> This was passed on to me by a colleague. FYI
> (Sept. 5, 4:10p.m. EDT) -- Was it bad experiences in the early years or a
> lack of information that gave vinyl its bad rap in the building and
> The Vinyl Institute believes it´s the latter and has set out to change
> architectural minds both young and old through a new campaign called Vinyl
> By Design.
> Though initial advertisements intended to reach architects surfaced in June,
> the first big project starts Sept. 9 and continues through Sept. 17 at
> Habitat for Humanity´s "home build" in Americus, Ga.
> VI, along with the American Institute of Architectural Students, has chosen
> six undergraduate architectural students to participate in the build to
> learn all about vinyl, its various uses and benefits. Each will be paired with
> mentor to guide them through the build.
> Why start at the student level? It´s simple: They haven´t fully formed
> opinions about the material.
> When veteran architects are asked what they think of vinyl, some remember
> vinyl´s younger days when various problems arose from its use, said D´Lane
> Wisner, manager of environmental solutions for PolyOne Corp. and chairman of
> VI´s EcoBenefits Committee.
> Vinyl was not considered "an authentic material, like stone or brick; it was
> also looked at as a cheap material," said William Miller, dean of the
> Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Utah.
> Colleges also have not done much to teach young architects about PVC.
> "When you have about a year of instructional material, you can only give an
> overview," of each building material, Miller said, adding that vinyl never
> really has been singled out by its own industry either.
> Though teaching methods vary, most classes focus mainly on design, not the
> materials behind them, said George Middleton, a consultant for VI and an
> architect. "A lot of these people don´t know what vinyl is made of. They have
> just not had that kind of outreach," he said.
> When opinions on vinyl were solicited from architectural students, the
> conclusion was they just didn´t know anything about it, said Pamela Kortan,
> executive director of the American Institute of Architectural Students,
> which is based in Washington.
> "You have a whole new generation that doesn´t have that perception" that
> vinyl is bad, said VI spokeswoman Jody Roberts.
> After a year´s worth of research through nine various focus groups, VI found
> that the vinyl industry really had not done any self-promotion. Traditional
> materials such as wood and brick continuously have been pushed on
> architectural students, he said. When marketing has been done, vinyl has been
> promoted as an imitation, Wisner said. "There´s a lot of product information
> out there, but there´s never been an umbrella that says `Here´s the place you
> can go to get information on vinyl'," he said.
> The idea behind Vinyl By Design is not to be salesmen but to help students
> and architects think of vinyl as a traditional material to be included in
> their palette of choices, said Jeff Terry, VI´s director of industry affairs
> rigid vinyl products. "We want it to be an educational experience for them,"
> Roberts added.
> AIAS also is working with the Vinyl Institute to help educate up-and-comers
> and will continue to "establish chapters and programs that we think would
> be accepted," into architectural colleges, Kortan said.
> After the initial learning period and developing of Vinyl By Design with
> local AIAS chapters, "we can move forward with hands-on programs and
> demonstrations," she said.
> So far, the reception has been positive. About 1,400 architects have asked
> for more information through the new program, and students have shown
> enthusiasm about vinyl design competitions and the Habitat for Humanity
> project, she said.
> Middleton said reaching students today will have its benefits.
> "Somebody who is in school right now, probably within a few years, they´re
> going to be in a position to make building product and building systems
> decisions, " he said. "They´re going to need to know the background and the
> impact of the material they use."
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