Monthly Archives: May 2013

Moore Oklahoma Tornado Disaster

Moore OK PhotoIn an e-mail to the Melissa Hunt, the Executive Director of the AIA Central Oklahoma Chapter, AIA New Jersey President Jack Purvis, AIA has offered the assistance of our 120 AIA-NJ members that were trained in Disaster Recovery through the State of California Safety Assessment Program. We greatly appreciate the assistance that was (and continues to be) given to us after Sandy, and we likewise want to assist others in their time of need.

For more information about what is being done and what you can do, please visit the American Institute of Architects Disaster Response webpage by clicking here.

Social Media is the HGTV of DIY – A wake up call for all you do it yourselfers!

Have you ever watched HGTV and felt inspired to remodel your kitchen, bedroom, or begin a landscaping project?! If so, you may have been delusional about the results, the time it takes to complete, and yes, even its costs. Do it “yourself” really requires a team of professionals to achieve a camera ready result. When you watched that 30 minute DIY TV show, did you see the weeks of prior design work and script writing, did you see the many unnamed workers that perform the work and ask yourself, is that “budget” real, did it include installation costs, adjusted cost of donated products and more importantly did it include the host/designer’s fees? Staging items may have even been brought in during filming that did not stay with the owners. Hours went into editing, camera angles were chosen, and anything that was not perfect was not shown.  Still feeling inspired?

So when something goes viral, when you find a marketing scheme you like for your business, and when you hear success stories from Constant Contact, do you tell yourself “Hey, if they can do it so can I?” Most likely you are wasting hours trying to market your business with no results, you may have several subscriptions and utilizing marketers that are telling you that you are getting “page hits”, but are you getting real-world results?  I bet you are using every single “social media” tool in the Toolbox that is the Internet. Well every job requires a specific tool, knowledge on how to properly use it and unfortunately you are using the wrong end of the screwdriver to paint your walls.

Here are some real world tips for anyone who wants results:

  • Viral versus virus- Are you spamming or stimulating?
  • Unless your logo goes on every product you produce, no one really cares about your label. Use the “free” image that you have been using for your profile picture on social media and Google Business Listings to place an image of what you really do. If you are an architect that only does residential work, well then post a picture of one of your residential projects. That is more of an attention getter than a logo using your initials!
  • Constant Contact will only reach people you have already reached out to! Unless you are a gym, a restaurant or another business that benefits from using coupons, you are wasting your time with e-mail marketing. You are milking the cow twice and making it angry.
  • Unless your target audience is teenagers and college students, get off Facebook for your business marketing. Try this experiment- type the industry and location of your business on Facebook’s search engine. For example, sticking with the architecture theme, try typing architects in NJ. Do you come up? Unless you are a brand, Facebook is for friends.
  • Do use Google or other search engines to increase your results. A great example of excellent marketing was Andersen versus Pella. For a few weeks, when you typed Anderson Windows, the first page hit was Pella’s article on why Pella was better than Anderson.
  • Finally, social media is not “do it YOURSELF”. That defeats the purpose of “social”. No one wants to be friends in real life with someone who only talks about themselves. Nor does anyone want to like, friend, or follow anyone who posts provocative MySpace style photographs of themselves, invites them to play Farmville, Pokes them every 5 seconds, fills up their newsfeed with web cats or emails them 5 times a day without anything interesting to say. Try to market your business as you would a conversation and not a 140 character tweet.

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region
ss
[email protected]
| @AIANJRAD

WIA-NJ Hosts Leadership in the Industry Discussion

WIA New JerseyJoin Women In Architecture New Jersey for a discussion with Dana Nalbantian on leadership in our industry. Dana brings over 27 years of experience to her position as Studio Director/Project Manager at Gensler. With a Bachelor of Architecture from Lawrence Technological University, Dana balances her knowledge of both architecture and interiors in projects that range from a thousand to a million square feet.  As a board member of CoreNet NJ, Dana has moderated the Women’s Panel Discussion on Leadership.

 

The format of this meeting will be an open discussion with Dana. Please come with your questions related to leadership and how to thrive in the industry.  We will follow with a brief discussion regarding next steps for WIA-NJ.

 

Hosted by Modernfold Styles Inc

 

When:         Tuesday, May 21st @ 6:00 PM

 

Where:        15 Empire Boulevard, South Hackensack, NJ 07606

 

RSVP:              [email protected] by Friday, May 17th

 

How to “Engage” Emerging Professionals 101

Recently, you may have heard about the AIA Repositioning effort.  One of its initiatives is to improve “engaging emerging professionals.” First and foremost, if you do not know what an emerging professional is, welcome to the club. According to the AIA, emerging professionals (EPs) are students, interns and the recently licensed architects in the first decade of practice.  To most architects, this equates to anyone they consider a potential employee. That said one of the biggest flaws with this mentality is that architects approach engagement with EPs as they would a job interview.  This is a missed opportunity to create a dialogue with someone an architect should consider their collaborative colleague albeit that that he or she is also their employee.

As such here are the do’s and don’ts on how architects should engage emerging professionals:

  • Do not ask about licensure unless the EP mentions it first. Some professionals do not intend on getting licensed and that is perfectly okay! Licensure is important to those on the path to becoming an architect but not everyone needs to be an architect to enjoy architecture. Do ask if they are enjoying what they are doing.
  • When talking to students, do not ask them how their studio project is going. You might as well be asking them how they are doing and then expecting a lengthy explanation of what ails them. What architects should ask is “what are you learning from this semester”.
  • Don’t ask the EP if they know Revit. That is equivalent to an EP asking an architect if they are still hand drafting! We exist in a time in the field where every 3-5 years major changes are made to either how someone is licensed or interns, what tools are used to design buildings, and what economic condition one enters into the field. Instead try asking them if they are getting the most from the tools they are using or from their work experience.
  • Don’t assume an EP knows about every event offered by the AIA just because they are on social media and connected to the Internet. The communication path sometimes skips telling EPs about important details regarding events or the process involved. Members of the AIA who have attended multiple events numerous times know what to do and what to expect; they might forget about this first time attending. Do invite EPs to events in person and offer to escort them and introduce them to others. Even offering to meet them and drive them to the event can reduce some nerves.
  • If an architect is looking at an EP as a potential employee or if they are just interested in what they are saying, don’t ask the EP to send you their resume, instead ask them to BRING you their resume and meet them at your office. Remember that inviting an EP to the office, even if it’s not for the purpose of employment, allows EPs to experience another atmosphere without leaving their current position.
  • The worst thing an architect can do is treat an EP like a child. Just because the term “emerging” is used does not mean that EPs have not already found their voice or already developed the knowledge of an architect. Mentorship is not parenthood! Do instill knowledge, help EPs when they ask, but never scold them for the paths they choose. They are adults, not children.

Of course, this process is a two way street. Emerging Professionals should always treat any professional with the same respect that they wish to receive and should follow through with any commitment that they extend. Furthermore, emerging professionals should also make the effort and engage licensed architects.

Emerging professionals should not be the focus of the AIA Repositioning. Rather, they just need to be included in these efforts and valued like any other member.

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region

ss

[email protected] | @AIANJRAD

The American Dream: The Pursuit of the American Landscape

Below is an analytical paper about the American landscape and the environment written by Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA

dddsdsf

___________________________________________

America! So spacious are your skies, amber are your grains, and so green are your lawns.[1] These romantic and picturesque landscapes are instilled into every child through your patriotic songs, that it is no wonder the lawn has become an icon of patriotism. In pursuit of happiness, and of the white picket fence, the canvas of American expression has long been the front yard. These quests for the perfect demonstration of wealth and patriotism come at any cost, regardless of the impact on the environment and the social fabric of the community.

Grass is the American carpet which provides the framework for flower beds, shrubs, majestic trees and our homes.  Grass is derived from the Aryan word ghra – the root word for grain, green and grow. The front yard is a family’s face towards society by which we can judge them and base our opinions. It is our modern caste system; the better manicured your lawn, the better off your family appears regardless of what lies behind your closed door. [2] The lawn is the barrier between two realms, the public street and the private home. It is the epitome of the American dream because it gives all people regardless of race or religion the opportunity to create the image of perfection. However, those who are truly capable of affording the perfect lawn rarely labor on it themselves; instead hire the less fortunate to do the work.

We value our grass almost us much as we value our homes. In fact the grass on our lawn accounts for 15% of the total net worth for a typical home. [2]  We must declare the lawn as ours and solely ours. It is boldly stated with mailboxes that read our names, the fences built to separate us from our neighbors, the tulip borders along our sidewalks, and the chemicals applied to prevent unwanted pests from entering our lives. Man sets himself apart from nature as opposed to being a part of it by denying life and prosperity to the organisms that use his land. Ironically, proper maintenance is crucial for the value of your home, but not only the maintenance of your lawn, but also your neighbors. Unmaintained adjacent properties can depreciate the value of your own home. To help people cope with poor neighbors, many cities implement beautification programs which mandate proper lawn care.

The back yard strongly contradicts the front yard. The front yard is our formal face towards the community. It is stern straight forward and properly groomed. It is serious with defined purpose. We know the driveway as the place for the car, the porch as the transition between grass and flooring, the daisy lined walkway as the only path to the front door. The backyard is the opposite, it is silly and chaotic. We place our leisures in the back and barricade them with fences so that neighbors dare not see our imperfect side or bodies.We leave the backyard for fun for our children and our pets and as an oasis for retreat for adults. The backyard is the place for the Fischer-Price plastic cottage, the sandbox, and the Jacuzzi. Bare spots in the lawn are ideally good because they demonstrate use of the land. The bare areas show the places of dense traffic.

The suburb is a characterization of the urban and natural worlds. It takes on the idealized characteristics of each situation while ignoring the less desirable parts. The suburb keeps the close knit neighborhood like atmosphere seen in successful urban areas. They are also located conveniently close to resources. The suburb holds the being in contact with nature part of the rural landscape, but this nature is artificial, planted, manicured and heavily fertilized.

The competition for the perfect lawn leads to heavily chemical produced lawns which run off and pollute the environment. Globally in 1997 over $37 billion dollars were spent on pesticides. Rachel Carson first spoke about the dangers of pesticides, especially DDT in her essay entitled, “Silent Spring.” She goes on to talk about how DDT has put in danger the epitome of the United States, the bald eagle. The use of DDT made it impossible for the eagle to breed. “Conventionally maintained lawns are sterile, unhealthy habitat’s that consume time and precious resources and poison watersheds.” [2] The use of pesticides has rendered the United States sterile, right down to the symbol of our nation.

Greener grass does not equal a greener environment. We impact our environment in a multitude of ways. Several issues that will affect our future are the reduction of habitat and the increasing of global warming. Lawn care is a major factor affecting our environment. Chemical runoff from pesticides and fertilizers pollute our streams and underground springs. These pollutants travel throughout the food chain and cycle back to affect us in the plants and food we eat. We change our environment by planting non-native plants that do not provide food for native species and are invasive to existing plants. By removing trees, plant, insects, and animals from our yards, we create a sterile environment that does not support a diversity of living organisms. Even by mowing our lawns, we are endangering the environment as lawnmowers require fossil fuels to run, which pollute our air. “Man is everywhere a disturbing agent. Wherever he plants his foot, the harmonies of nature are turned into discords.” [2]

Small steps towards a greener American society may aid in improving the impression for the rest of the world on America. The fact that America is a nation of consumption and abuse of natural resources, creates the opportunity for the United States to set an example of how to act environmentally friendly. America is the land of opportunity, of change and it has harvested such great ideologies of what it is to dream, that it is in fact the perfect nation to harbor a land that is pure and eco friendly. Simple steps from everyone and a desire not for materials but rather freedom may forever change the impact America has on its own land.

The new American lawn can still meet the aesthetic need of the lawn while also improving shading. Shading your property is a great way to reduce your energy bills and to promote activity. Move away from an open vast green carpet towards one that is covered and full of vegetation and life. Reduce the use of chemicals and irrigated water while increasing biodiversity. We need to move away from the industrial lawn with our preconceived notions of the American lawn and move towards the new values of the freedom lawn. We need to challenge the idea of the typical American dream and make it into a dream that is your own!

s

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region
ss
[email protected]
| @AIANJRAD

____________________________________________

[1] Bates, Catherine. “America the Beautiful.”

[2] Bormann, F. H., Diana Balmori, and Gordon T. Geballe. Redesigning the American Lawn. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2001.

[3] Joni Mitchell. Big Yellow Taxi. Rec. 1970. MP3. Warner Brothers, 1970.

AIANJ Convention Reception in Denver – You’re Invited !

2012 Convention Cocktail Party

AIANJ 2013 Design Conference – Save the Date

2013_DesConf

The 2013 AIA-NJ Design Conference will be a day and a half seminar that will include East Coast Green, Code  and Design Courses, announcement of the Design Award winners, networking opportunities and an expo to review the latest products and technology available to the industry.  Architects can obtain a maximum of 8 1/2 CEU’s.  More details to be available soon.

– Save the Date  –

October 2nd and 3rd

The Berkeley Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ

 

If you are interested in being part of the expo, please contact Laura Slomka (609-393-5690) at AIA-NJ to be sent more information as it becomes available.

 

SDAT held at Camp Osbourne to help rebuilding

CampOsbornePhoto003AIA-NJ members, architects, engineers, planners and landscape architects are working together as part of a Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) with town officials, residents and property owners of Camp Osborn, the small bungalow community in Brick at the Jersey Shore destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and resulting fires.

 

Asbury Park Press was at the event kick-off event the weekend of April 27th & 28th, watch the Asbury Park Press video here.  The process is not complete yet, the SDAT teams will continue to meet over the next month and present ideas that develop to the town and residents.

Click here to read the previous article before the event.

Save Thorncrown Chapel

From the desk of Robert Ivy, FAIA, EVP/CEO of the American Institute of Architects – The AIA opposes efforts to erect high power lines too near Arkansas’ jewel, the Thorncrown Chapel by Fay Jones. An online petition can be found here. Please help spread the word.Thorncrown-Chapel-E-Fay-Jones-2