Philly shows that we can build fast AND safe

have always been fascinated about the efficiency of emerging economies. You’ve no-doubt seen the videos of Chinese skyscrapers being built in days. India is building highways faster than we can get funding to fix ours. I always thought they were able to build fast because of less strict labor and safety laws, which is true.

But, it was interesting to see Philadelphia rebuild a destroyed bridge 12 days. It shows that we can build efficiently, safely, and with good labor practices when we need to.

Sure, it is ‘means and methods’, but I think there is plenty of opportunity for architects to contribute to building cheaper and faster.


May Billings and Contracts Rebound

The AIA Billings Index jumped to 51.0 in May, which demonstrates an increase in architectural billings. Design Contracts also went up to 52.3, which demonstrates a positive outlook by clients. General inquiries hit the highest level since August of last year. Unfortunately, there is a range of business conditions across the country with firms in the Northeast and West regions showing a billings decline.

The commentary this month covers employment in the broader economy and an interesting discussion about remote work and its impact on productivity.

May: 51.0, April: 48.5, March: 50.4, February: 48.0, January: 49.3, December: 47.5

ABI May 2023: Architecture firm billings bounce back

That said, S&P Global Ratings issued a warning about Commercial Real Estate financing concerns as we continue to chug into this changing economy. Concerns revolve around high interest rates and declining property values.

Stressful Conditions For U.S. Commercial Real Estate Are Raising Refinancing Risks

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Submit Your Comments on the National BIM Standard

The latest version of the US National BIM Standard was placed into its ballot comment period. They are accepting comments through July 5, 2023.

NBIMS-US™ Ballot Comment Period Now Open

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San Francisco Millennium Tower Settlement Stopped

I covered this a lot over the past few years, but it seems that the structural fix on the 645-foot tall tower may be working. They have transferred some of the load to the new piles and the tilting tower may right itself over the next couple of years. It is fascinating.

After 15 Years, Settlement Arrested at San Francisco's Millennium Tower

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People Didn’t Always Work After Work

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you know that I am a fan of Cal Newport’s ideas on work and productivity. One of his recent blog posts suggests that we may want to go back to the 2000s when people couldn’t contact you after you left the office for the day. Maybe instead of a work-life balance, we need a work-life barrier.

When Work Didn’t Follow You Home

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Artificial Intelligence Roundup

AI has been a hot topic for the past few months. It seems like there are many articles every week talking about the pros, cons, and opinions on whether it is the future of design. Here is a roundup of AI articles over the past two weeks.

How A.I. Is Helping Architects Change Workplace Design

AI-Driven Facade Inspection System Deployed for Historic Building's Preservation

'AI Is Both Incredible and Terrifying'; A Conversation with Neil Leach

'AI Is Built on Datasets That Are Already Biased'; A Conversation with Felecia Davis