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Take Five: Data Rich

Three resources for members to thrive and grow

By Robert Ivy, FAIA
AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer

To really understand architecture, we architects rely on both intuition and facts. I can’t advise anyone about gut feelings, but I can say that market intelligence, hard-won data, and trend analysis are foundational to an architectural practice. It’s up to you to verify your instincts, but you don’t have to think twice about some of the AIA’s newest resources that are immensely useful member benefits.

Our strategic partnership with Reed Construction Data, which I spoke about at AIA Convention 2014 in Chicago, has resulted in one of the most potentially useful tools you will encounter: Reed Insight, a digital portal that aggregates publicly available data on markets and pre-bids. I’ve used it, and its straightforward dashboard clearly organizes your research as you dive into any number of market sectors, geographic locations, or project types. The content available to members on individual projects brings valuable information to your doorstep and is organized for quick reading or, if you’re reading with purpose, effective intelligence gathering.

At the AIA, we are committed to the relationship between design and health, and we commissioned McGraw-Hill Construction to detail what we know so far in “The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings,” a report available to all members. Architects know with certainty that the health of a community is directly related to the quality of buildings and spaces that define our lives. Now we have the data to support what amounted to only an anecdotal truth for many architects, public health officials, doctors, and scientists. No matter the size of your practice—from solo practitioner focused on making people’s home lives healthier, to CFO of a large multinational firm focused on making the business case for energy modeling—this report represents a vital baseline that clients will want to know about, too.

Our own ”2014 AIA Foresight Report,” also available as a member benefit, provides actionable information on trends that would be hard to obtain otherwise: global hot spots for design and construction, operating environments and firm strategies, professional practice, and how architects can design with purpose during the next 12–14 months. It’s a 30,000-foot look at the major challenges and opportunities that face architects in the United States. Whether you hope to expand your practice, or simply expand your understanding of what will become key drivers in the coming year—such as public/private partnerships, cloud-based tools, crowdfunding, or so-called “creative insurgents”—you can read, learn, and apply the lessons.

Our profession is evolving, certainly, but if you want to thrive and grow, dive into these factual resources and emerge wiser for the journey. It’s not just my gut telling me so.

Robert Ivy, FAIA
Photo: ©Vincent Ricardel

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