Time to scramble?

With the financial picture looking bleaker each day, the architecture industry is running for cover, or so reports Crain's New York Business.com in an article by Theresa Agovino entitled "Architects run for shelter." 

How dire it is out there?  Consider the experiences relayed to Agovino by Perkins Eastman founder Bradford Perkins. Perkins attempted to offset the impending slow down by opening a couple of international offices and hiring two renowned architects to bring in commissions. Despite these efforts, come Fall and the spectacular tanking of the American market, the firm saw 20 projects, nearly 10 percent of its total New York workload, be suspended or canceled and had to lay off 40 workers, or about 10 percent of its staff.

Certainly Perkins Eastman isn't alone. In a recent report at Contract's annual Design Forum, our editorial director, Jennifer Busch, shared the bad news: while the hit on the housing market has sounded loud and clear, an imminent downturn is coming for non-residential construction….if it's not already here. The Architecture Billings Index, calculated by the AIA, continues to plummet each month to a new low, and in October it sunk the farthest yet, to 36.2, the lowest level since it began in 1005. (To give this some context, any number below 50 indicates a decline in billings.)  Yes, the outlook is grim for all market segments: the office market is declining, the hospitality market is down right inhospitable, and don't even get us started on retail.

While more specific data and insight on the economic landscape for the A&D community is to come in Contract's January 2009 issue, we want to know: how are you dealing with the current state of economic affairs?

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