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"GREENING" A PROFESSION

The architecture profession is experiencing tremendous pressure to change the ways it perceives and shapes the built environment. A growing awareness of environmental issues by both architects and owners is fueling this change. In five years, I predict, today's perception of "best practice" will be a source of amusement.

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IS GOOD DESIGN GOOD BUSINESS?

In today's competitive business environment, corporate cultures tend to focus on improving product quality while minimizing costs and managing risks. Too often, the workplace is regarded not as a design opportunity but as a "real estate asset" and a "cost-center."

And yet human productivity, and therefore business profitability, can be greatly enhanced by a well designed, user-responsive office environment. Natural light, comfortable temperatures, and a quiet ambience are not just desirable working conditions: they make good business sense.

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IS THERE A PR CONSULTANT IN YOUR FUTURE?

Editor's Note: Even if you run a small firm, you might consider hiring a public relations consultant to give your practice a boost. How do you find a PR consultant? What questions should you ask in hiring one? And how do you know if you're getting what you pay for? ArchitectureWeek contributing editor Michael J. Crosbie quizzes public relations consultant Jane Cohn. Illustrations are by the architecture, engineering, and interior design firm of Fletcher-Thompson, Inc., one of Cohn's clients.

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CAD FOR AEC PRINCIPALS

Does computer-aided design provide significant business benefits to architecture, engineering, and construction companies? In many cases, the heads of these firms are skeptical, according to new studies. Is this a matter of perception, or are the software technologies really failing to measure up to vendors' claims for efficiency?

At the recent Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES 2000), technology experts Kristine Fallon, FAIA, and Kenneth Stowe, P.E., offered their opinions on the problems and the solutions.

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EXPANDING YOUR PRACTICE THROUGH WEB MARKETING

Every architecture firm, it seems, has a web site, but how effective are these sites as marketing tools? It depends how you use them. During the 1990s, many firms placed their billboards on the information highway by setting up a promotional web site. It might have included a portfolio of work, some high-sounding statements of design philosophy, perhaps a client list, and news of current projects.

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ARCHITECTS TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT

The Internet is changing everything including the practice of architecture. This strong message emerged from a recent conference: understanding technology, and the value of technology to the client, gives a design firm an important competitive advantage.

What technological changes are coming, and how soon, were the hot topics at the Architects Technology Summit, Release 3.0, held in Philadelphia on May 3. The summit was co-hosted by the CMD Group and The Greenway Group.

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SMALL FIRM MAKES IT BIG

By B.J. Novitski

When John Marx, AIA, was a senior designer at a large architecture firm, a joke circulated that "two guys and a fast computer" could accomplish more work, more quickly than a management-heavy design department. Indeed, with well-honed skills in both design and computer modeling, Marx often completed the firm's competition entries for very large buildings with a team of only two or three.

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GREEN CAD AND 3D DESIGN SURVEY

Environmentally conscious, "green" design has gained a respectable following among those already inclined to see the world through emerald lenses. Everyone else is waiting to see if it's worth the trouble.

One barrier has been a lack of truly usable building energy simulation tools. To build these, software developers need to understand the design process through the eyes of nonengineers. However, a new survey uncovers subtleties in how design software is applied in practice.

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