Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yabba Dabba Doo! How will you celebrate?

As we mark the 50th anniversary of The Flintstones, whose star worked for the world's first construction company, we look ahead to tomorrow's World Day of Architecture in the U.N. This year's theme is "Cities, Magnets of Hope."

Will your firm do anything to toast the occasion? We'd love to see pictures!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ABI inches toward 50; when will industry see growth?

The Architecture Billings Index, the American Institute of Architects' monthly gauge of design activity, moved up for the third straight month in August from 47.9 to 48.2, but still reflects an overall decline by falling short of 50. AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker tells The Zweig Letter in an exclusive interview in the Sept. 27 issue he sees signs of life but thinks the ABI needs to reach the mid-50s before firms feel much of a difference.

What's happening at your firm? Are you feeling better about the ABI's direction?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Is economic stimulus a success or failure?

White House officials this week defended the $814 billion economic stimulus package -- more formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -- as a success, saying it's created jobs and put people who wouldn't otherwise have jobs on payrolls across the U.S. Others -- most notably Republicans hoping to gain even more traction by the 2012 presidential election -- point to the 10% unemployment rate as evidence of the Obama administration's failure.

So, what do you think? Has your firm benefited from the stimulus? Were you expecting more?

A gift for the architect who has everything

As frightening as it may seen, the holiday season is fast approaching, so here's an idea for those who are stumped on what to get that special someone: architecture rings featuring some of the most famous landscapes across the world. Among the selections available are New York (shown here), Paris, Moscow and Archipolis. The rings are made from a variety of materials, including gold, silver, amber, cognac, gemstones, platinum and diamonds, so we're not sure these would appeal to the bargain shopper.
What do you think? Do you know anyone who would wear one? Would you?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Attend the Hot Firm Conference free!

Have you been thinking about whether your firm can send anyone to The Zweig Letter 2010 Hot Firm Conference in Washington, D.C., but still unsure if you can afford it? If so, there's a way you can head to the nation's capital for free at the end of October and enjoy the best celebration of the industry's brightest stars.

Here's what you have to do: prove that your firm has the lowest office space cost per employee by sending your total employee count and firmwide office rent cost to our new headquarters: The Zweig Letter, 320 Rollston Ave., Suite 102, Fayetteville, AR, attention Mark Zweig. Time is running out to qualify for this opportunity, as entries are due Oct. 1.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where's the next emerging market?

Fret not, firms without the wherewithal to take their operations overseas. There are still opportunities for work here in the good ol' U.S. of A., but the design and construction industry is becoming an increasingly international endeavor. There continue to be lots of ways to put your stamp on a project - public or private in China, and Libya looks like the next hotbed of activity, following in the footsteps of Dubai for a few years.

Where do you see the greatest chance of work in the next few years? Do you expect domestic activity to rebound or are you looking to foreign soil as the saving grace for your firm?

Will Gulf of Mexico ever recover?

Less than a week after the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and with the specter of the BP oil spill still looming despite the apparent end of the gushing of contaminants, the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast region was again at the center of the news this morning, when an offshore oil rig exploded there.

With hurricane season getting stirred up, this explosion couldn't come at a worse time for the downtrodden residents who are simply trying to rebound from two major disasters in less than five years. Will this region ever be the same?

Is there anything the environmental engineers in the crowd can suggest to stem the tide and rebuild the region?