a real city. In turn, market forces guide what ends up getting built. Eckstut cautioned against the pitfalls of large-scale “Renaissance plans,” that guided 20th century urban renewal, and today have influenced heavy-handed development in China. “The issue is creating something that can be implemented over time with many ideas and many innovations,” said Eckstut. “You need to focus on how it will get implemented and how you can create a fabric where things can evolve and change—much like the grid of Manhattan.”

Assembly sits on one side of a 30-foot-tall freight and transit rail line, one of the busiest in the Southeast, and Doraville on the other. Eckstut said connecting the two was important to create a real urban place. He plans to build a 60-foot-wide tunnel beneath 13 active tracks, an expensive feat, to create connections that can also foster density.

“The plans that preceded us all had bridges that went over the tracks,” said Eckstut. The massive approach ramps required for such a structure precluded creating a compact town center. “I realized I could bring a street right under the tracks and meet up with grade. That became the whole scheme.” Eckstut said the street—an extension of Doraville’s civic heart, Park Avenue—will form the framework for the rest of the development. “This is the glue that connects the historical town center with the new 165-acre site,” he said.

perkins eastman perkins eastman perkins eastman
The Yards will be the first portion of the plan built.

Just inside, an approximately 1.7-acre “Transit Square” serves as the forecourt to the larger parks system. From here, everything in Assembly is an easy walk. “I drew a circle with a radius of about 1,200 feet—a five minute walk,” said Eckstut. “When you reach a five-minute walk, the world changes—people don’t walk after that.” You can get just about anywhere in Assembly in five minutes, and your walk will always be close by a park.”

Eckstut said that Assembly’s park system is a sustainable machine for the entire neighborhood. “Most large-scale projects today have one major sustainability challenge: keeping stormwater on site,” he said. “The best way of doing that is creating a park system. Wherever you have streets, you’re going to have rain gardens.” Rather than build wide sidewalks, Eckstut hopes these gardens will create a more intimate and vibrant streetscape.

perkins eastman

Around the parks, the city has approved up to 10 million square feet of development governed by form-based codes that call for maintaining a street wall without setbacks for the first 60 feet of height. Eckstut said the tallest buildings around the Transit Square will top out at up to 15 stories, as dictated by the airspace requirements of an adjacent airport.

The first section of the plan to be built is called “The Yards” on the southwest corner of the site, where a spur of the rail line once entered the factory. Eckstut convinced developers to save leftover remnants from the old GM plant to be repurposed as a film studio. Perkins Eastman is also designing a new minimalist loft building with an industrial aesthetic adjacent to the studio. Cottage-like outbuildings will surround the studio and additional offices will fill train cars. Developers plan on breaking ground on The Yards within the next year.

With the master plan complete and approved, each of six distinct neighborhood districts will go through a separate site planning process that goes into more detail about buildings and public space design. The district surrounding Transit Square and including the new underpass will go into planning in the next 18 months. Eckstut said this phase “is very complicated because we have to engage the transit station and the street that goes under. It involves at least a dozen entities.”

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Architects Billing Index

Firms Report Strongest Billing Since Before Recession

PHILADELPHIA (MNI) – U.S. architects are enjoying the fastest growth in billings since before the recession for their work on a range of residential and commercial construction projects, and expect continued growth in coming months, according to company owners and a trade association.

Architecture firms in Los Angeles, New York, and Charlotte, North Carolina said they have hired more people in recent months and expect to hire again to cope with the extra demand from developers of apartment buildings, retail space and in some cases institutional properties like charter schools.

While some companies have at least doubled their billing and the size of their payrolls since the depths of the recession, most said they have work in the pipeline that suggests even stronger revenue in 2015.

“This is really just getting underway,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist at the American Association of Architects, in an interview. “We are very much in the early innings of what looks to be a healthy recovery.”

The AIA’s monthly index of billing, which in July showed its strongest growth since mid-2007, is expected to show continued strength when the August index is released on Sept. 24, Baker said.

“I don’t think there’s any evidence that August was off that trend line significantly,” he said.

The industry has seen intermittent growth during the last three or four years so the evidence of a sustained upturn is not yet conclusive but the current increase is the strongest since the recession, Baker said.
architecture billing index
The growth suggests there will be an upturn in non-residential construction spending of around 10% in 2015, Baker said. He attributes the upswing to improving business confidence and better access to capital.

“Businesses are finally at a stage where they are comfortable reinvesting in their facilities, and comfortable that the economic upturn is going to be sustained,” he said. “They are seeing sufficient demand to justify reinvestment.”

The greater availability of financing is allowing the restart of construction projects that stalled several years ago because of a tight credit environment after the recession.

“Financing has begun to ease up a little bit,” Baker said. “Surprisingly strong numbers of firms are saying they are now working on projects that they had begun three or four years ago, but stopped work and now they have come back.”

Even the market for design of institutions such as schools is coming back after a period when it was hurt by a decline in local government tax revenue.

“The last couple of months we have seen very strong numbers on the institutional side, which would suggest that construction activity moving into 2015 will begin to pick up,” Baker said.

The higher demand for institutional work has been seen in New York City where Caples Jefferson Architects is designing schools for both public and private-sector clients, as well as undertaking more work on residential projects.

“There are lots and lots of charter school construction going on right now as well as public construction,” said Sara Caples, president and principal of the firm in Long Island City.

Caples said demand for her firm’s services is at its strongest for at least five years, and that billing in the last few months has been about double its level of a year earlier. And in a sign that billings will growth further, she said she has had a “flood” of requests for proposals in recent months, and is responding to an unusually large number of them.

“We throw out a lot of requests for proposals if we don’t think we have a strong chance, and we’re still putting out a major proposal every week or so, which is just extraordinary,” she said.

Current projects include a 20,000 square-foot charter school in the Bronx, and a 40,000 square-foot charter school plus a 12-unit residential component in Manhattan, she said.

Residential developments are facilitating the construction of associated institutional projects because of the strong retail market in New York, Caples said.

“The market is strong enough that the residential makes it viable to build the six-story school on quite a challenging site,” she said. “The 12 residential units will allow them to pay off the mortgage very rapidly. The residential market seems to be the little engine that’s financing quite a lot of things.”

architecture jobs in nyc
The eight-person firm already is two architects bigger than it was at the start of 2014, and may add more, despite an extremely selective hiring policy, if it takes on just one or two projects, she said.

The growth is being fueled by easier access to finance, which is helping not only to revive dormant projects but to launch new ones, Caples added.

“That’s what’s different about this,” she said. ‘Now, people are actually making new deals with their financiers that haven’t been kicking around forever.”

And she said her firm’s current growth seems to be representative of the market as a whole. “Most of the people that we talk to seem to be experiencing similar patterns,” she said.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, The Housing Studio, an architecture firm specializing in multi-family housing projects around the East Coast between Philadelphia and Charlotte, and in the Denver, Colorado area, is seeing an “explosion” in growth, said President Chuck Travis.

He said the company is billing about $3 million annually or more than three times the level during the recession. Its 28-strong work force is now about twice its traditional size, and four times its level at the low point of the recession. Travis said he’s looking to hire four or five more architects.

Travis said the growth is unprecedented in the company’s 18-year history. “It’s exponential growth in a two-year time frame,” he said.

He attributed the upswing to increased demand for rental housing in the walkable or transit-oriented urban areas that are favored by the “millennial” workers who eagerly sought by developers across the country.

That sector of the population is less interested in housing as an investment than was the previous generation, and prefers the flexibility of rented accommodation, he said, predicting continued growth.

“We’re not showing any signs of slowing down,” he said.

The demand for downtown living is also being seen in a three-square-mile area of Los Angeles, where 6,000 residential units are under construction and another 14,000-16,000 units are being planned, according to Simon Ha, a partner with TSK Architects.

That is creating more work for firms like TSK which is billing 30% more than it did a year ago, and has hired four architects this year for a total of 10, Ha said. And demand is stronger than it was in the pre-recession years of 2006-2007.

The construction boom, which he said is being fueled by investment from China, has resulted in land prices in the downtown area jumping to around $400 a square foot from $250-$300 two years ago. Land near LA’s Staples Center is now selling for about $600 a square foot, or about double its level two years ago, he said.

With a booming population of single people demanding housing in previously desolate urban areas like downtown LA, there are big opportunities for companies like TSK which has increased its billing for residential design to 70% of its total, Ha said.

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New Jet Age Design

New Jet Age Design

new jet age designDubai International Airport has surpassed Heathrow as the world’s busiest global hub, while three Gulf airlines—Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad—are scooping up passengers. Boarding a lavishly appointed Airbus A380 at Dubai’s $4.5 billion Terminal 3, Graham Boynton examines the tectonic shift in aviation that threatens to leave the West’s cramped, bare-bones carriers in the dust.

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In the spirit of the Olympics

New York City architecture in 2013:  The great and the not-so-great

In the spirit of the Olympics, here are our three favorite projects from 2013 — plus one that didn’t stick the landing.

A toast to 4 World Trade Center, Sunset Park’s new recycling center and Walker Tower, plus a hard look at Prospect Park’s new skating center.

This seems like a stretch to tie in architecture criticism to the Olympics, but it did get me to read the post by Matt Chaban of the Daily News.  He brings his critique to a pedestrian level in my opinion, which is probably why I don’t know him as an architecture critic – that’s just my opinion. Do you agree with Matt’s Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal projects? Do you have your own medals you would like to award?

odabar7bp-1-web

Gold medal
4 World Trade Center

It may not be the biggest building on the 16-acre site, nor the boldest, but it is certainly the most beautiful — a quiet, dignified tower that honors its sacred home. Using simple geometries, Japanese master architect Fumihiko Maki put a notched parallelogram atop a trapezoid and covered the whole thing in a crystalline glass sheath. The result is a solemn sentinel watching over the site.

odabar7bp-3-web

Silver medal
Sims recycling center

Annabelle Selldorf is best known for designing Fifth Ave. boutiques, Chelsea galleries and luxury apartments. And now a recycling plant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn (below). The firm used standard prefabricated beams and modules to create the hangar-like structure on the harbor. The surprisingly sleek industrial facility shows that simple components and a clever hand can achieve great results.

odabar7bp-4-web

Bronze medal
Walker Tower

There’s a reason the wealthy and celebs like Cameron Diaz have been flocking to Walker Tower (right). Take a neglected art deco telephone exchange towering over Chelsea, gut it and turn it into a modern throwback. Period details and newfangled accessories are expensive, which explains why the penthouse is in contact for $50.9 million, a downtown record.

odabar7bp-5-web

Dishonorable mention
Lakeside skating center

A good effort by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, but the new skating center in Prospect Park (right) is more of an unpolished diamond — nice rinks, but utterly lacking in necessities like changing rooms and benches for hockey. We can only hope the problems will be addressed.  By Matt Chaban

My Medal Picks are more simpatico with these projects

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CFA Showcases Client Projects

Featured Projects

We thought it would be really great to showcase our client’s projects to spread an inspirational vibe.

Therefore, we are giving you the opportunity to create a showcase of your project. Showcase your project with photos or hand sketches, and an optional blog post and video! Each month, CFA features one client project on our website, which receives over 600 hits per day AEC industry professionals. Featured clients include photographs and a blog post detailing the project.

To participate we ask for three high resolution project photographs with the dimensions of 215 wide x 135 high. We also ask you to choose one of the three photographs to be on the header of the blog post with the dimensions 950 wide x 430 high. Submit your project blog post on a Word document. The submission deadline is the Friday of the third week of the month. To participate, we require three high-resolution project photographs or hand-sketches (dimensions 215 wide x 135 high). We also ask you to choose one of the three photographs or a hand sketch to be on the header of your blog post (dimensions 950 wide x 430 high). To submit a video, please provide the URL link to your video.
Again, the submission deadline is the Friday of the third week of the month.

Thank you for your interest in showcasing your project on our website.

If you have any questions please contact David McFadden at (212) 532-4360 or dmcfadden@cons4arch.com

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5 Questions You Should Never Ask in a Job Interview

Could these words be costing you your dream job?

By Catherine Conlan, Monster Contributing Writer

Hiring managers and HR pros will often close out a job interview by asking an applicant if he or she has any questions themselves. This is a great opportunity to find out more about the job and the company’s expectations, but you can’t forget that the interviewer hasn’t stopped judging YOU. Here are 5 questions that can make a bad impression on your interviewer, scuttling your chances for getting the job.

1. “When will I be promoted?:
This is one of the most common questions that applicants come up with, and it should be avoided, says Rebecca Woods, Vice President of Human Resources at Doherty Employer Services in Minneapolis. “It’s inappropriate because it puts the cart before the horse.”  Instead of asking when the promotion will occur, Woods says a better approach is to ask what you would need to do to get a promotion.

2. “What’s the salary for this position?”
Asking about salary and benefits in the first interview “always turns me off,” says Norma Beasant, founder of Talento Human Resources Consulting and an HR consultant at the University of Minnesota. “I’m always disappointed when they ask this, especially in the first interview.” Beasant says the first interview is more about selling yourself to the interviewer, and that questions about salary and benefits should really wait until a later interview.

3. “When can I expect a raise?”
Talking about compensation can be difficult, but asking about raises is not the way to go about it, Woods says. So many companies have frozen salaries and raises that it makes more sense to ask about the process to follow or what can be done to work up to higher compensation level. Talking about “expecting” a raise, Woods says, “shows a person is out of touch with reality.”

4. “What sort of flextime options do you have?”
This kind of question can make it sound like you’re interested in getting out of the office as much as possible. “When I hear this question, I’m wondering, are you interested in the job?” Beasant says. Many companies have many options for scheduling, but asking about it in the first interview is “not appropriate,” Beasant says.

5. Any question that shows you haven’t been listening.
Woods said she interviewed an applicant for a position that was 60 miles from the person’s home. Woods told the applicant that the company was flexible about many things, but it did not offer telecommuting. “At the end of the interview, she asked if she would be able to work from home,” Woods says. “Was she even listening? So some ‘bad questions’ can be more situational to the interview itself.”

With the economy the way it is, employers are much more choosy and picky, Beasant says. Knowing the questions to avoid in an interview can help you stand out — in a good way.

 

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“We Really Do Offer The Freedom To Design”

The entire CFA team and I are pleased to announce the completion of the rebranding of our company, social sites, and website.  We wanted a fresh new look that better reflects our times and services in a constantly changing world and the professionals we represent.  I described CFA to as a 29 year old “start-up” because we have always reacted well to change and our brand should reflect our unique ability and staying power.  CFA was successful the year it was created, 1984, and has never looked back.

Special thanks and acknowledgement goes out to our designer Ryan Kovich. Ryan devoted several months of his valuable time and energy studying the creative world of architecture and design and contemplating our brand identity.  He took that knowledge and his creative energy to bring us this great new brand.  Find Ryan Here.

We would also like to thank our creative editor David Gibbons.  David did a tremendous job taking our ideas, filtering out the rhetoric, and providing rock solid content that expresses our brand perfectly. Find David Here.

Finally, we would like to thank our consultants and clients who gave us their valuable input throughout this process.  Our rebranding efforts success would not be possible without them.

Would you like to evaluate our new Website? Evaluation Form.

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