“If you’re involved in the construction project, whether as a contractor, a designer, or a project owner, you will get real benefit from the practical ideas, suggestions, and law presented in these videos.”
Happy New Year, friends & followers of a/e ProNet! We thought we ‘d take a moment to congratulate our friends over at Victor O. Schinnerer–one of the leading Professional Liability insurance companies in the industry today–on the new, updated Schinnerer Risk Management Blog.
For a number of years, Schinnerer’s Risk Management Blog has been an excellent source of up-to-date industry news. Recent posts have included:
If you’re an Architect or an Engineer or a Design Consultant, whether or not your current professional liability insurance carrier is Victor O. Schinnerer, their blog is a great place to look for answers to your everyday questions about insurance, best practices, and, of course, risk management. These referenced posts on the old blog, so be sure to check out the archive. We also encourage you to subscribe to the new WordPress blog if you find this info relevant to you and your business.
We read the ArchDaily blog all year round, but last week’s fun, holiday post is worth mentioning here. (If only because they saved us the trouble of coming up with 13 excellent gift ideas for architects! Thanks, guys!)
And when the wrapping paper has been discarded and the tree hauled out to the curb for the Boy Scouts to collect, when 2014 dawns, make sure you visit ArchDaily again. They’re a fantastic source of relevant, inspiring industry news.
Architects and engineers already share their voices with the world through their designs and ideas, but we love it when this group gets proactive about amplifying their voices online, too. Today we want to highlight the blog of one a/e ProNet member’s client: TLCD Architecture in California.
The idea was simple: Give people the opportunity to rent private residences around the world at a nightly rate. Wouldn’t travelers jump at the chance to stay someplace cozy, someplace with a kitchen, someplace, perhaps, cheaper than a hotel would be in the same city?
Start-up success story Airbnb, founded in 2008, capitalized on this market and proved every one of those assumptions absolutely correct. They also uncovered a previously unanticipated perk of their private-owner-to-private-traveler model: It can be a design-lover’s dream!
Architectural Digest posted on this recently, pointing out that the Airbnb “fairy tale has an especially happy ending for design aficionados. At the same time that the company’s founders… have delivered a radical jolt to the travel industry, they have also unlocked a previously inaccessible world of inspiration to architecture buffs around the globe.”
The spectrum of home-types available for rent on the Airbnb site stretches farther than you’d expect, from yurts to Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes to igloos to penthouse apartments. This means anyone with an open weekend and the desire to immerse himself in a spectacularly designed home can do it for a price.
Architecture isn’t brain surgery, but it is a mentally demanding profession that requires input and effort from both sides of the brain. Wouldn’t it be cool to know how an architect’s brain works? Now you can.
“While the left brain pays attention to the patterns, measurements it also focuses on meeting deadlines, understanding building and design codes, paying bills , setting appointments and remembering them, “cleaning the refrigerator”, “smelling like vanilla” and going to “sleep at 10 p.m.”(apparently, architects and designers need their sleep).
“The right brain of an architect mainly focuses on the possibilities and potential of a new project and is easily excited by each option that surfaces. However, arriving late at every meeting or appointment, spending $200 on a pen, wearing a scarf in July and leaving sticky notes in the pocket are also some of the activities it controls.”
Explains a lot, right? In fact, I’m pretty sure Mom’s disapproving voice is an area of the brain not unique to architects! Ditto Needs more cowbell.
“I think there’s optimism—a very guarded optimism, given where we’ve been over the past four or five years,” says Scott Sarver, principal at Chicago-based SMDP LLC, which hopes to latch on to the better economy here, boosting its billings from domestic projects to 50 percent this year from 25 percent in 2012.
Among industry giants, San Francisco-based Gensler plans to add 50 professionals here through next year, to 273, says Nila Leiserowitz, a managing director in the Chicago office.
The pool of new architects is rising, too. Architecture schools awarded 10,252 degrees in the 2011-12 academic year, up 13 percent from 9,073 degrees in 2008-09, according to the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
Things a looking up. And if the “industry giants” are hiring to meet the increase in project opportunities, it’s also probable that seasoned professionals will take this chance to open their own shops. We hope so! Continue reading “A Good Time to be An Architect”
Remember when Architects and Engineers were still pondering the sustainability of the sustainability fad? In 2009, posts like LEED Accreditation – Fad or Necessity? from the Civil Engineering Central Blog and Is LEED a Load? from the Archinect Discussion Forum were popping up all over the place. Four years later, the industry may have a better grasp on what green means, but some of those original fears and worries may also have a right to remain. This week’s installment of Friday Finds by a/e ProNet includes a pair of articles commenting on the current status of LEED and Green Design.
“But, man, there are a lot of warts in this system.”
LEED has been criticized for:
Being insufficiently demanding of its applicants. Shoot high enough to seem relevant, but low enough that designers will see the standards as achievable and worth trying for.
USGBC, although a non-profit, needs revenues to keep the system going. “If difficulties in the standards or the process of application are too demanding, fewer potential applicants will be willing to pay the costs of documentation and formal review.”
Has “become pro forma, more about earning points than achieving actual environmental performance.”
“I recount this long-winded intro because my friend Lloyd Alter of the environmental website Treehugger has just written a terrific story about a new, supposedly super-green house being touted as “the new face of efficiency” even though it’s really a gigantic luxury house placed in a location where residents have no choice but to drive long distances to do anything. This is ultra-green? Sadly, LEED seems to think so.”
“The language and presumptions of sustainable “green” design are changing a significant portion of the landscape for all stakeholders in the construction and building-related industries. “Green” building impacts everything from the selection of carpeting and window treatments to how far the materials have to be shipped to the project before installation. And with ever evolving sustainable design standards and building codes (e.g. the International Green Construction Code), it is important that designers understand how “green” projects affect their risk. “
Here’s hoping the continued dialogue on these issues will lead to a better understanding and implementation of LEED.
A treat for Architects, Engineers, and roller coaster enthusiasts alike.
In 2012, Zurich Insurance celebrated their 100th anniversary. A century spent insuring people, places, and things has given the company a fascinating historical perspective, from covering one of the rides at the Chicago World’s Fair to utilizing special training to help employees handle the first computers.
Visit 100 Years Insuring America, Zurich’s special anniversary web feature, to explore the last century through the eyes of one of the country’s leading insurance companies. Check out cool black and white photos, old advertisements, and a timeline organized by decade.
“Zurich first brought its knowledge and experience in workers’ compensation insurance from Switzerland to America in 1912 to help its customers take intelligent risks.” Today, “Zurich employs about 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries.” Read more about Zurich at their website.