How Do You Measure?

They say the world is becoming flat. The advent of the internet allowed us to overcome geographical boundaries and limitations.

In the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries, we see more teams working on a project from different locations. The architect may be designing a museum from the USA, while the project is located in Asia, the engineers including the contractors will perhaps be based in the project location's continent. The average project team member now finds himself/herself collaborating on different time zones, cultural backgrounds, languages, and locations. It is then important to look at three tools that could reshape the way we collaborate, measure the effectiveness of our online marketing campaigns, and essentially do business.

1. Google Docs
While the AEC industries rely heavily on Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for drawing collaborations, some aspects of the building process will require the use of documents, spreadsheets, and forms. Since Google Docs is free and web-based, I see this tool as very useful for start-up companies. In architecture for example, the contract or specification documents can be generated using its word processor. Collaboration and revisions can be made simpler since those in a project team can view and edit simultaneously a specific file, even though they are at different locations. The spreadsheets can be utilized for cost estimating and value engineering process in a project. Again, the ability to work simultaneously on the same file in Google Docs streamlines the process. These tools may or may not be effective in all project types though. However for smaller startup firms, this tool will greatly reduce overhead costs associated with purchasing software productivity tools.

2. Google Analytics

This tool allows you to measure the return-on-investment (ROI) of any marketing campaign you launch online. Most architects or designers have their own websites these days. It serves as an online business card. I've known of some designers who completely abandoned printing business cards altogether and opted to give out a "www.yourcompanyname.com" when asked for a business card. In a way this makes sense since the company website will contain all of the contact information, if not more, about a business. From an environmental standpoint, it also minimizes the need for printing on paper, and thus producing an environmental chain reaction from the lessening of the trees cut to produce the paper and contributing less to landfill when the business card gets obsolete.

Now just because one has created a website it doesn't mean that people are scrambling to go online and click on your website. Creating traffic and measuring the results through optimizing the website will become a useful tool especially if we want to see how our online presence is being perceived by our clients or targetted clients. It will allow us to answer the question whether or not they right clients or audience are actually finding us online. We may have a plethora architectural projects we showcase in a website, however, if this is not seen by potential clients, then it defeats the purpose of having an online presence.


Known as "Hyper Text Markup Language" is the language predominant in webpages. Is it important to know how to write in this language? Yes and no, because its efficiencies lie on how it will be utilized. Images and objects can be embedded in a page to allow for interactive forms. There are other tools these days that streamline the HTML code process to make it more user-friendly for the average person to build an online presence through websites without necessarily being able to write in HTML language. However, knowledge and understanding of this language process, is important to fully utilize its potential in architectural projects.

Architects may not be computer programmers however these three tools are essential elements that could change the way architectural projects will be administered.
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The Republic of Brands

"A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation." - Lexicon
The ubiquitous furniture of all time could possibly be the chair. The selection of a chair can make or break a designed space. This utilitarian object, believed to have been invented by the Egyptians, has seen an evolution in form over the last centuries. There are numerous design expressions rendered for it, however, the one that stands out for me is the Series 7 chair by Danish furniture design brand, Fritz Hansen, also known as Republic of Fritz Hansen. Mention the name Fritz Hanzen to an architect or designer and an iconic image of a chair will probably come to mind. From a furniture production company that started in 1872, it is noteworthy for a brand to last more than a century in business and still keep growing. So what makes a brand stand the test of time, just like its products?

From Denmark (part2)

There are three things that make this brand an icon of quality among architects, interior designers, and savvy consumers.

1. Quality.  When I visited their factory in Denmark in 2008, I witnessed the stupendous craftsmanship that goes into the manufacture of each chair. Each piece is made by artisans who are committed to producing furniture of premium quality. Each furniture is also inspected individually for quality control under rigorous testing methods.

From Denmark (part2)

2. Timeless Design. It's simple, sculptural design exudes class and functionality. Fritz Hansen, a Danish carpenter, has collaborated with leading architects and furniture designers around the world in the likes of Arne Jacobsen (designer of the Series 7 chair), Poul Kjærholm, Hans J. Wegner, and Piet Hein that led to the iconic fame the brand now enjoys. The design exhibits clean and straightforward forms while maintaining its functionality.

From Denmark (part2)

3. Sustainability. The sheer quality of both materials and craftsmanship make ownership lasting. When a chair is meant to last almost a lifetime, it's an almost zero contribution to landfill, minimizing impact on the environment. The selection of raw materials like wood is sourced from well-managed forests. Metals, paper, cardboard, textile, leather, or plastics are recycled wherever possible. All of these practices show a commitment to preserving our environment.

From Denmark (part2)

With these elements evident in this brand, it's no wonder the furniture itself becomes a conversation-starter whenever it is set amidst a well-designed environment that essentially becomes part of The Republic of Brands, this case, the Republic of Fritz Hansen. “It’s our ambition to create classics. But you know we cannot create them. It’s the consumer, that by the end of the day, will decide, what become classics.” says Jacob Holm, President of Fritz Hansen in the Republic of Fritz Hansen website.
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A Look into Frank Lloyd Wright's Organic Principles in the context of today's Sustainable Initiatives

Part One: Wright's Taliesin has become regarded as a living laboratory for sustainable design. The pairing of the native landscape with Wright's organic architecture provides the perfect setting for studying the relationship between the natural and built environment. Luis discusses living in Taliesin shelters, highlighting the "learning-by-doing" methodology and how this strategy can be applied to achieving sustainable benchmarks in LEED.

Part Two: Side by side analysis of Organic Principles and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) benchmarking system

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