Please enter the 2008 R+D Awards. Why? Well, one reason is that the more entries we receive, the better I look to my publisher. But the real impetus for the request is far more selfish: I'm on a mission to make building-product manufacturers and architects get along, and I need your help.
When I joined the staff of our predecessor magazine, Architecture, as a fresh-from-school reporter, one of my responsibilities was to cover products. This was far from my favorite part of the job. After years of weaving pure academic design fantasies, I found myself struggling to find the luster (or relevance) in the latest bird guard or industrial flooring.
Face-to-face meetings with product reps left me cold. How did these walking, talking golf shirts fit into my dream of becoming the next Lewis Mumford? None of my favorite professors or the architects I idolized left the impression that a product manufacturer was worth my time.
I was such a snob.
Fast forward 15 years, past the form-first tendencies of Postmodernism and Deconstructivism, and into the age of sustainable design, high-performance buildings, and building information modeling. Suddenly, architects seem to care as much about how buildings are put together as about how they look, and I couldn't be more on board.
In fact, the act of building is central to the editorial premise of ARCHITECT and the PRODUCT SPEC GUIDE—not because we think it would please our advertisers (most of whom are product manufacturers), but because we think it's good for architecture and the environment. Hence, the R+D Awards. The response last year was excellent, especially for a brand-new awards program from a brand-new magazine. But our goal goes way beyond beating the number of entries we received in 2007 (about 90, in case you were wondering).
The real goal of the R+D Awards is to harness the profession's renewed passion for performance and encourage architects and manufacturers to work together on an issue of mutual concern: the building sciences. The awards program is open to manufacturers and architects alike, for starters, and it's our hope that they will find common ground in the pages of the magazine and at the R+D Summit. (Find out more at architectmagazine.com.)
So if you're working on a new concrete formula or incorporating a radical daylighting system into a project, go ahead and enter the R+D Awards. It'll make us all look good.
Editor in Chief