[GRRN] [Fwd: Big Green: FW: It's Official: VI targets Architects]

From: Debra Lombard (deblombard@swinter.com)
Date: Fri Sep 08 2000 - 11:42:32 EDT

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    > This was passed on to me by a colleague. FYI

    Debra

    > CLEVELAND
    >
    > (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
    > construction
    > industry?
    >
    > 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
    > a
    > 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
    > for
    > 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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