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Curiosity and Learning

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

Curiosity and learning are a part of life. We never stop being curious, or stop learning new things. Whether it is learning to look at things in a new light, or learning a new skill or craft, there is always more for us to learn. For architects, learning is part of the job.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) requires members to take a certain amount of continuing education classes each year. There are a variety of ways to get the necessary continuing education credits, whether by attending programs at a conference, such as the AIA National Convention or Greenbuild, attending "Lunch and Learn" sessions, or going online and taking classes straight from the computer in the comfort of your own home or office. In this month's issue, we take a look some of the continuing education classes that are offered through some of the associations and manufacturers within the metal architecture industry. While we could only highlight so many in the magazine, a more complete list is available here.

In a Bonus Feature, we take a look at how architects and firms are utilizing social media. We spoke with three communications members at three firms that are active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to see how the firms are using social media, and how it helps them to communicate and connect with an audience.

In other news, it looks like 2014 may bring positive news to the architecture and construction industries. AIA recently released its semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, which incorporates information from the nation's leading construction forecasters, including McGraw Hill Construction, Wells Fargo Securities, IHS-Global Insight, Moody's economy.com, Reed Construction Data, Associated Builders & Contractors and FMI. After a disappointing 2013, with levels staying largely unchanged from the year before, 2014 and 2015 are looking to improve. A 5.8 percent increase in nonresidential building spending was forecasted for 2014, with that increasing to 8 percent in 2015. In addition, home building is expected to see steady gains this year and construction is expected to see substantial improvements, even though financing, construction costs and the need for skilled laborers are still concerns.

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