April 10, 2009
  Design Culture Adapts to Shrinking Budgets
When construction budgets are cut, does architecture suffer? The recession has given new impetus to this perennial question of ends and means. Conventionally speaking, more generous budgets allow more generous architecture, and vice versa. But beyond the common concessions to value-engineering, how is the economic crisis affecting design practice?

The Economy • Energy • Human Resources

The Economy: Expect office vacancy rates to spike in these markets.
Energy: There are federal incentives coming that will make clients happy.
Human Resources: It looks as if the union card check bill is on hold.

Candidates for National Office Address Emerging Professionals’ Questions
Most expect design upturn to continue through 2009
Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, reports that design activity for nonresidential buildings remained strong in October, while residential activity continued its downward spiral. Overall, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index just about maintained its September level. Firms are expecting modest gains in activity next year, with larger firms the most optimistic.

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Welcome to the Business Zone
This is the place for our monthly Work-on-the-Boards survey report, quarterly Housing Trends survey report, and biannual Consensus Forecast, all by AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. You’ll also find tips for managing the business side of your practice, as well as the weekly Kiplinger Connection.