Page N1.1 . 04 January 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Build Boston 2005

by Evan H. Shu, FAIA

The annual Build Boston convention is a great place for design professionals to take the current pulse of the construction industry. In November 2005, in its 21st year, this far-ranging collection of workshops, symposia, exhibits, conferences, award galas, and a trade show enticed some 14,000 industry professionals from 30 states and a dozen nations.

More than 200 workshops spanned four major areas of interest: design methods, research, construction issues, and case studies. Several trends were evident, such as a growing internationalism among U.S. architects.

The session "Immediate Architecture" featured a technically ambitious attempt to connect panelists from Jordan, Lebanon, and several U.S. cities via videoconference. The panel showcased opportunities for U.S. designers to get involved in projects overseas, particularly in the Middle East.

While the international communication effort was comical at times with side conversations being overheard by all and a synchronization problem between voice and picture, still there were valuable lessons to be learned from this effort.

One fascinating exchange came when Boston designers questioned panelists in Jordan who professed to want more American-style shopping malls while ignoring their own cultural and architectural traditions. The Jordanian attitude seemed to be "let us worry about that," and in the meantime "we want what we want."   >>>

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The "24/7" study space at the Hayden Library, MIT, is one example of the changing trends in libraries seen at Build Boston 2005.
Photo: Greg Pemru/ Tappe Associates

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The Seattle Public Library by Rem Koolhaus.
Photo: David Owen, Artifice Images


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