Page B1.1 . 06 December 2000                     
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    The Buzz at Build Boston 2000

    by Evan H. Shu, AIA

    Switch Hotel . . . Soft Landing . . . Air Barrier . . . Future Search. These were just a few of the many new "buzzwords" floating around Boston's World Trade Center in November when some 11,000 architects and construction professionals and 350 vendors converged at the 16th annual Build Boston.

    Because of the local availability of so many industry experts, this regional conference at times rivals the American Institute of Architects' national conference in scope and influence. This year's conference was particularly energetic due to a confluence of several other important factors:

    First, as the region's boom economy has slowed slightly, it provides a good time both to reflect on that long expansion and to express good old New England puritanical worry about the future health of the economy in general.

    Next, impending new building codes—the International Building Code and the Massachusetts Energy Code—promise enormous potential changes in the building industry and architectural practice.

    And finally, AIA architects were looking for a chance to fulfill this year's continuing education requirements, particularly in the valued "Health, Safety, Welfare" category. These factors all contributed to an energetic, motivated, and attentive audience at this year's Build Boston.

    The Switch Hotel

    The "switch hotel" is an important new building type that is directly attributable to the information age and its seemingly insatiable appetite for data and speed.

    This past year, "data" exceeded "voice" transmissions in total telecommunications use. This, according to Robert Albee of the engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB).

    Albee was one of the speakers at the seminar, "Telecommunications—The Newest Urban Infrastructure." He noted that, below ground, crews are now racing to install yet more trench "rings" as infrastructure that will house fiber-optic conduits carrying massive amounts of data at the speed of light.

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    The Data Center for State Street in Kansas City, Missouri, by Carlson Design, won a BSA Honor Award for Design Excellence.
    Photo: Michael Moran

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, Florida, by Thompson and Rose Architects, won a BSA Honor Award for Design Excellence.
    Photo: Chuck Choi

     

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