Thursday of the AIA Convention started bright and early with my first class called “Mixed Media: Combining Traditional and Digital Marketing“. This class focused on media and marketing strategies and answering key questions for your brand or firm such as “how are you communicating?”, “how are you differentiating yourself?”, and “what’s your message?”. The speakers that led the session were Tami Hausman, Ph.D., President, Hausman LLC, David Roccosalva, Marketing Director, EverGreene Architectural Arts, and Brien McDaniel, Director of Communications, Senior Associate, FXFOWLE. They discussed and gave examples of three ways to deliver your message: paper, digital, and personal. They also expressed the importance of knowing your audience and that you may need to deliver your message differently depending on your audiences. Fun fact they mentioned – 67% of firms that have blogs get more work than those that do not have a blog. Brien McDaniel gave an awesome case study on FXFOWLE’s Monograph launch. He mentioned the they had five goals for their Monograph launch:
1) Connect with their audience
2) Form new relationships
3) Strengthen their reputation
4) Promote their firm culture
5) Have a book review on the Monograph
What was interesting to me was the special opportunities they created to help promote the launch. They formed very strategic plans for exhibitions, events, press marketing, and distribution as they built up to the launch of the Monograph. Even the delivery of the Monograph was carefully thought out – from those who received it by hand delivery with a personal note to those that received the digital copy after the hard prints were delivered. Overall I enjoyed the session, especially hearing about and seeing FXFOWLE’s Monograph launch. But my biggest takeaway was to think of media in different ways, to incorporate specialized events into your media launches, and to present your work in a unique fashion that fits your personality and culture.
Next for Thursday was our first General Session and Keynote with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Julia was interviewed by Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air. Julia was extremely funny and charming and told stories about her ups and downs of being a woman in her industry – something that I believe women and architecture could easily relate to. She was very refreshing to hear and definitely provided a nice break from normal architecture lectures. She also provided much humor, something hard to do at 8:00 am and even a few references to her HBO series Veep, which I now have to watch...
Next up was a session called “State of the Art in Architectural Photography“. This session was okay, but I personally would have liked to hear them go a bit more in depth on setting up architectural photos, getting the right angle, how to deal with light/shadows, etc. I think the one hour time restraint is what left me wanting more at the end of it. One thing they talked about that was really insightful and powerful in terms of how we see architectural photography was a picture showing what the camera sees versus showing how the scene actually felt. Those are two very different things, and it is how the scene feels that draws out the emotions we want to evoke in people when they see our architectural work.
They did give us a list of some awesome photograph editing apps:
SKRWT, Photoshop Express, and Photoshop Fix
A few creative apps for photographs they mentioned were:
Hipstamatic, VSCO Cam, Paper Camera, Snapseed, and Camera+
They briefly discussed the benefits of using video to show off a project. In fact, they said that articles with video get viewed and shared TWICE as much as articles without videos. They said the three biggest reasons to use video to show a project are:
1) to showcase movable parts
2) to give a human eye perspective
3) to make it feel like human-centered design.
Last up for the day, a tour of the BOK Vocational School. BOK is a 340,000 square foot vocational high school that was closed down in 2013. The school is now being restored and given new life by providing a home to artists, jewelers, furniture makers, architects, product designers, a day care, and much more. They are doing a remarkable and commendable thing by turning the “building into a new, richly layered and constantly evolving center for creatives, small-businesses, non-profits, small-batch manufacturers and beyond. The project takes stock of the existing infrastructure (wood shops, culinary training kitchens, science labs and classrooms) to enable activity and affordability to create a revived place of making, training, learning and job creation in South Philly.” (About Building BOK) When we toured BOK, they had about 26,000 square feet rented out and were working on turning the roof of the building into a bar. One of my favorite spots we saw in the high school was the beautiful auditorium. The detail and craftsmanship that went into this high school was truly amazing. They hope to use the auditorium for community events and theater.
It was hard to see the condition some of the building was in, but it was exciting to know the things that are already going on with the new plan for BOK and all that they have in store for the old high school. I encourage you to check out their website and see everything they doing in BOK: Building BOK