Monday, August 25, 2008

CEO for cities

CEOs for Cities is a national network of American urban leaders dedicated to creating next generation cities that hold the answers to many of the challenges our nation faces.

Carol Coletta is president and CEO of CEOs for Cities and host and producer of the nationally syndicated public radio show Smart City .Previously, she served as president of Coletta & Company in Memphis. In addition, she served as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and American Architectural Foundation.

CEOs for Cities:

- Connects urban leaders to powerful ideas and each other.
- Mobilizes new urban activists to execute real change in cities .
- Produces new urban insights that lay out the best opportunities for cities, and the people who live in them, to succeed .
- Tells powerful stories about the potential of cities to solve our most pressing problems .

Carol Coletta will be a guest speaker at the REMIX conference to be held at ogunquit , Maine , USA from Oct 5-8 ,2008. REMIX is the 33 Annual Design Management conference organised by DMI .

Carol Coletta, will share the latest research on market trends at work in cities and how designers can make an important contribution to the success of cities.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gensler's focus on business created a new standard

San Francisco Business Times - by Lizette Wilson

I am copy pasting the whole article as it is.....its really interesting how architectural frm are getting more professional and treating architecture like any other trade . The hype created by architectural colleges and then by the students ....leads to frustration once the students are thrown into the real world which is beyound the reality the arch students have created , hope this article prove an eye opener .

article :-

The founder of the nation's largest design firm doesn't dress fancy and doesn't have a favorite building.

Art Gensler of Gensler architects is atypical in other ways, too.

He studied architecture at Cornell University, but doesn't consider himself an artist. He specialized in building interiors during the '60s when exterior design was the rage, and interior work was still essentially furniture arrangement.

But the biggest difference is the way he runs his architecture firm. He runs it like a business.

"He's reading the Wall Street Journal, and I'm reading an architecture magazine. He's looking for an industry, and I'm looking for one good project," said San Francisco architect and occasional Gensler competitor Theodore Brown, recalling a transatlantic flight when Gensler was his seatmate.

Ed Friedrichs worked alongside Gensler for 34 years, including eight years as president and three years as CEO of his company. "He got the money gene -- we all did," he said.

Indeed, with the industry's cyclical and highly competitive nature, slim margins and long delays between services rendered and payments made, architecture firms are not easy businesses to run.

Most schools still emphasize theory and design over business rules, and architects are typically drawn to the profession for a love of the work -- not a burning desire to run a business. Businesses are usually small, too, with 87 percent of firms nationwide operating from a single office and fewer than a dozen employees, according to the American Institute of Architects.

"Small firms don't have the resources to weather a downturn," said Kermit Baker, chief economist for the AIA, noting that just 14.2 percent of firms founded before 1970 are still around today. And Gensler is the largest of them.

During the past 40 years, Gensler has grown from one office in San Francisco to 28 offices and more than 2,000 employees worldwide. Revenue for the year ending March 31, 2006 is tracking 28 percent ahead of last year's numbers, thanks to rapid growth in every office except Tokyo and Detroit.

Practice areas now stretch beyond interior design work for corporate clients to include hospitality, education, airports, railways, furniture design and large-scale urban planning, with projects ranging from the 110-acre International Financial Center in Dubai to redesigning the approach to the Black Stone of the Ka'aba in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Art Gensler, 70, steps closer to retirement this month and is appointing three co-executive directors to lead the firm, including his oldest son, David Gensler.

While the change could signal a major shift in company operations, chances are it won't.

Beyond Art

Although the firm is named after Art Gensler, he's never been the sole decision maker.

Run for roughly 30 years by directors including his wife, Drucilla, Friedrichs, Anthony Harbour, Denis Rice and Margo Grant Walsh, the practice would usually reach consensus after debate, according to past and current board members. Votes were taken rarely, if ever, and nearly all major decisions emerged after a roundtable discussion.

While the management structure recently put in place will be different, the leadership has been active since 2003.

That was the year Friedrichs, Harbour, Rice and Walsh stepped down and the firm added 10 new board members to join Gensler and Drucilla. That board included their oldest son, David Gensler, who splits his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco; Washington, D.C.-based Diane Hoskins; and Los Angeles-based Andy Cohen. All three now hold responsibilities as co-executive directors and continue to serve as part of the 12-person board.

Gensler will handle finance and operations; Cohen will focus on clients and design; and Hoskins will be responsible for employee and practice issues.

Said David Gensler: "To change from a founder leader to the next generation is something that we've been working on for 15 years. It's an evolution."

The firm's design style, which is as diverse as the client roster, is also unlikely to change with Art Gensler less active in daily operations.

He only touched 30 to 40 of the 1,000 projects the firm was working on in any given month, with much of his time going to networking and not-so-glamorous tasks like bill collecting and handling insurance issues.

And on the projects he did touch, Gensler didn't leave a signature mark. He's proud of the fact the firm doesn't have a distinct design style, and instead takes its leads from clients.

That was a major reason why Gap founder Don Fisher continued to hire the firm for the past 40 years. He estimated the firm has done roughly 3,000 of the Gap's 4,000 stores worldwide, plus the majority of the corporate office build-outs.

"He does not have a distinct architectural style where people will look at his building and say 'that's a Gensler building'," Fisher said.

Said Gensler: "Architecture has to be appropriate. It's about solving problems. One of the problems is aesthetic -- it's the most obvious, but it's not necessarily the most important."

The most important?

Money. And Gensler learned that lesson from his clients.

Money honey
When Gensler launched operations during the mid-'60s, it was the beginning of the great white-collar expansion. Professional service firms were opening up branch offices nationwide and multi-tenant buildings, particularly in San Francisco, were becoming the norm. With older floorplates not always well-suited to an organization's business or focus, a lot of work was available.

"At that time, interior work was really done by housewives. The attitude of most architects was, 'We'll take the rough and tumble part -- the exterior -- and leave this other prissy stuff to the women,' " said Brown.

The sector meant both a major opportunity for Gensler -- it was the first firm to specialize in interior design -- and an education.

Execs at fledgling companies didn't have blank checks for build-outs and had to make the numbers pencil out for corporate headquarters.

"The culture very early on was to work on business-to-business terms. Not be interior decorators," said Friedrichs -- noting the firm broke the stereotype that interior design was more an artistic endeavor than a business.

Shortly after starting the company, Gensler realized he needed to know more about running a business. He attended a few night classes at San Francisco State University before deciding it would be more efficient to hire a business professor to come to Gensler and teach all the firm's architects -- roughly two dozen at the time -- business basics.

An early lesson was the importance of collecting on overdue bills.

"Most architects are generally embarrassed to ask clients for overdue bills," said Friedrichs. "We had a re-education process for people who carried that attitude. People make a science of floating their late payments, and if you let them, they'll work it to the max."

Along with hiring business consultants on an ongoing basis, Gensler and other executives sought out best business practices and principles from other fields. They learned to be flexible, creating a separate business unit for Gap projects to ensure they snagged all the company's business, and they learned to focus on financials.

That was among the reasons Friedrichs began courting David Gensler to join the firm in the early '90s.

With an undergraduate degree in economics from Dartmouth and an M.B.A. from Stanford, David Gensler had worked at the Pacific Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley and Microsoft.

He was chief financial officer of Datis Corp., a software firm in San Mateo, and was happily anticipating it going public. He was a numbers guy, and architecture, let alone joining his father's firm, was the furthest thing from his mind.

"Being the oldest of four boys, the closeness to Art was a little overwhelming," David Gensler said. "I wanted to make my own way in life, so I got as far away from design as possible."

Friedrichs, who had known David since he was 10, had been searching for a CFO-type to help run the rapidly growing firm. After sitting next to David during the firm's 25th anniversary celebration, he decided to pursue him as a job candidate. The men had several clandestine meetings at the San Francisco International Airport -- Gensler would meet Friedrichs when he was flying up from the Los Angeles office -- before deciding to discuss the idea with Art.

"We agreed on a couple of ground rules going in, the main one being that we would never let anybody or the company come between us. That's always a risk when you go into a family business," said David Gensler. "We've fought about issues, and I'm sure there are hard feelings on both sides. But at the end of the day, our father-son relationship is different than our business relationship."

David began working at Gensler in 1992.

The youngest of the Gensler boys -- 37-year-old Doug -- joined the firm that same year. He had studied architecture at Cornell University, like his father, and then traveled in Asia. He worked at the San Francisco office for three years before being asked to run the Boston office.

After building the group to 70 people, he moved back to San Francisco, where he now does a mixture of academic, mixed-use, hospitality and life-science projects.

"When we're all together, we tend to talk about (the business) a little bit. It doesn't consume us, but it can certainly be a big part of a dinner conversation -- everything from individual projects, to clients to strategic initiative -- you name it," said Gensler, before adding, "but it's not a family business."

Extended family
With 1,600 or so shareholders and a 2,000-plus employee-roster, critics often say Gensler has grown too big to respond to client needs.

David Gensler and other company leaders say scope is the firm's greatest strength, enabling the company to select the best people for a job. While a project is often handled from the nearest office branch, location becomes irrelevant as the project advances. Firm directors, who discuss roughly 1,500 of the firm's 2,000 employees at review time, frequently create new teams, drawing from locations around the world.

The 28 offices share the same profit and loss statement so they don't compete with each other.

While Gensler has not formally announced expansion plans, more activity in India and Asia will likely require an increased presence in those markets.

"People talk about us being a large firm, and it's like, 'Yeah, we're the tallest fifth-grader in the class,' " said David Gensler. "We're trying to build a truly multi-disciplinary global design firm."

Lizette Wilson covers real estate for the San Francisco Business Times

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

AEC World Expo 2009

361 Degree The conferences 2009
March 19,20,21,22
Mumbai , INDIA

India's first comprehensive internation design forum for ideation , inspiration and interation.


1.To provide a comprehensive insight into ideas and innovations that are today driving the fields of architecture, construction and design

2.To create a platform of interaction and expression for the thought leaders in the field of design across the globe today.

3.The Conference and workshop sessions offer dialogue opportunities satisfying the information needs of all segments of the design and construction fraternity - from business to academic scopes, from the professional to the entrepreneur...

For more info on World expo check out website

JLL Acquires LEED Rival

In a move certain to raise eyebrows in the industry that has grown around benchmarking and certifying green buildings, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL) has acquired the developer of Green Globes, an online interactive tool viewed as either a competitor or supplement to the U.S. heavyweight Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, depending on who you talk to.

In the deal, JLL acquires Toronto-based ECD Energy and Environment Canada Ltd., an environmental consulting firm known for developing suites of online environmental rating systems for buildings, including Green Globes, licensed and overseen in the U.S. by the nonprofit Green Building Initiative (GBI) in Portland, OR, and Go Green, supervised by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Canada. ECD staff will join Jones Lang LaSalle’s Toronto office, but other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The GBI, which emerged as an alternative to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standard in 2004, touts Green Globes as "the practical building rating standard" on its Web site.

Green Globes’ roots go back to 1996 when the Canadian Standards Association, a public/private group establishing safety and performance standards, published the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) as a guideline for existing buildings in Canada. It became an online assessment and rating tool for existing buildings under the Green Globes brand in 2000 and began developing standards for new building design.

In 2004, Green Globes for Existing Buildings was adopted by BOMA Canada, where it operates under the name Go Green Plus. Under the terms of the acquisition, Green Globes/Go Green standards will maintain independence from JLL and continue to operate under the GBI in the U.S. and BOMA in Canada.

JLL, which has emerged as a leader in energy conservation and sustainability in the commercial real estate industry, acquires ECD’s technology platform for measuring sustainability and benchmarking across commercial building portfolios. The tools assess new building design, existing building operations and interior modifications for their impact on energy, water and other environmental factors, along with occupant health and well being.

Although the upstart program is often described as a competing standard to LEED, Jones Lang LaSalle officials describe it as a supplement rather than a replacement for the well-established USGBC program, especially for owners of large commercial portfolios.

"Green Globes is more of a tool than a standard. We think they are very complementary," Dan Probst, chairman of energy and sustainability services at JLL, told CoStar Advisor. "LEED is clearly a standard that has gained wide acceptance and carries a lot of meaning for people in the marketplace, particularly for new construction.

"The marketplace is begging for a tool that will enable a quick assessment. Owners who have a large portfolio of existing buildings want to know where they stack up in terms of LEED. We think Green Globes is a great tool for doing that baseline assessment, and generating some recommendations to improve the buildings’ overall performance."

"It’s a fairly lengthy process" under LEED to assess performance to the standard, especially portfolios that may have hundreds or thousands of properties, Probst continued. One scenario would be for an owner to start the process with a Green Globe assessment, then use the baseline and recommendations as a foundation to pursue LEED certification, "if they think it’s important to have [LEED] designation."

JLL "definitely does not" see Green Globes as an all-out replacement for LEED or Energy Star, he said.

"We really see it as more of a tool; in fact, we’re already looking at some enhancements to link it to Energy Star. We’ve already had some discussions."

In a statement released to CoStar on Wednesday evening, USGBC Manager of Corporate and Investment Real Estate Marc Heisterkamp called the JLL acquisition 'yet another proof point in the business case that green operations and maintenance practices are moving from an add-on, ‘nice-to-have’ feature to an integrated approach to sound building management that makes good business and environmental sense."

Heisterkamp noted that the USGBC has been working with 40 organizations -- including CB Richard Ellis, Cushman & Wakefield and Transwestern, which together own or manage more than 4 billion square feet -- to green their portfolios using LEED for Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance.

"But those numbers, even considering Jones Lang LaSalle’s commitment, are small in the face of this tremendous challenge of greening 5.1 million commercial buildings," he said. "As an industry, what we have here is a good start, but there’s a lot more work to do."

While JLL supports LEED, Energy Star and BREEAM, "there are few efficient tools like the Green Globes/Go Green programs that allow owners to bring their entire portfolios up to these standards," said Lauralee Martin, JLL global chief operating officer.