Recent Articles

ALTEMEYER: ISO's challenges real, but solvable

September 15, 2012
The challenges facing the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra are now widely known, but many still struggle with how that can be, especially when you look out at the sea of people in attendance at some of our Symphony on the Prairie performances. But facts are facts.

Architects and business leaders must work together to prudently maintain, build quality buildings

November 10, 2008
Especially during a recession, architects need to build strategies to reach new and existing clients and provide them cost-effective design and construction options.

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Plans for a new building should include move-in

September 22, 2008
New buildings are energizing ventures. They magnify the impact of new programs, they enable new technologies, and they reflect the kind of places we want to live and work. Or, at least they should. After the fanfare, the speeches and the ribbon-cutting ceremonies, the real users move in. Then the questions start: "Who decided this?" and "Why is this here?" and "What is this for?" The excitement of moving into a new building can quickly turn into frustration. It doesn't...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Green building not over when construction finishes

September 8, 2008
"Green" has fast become the metaphor for that new world we want to live in. We'll have green jobs, drive green cars and live in green buildings made from green materials. The link between the environment and the color may seem obvious, but most artists will tell you that green is, by far, the most difficult color to master. Green isn't one color. It's made by mixing yellow and blue. Different proportions of yellow to blue produce a wide range...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Industry needs new methods to make it in new economy

May 26, 2008
It's happening: Premium gasoline is breaking the $4 barrier that diesel fuel passed several months ago. While there are other serious issues in this "sour economy," fuel prices are the most obvious sign of the future we face. We can view the problem in several different ways: This is just temporary. Our problems were caused by a bunch of crooks, greedy oil companies and the war in Iraq. Things will get back to normal if we cut back a little...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Building a business case for what the city needs next

March 31, 2008
With the deflation of the RCA Dome, Lucas Oil Stadium will become the home of the Colts, the NCAA Final Four and, hopefully, the 2012 Super Bowl. In late October, the new Indianapolis Airport will become the remarkable new gateway to our city. Yes, 2008 should be an amazing year. Then what? Expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and construction of the JW Marriott complex will soon be under way. As we bike around downtown on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail,...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: The right time for climate change may finally be here

February 11, 2008
While the world's political climate is heating up, its economic climate is cooling down. Meanwhile, the real climate is finally getting the attention it really deserves, as the "tipping point" has been reached. Green is everywhere these days. New York Times For homes that no longer grow in value. If the personal consumption rates in China rose to the levels of the United States, annual oil consumption in the world would go up more than 100 percent! Oil consumption in...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: There's really nothing light about the topic of light rail

November 5, 2007
Twenty U.S. cities have some form of light rail systems in operation, and about 40 more are constructing or seriously considering light rail systems. While the list of cities with active systems isn't really all that surprising (you can see it online at w w w. a p t a . c o m ) , are other cities so busy building or extending them? Imagine a trolley system with regular stops within a city, but it has the ability...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Upon further review ... new reasons for old buildings

September 3, 2007
Buildings, just like people, have lives. They're born, they do their jobs, they take on new roles and, after about 75 years, most of them reach the end. Sadly, some beautiful ones die too soon, while a few ugly ones live too long. How should we decide when to save a building or when to tear it down? And have the reasons changed? The terms of renovation are well-known (adaptive re-use, mixed-use development and historic preservation). When our actions meet...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Infrastructure is costly to improve, but costlier to ignore

May 21, 2007
A recent article in Strategy+business magazine estimated that "the world's urban infrastructure needs a $41 trillion makeover" between now and 2030. The article explained that $41 trillion is roughly equivalent to the "2006 market capitalization of all shares held in all stock markets in the world." Some experts think that "new technology" will be the answer, and it may be when nanotechnology takes over the world. For now, however, the trend usually reinforces the trend, and we do the same...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: It's time we change those modular-home stereotypes

March 26, 2007
Mention modular housing and the first image that comes to mind is probably a TV reporter standing in front of a devastated trailer park in Tornado Alley. The "double-wide" with the screened-in porch somewhere in Florida may offer a much more comforting image. Nonethe- Americans their first chance at homeownership by manufacturing houses in factories and shipping the prepackaged kits to home sites. The visionary homes featured open floor plans, modern appliances, lighting fixtures and mechanical equipment. Sears sold more...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Better system of sharing bodes well for profession

November 6, 2006
When it was built in the 1930s, the original James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children was a very large construction project. Yet it required only 40 sheets of drawings, and only the stonework at the entry and the ceiling in the lobby were extensively detailed. The rest of the "detail knowledge" was filled in by contractors. Compare what it took to build Riley with the 50,000-plus drawings issued through six construction managers to build the new Indianapolis Midfield Terminal complex....

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Interviews can work, but they often need improvement

September 4, 2006
"You will have 30 minutes." Most project interviews begin with those five words. Design firms usually get 30 short minutes to persuade prospective clients to hire them for a project. Often, when all is said and done, both the designer and prospective client for the project, however, the guy sold his firm and retired to Florida. The interview certainly can make a difference, as it did in these three cases (although mostly for the wrong reasons). But most marketing experts...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Late urban planner's ideas still hold lesson for today

May 22, 2006
Jane Jacobs passed away in late April. This working mother with no formal education in urban planning wrote the book that revolutionized the way we thought -and still think-about cities. "The Death and Life of American Cities," first published by Vintage Books in 1961, became the equivalent of the "Art of War" by Sun Tzu in the fight against "urban renewal" in the 1960s. Ms. Jacobs' enemies in the 1960s probably thought she was tougher on them than Sun Tzu...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Mediocre planning efforts don't invite people to stay

March 27, 2006
Analysts say the housing market is slowing in Indianapolis and across the nation. Perhaps that's why three significant, real estate developments have attracted so much local media coverage recently. In one story, the City-County Council approved the development of 28 condos in Broad Ripple, despite strong resistance from the neighborhood association. Meanwhile, local planning councils easily approved two new developments-a subdivision on the far northeast side of town that will feature almost 2,000 homes and a large condominium complex in...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: It's high time for us to seek alternative energy sources

November 7, 2005
The Ghawar oil field is the jewel of the Saudi treasure chest. Sometimes called "The King" because of its oil production, this field has yielded more than 55 billion barrels of oil since the early 1950s-more than half of all Saudi oil exports. Today, it still produces about 5 million barrels of oil each day, or about 6 percent of the world's daily supply of petroleum. But all's not well at Ghawar. In August, The New York Times Magazine featured...

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: The world might be flat, but construction costs aren't

September 5, 2005
For the most part, construction has been a local story, a story about local workers building buildings in our community. But the story isn't so local anymore. Global economic forces have begun to intersect with local issues at the construction site. The result: a significant and ongoing increase in construction costs across central Indiana and the rest of the United States-an increase that shows no signs of slowing. Through the first quarter of 2004, construction costs increased at a calm...
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