The “shovel-ready” focus of projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has provided limited stimulus to the design community at-large. Many architects say they have yet to feel a boost. Still, firms with well-established experience in the public sector are finding opportunities, whether it be the revival of stalled projects or entirely new commissions. For some, the ARRA is keeping their practice afloat.
Ready to go “Our federal practice is swamped,” says Gus Ardura, HDR Architecture’s national director for federal practice. “State, local, and private are down, but we’ve been able to shift a lot of our focus over to federal.” The Omaha-based firm was selected to be part of the new $500 million Department of Homeland Security headquarters project at St. Elizabeth’s campus in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the firm is also using its existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts with agencies, such as the U.S. General Services Administration, to sweep up smaller renovation and energy-upgrade projects, according to Ardura.