Author Archives: Bruce D. Turner, AIA

Sole proprietor architect working on commercial residential and municipal projects, both new construction and renovations/additions. Sustainable design; LEED ap

WORKING WITH THE MEDIA – Personal Engagement

AIA-NJOur previous installments of “Working with the Media” have discussed ways in which you, in a personal or professional context, can begin to build a bridge with the editorial staff of your local publications. This included some strategies as to how to introduce yourself (and your expertise) to the outlet, along with a brief guide for writing an effective letter to the editor and a primer on packaging newsworthy projects into a formal press release to send to journalists.

In all of these installments, we were mainly addressing “proactive” media outreach, which is to say, outreach initiated by an architect specifically designed to garner publicity.

However, in certain cases, you may be spurred to engage with a journalist because of comments or omissions that he has previously made. While we touched on “letters to the editor” – letters written to be published in the paper – in a previous piece, we’d also like to discuss a somewhat different concept: Engaging specifically with the journalist by writing a personal note directly to him or her (as opposed to “letters to the editor,” which are targeted at the broader public).

It’s a scenario that you’ve likely encountered many times: The local paper runs a feature article about a building and includes comments from the developer – but there is no reference to the fact that there was an architect on the project that conceptualized the design and drew the blueprints. While this frustrating scenario is all too common, if approached properly, it can be an opportunity to educate the reporter so that the same mistake isn’t repeated in the future.

Before we discuss how to approach the journalist, it’s important to recognize several likely facts about the omission:

Reporter specialty – In many cases, the reporter is not particularly familiar with architecture – or even real estate development. The editorial staffs are shrinking at most newspapers, and reporters are frequently tasked with covering several beats. In some cases, the offending article may be the only one the reporter writes relating to architecture or real estate over a period of several weeks or months.
Communicated information – Many real estate developers provide reporters with press releases, which include much of the basic information about their projects. Frequently, reporters write stories based nearly entirely upon the press release – including mention of the architect if she is mentioned in the press release, but omitting it otherwise.

What both of these facts mean is that the reporter was probably not omitting the architect’s identity deliberately; chances are that he or she simply doesn’t understand the architect’s importance. With this in mind, the best practices for this sort of letter are clear:

Choose judiciously – While every building has an architect, that doesn’t mean that every article written about a structure without reference to its architect should turn into a letter. Instead of flooding the inbox of a reporter after every offending article, only send a note when the omission is flagrant, e.g. if the building’s architecture is particularly noteworthy, or if the article focused significantly on the building’s design.
Keep it educational – The article is already published, so the goal is to explain to the reporter why the architect is an integral part of the building process, so architects are included in future articles. Because most journalists have limited knowledge of architecture, be as detailed as possible, including not just the legal requirement of having an architect but the specific value and creativity that the architect brought to that particular building, what is architecturally unique and/or how it promotes safety.
Offer to have a follow-up call – In addition to the obvious benefits of having a broader discussion on local architecture if the reporter accepts the offer, the offer itself drills home the point that you’re not looking to criticize the reporter because of an error they made; rather, you’re looking to provide them with your expertise to enable them to write more knowledgeably in the future.

Note that there are also several ways you can proactively go about making sure that you are given credit when your projects are covered in the media:

Create a requirement in your contract: Including a requirement that all project publicity will mention your firm is one way to guarantee that your participation is acknowledged in the developer’s press materials.
Provide a description of the project to your client: Giving your client an architectural perspective on the project will not only help them in their media outreach, but it will also ensure a proper description of the architectural elements of a project. In doing so, it is natural to include a mention of your firm in the description.
Draft your own press release: Now that you know how to compose your own press release from a previous installment of “working with the media”, you may be able to “take the lead” on announcing the project, which means that you can control what specific details are being shared with the reporters. If the developer is looking to do media outreach, they may be open to collaborating with you on the press release, which would also mean that you will have at least some control of what details are being sent to journalists.

For more suggestions, refer to AIA Best Practices – Getting Good Press on the web at http://www.aia.org. Please note this is a password protected, member only website. Therefore, we cannot provide a direct link to the site for you. But you can find it under Practicing Architecture; Best Practices; Part 2 – Firm Management; Chapter 6: Marketing and Business Development. You might also find a lot of other beneficial material in this area of the website. You can also find samples of other quick responses here.

If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:

Delivering Your Message In An Interview

Building Relationships

Writing a Letter to the Editor

Composing a Press Release

Press Release Boilerplates

Shlomo Morgulis
Account Executive
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team

Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Co-Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee

AIA South Jersey Meeting

AIA SJ April 19 2016 invitation

Remembering Malcolm Wells, FAIA

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As part of The Wetlands Institute’s 2016 Winter Lecture Series, AIA South Jersey President Bruce D. Turner, AIA was recently part of a retrospective and panel discussion at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ. The topic of the presentation was The Legacy of Malcolm Wells, FAIA: The Father of Gentle Architecture. The bulk of the presentation was made by professor and planner Rev. Wayne Conrad. Rev. Conrad was a friend and colleague of Mr. Wells and spoke both personally and professionally about his relationship with “Mac”. He specifically focussed on Mr. Wells’ early life and career, his office in Cherry Hill, his churches in Moorestown and Cherry Hill, and his earth-sheltered architecture in general, including Wells’ home in Cape Cod. Rev. Conrad further reflected on how Wells’ work was inspired by the beauty of nature, and a need for a more sustainable world.

Mr. Turner’s portion of the discussion aimed to put Mr. Wells’ work in the context of the overall architectural profession at the time Mr. Wells was working as well as the professional environment we experience today. That included observations about codes and regulations, standards of practice, legal and liability concerns, LEED, sustainability, energy efficiency, the 2030 Challenge and Cradle-to-Cradle ideologies. He also sought to draw parallels for the audience with architects and architecture which they might be familiar, or recently observed in the media, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Fay Jones, Bjarke Ingels, and Alejandro Aravena.

A third member of the panel was Rev. Bob Williams. Rev. Williams reflected on his personal liturgical experience ministering from Wells’ St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill. This also included observations about the use of light, the use of natural materials, and the sense of proportion and scale present in these buildings.

For more information about Malcolm Wells, FAIA, please visit his website here. For more information about the Wetlands Institute and other programs and activities they offer, please visit the Wetlands Institute website here.

NJ DCA Announces RREM and LMI Training Session

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Sandy Recovery Division is hosting a Training Session about the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program and Low- to Moderate-Income (LMI) Homeowners Rebuilding Program from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30th, at the Moonachie Civic Center in Moonachie, Bergen County. Below, please find a flyer with additional information. This session is intended for both architects already working with homeowners in the program and those interested in working with homeowners in the program.

People interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Lisa Ryan at [email protected] at least one day prior to the Training Session to reserve their spot and to submit any suggested questions or topics they would like addressed if time permits. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Lisa Ryan.

Lisa M. Ryan
Director, Strategic Communications
Sandy Recovery Division
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
PO Box 823
Trenton, NJ 08625-0823
(609) 292-7083
[email protected]

Builder Outreach Flyer 3-2016

 

The Legacy of Malcolm Wells, FAIA: The Father of Gentle Architecture

MalcolmWellsHeadShotAs part of The Wetlands Institute’s 2016 Winter Lecture Series, the Wetlands Institute will present a retrospect on the legacy of the award winning architect, Malcolm Wells, FAIA. The program will be held at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ on March 18th, 2016 at 6:00PM. The presentation will be given by professor and planner, Reverend Wayne Conrad, as he reflects on how Malcolm’s work was inspired by the beauty of nature, and a need for a more sustainable world. This program will also be presented in cooperation with the members of The South Jersey Section of the American Institute of Architects and the group Between the Times.

After an initial presentation focusing on the architectural innovation and ecological sensitivity which characterized Well’s work, there will be responses provided by an architect, and ecologist, and a theologian, each familiar with Well’s work. The responders will be considering the renewed relevance of Malcolm’s early work.

Malcolm Wells was the designer of the iconic Wetlands Institute building. The Wetlands Institute, a nonprofit environmental organization, is located along the causeway into Stone Harbor, NJ. In fact, the Institute was a testing ground for many of the “gentle ideas” that were incorporated into subsequent projects. This was only after he had designed the 1964 RCA World’s Fair Pavilion.

Other notable structures of his design include his now famous underground office nestled at the edge of the Cooper River Parkway in Cherry Hill, the Law School Building at Rutgers Camden, the much admired (but also problematic) former Cherry Hill Library, three stunningly beautiful church sanctuaries, and his home office and art gallery on Cape Cod.Wells Building Drawing 1

At the time of his death, in 2009, the New York Times referred to Wells as the father of “gentle architecture”. In its obituary, the Philadelphia Inquirer related Wells reaction to the closing of the 1964 World’s Fair. “It was at this point that he abruptly changed course. With the realization that the pavilion would be torn down and that all his other buildings, along with their parking lots and concrete footprints had destroyed whatever had lived there before, he began to develop his theories of gentle architecture”. It was at this point that he resigned from RCA and set up his own shop.

The innovative features incorporated into Malcolm’s 1960’s and 70’s work included parking lots paved with oyster shells, the utilization of percolation troughs to return roof water runoff to the underground aquifer, interior gardens to create oxygen-rich air for breathing, the development of landscaped water retention lakes, the maximum utilization of south-facing windows to increase solar gain for heating and the incorporation of super insulated skylights for interior daylighting.

However, his best known, but most controversial, design feature was the practice of “earth sheltering” in which he waterproofed his gently sloping roofs by covering them with three to four feet of rich soil, and then planting them with native grasses and shrubs.

Wells Building 1William McDonough, FAIA, recipient of the first Presidential Award for Sustainable Development and one of the world’s most copied architect/planners in reflecting on Malcolm’s work suggested, “as a thinker, he was a hidden jewel. In the world of what has become known as green building, Malcolm Wells was seminal, actually inspirational, for some people including me. For a draftsman who started his career designing portable radios for RCA, Malcolm came a long way and now just beginning to recognize the importance of his journey”.

To make reservations for the presentation, please contact The Wetlands Institute at 609-368-1211. Cost of admission is $7 for Wetlands Institute members, $12 for nonmembers, and in the spirit of covered dish dinners, please bring an appetizer, entrée, salad or dessert to share with at least eight people. At time of RSVP, please notify the Wetland’s Institute front desk staff as to what dish you’ll be brining to the dinner. If you have any questions, please feel free to email the Wetlands Institute at [email protected], or call them at 609-368-1211.

AIA South Jersey is a registered provider with the AIA Continuing Education System AIA/CES. This program is approved for (1) Learning Unit, which will be reported directly to the AIA/CES for AIA members.

GRAPHISOFT Student Design Competition

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GRAPHISOFT North America announces an exciting student design competition that challenges you to position Philadelphia’s rich history in front of the millions of tourists who visit it annually. The City of Brotherly Love hosts dozens of concerts, conventions, sporting events, and festivals – so the draw is there, but what the city lacks are temporary mobile visitor centers that can be brought to those venues and welcome event attendees.

In this national one-stage competition – all US-based architecture students (graduate or undergraduate) will be challenged to develop and design a mobile visitors’ center using shipping containers which could be constructed in various locations around the city of Philadelphia.

A total of $3,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners.

Click here for information on eligibility, how to register, submission deadlines and entry requirements. Or visit competition.graphisoftus.com

For additional information or questions about the competition, please contact Rita Hicks, GRAPHISOFT North America [email protected]

Brought to you by GRAPHISOFT North America, makers of ARCHICAD, and noted architectural and engineering firm, Kitchen & Associates, and proudly supported by AIA West Jersey, a section of AIA New Jersey.

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AIA National Strategic Partner Autodesk Offers Small Firms Big Discount on Revit LT Suite

AutoDesk ImageThe AIA and Autodesk are working together to ensure that small firms have the resources they need to be successful. As part of Autodesk becoming an AIA Strategic Partner, the software designer is providing AIA members with a special 25 percent discount on a key practice tool, AutoCAD Revit LT Suite.

The discount, available only to AIA members now through January 31, 2016, responds to an ongoing request from small and solo practitioners to help them stay competitive and current in a fast changing marketplace. The Autodesk discount makes the latest tools and resources more affordable, so small firms can use them to better serve their clients and communities.

The Suite includes two of the most important tools small firm practitioners might need: AutoCAD and Revit. Priced by seat licenses, a one-year, one-seat license is $505; with the 25 percent discount, members can receive it for $378.75. Members can purchase up to 3-year license terms, and more than one seat license can be purchased for that same 25 percent discount.

This offer is available to AIA members only, now through January 31, 2016. Click here to access the member only portion of the AIA National Website with access to links to make the purchase. Enter the coupon code AIARevit25 at checkout to receive this special discount for either the 1-year, 2-year or 3-year basic subscription.

Reminder: You must use one of the three links on the AIA National Website to make your purchase, and this deal ends January 31, 2016.

AIA South Jersey – First Meeting of 2016

AIA SJ Jan 26 2016 invitation

USGBC South Branch Event

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AIA South Jersey Meeting

AIA SJ Nov 10 2015 Invitation

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