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 Pays Off

AIA-NJI hope you are familiar with our Working With The Media series. Having read these articles you might wonder if any of this really makes a difference? Well, here is concrete example of how it can work.

I recently read an article in my local newspaper announcing the groundbreaking for a new local public charter school. As we often see, the article named local and state politicians that were present, quoted the executive director of the new school and named both the developer and the contractor for the project. What was missing was the name of the architect.

I did a Google search to see if I could identify the architect for the project, but was unable to find any reliable information. However, I know the contractor and I know a local architect that does a lot of this type of work. Therefore, I sent them both text messages to try to confirm the name of the architect. While I waited for their responses, I sent the following email to the newspaper:

I read with great interest your article, Vineland School Breaks Ground, Saturday, May 28, 2016. I am glad to see this new school coming to our community. I also noted that the article referenced a local contractor with whom I have completed multiple successful projects – Capri Construction.

However, I was very disappointed to see that the article does not mention the architect for the project. This is especially troubling when one considers the focus on STEM (or STEAM) in education today. Architects, and careers in architecture, are a direct result of the STEM/STEAM educational program. It is sad therefore, that the architect is overlooked or deemed irrelevant to an article about the very buildings they are helping to bring to life by virtue of their STEM/STEAM education.

Every building project involves three primary entities: the owner, the architect and the contractor. It is the three-legged stool of every project. It should be fundamental to the who, what, when, where, and why of any article. I urge you to ALWAYS include the name of the architect in any article about any building.

Remember – be it a home, school, or an office; wherever we live, eat or pray; every building has an architect!

Respectfully,

Bruce D. Turner, AIA
President, AIA South Jersey

I was pleased to receive a very prompt response from the newspaper:

Unfortunately – the name of the architect was not included with the information provided by the school.

However, I will keep your suggestion in mind next time I receive this type of information.

Thank you!

This is not an unusual response. And, the conversation could have ended there. But, I decided to continue the dialogue. Once I confirmed the name of the architect – Manders Merighi Portadin Farrell Architects of Vineland – I sent that information to the newspaper. I also offered that if the newspaper ever has difficulty finding this type of information for any of their articles that they could contact me. Within a very short period of time I received a reply from the newspaper that the information was added to the online version of the story. I was perfectly satisfied with this outcome. I thanked them and thought that would be the end of it. However, the next day my original email appeared on the opinion page of the newspaper. That was icing on the cake. Not only had I engaged in a positive conversation with the newspaper about the value of including the name of the architect, but I also got the opportunity to deliver that message to a larger public audience.

This is the value of working with the media. This isn’t difficult. Any of us can do it. In fact we all can. It won’t always deliver such immediate and positive results, but we need to try. If the media hears from enough architects on a regular and routine basis we can make an impact. After all, we are their readers. They will appreciate our attentiveness to what they write.

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

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

Personal Engagement

The Big Green Boxes of Cheer

During the AIA National Convention in Philadelphia, AIA South Jersey President, Bruce D. Turner, AIA, was among a group of architects who helped deliver 136 gift boxes to patients at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Dubbed the Big Green Boxes of Cheer, the event was organized by Andersen Windows and Cheeriodicals, a national corporate team building company that conducts philanthropic events benefiting children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, Veterans Hospitals and other charities across the country.

The gift boxes were assembled at the Andersen booth on the Expo Floor by the Andersen team, architects, and Cheeriodicals team members, and then delivered to the patients at St. Christopher’s Hospital.  The boxes were made up of age-appropriate magazines and activity books, room decorations, puzzles, stickers and games for the children to enjoy.

To learn more about Cheeriodicals, visit www.boxesofcheer.com, or follow Cheeriodicals on Twitter and Facebook.

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Pictured, left to right are: Denise Thomson, AIA, President, AIA Philadelphia; Bill Warwick, AIA, Principal at Barton Partners; Joe Bongartz, AIA, Principal at Meyers Design; Joel Pullman, Commercial Sales Director at Andersen Windows; Erin Kelly, AIA, Architect at Francis Cauffman; Gary Massenzio, Architect Business Development Representative at Andersen Windows; Bruce D. Turner, AIA, President, AIA South Jersey; Chelsea Ebling Marketing Coordinator at Two Men and A Truck, Philadelphia; Wes Tavera, Commercial Business Development Representative at Andersen Windows; Pat Henry, Commercial Business Development Representative at Andersen Windows; and Kate Ward, AIA, Business Development Director at Bernardon Architects.

 

AIA SFx Schedule at the 2016 AIA Convention

AIA SFx 2016 Convention 2If you are looking for events geared specifically to the small firm, look no further. The AIA Small Firm Exchange (SFx) published a list of programs geared specifically to the needs of the small firm. And, if you have any questions stop by the SFx Lounge near the Expo floor. People there will be glad to share their advice. See you in PhilAIAdelphia.

Small Firm Exchange (SFx) Lounge at Convention

BDT2If you’re a small firm or sole practitioner and attending the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia, you won’t want to miss the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) Lounge. Come by to meet new people, view a demo of the AIA Kinetic App 2.0, and discuss what challenges you most in the practice of architecture. Hear more about the Small Firm Practitioner Collection, a curated lineup of workshops, seminars, events, and other programs designed to help small firm architects unlock their power and apply the latest trends to their practice.

The SFx Lounge offers a great touch-down area, with comfortable lounge furniture, where you can catch up on your work or catch a brief mini-education session to learn about programs and benefits to help you in your practice! Look for the brightly colored cubes just outside of Hall E near the AIA Expo– stop by.

As your AIA New Jersey representative to the SFx, I will be spending some of my free time at the lounge. If you see me there, I will be happy to make introductions.

The AIA Small Firm Exchange Lounge is sponsored by the AIA Trust.

I hope to see you at the Convention!

Bruce D. Turner, AIA

The Small Firm Round Table (SFRT) was recently renamed the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) to better reflect the idea that the group is meant to foster an exchange of ideas and a sharing of experiences.

Understanding RREM & LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program

RREM Outreach Flyer 5 2016

AIA West Jersey – LBI LEED House Tour

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Saturday, May 14th, 2016 – AIA West Jersey is excited to announce a trip to Long Beach Island, NJ for the opportunity to tour a beautiful LEED Platinum home in Loveladies, NJ. The tour will feature conversations with the building architect, general contractor and LEED consultant.  Join us see the physical space set on the bay, and to learn more about what technologies were installed in the home. Perhaps more intriguing; what systems and strategies worked well and which are under performing. The home owner has offered to share the home’s data tracking information with those who are interested.

Time: The tour will begin at 11 a.m. and last until approximately 2 p.m. 

Cost$20 for AIA Members, $25 for Non-Members.

Continuing Education: This event has been approved for two (2) HSW CEUs. 

Upon RSVP, the address of the home will be provided.  We will meet at the home 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. We sincerely hope you will take advantage of this opportunity, and join us for this building tour.

RSVP to Mark Barone, AIA [email protected].

See you there! 

Thank You,
AIA West Jersey

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

Wetland-Institute-exterior-front

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

 

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