A partial compilation of sidebar information from printed edition of DI

Your Web Site is Showing

A recent Stanford University study of savvy, mostly college-educated Web users showed that little things mean a lot to your Web presence – and a lack of attention to detail can be a big mistake.

While the company reputation played a role in site credibility, the following were listed as key to high rankings:

  • The site has proven useful to you before

  • The site is by an organization that is well-respected

  • The site provides a quick response to your customer service questions

  • The site lists the organization’s physical address

  • The site has been updated since your last visit

  • The site gives a contact phone number

  • The site looks professionally designed

And the detracting factors:

  • The site makes it hard to distinguish ads from content

  • The site is rarely updated with new content

  • The site automatically pops up new windows with ads

  • The site has a link that doesn’t work

  • The site is difficult to navigate

  • The site links to a site you think is not credible

The results came from 1,649 online users (55/45 male to female ratio), primarily from the United States and Finland. The average participant was a college-educated person in his early 30s with an annual income of $50,000; nearly two-thirds had used the Web for five years, and used the Internet about 10 hours a week.

See: www.webcredibility.org

FLASH Aims to Rule the Web

Flash intros are so ubiquitous on architectural sites, it’s hard to imagine web presence without it. For many Web users, it’s a love it or hate it proposition. But stats released by Flash in June indicate Flash continues to make inroads – more than 200 million downloads for Flash 6, making it the fastest adoption of any new version so far. Parent company Macromedia estimates more than 1 million web designers are Flash literate, and the program is used by 436 million Internet users. See:


California Build-to-Order Car Firm expects first vehicle in 2004

Build-to-Order, Inc., a car company that wants to challenge the assembly line, says it will deliver its first automobiles in 2004. The company recently moved to southern California and partnered with Deloitte Consulting for technical and business development efforts during the build-out phase that will include strategic partnering with several technology providers.

Deloitte is expected to put together a team of partners from consumer electronics, retail, and other industries. Reaching profits with such a low-volume concept is one big challenge. BTO plans to build a portfolio of models from the same platform that share major parts and components but remain built to customer specifications. Since all vehicles will be built only for a customer order no one will receive a “stock” model.

See: www.btoauto.com

A Contained Environment

For next year’s Biennial of Architecture in the Netherlands, the Dutch firm MVRDV plans to raise a temporary city in Rotterdam Harbor, built from more than 3,000 shipping containers. The modular metroplex will contain hotels, art spaces, restaurants and performance halls, all built from steel boxes stacked 15 deep.

N.J. Builder embraces Feng Shui

K. Hovnaian, one of the country’s largest construction companies, has added a Feng Shui practitioner to its staff. And it has begun training others in the seven states where they have a presence.

“People are more concerned than ever with creating a home that provides sanctuary from a not-too-friendly world,” said Corinne Hoffman, director of sales training and leadership development, who has earned her certification as a Feng Shui practitioner. “Especially since 9/11, they want to come home and feel at peace. Feng Shui is all about having a place to come home to and feel safe, secure and comfortable. I was curious about some of the things I was hearing, like homes facing south and stairs not leading straight out the door,” she said. “We build homes all over the country, and in most cases, they face different directions because the land itself dictates the location, direction or configuration of homes, buildings and streets in the area. I wondered how we could make this work.” The firm plans 9,000 homes this year.

NCARB Awards $25,000 in First Education/ Practice Competition

The Grand Prize winner of The National Council of Architectural Registration Board’s first competition to recognize creativity in integrating education to practice was announced at the group’s annual meeting on June 29 in Boston.
The Detroit Collaborative Design Center (the University of Detroit-Mercy) took home the $25,000 grand prize and five finalists received $7,500 prizes. A total of 48 NAAB-accredited schools entered in three categories: curriculum, community outreach and applied research and development. The Detroit project dealt with community outreach in urban settings.

Some factors considered in selecting the winners were: practice integration by exposure to practice culture, structured collaboration with allied professions, and projects led by registered faculty practitioners.

Other finalists were: Arizona State University, for a community-led project where the studio served as the professional office; Auburn University, for (the late Sam Mockbee’s) Rural Studio; Miami University, for a research project using digital technology; North Carolina State University, for a case studies research program; and the University of Pennsylvania, research technology.

The jury included the Council’s Practice Education Task Force and five deans of NAAB-accredited architectural programs chosen by NCARB’s regional leadership. They are: Janet White, FAIA, jury chair; Peter Steffian, FAIA; David Mohney, AIA; John C. Wyle, AIA; Cornelius “Kin” DuBois, AIA; Gary Hack, Ph.D., AICP, Dean, University of Pennsylvania; Daniel Bennett, FAIA, NCARB, Dean, Auburn University; Douglas Kelbaugh, FAIA, Dean, University of Michigan; John C. Gaunt, FAIA, Dean, University of Kansas; William C. Miller, FAIA, Dean, University of Utah.

The NCARB initiative is one of the design profession’s significant steps forward to create a better bridge between practice and education. We applaud them.