Practicing ArchitecturePracticing Architecture
About Dennis J. Hall, FAIA, FCSI: Mr. Hall has over thirty years of experience in the fields of architecture, specifications consulting, and building diagnostics. As a leader in the construction industry, Mr. Hall has served on boards, committees, and panels for various professional organizations, and has written and lectured on design and the project delivery process throughout the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Hall is a former national president of the Construction Specifications Institute.
Mr. Hall, how did your architecture career progress to the point when you became the Editor-in-Chief of the Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential Construction, Second Edition?
Architects have a natural curiosity and desire to learn. We also have a drive to share our ideas with others. My career, like that of many other architects, has simply evolved with the profession.
As part of my personal goals, I was inspired to establish industry standards of practice. It was through this work that my career evolved into professional writing, with contributions to about a dozen professional reference books and numerous other publications.
What changes were addressed between the first and second edition of the Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential Construction? How do these changes align with changes within the profession?
The second edition was a substantial revision. A lot had changed in the industry since 2003 when the first edition was published, including the emergence of building information modeling (BIM), sustainable rating systems for homes, and advances in building technology. The entire content of the book had to be reviewed and updated.
A significant enhancement to the second edition is the inclusion of International Residential Code (IRC) cites as a part of the drawings, so users could better understand some of the thinking behind the details and verify exceptions in the IRC for their specific applications.
Our team reviewed and edited over 2,000 drawings to ensure compliance with the 2009 IRC. We also tried to coordinate details in related sections of the book to eliminate conflicts.
One way to be a conduit of change within the architecture profession is to educate others—to give practitioners the tools to solve problems. How has the Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential Construction accomplished this?
Architectural Graphic Standards (AGS) and Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential Construction (RGS) are two of the great resource books for design professionals. These books reflect the current standard of care for the design and construction industry, which means they provide a full view of the issues facing contemporary practice—whether that’s sustainable design, universal design, or how to use technology such as building information modeling—so that design professionals are armed with the information that enables them to make educated decisions specific to their project.
How is leading a team who writes a book for the architecture, construction, and design industry the same or different from leading a team who designs a building? Do the teams approach the “problem” from the same perspective?
While each profession has its own language and thought processes, the skills I have learned as an architect in problem solving and communications have served me well in leading a team of creative and technically savvy writers. While the deliverables are somewhat different, we are faced with similar challenges including budget, design esthetics, technical correctness, schedule, and communication of ideas, much like any building design project.
In 2000, you were the chair of the MasterFormat Expansion Task Team which sought feedback from industry experts on how best to adapt MasterFormat to the changing construction industry. As a result of the team’s efforts MasterFormat was expanded into all major specification systems within the U.S. and Canada. How has developing industry-wide standards elevated the practice of architecture?
Also, every successful construction project relies upon effective communication, and as our buildings become more complex and require more participants from diverse professions, MasterFormat provides a common language for communication. If architects are going to continue to lead major project teams, we must possess both technical knowledge and communication skills.
An understanding of the work results in MasterFormat and functional building elements in UniFormat are essential to building information management and BIM. By modeling and testing of our designs, we are able to predict their future performance. In the end, this modeling will produce higher performing buildings, save energy, and produce better architecture that is responsive to the needs of our clients and the environment.
What would you say are the benefits of AIA membership to an architect who writes, but has not joined the AIA?
The AIA was founded about 155 years ago by a small group of architects who believed that by gathering together to share knowledge, they could assist all architects in designing better buildings and advance the profession of architecture.
That one goal is still at the heart of the organization and also why architects write and educate. For an architectural writer to be a member of the AIA makes professional sense.
Finally, what would you tell your colleagues about why they should join the AIA or renew their membership for 2013?
Our professional associations are our greatest resource for knowledge sharing, networking, and professional advancement. The AIA Knowledge Communities alone are a tremendous resource for the exchange of ideas and well worth the price of membership.
If you are not participating, you are not taking full advantage of your membership. Our membership is diverse in knowledge, expertise, geography, and culture. We all have something to contribute to the organization and the profession. We are the AIA!
Early Renewal Promotions
Win a Trip to the AIA 2013
Discount for AIA Members
Customize your AIA
Dennis J. Hall, FAIA, FCSI
Hall Architects and HALL |