Star architect, Frank Gehry, attempts to survive the decline of U.S. growth by turning to Asia. The Architecture Billings Index illustrates the decreased demand for design serves in America by plunging from 51.4 in August to 46.9 in September. According to the American Institute of Architects, a score less than 50 indicates a decline in billings.
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Gehry enthusiastically reported that the art scene in China is exploding. He currently is competing to design a Chinese museum in one of the countries rapidly growing metropolitan areas and expects to sign a contract by next quarter.
However, in China, architects are compensated by a percentage of the construction costs, which are about a third less than they are in the U.S. Gehry stated in an interview with Bloomberg, “If you take a percentage and your work with western salaries, you can’t make it work. So it almost forces you to open an office in China and work with local people.”
Earlier this month, Gehry’s 450,000 square-foot Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum was brought to a painful standstill. Gehry designed the museum before the 2008 financial crisis and has been working on it for the past six years.
Gehry is focusing on computer-aided, paperless, three-dimensional design to cut construction waste and costly change orders, in order to aggressively compete for contracts. Construction waste often accounts for 30 percent of the development budget.
If Gehry had his way, he would be working mostly in California and New York. However, his 100 person staff at the Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners LLP depends on him to find work.
Reference: www.bloomberg.com, www.aia.org