Contract - January/February 2015 - 28

photographY: Shani Barel-DeSSer

columnist

Moving Practice Beyond Analog
by Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Contract is pleased to introduce evelyn M. lee, aia, as a regular columnist.
an architect who is now a design strategist, she will be writing for our audience
of both architects and interior designers about how the built environment
design professions can and should evolve. lee is focused on bringing influence
and prosperity to architects and designers, ensuring their relevance in an
ever-changing economy. here, lee introduces her expertise and her point
of view, and sets the stage for her forthcoming columns.

evelyn M. lee, aia,
writes a regular column
for Contract on business
practices in design
and professional
development. lee is
a senior strategist at
MKthink, the ideas
company for the built
environment based in
San Francisco, and holds
graduate degrees in
architecture, public
administration, and
business administration.
lee has served on the
aia national board of
directors and, in 2014,
she received the aia
Young architects
award. her website
is evelynlee.com.
28

The practice of architecture is stuck
in a rut, running in circles similar to the
hands of an analog clock. Some would
argue that this reoccurrence is not
our fault. Rather, it is the result of the
economy in which we participate and
the nature of the construction industry.
The chief economist of the
American Institute of Architects (AIA),
Kermit Baker, may agree. In The
Architect's Handbook of Professional
Practice, 15th Edition, authored by the
AIA, Baker begins a chapter on financial
management by stating, "Architects
serve an extremely cyclical sector of our
economy. To thrive, therefore, they need
to be able to adjust to the regular ups
and downs of the construction industry."
Alternatively, I believe that
while an architect or designer's final
deliverable is often something that is
constructed, the services we provide
ultimately create innovative solutions
to some of our clients' more complex
organizational problems. If this is truly
the case, why does architecture and
interior design practice have to be so
reliant on the ups and downs of the
construction industry?
Active in the AIA for a number of
years, I have attended enough meetings
with firm owners and local and national
architecture leaders to see and hear the
perpetual wheel of practice spin. Other

professionals are taking our services,
especially contractors and construction
managers. We continue to be undervalued by our clients, often delivering
our services for a lower fee in order to
remain competitive within the industry.
And even though the male-to-female
ratio of students in architecture schools
has been evenly split in recent years,
the architecture profession itself has
not seen a dramatic increase in diversity
and equity within practice.
Many of the discussions that the
AIA national board of directors had in
2008-when I served as the associate
director-are too similar to the
discussions at the national level now
as I am serving on the newly minted AIA
Strategic Council. As a profession, we
have earned a reputation of being risk
adverse and not entrepreneurial; the
innovations of our designs and practice
are often limited by what our clients are
willing to pay within the scope of the
projects. Our method of doing business
has kept practice from evolving within an
economy that will continue to keep pace
with changing technologies. When I first
left traditional practice to manage Public
Architecture's 1% Program in 2007, the
most interesting conversations I had
were those with non-profit organizations,
helping them understand the value
architects can provide their organization

even if they did not have the need nor
the funding for a new office or building.
Now, as I hold graduate degrees
in public administration and business
administration, I have those same
conversations with MKThink clients,
and I identify strategies for them to gain
operational efficiencies within their
existing capital assets. My clients often
seek my advice well before they decide
a new building or strategic planning
process is needed.
I believe that the future of practice
is here, and that if we do not adapt as a
profession, we will find ourselves being
sub-consultant to a prime contractor
rather than knowledge leaders of the
built environment. Technology in our
industry has to evolve beyond
discussions of BIM and 3-D printing;
architects need to implement emergent
technologies to make better decisions
at the building and city scale. Changing
architecture and design business
practices have to expand beyond
different project delivery methods and
talk of an integrated design process.
Practitioners must seek new revenue
sources and different business models
beyond fee for service alone. As a
profession, we need to leverage our
expertise in design thinking and identify
other opportunities.
In the coming months, this column
will focus on changing business practices
in design and professional development
and their applications. I realize that not
everyone will agree with my views or
perspective, but I hope readers will at
least consider how they may adapt their
own practice to be more influential,
prosperous, and open to evolution. c
contractdesign.com 	

january | february 2015


http://www.evelynlee.com http://www.contractdesign.com

Contract - January/February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - January/February 2015

Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Columnist: Moving Practice Beyond Analog
Product Focus: A Family Affair
Product Briefs: Flooring, Seating, Textiles, and Wallcoverings
Designer of the Year
Legend Award
Annual Interiors Awards
Adaptive Reuse
Education
Entertainment
Healthcare
Historic Restoration
Hotel
Office: Large
Office: Small
Public/Civic
Restaurant
Retail
Sports
Student
Designers Select: Lighting
Sources
Ad Index
Installation: A Journey Through Austria Depicted on Screens
Contract - January/February 2015 - Intro
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover1
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover2
Contract - January/February 2015 - 1
Contract - January/February 2015 - 2
Contract - January/February 2015 - 3
Contract - January/February 2015 - Contents
Contract - January/February 2015 - 5
Contract - January/February 2015 - 6
Contract - January/February 2015 - 7
Contract - January/February 2015 - 8
Contract - January/February 2015 - 9
Contract - January/February 2015 - 10
Contract - January/February 2015 - 11
Contract - January/February 2015 - 12
Contract - January/February 2015 - 13
Contract - January/February 2015 - 14
Contract - January/February 2015 - 15
Contract - January/February 2015 - 16
Contract - January/February 2015 - 17
Contract - January/February 2015 - Editorial
Contract - January/February 2015 - 19
Contract - January/February 2015 - 20
Contract - January/February 2015 - 21
Contract - January/February 2015 - Industry News
Contract - January/February 2015 - 23
Contract - January/February 2015 - 24
Contract - January/February 2015 - 25
Contract - January/February 2015 - 26
Contract - January/February 2015 - 27
Contract - January/February 2015 - Columnist: Moving Practice Beyond Analog
Contract - January/February 2015 - 29
Contract - January/February 2015 - 30
Contract - January/February 2015 - 31
Contract - January/February 2015 - Product Focus: A Family Affair
Contract - January/February 2015 - 33
Contract - January/February 2015 - Product Briefs: Flooring, Seating, Textiles, and Wallcoverings
Contract - January/February 2015 - 35
Contract - January/February 2015 - 36
Contract - January/February 2015 - 37
Contract - January/February 2015 - 38
Contract - January/February 2015 - 39
Contract - January/February 2015 - Designer of the Year
Contract - January/February 2015 - 41
Contract - January/February 2015 - 42
Contract - January/February 2015 - 43
Contract - January/February 2015 - 44
Contract - January/February 2015 - 45
Contract - January/February 2015 - 46
Contract - January/February 2015 - 47
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Contract - January/February 2015 - 49
Contract - January/February 2015 - 50
Contract - January/February 2015 - 51
Contract - January/February 2015 - 52
Contract - January/February 2015 - 53
Contract - January/February 2015 - Legend Award
Contract - January/February 2015 - 55
Contract - January/February 2015 - 56
Contract - January/February 2015 - 57
Contract - January/February 2015 - 58
Contract - January/February 2015 - 59
Contract - January/February 2015 - 60
Contract - January/February 2015 - 61
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Contract - January/February 2015 - 65
Contract - January/February 2015 - 66
Contract - January/February 2015 - 67
Contract - January/February 2015 - 68
Contract - January/February 2015 - 69
Contract - January/February 2015 - Annual Interiors Awards
Contract - January/February 2015 - 71
Contract - January/February 2015 - Adaptive Reuse
Contract - January/February 2015 - 73
Contract - January/February 2015 - 74
Contract - January/February 2015 - 75
Contract - January/February 2015 - Education
Contract - January/February 2015 - 77
Contract - January/February 2015 - 78
Contract - January/February 2015 - 79
Contract - January/February 2015 - Entertainment
Contract - January/February 2015 - 81
Contract - January/February 2015 - 82
Contract - January/February 2015 - 83
Contract - January/February 2015 - Healthcare
Contract - January/February 2015 - 85
Contract - January/February 2015 - 86
Contract - January/February 2015 - 87
Contract - January/February 2015 - Historic Restoration
Contract - January/February 2015 - 89
Contract - January/February 2015 - 90
Contract - January/February 2015 - 91
Contract - January/February 2015 - Hotel
Contract - January/February 2015 - 93
Contract - January/February 2015 - 94
Contract - January/February 2015 - 95
Contract - January/February 2015 - Office: Large
Contract - January/February 2015 - 97
Contract - January/February 2015 - 98
Contract - January/February 2015 - 99
Contract - January/February 2015 - Office: Small
Contract - January/February 2015 - 101
Contract - January/February 2015 - 102
Contract - January/February 2015 - 103
Contract - January/February 2015 - Public/Civic
Contract - January/February 2015 - 105
Contract - January/February 2015 - 106
Contract - January/February 2015 - 107
Contract - January/February 2015 - Restaurant
Contract - January/February 2015 - 109
Contract - January/February 2015 - 110
Contract - January/February 2015 - 111
Contract - January/February 2015 - Retail
Contract - January/February 2015 - 113
Contract - January/February 2015 - 114
Contract - January/February 2015 - 115
Contract - January/February 2015 - Sports
Contract - January/February 2015 - 117
Contract - January/February 2015 - 118
Contract - January/February 2015 - 119
Contract - January/February 2015 - Student
Contract - January/February 2015 - 121
Contract - January/February 2015 - 122
Contract - January/February 2015 - 123
Contract - January/February 2015 - Designers Select: Lighting
Contract - January/February 2015 - 125
Contract - January/February 2015 - 126
Contract - January/February 2015 - 127
Contract - January/February 2015 - Sources
Contract - January/February 2015 - 129
Contract - January/February 2015 - 130
Contract - January/February 2015 - 131
Contract - January/February 2015 - 132
Contract - January/February 2015 - 133
Contract - January/February 2015 - 134
Contract - January/February 2015 - Ad Index
Contract - January/February 2015 - Installation: A Journey Through Austria Depicted on Screens
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover3
Contract - January/February 2015 - Cover4
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