June 2008

You asked for it. Architectural Record meets the needs of its readers; GreenSource gives real data to the sustainability community; ENR unites the construction universe. In e-mails and conversations, you’ve asked us to give you a publication for your clients that demonstrates the value of design. We agreed. The question, as in all new ventures, was how, and for whom.

Photo © André Souroujon

The second part of the puzzle answered itself. The target audience needed to be the leaders of the business community, the select few individuals at the top of the corporate and institutional heap who set policy and make the final decisions for their collective enterprises. While others may have a more nitty-gritty role in operations, maintenance, and procurement, we determined to go after the C.E.O. and the other men and women who inhabit the “C” suite. Their vision, and their decision making, ultimately set the course for American business.

A conversation with one leader of a major American corporation proved instructive. He said that, in his tenure as chief executive officer of a global corporation, his single most important decision was where to house his employees. In an era in which talent makes the difference, his constant goal was attracting and retaining the best men and women. How they spend their work lives was paramount to their sense of well-being. On three occasions, this leader had to find major new facilities but had no publication resource to help him along the way. Aha! That was where we could be of use.

But how to talk to corporate leaders about the benefits of architecture and design? In debating internally, we realized that we have an ace up our sleeve. For 10 years, Architectural Record and our sister publication BusinessWeek have teamed up in a design competition where beauty has to be more than skin-deep. A raging success, the BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Design Awards program has grown up with the tagline, “Good Design Is Good Business,” a catchphrase that has real meaning. Unlike most juried award competitions, the BW/AR program demands that entrants provide real data that demonstrate how design affected a company or an institution’s bottom line.

Bottom lines rule the C.E.O.’s world. So rather than another design magazine that trumpets the latest stylistic flourishes or praises the constellation of design stars, a savvy, client-driven publication would meet business leaders on their home turf, presenting projects in a case-study format, deriving and presenting all the information we could from the projects. The hundred or so BW/AR Awards winners would provide an immediate source of potential case studies. In addition, we determined to focus not on the architect, but on the leaders who made a difference, together with their architects and other design professionals, so that members of the business community could see people like themselves in our pages and on our Web site and relate the publication to their own world.

Drum roll. In fall 2008, McGraw-Hill Construction, in collaboration with BusinessWeek, announces the launch of its newest publication, called HQ: Good Design Is Good Business. Devoted to advancing the role of design for American business, HQ (the abbreviation for headquarters) will be circulated among domestic business leaders at the highest level—the six to eight men and women in the American corporate suite—as well as to American architects who will be able to share it with their clients.

HQ will be graphically stunning, written in plain language, sharp, and compelling. We’re not bragging: It has to be or no one will pick it up. And it must deliver answers to readers’ unvoiced questions in plain language and in easily accessible segments. In 2008, we will only print a single issue, but its frequency will increase in 2009. On the Web, HQ will live in real time, building a community of people and resources for the here and now, answering questions and expanding the conversation among the audiences. And not to worry. We will continue our BusinessWeek/Architectural Design Awards program in both publications. Why mess with success?

For a question and a need so fundamental, you have to ask why such a publication hasn’t existed before. We may be slow, but watch out. Coming soon to a C.E.O. near you—HQ: Good Design Is Good Business.

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