2012 Texas Architects Convention

Friday, October 26th, 2012

This past weekend I attended the Texas Architects annual convention in Austin. I also had the privilege of being a speaker in two sessions.  It was an enjoyable convention with several new ideas that I hope continue into future conventions.

So in true procrastination style, I admittedly stayed up very late on Wednesday night completing one of my presentations. It was a revision of a previous presentation with some expansion on other areas. It ended up taking longer than I had planned in actuality. I was misguided in my thoughts of how simple of a process it was going to be to redress the previous presentation. And then my meticulous and detailed nature decided to rear its ugly head about midnight and it started a process that had to be completed in order to have a cohesive presentation…… So many hours later I make it to bed.

Apps for Architects

Oddly enough, I have to present the first day of the convention at 11:30 am. So I get up and leave my house about 9:00 am. It takes me longer to get to Austin than I anticipated and the parking situation at the convention center is not great. But I made it with some time to spare, but not enough to comfort my co-presenters I am sure.

Texas Architects Convention – My view from the Stage

The first presentation went very well. The room was packed, standing room only. There were about 300 people in the audience. Nice! The presentation went fairly smooth.  This presentation was put together by the New Media Committee of Texas Society of Architects. I have been on that committee for a few years now. I and two other members volunteered to submit and put this presentation together. It was all done via Skype and Dropbox. The first time all three of us were in the same room was at the presentation. Technology.  The rest of the day was spent in education sessions. That evening the convention had put together a “Pechu Kucha” event. This is a quick presentation format in which people talk about some subject that interests them. The presentation is limited to 20 slides and each slide receives twenty seconds of time. So the total presentation is about six and a half minutes. This was held at the Texas Architects headquarters building in Austin. The “PK” had architects, a stone carver and a few artists. It was a delightful and entertaining evening.  But it was also a later night than I anticipated. I made it back to my hotel room about 11:30 pm.

View from back of the room during Apps for Architects


Texas Architects Convention – Social Media: Advanced Tactics for AEC

The next morning was my personal presentation about “Advanced Social Media Tactics” for the AEC industry. It was a information packed presentation, but I managed to make it through the full presentation in the allotted time. At the end, during Q&A, the typical questions arose… “Why should I spend any time doing this?” “What am I gaining from this?” And my answer is always the same. You get out of it what you put in. I find that Social Media is a way to cultivate individual professional growth and share you or your firm’s voice to a larger audience. I am not one to say that this is currently the location for projects leads. But I have no doubt that in the near future it will play a part in securing work for your office. As the generation that lives within this online world gain financial status and positions, they will look to this medium (or the newer version) to find service providers.

View of me during presentation from @falloutstudio

The general session speakers were also very interesting this year. The first was Robert Hammond of The Friends of the High Line development in New York City. He spoke to the process it took to generate that movement and eventual development. He also reviewed the future plans for the elevated green way and park space in lower Manhattan.  The second speaker was Roman Mars of the popular podcast 99% Invisible. He actually did a live radio show on stage as his presentation. It was very intriguing. He gave several examples of how buildings tell stories.  It was a group of snippets from various podcasts to date. The “Purple Hotel” was my favorite. It showed how the life cycle story of a building can be fascinating.

Roman Mars @ 2012 Texas Architects Convention

“The Purple Hotel” near Chicago via Roman Mars

The rest of the convention was also enjoyable. Yes some of the educational session can be dry and tedious, but I usually enjoy most of them and feel if I gain one piece of new knowledge, then it is a successful session.  I was also able to spend time with colleagues that I only see a few times a year. It is always a valuable way for me to recharge my batteries as they relate to my profession and practice. It is nice to talk architecture with those in other areas of the state. I have already developed a few ideas for presentations for next year. Apparently l like talking about my profession…