E d i t o r ’ s N o t e
AIA Turns the Page Goodbye, Architectural Record. Hello, Architect
Considering that this is Texas Architect’s annual educational design issue, a history lesson seems appropriate. This month, AIA members will receive the latest iteration of the Institute’s “official” magazine. Instead of Architectural Record, they will find Architect in their mail boxes. The switch represents a decision made in late 2009 by the Board of Directors to end the Institute’s 14-year partnership with McGraw-Hill in favor of a contract with Hanley Wood. That means Architectural Record is out and Architect is in as the authorized AIA publication, with all members receiving a subscription through their annual dues. Regardless of what you may think of either magazine, the changeover is a done deal. The AIA Board, in its collective wisdom, partly based its decision on Hanley Wood’s agreement to dedicate eight pages in each edition to AIA-centric information, two for advertisements and six for editorial content. AIA staff will prepare the articles and design the layouts for the pages to be inserted into Architect’s press run. This is just the latest chapter in the long history of AIA periodicals, which began in 1900 with the short-lived The American Institute of Architects Quarterly Bulletin. After only two years the Bulletin was replaced by the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, which had an initial run of 16 years before the masthead was tweaked in 1929 into The Octagon: A Journal of The American Institute of Architects. Then, that nameplate was truncated in 1943 for the second-coming of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects, perhaps in a nod to wartime austerity. That lasted through early 1964 when the succinctly titled AIA Journal was launched. In 1983, after two decades, AIA Journal transitioned to Architecture: The AIA Journal. According to an editorial in the final edition of AIA Journal, the addition of the word “Architecture” in the title was intended “to underscore the fact that it is a magazine about Architecture as an art and a profession, not a house organ.” (I wish to thank the Institute’s archivist, Nancy Hadley, Assoc. AIA, for providing the above chronology. Also, Allen Freeman wrote an interesting summary of the AIA’s early adventures in publishing. That article, “The Autobiography of a Magazine,” from the December 1987 edition of Architecture gives insights into some of the personalities and issues related to the Institute’s sometimes hit-or-miss in-house publishing enterprise.)
After two years of Architecture: The AIA Journal, the AIA decided to get out of the publishing business and contracted with Hanley Wood, which had assisted the AIA in producing its magazine. The partnership resulted in a new monthly periodical, Architecture, as the designated AIA publication from September 1985 until that commitment expired in December 1996. The AIA’s next step was to sign an agreement with McGraw-Hill that in 1997 bestowed the appellation “official” on the publishing house’s venerable Architectural Record. The Institute twice renewed its affiliation with McGraw-Hill, which accounted for around 75,000 subscriptions annually to Architectural Record through AIA membership. AR was led throughout that 14-year interval by Robert Ivy, FAIA, as its editor in chief. Ivy, used his column in the November edition – the penultimate issue mailed to all AIA members – to ask AIA members to buy a subscription. His overt sales pitch underscored the print media’s anxiety over an industry-wide decline in circulation and subsequent dwindling amount of ad pages. (Ivy, however, can breathe a bit easier now that he has been hired as the AIA’s new CEO.) A few months earlier, Ned Cramer, the editor in chief of Architect, wrote his June “Dialogue” column about the impending transition. He noted that Hanley Wood (“a smart company that produces award-winning magazines”) was founded by two former AIA employees, Mike Hanley and Mike Wood, the in-house publisher and lead advertising executive, respectively, for the AIA Journal. Cramer waxed ebullient about the prospects for synergy between his employer and his card-carrying, dues-paying readers. The ups and downs of the Institute’s “official” publication might reassure TSA members about the value of their dues’ portion that helps support Texas Architect, a subsidy that keeps “the official magazine of the Texas Society of Architects/AIA” in business. By the way, with Texas Architect turning 61 this year, it is worth noting that TA is one of the very few autonomously published AIA component magazines. That means TSA controls the content and collects all advertising revenue. Keep up the good work! With this edition, Texas Architect inaugurates three new sections: “texasarchitect.org” (p. 7), which refers readers to additional online content; “Emerging Professionals” (p. 28), which will regularly spotlight activities and personalities from the ranks of the state’s future architects; and “Open House” (p. 32), which will profile a recently completed residential project in each issue.
Photo by Elizabeth Hackler
P.S. Note that TSA has moved its offices to 500 Chicon in Austin (78702). The building, which TSA purchased in November, was recognized in 2002 with a TSA Design Award.
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