Architects from across Iowa are meeting today in Ames for a conference which organizers say will challenge them to transform their profession. Sherwood Adams, the event’s chairman and a Des Moines architect, says one key to changing the process is better communication.
Adams says: "It’s about beginning to rethink our process in how buildings are designed and built. We’re trying to become much more responsive. Following the mantra of other industries of ‘better, faster, cheaper,’ we’re trying to become much more effective, efficient, economical and environmental-friendly in the development and construction of our buildings." He says including ‘green’ elements — like solar power or recycled materials — into a structure may cost more up front, but the long-term benefits will far outweigh the expense.
"Part of the benefit of ‘green building’ is its improvements and its lifetime efficiencies,"Adams says, "it’s really taking a broader perspective over the entire life of the building than just immediate first costs. The result would be, over the useful life of the building, much more cost-effective means of utilizing that building."
This conference is being attended by some 250 industry professionals, not just architects but also engineers, landscape architects, interior designers and heating/cooling experts. Adams says, "We can achieve greater aspects of building design and greater improvements in design by bringing everybody to the table early on in the process, allowing them to collaborate and communicate about their expertise so that priorities in the design of building can be established early on and so that everybody understands those and works toward those goals."
The conference of the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects is underway at the Scheman Building at Iowa State University.