The Power of Questions

There was so much interest from students at the conference.
An impromptu sign promotes the competition on day two of the conference.

“Are you working on any interesting projects?”

That was my opening line to attendees at the recent American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) national conference in San Francisco. Of course, the answer was always, “yes,” which was usually followed by a great conversation from which I, as a trade show exhibitor, learned far more from the architect attendees than they learned about metal building systems or accreditation from me.

In response to my query about interesting projects, I heard about second homes for the uber-rich with trips by the architect to Portugal to pick out custom granite. I learned about “accessory dwelling units” and how they might be a solution to the affordable housing crisis. I also heard about new school projects that were delayed because of the pandemic and were now at risk because of shrinking budgets and increasing material costs. I talked to architectural students who were concerned about the cost of education, licensure and AIA membership.

After these initial conversations, my second question to attendees was often, “How can we help you?” Could we pre-fabricate accessory dwelling units using metal building components? Would a metal building system be a value engineering solution for that new school? Have you heard about MBMA’s student design competition with a top prize of $5,000? We had so much interest from students on the first day that we made an impromptu sign to promote the competition on day two.

Speaking with attendees at the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) annual conference.
A question to attendees was, “How can we help you?”

For those architects who were not able to make it to San Francisco for the AIA conference, I’m pleased to introduce this special section on metal building systems. Perhaps this collection of articles will answer some of the questions you have about metal buildings. Are you interested in how metal buildings can be used for more than just warehouses and manufacturing plants? Check out the story about MBMA’s architectural folio series. Want to know more about our student design competition? Read all about last year’s winners and their fire station designs and get details on this year’s challenge: designing a nature center and environmental research facility.

If the articles in this section don’t answer your metal building questions, then I have a question for you. How can I help you? Email or call me and I’m happy to assist. TBouquot@mbma.com or (330) 554-9298.