April 2007

We have talked at you for 116 years. Every month, the members of the Architectural Record audience receive our curatorial choices—the architectural projects, the types of buildings and plans, the interiors, the houses, the lighting, the technical questions, and the cultural happenings, that we, the editorial staff, choose for you. Consistently, in correspondence and at live events, we listen as best we can, then attempt simultaneously to stimulate and inform. Each month, we try to bring you the latest, the best, the most provocative, as well as the highest examples of architectural work, domestically and around the world. You regularly respond to our choices, usually positively.

Photo © André Souroujon

Sometimes, we editors are accused of being too “New York–centric,” or too “bicoastal” (all California and the East Coast), or favoring “starchitecture”—that is, purveying the work of a few, select names that constantly reappear in the pages of print media and online. You have told us, “Our clients would never let us get away with the projects you show,” or, “The kind of work you’re publishing doesn’t match the kind of work we do in the Midwest.” We’ve heard that, too.

If any of those arguments sound remotely familiar, if you hail from the Midwest or the Deep South and don’t see enough of your own kind of work in these pages, listen up! Here’s your chance. On April 15, Architectural Record is launching a bold new initiative to reach out to our entire community, allowing you, the reader, to participate more actively in the content of our publication. As promised in an earlier editorial, McGraw-Hill Construction and Architectural Record have invested in powerful new community-building digital tools allowing you to help steer the ship. Here’s what we are offering.

As you may be aware, we already provide forums online centered on a few key topics, including sustainability, registration, and licensure. After a simple sign-on, you’re in the forum and can submit your own ideas; it’s easy to do. At mid-month, the forums have been augmented by a suite of tools allowing you a range of options.

For the first time, we have constructed photo and drawing galleries that allow you to post your own content to our Web site. Gathered around five critical areas of interest, these galleries permit you to share your best work, wherever it occurs, with your peers throughout the world. The requirements to post include your acknowledgment that you control (or own) the photo rights to anything published. That fundamental condition applies to all publishing, electronic or print.

And if you don’t like the type of architecture we, the editors, have chosen, you can vote and tell the world. We are instituting a rating system that allows you to evaluate every significant project that appears online and in print by a simple-to-use tabulation system: Vote and immediately see the results. You can even comment on the projects that you love (or hate).

If you find a particular article in any issue helpful, such as the one on the technology of building information modeling that appears in this issue, you can recommend that column to others by casting a vote. We have also inaugurated blogs—staff-derived experiences and opinions, as well as blogs aggregated from outside sources—that broaden the kind of coverage we provide and allow us all to comment on what we’ve just seen or experienced. We would be pleased to consider blogs or bloggers that you value, permitting record to become more immediate and more relevant to your world.

In the past, when we’ve asked whether or not you sent in your own projects for consideration for publication, most often you’ve answered, “No.” It was too hard to do, or too expensive, you said. As of April 15, that excuse no longer flies. We will use the galleries as sources, examining them for the best examples of domestic work, and including a select few in print and in expanded Web coverage through an informal competition. All you have to do is sign into the system and post to the galleries.

From now on, you cannot hide behind an excuse. For your best ideas, sign up and post. Vote for what you like. Send in your work. You asked, and we’re providing the tools. Now put up, or—oh well, you know.

If you wish to write to our editor-in-chief you can email him rivy@mcgraw-hill.com.