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Focus - Bringing the public into spaces

image Antonio Giovanni Naylor, President, Reliance Architecture, Austin, TX

AUSTIN - Antonio Naylor is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Environmental Design and owns Reliance Architecture with a partner.







How would you describe the state of the construction industry in general terms?
    For people looking to build, there has been an increase in costs.  Contractors have seen a recent rise in material costs, while labor costs have increased over the past six years. The number of new projects has remained steady, until this past summer. This summer showed an uptick in the construction industry with more projects kicking off design towards the end of the year. I would say we have been bullish since 2012.

How has sustainability affected your industry?
    Education of the public has initiated clients to request buildings that are more energy efficient, have less water consumption and provide more comfort for the occupants inside. Sustainability urges us to construct a better habitat. Architects have championed most of the sustainability practices for decades.  We educate ourselves on the advancement in technology and how we can further reduce the carbon footprint. Sustainable buildings increase costs, but the value to the client and to the environment is worth it.

What are the new trends in architecture/engineering?
     There’s an emergence of green building products at lower price points closer to standard products. The research and technology have improved building performance, contributed to less consumption of water and electricity and decreased carbon footprint.
    Architecture has better tools to immerse not only the client but also the contractor and others into visualizing the project.  We can construct our designs in a 3D model. We can use the Building Information Model (BIM) to show how the environment will look, present options AND step through detailed information. This gives architects the ability to virtually build designs before construction begins. We have more in-depth conversations with our clients and contractors to proactively work through issues early.
    Bringing the public into spaces we design has been a focus. We have done more outreach to incorporate functions and expectations of communities more. We design spaces that are inclusive of their communities, provide amenities and services to enrich the community. We have seen more partnering that encompasses large groups with diverse interests. It is rewarding as we see the buy-in take place by all parties.
What are the rewards of architecture/engineering?
    Delivering on a challenge for our clients is extremely rewarding.  Collaborating so that clients can realize their dream and vision within their budget is great.  It may seem at times we are under appreciated, but I would challenge my peers to revisit a finished building a year later. Go back, stand around and observe the occupants use the spaces. Very rewarding.
    To do this job well, to be an outstanding architect, we must love people, have a passion for problem solving and be astute listeners. Those are key ingredients to what we chose to do and what we love to do.

What is the most significant challenge your industry is facing?
    Managing expectations of all parties involved–the pieces and parts involved from conception of a design to implementation have grown. This makes the management of projects more complicated and requires everyone involved to slow down so as not to rush towards mistakes. The huge challenge is to carry over some wisdom from the past. Even with our more advanced tools, we must practice the art of measuring twice and cutting once.

    Reliance Architecture is a full-service architecture and planning firm, focused on educational and public architecture. -cmw

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