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“Conservation” is a term most often associated with saving species, forests, reefs, old media and art, and old buildings. However this amazing term applies to economics, fuel sourced energy, and many other resources. As we discuss “high performance” as a response to sustainability and resilience we need to rediscover the essential role conservation plays in our future. Currently many publicized “sustainable” projects tend to cost a great deal more to design, to build, and to operate than baseline buildings of our day. This is unfortunate for everyone because sustainability is founded on conservation of our resources meaning fuel based energy, materials, and capital. The Brundtland Commission definition of sustainability, “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, describes conservation in all but name. Our work as architects should be founded on the ideals of conservation to meet any reasonable measure of sustainability. If our designs do not save land, fuel based energy, embodied energy, and embodied capital we are not preparing for the future. Architects are by our very nature futurists, everything we do is about the future and most of our decisions will outlive us all. As a class, we owe it to those we serve and care for to take our role seriously as the ability to overcome what faces our civilization will be directly proportional to the seeds we sow today. Happily conservation as a concept is embraced by people of most political persuasions so the wind is in our sails whether we know it or not.
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That sounds pretty important doesn’t it? At the very least it sounds comprehensive … it suggests an extensive and exhaustive collection of the best architecturally themed websites in the world. I’m not sure if that is this list but it is my go-to list of websites. Compiling a list of the top architectural websites is far more difficult than it sounds, particularly if there isn’t any particular manner of evaluation employed other than these are the sites that I go to the most often.some of these which caught my eye include professional resources and conversation starters, plus a few more typical examples that broadcast news in a lively or visually elegant manner.

So let’s get to it – in no particular order, Life of an Architect’s Favorite Websites:

A Daily Dose of Architecture

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Education, credibility, relevance and value improve when explicit knowledge is distilled from tacit observation, instinct, awareness and talent. The challenge is to define the topics that can be refined to accomplish the objective.

Competition distracts from a focus on knowledge until research is established as a separate endeavor. I composed a few paragraphs in rebuttal to the financial contention that competition is adaptation and it occurred to me that you might find it useful.

COMPETITION

We adapt to survive competition. When the principle is reversed, competition within the family of man becomes predation based on deception disguised by ethics. Adaptation requires anticipation. It can be obscured by the dust of competition.

A culture that glorifies athletic competition glorifies deception until it becomes a cultural tradition. The look-away pass in basketball and the double reverse in football are examples of deception in this competitive context.

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The first-ever Global Inclusion Reception (EV321) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was held during its national convention in Chicago on June 27, 2014 at the Hafele Chicago Showroom. Here are my three takeaways from the event:
  1. It is possible for a diverse group of creative organizations to come together in fellowship.
  2. Humanitarian issues, like the most recent need for rebuilding after category 5 typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), are global operations that require a spirit of communal unity, because no one is exempt from experiencing natural disasters.
  3. "No matter who you are, what you look like, where you're from, or who you love," architecture and design can be a profession where you are part of the 'IN' crowd.
Members of the US Whitehouse delivered enlightening and inspiring messages about diversity and inclusion, from Billy Dec who's a Presidential-Appointee to the Whitehouse Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), to US Ambassador John Maisto...  
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I wanted to make you all aware of Fast Company's coverage of the Small Project Practitioners Farmers Market Pop-Up Project Design Competition.  Jean Dufresne served as a great spokesperson for the program: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3032462/4-designs-that-reimagine-the-farmers-market

Best,

 

Matt Tinder
Media Relations
The American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
202.626.7462
mtinder@aia.org
Follow us on twitter @AIA_Media

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We are always trying to increase the value of membership in the AIA and specifically to increase the value of active participation in the Committee on Design(COD). Additionally, we need to show the AIA that members value the activities of COD. This blog promises to take less than 3 minutes to read or review. We also promise that you, personally, will find at least 9 out of every 10 of our posts informative, challenging and/or enjoyable at least 9 out of every 10 posts. We hope you enjoy, follow, and comment.
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Hello,

There are design opportunities in Austraila.  I will be at the AIA conference in Chicago June 25th & 26th.  I work for the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, and facilitate business between the U.S. and Australia.  The best way to reach me is my cell phone - 301-332-6290.  We can either meet at the conference or at a later date.

Paul Adler
paul.adler@austrade.gov.au
301-332-6290

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One of the hardest things for a successful architect to manage is learning the business of architecture. The practice of architecture is one thing, but for most architects, their only exposure to business development or marketing may have been updating their resume or making presentations. From the view of the up-and-coming architect, therefore, it often seems like the key to generating business lies in RFPs (definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Request_for_proposal)

This is a serious mistake. The real key to securing architectural work is the relationship you have with the client -- a focus not on "selling" them, but on actively looking for ways to help them. The process of bringing in work begins months or years before the RFP is ever issued. In fact, the RFP and resulting proposal can often be more of a formality than a keystone of the project cycle, once you understand how the business really works.

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Update #4 from the field in China


[Paul Okamoto squeezes in one last sketch from the roof terrace on the morning of our departure from Xizhou]


We bid farewell to the Linden Centre on Saturday as we made our way towards the very much non-fictional town of Shangri-La. The lengthiness of the six hour bus ride was tempered by the sweeping views outside our windows for the majority of our journey north.







[quick snap from one of our scenic pit stops]

As our bus inched closer to Shangri-La's elevation of 9,860 feet, the architecture of the buildings quickly moved away from the vernacular found near Dali and more towards traditional Tibetan construction. Curved eaves gave way to straight ones, roof cladding changed from tile to wood, and the ornamentation on the houses became remarkably different.
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For immediate release:


Chicago, IL - May 31, 2014
- Billy Dec, member of The White House's President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and also an Emmy Award-winning TV Personality, and USA Ambassador (ret) John Maisto, are speakers at EV321 Global Inclusion Reception, an official event in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention.

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Homes and building projects on the seashore pose special challenges for architects that may not be found in inland areas. Areas that are prone to tropical storms or flash floods have special regulations on how high architects must construct buildings. Where wind velocities are strong, homes will have to be protected against wind erosion. Corrosion, moisture and consequent decay are other issues that can crop up. The architectural challenges of coastal homes are many, but there are solutions that experienced architects are aware of to tackle these challenges.


Image credit: Homebuyers Centre Victoria

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In the last few years, we have been seeing a growing interest in reusing shipping containers that have for a very long time been fulfilling a purpose that was very singular and very temporary. Namely, due to relation of the costs of shipping back empty containers to the costs of making a new shipping container, these heavy metal “boxes” have mostly been discarded after a single use. Lately, however, more and more people are using them for construction projects that have been, in many cases, extremely interesting, cost-efficient and aesthetically pleasing. Still, one needs to be sure that the shipping containers are the best way to go and therefore, one needs to consider a number of things before they actually decide on using a shipping container, or more, for their project.
ALT

For instance, one needs to consider the climate of the area where they intend to build using shipping containers. If the area is very hot for the most part of the year, a shipping container, on its own, will feel like a microwave oven. If it is a cold climate, without insulation, a shipping container will be a freezer. This problem, when shipping containers are used for shipping and storage, can be circumvented by

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Technology is definitely improving each day and the advancements are changing the way we do things. You can now use your smartphone for various functions such as monitoring your heart rate and controlling your home security system from remote locations. Smart technologies allow efficient use of available resources. However, businesses are yet to fully exploit these technologies. The smart technologies can help organizations to reduce costs and boost productivity. Businesses can create smart spaces to offer improved services and products to their clients. Smart technologies and office spaces are related because businesses are always looking for better way to enhance efficiency. 


Image credits: Geograph

Surveillance

Surveillance is a good example of an area that can exploit smart technologies. An office can use smart technologies to get clear video footage of public areas. Surveillance has been associated with the police force in the past but companies now have an opportunity to use security camera footage to improve customer care.
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Update 3 below:

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Friday was a big day for our 21 person delegation as we trekked to Dali University for introductions, presentations, and discussion with the staff and students of its architecture department.

The architecture department at the university is fairly young - currently in its fourth year of a five year degree program - and the faculty warmly welcomed opportunities for engagement with our group.



[taking in the views from the beautifully sited campus]

Several delegation members gave brief presentations: Nathaniel Belcher, Kathy Dixon, Casius Pealer, and Prescott Muir introduced the architectural curriculum of their respective institutions, Deane Evans spoke about the driving forces behind building research, Jess Zimbabwe discussed the role of automobiles in cities, and Paul Okamoto and Kevin Yoshida presented case studies of mixed use developments.

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Update no. 2 from the road below

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By horse cart, by boat, by bumpy bus ride: Thursday offered up a wealth of transportation options to our many destinations, starting with a tour of Xizhou Village and ending with lakeside dining in Shuang Lang.







[construction in progress at the Linden Centre's second site- soon to be a destination hotel with 16 suites]



In the morning, Brian Linden of the Linden Centre showed us the sights around the center, including stops to the friendly local antique shop, the village mosque, and one of the Linden Centre's ongoing projects - restoring a second courtyard house.



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