This welcome and admissions center at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont preserves and expands an 1860s historic structure. According to Goody Clancy’s Jean Carroon, FAIA, the college moved forward with this project during the recession in order to provide economic benefit to the local community; the timing had the additional benefit of savings on the construction cost.
It’s been five years since our super-sized housing market collided with the iceberg of reality and began its long descent, eventually pulling the global economy into the frigid depths along with it. The magnitude and origins of this collapse are making the recovery a slow one—and uniquely painful for those working in building design and construction.
“It’s been a rocky three years for architecture firms,” said Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. Baker, chief economist at The American Institute of Architects, told
that the profession had lost “close to 37% of employees” and that architecture billings, a leading indicator of growth in the construction industry, have been anemic for years and appear to be on a second downward trend after a very slight uptick at the beginning of 2011.
“The residential side is dismal,” he said, attributing this to overbuilding during the housing boom; and even on the commercial side “we still have excess inventory out there.” Baker has watched the construction industry struggle through a few recessions, but none this bad. “I think we’d have to go back to the ’30s to find anything that was obviously worse,” he said, adding that a recovery would normally take 18 months rather than five years or more.