Saturday, March 3, 2012
Hello, It's been a while since my last post. I have taken a renewed interest in this Blog and will continue to write  about the changing world of architecture through my eyes.
Well... It's March of 2012 and the health of architecture is still shaky. I was laid-off in 2009 and every year since then, I have hoped that the economic component to a healthy Architectural Business model would improve. Unfortunately it has not. I just recently tested the waters with some cold calling to firms to see if any positions were available. All gave the same response. They are also looking for a recovery that has not materialized yet. Construction is at an all time low. Competition for work is intense. Several people I talked to at firms said that there seems to be new players showing up at bid meetings. Something has to change soon.   
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The other day I was shown a new type of solar collector that was amazing. It is a crystallized film that is applied to glass surfaces and has the ability to create power much like any solar panel would except for two differences. One, you can still see through the window it is applied to. This in itself is truly amazing. However this material has another property that will set itself apart from any other material currently used in the collection of sunlight and transformation into energy. First of all, during daylight hours this material is almost 300% more efficient than previous solar panels. Second when the sun goes down this material can produce power from artificial light sources. street lights, passing vehicles, lightning storms. All will produce some level of power. This has never before been achievable until now.
That being said, I am not here to advertise this product. Architectural Braindump is about how this world is changing. In earlier articles I wrote about integration of technologies that are more intertwined and cohesive. I have proposed that buildings will almost become a living organism to live and work in. This material helps drive home that point and shows us direction towards my theory. Glazing on a building will serve a dual purpose. Not only has the amount of reactive space been increased on some buildings by a hundred fold, but, the efficiency has been increased to incredible levels. I am confident that in the future Architects will exploit this new technology and take advantage of the returns it can provide.
one thing for sure this is one profession that is ever changing.



Monday, January 3, 2011
Happy New Year! That being said. Comes the announcement that any new residential construction begun after January 3, 2011 in the state of Pennsylvania will have an integrated sprinkler system as part of the project. This announcement has many contractors upset, claiming that the systems are expensive and will add considerable cost to the project budget. Insurance companies are also examining the ramifications of this new requirement. Some concerns are system failure or malfunction and who will be responsible in the event that this occurs. Some do see this as a good requirement. Firemen are willing to accept any assistance when it comes to fighting fires. In many cases the system will prevent a large fire from erupting. In the worst case scenario it will aid to fight the fire from within while the firefighters work the fire from the outside. This will change how Architects think about how they design new homes. While many will try to force the system into their design at first, eventually they will begin to evolve their designs to incorporate the system more efficiently. This is a bold change to the Architectural dynamic and will bare further examination.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Over the past month I have contacted any friends or acquaintances I could think of that were working in the architectural field. Almost all were unemployed, as each told his or her story, it became evident that when firms cut back to react to declining billable work, seniority played a major role in who stayed and who went. Often people told me that youth was lost and aged were spared. All felt that this was counter-productive to the overall health of the firm. Many felt that due to the changing technologies, many of the older Architects left kept in service do not possess the newer L.E.E.D. credentials that are quickly becoming a staple certification. I spoke of the importance of how L.E.E.D.'s role in Architecture is becoming far more important than anyone could have ever imagined when it was created. when our profession begins to move forward again I hope that the role of the   employees will be examined and decided with an eye to the future and how our industry is greeting that future. 
Friday, November 12, 2010
It's November 2010 and the profession of Architecture is at one of its all time lows. The current economical climate is not condusive to a need for new construction. Many buildings stand empty of any and all life. No one is going to expel energy and money to build perspective spaces when so much is currently available. The crux of this post is what happens to architects who have lost their positions and what this could mean for the future of our profession. I myself have been out of work since December 2009 and it has forced me to re-think my career choices. I am fairly confident that I am not alone. Many architects are examining their current education level and trying to figure out what other career they can tangent into. It is not easy.
Now let us look to the future when the economic structure of our country has improved and once again Architecture begins to thrive once more. Many of the once displaced Architects will no longer be available to satisfy the vacuum of work. Some will be gone through age attrition. Others will have migrated to careers that are less sensitive to economical change. To further starve the vacuum many students who would have chosen Architecture have gone towards more stable employment. Will the profession be truly healthy or will the work outsize the available human workforce?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I have to apologize. It's been along time since my last post. I was dedicating my time to finding a new job. That endeavor has been unsuccessful thus far. Unfortunately my last post was in May and the profession is now still in the same sorry state that it was then.
I had several conversations with different firms and the feedback was clear. The only firms that are getting any jobs consistently are cutting their fees to the minimum. Basically they are covering payroll and a small margin of profit. As a result of this we as candidates for employment must come to the realization that we must accept lower salary rates to be desirable to a firm. The percentage I averaged out from several sources was 35%. It's a big drop but, until things get better it may be our saving grace.
In one of my earlier posts I spoke about how getting L.E.E.D. certification would become important. That time has already arrived. Several firms I spoke with were interested in finding out if I had attained mine.
Instead of using our skills to create environments that have a design driven by what we know and are always honing about human interaction with the spaces they inhabit. We find ourselves doing the bare minimum to create a shell that will suffice for the function that it serves.


Saturday, May 22, 2010
A building was once a structure wrapped by a skin with a mechanical system that was separate and yet part of the whole at the same time. There was a definite separation of the two. Over the years that separation has begun to get clouded. With the advent of L.E.E.D. we are entering into an age of almost Science Fiction levels. Systems once controlled the climate inside the building compartment-ally. Today the structure and skin of the building are becoming the bone muscle and flesh. The mechanics are becoming more like the brain and nervous system of the building. Science Fiction has talked about creating Bio-Mechanical entities, part machine, part biological. I believe that as time progresses we will begin to see this emerge on some level. In the distant future we could have buildings with a living skin and a mechanical nervous system. It will take a long time, but, I believe as materials are discovered, buildings will undergo a transformation. Someday we may be a society of living beings, living inside living beings.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Today I had the privilege of putting out flags on the grave sites of our veterans to prepare for the memorial holiday. It was part of my sons Tiger Cub Scouts Project. Every year they get together with our local V.F.W. and help them. It was a great chance for me and my son to do something together. He had no trouble understanding why we were there and how important they were. We were there for about 3 hours. There were plenty of volunteers. In all total 1500 flags were placed. When we were done we looked across the cemetery and the first word that came to mind was...sobering. This was the local cemetery in my home town of Bensalem. There was a sea of flags. Add up all the cemetery s of our country and the picture would be staggering. I told my son that this is what it took for our family to be able to live the life that we live. This Memorial Day will be particularly important for us as our nephew has just deployed with the Marines to Afghanistan, this is his first one. For the rest of the month when you drive past a cemetery take note of the amount of flags you see. Freedom is not free.     
Friday, May 14, 2010
In my efforts to find a new place of employment I have had several different offices tell me that they are starting to see some improvement due to projects that are being funded by government stimulus money.  Architectural firms are looking to capitalize on the funds set aside by the current administration to help re-invigorate our economy. My hope is that this will serve as a steadying mechanism for firms to allow the necessary changes they will need to make to move forward and get commissioned to do more dynamic projects as the new economy emerges. What will the new Architectural Project landscape look like? Time will tell.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The role of the Architect could once be clearly etched in stone. Provide an aesthetically pleasing design to the client that met the requirements of the design program and do it within their budget. Now an Architect must be knowledgeable in additional areas such as L.E.E.D. They must strive to use materials that can be recycled in the eventual demise of a building. They must be versed in alternate forms of energy creation such as wind or solar power. Architects have become more in touch with the engineering part of the building than they ever have before, because, it is fast becoming a more intrinsic part of the design as a whole. I have touched on this change in previous posts, but, not ever eluded whether these changes are good or bad for our profession. Let me say it here that I believe that these changes are desirable because, the results are buildings and technologies that speak to the future and our increasing consciousness of the importance of preserving the ball of mud and water we depend on to survive.

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