HOW TO GET THROUGH '09!
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|For the architecture and design industry, the secret to getting through 2009 is diversification, says Perkins+Will managing director Paul Eagle, whose firm is behind the $1B NYPD Police Academy project in Whitestone, Queens and the United Nations HQ renovation planning. Spreading risk over sectors has allowed Perkins+Will to prosper in uncertain times, he says, noting that 2008 was one of his firm's most profitable years. Today, a successful firm will not just be a brick-and-mortar architect, but one which goes beyond traditional design with offerings like feasibility studies and research. "Clients are looking for information," he adds. "When you're on a short list, it can be a differentiator."|
|Paul with colleagues (clockwise) Chris Bormann, Debra Cole, Rob Goodwin, Daryl Bodewin, and Sonya Dufner. Leading firms will also look at sustainability, as more clients ask for green design and corporate mandates dictate a LEED approach. Firms that try to do more with less and cut fees will not survive, he warns. And be smart in what projects you go after. In the early '90s recession, 20% of architects left the industry, he points out. But out of crisis comes opportunity, so Paul is focused on identifying new markets and looking two to three years ahead. When not working, he enjoys walking his golden retriever, Bailey, whom he claims is the world's most ill-behaved dog (apparently, he hasn't seen Marley and Me).|