From the Editor

Measuring Up


One of my favorite days all year at ARCHI-TECH is the day the AV Awards are judged. Several staff members and I sit via conference call with a distinguished group of architects, technology consultants, and systems integrators. And we listen.

What we hear is always insightful. I love the interaction among the group as they debate the merits of each project. Their different roles in the workplace sometimes translate into different roles in the judging process.

That was illustrated clearly with one entry this year. The architects wanted to recognize the project because it integrated AV technology with architecture to give new meaning to the space. The AV professionals, however, said the AV technology was too basic to merit distinction.

The group instead focused on projects that blended great architecture and AV, from the
$5 million Hearst Tower in New York to the $28,750 Infinity Teens Disco onboard a Celebrity cruise ship. All the winners stand out for their innovation. These projects use both technology and architecture to become something better than they would have alone.

At Hearst Tower and Beaumont Hospital, technology is seen and used when needed. The disco, however, showcases it big and bold for a visual and acoustic experience. The New York City Office of Emergency Management uses technology as a vital emergency management tool, while Segerstrom Concert Hall harmonizes sound acoustics with incredible aesthetics.

All these projects had well-informed team members who knew their roles and how their work contributed to the whole. They communicated early and clearly, and that was critical. Their various viewpoints melded to make their buildings better.

The same thing happened in the judging room, where debate turned unanimous in selecting the winners. I must give the judges credit for undertaking such a task: The merits of architecture are almost impossible to measure. One person's vision is another's eyesore. The projects they chose to highlight further the advancement of the field, each in its own way.

Considering the design innovations happening daily throughout the world, I can't wait to get back in that room again next year.