This Construction-Themed Amusement Park Lets Kids Play Construction Worker for a Day

“There is probably only one place in America where an eight-year-old can ride a carousel whose seats look like excavator buckets, then swipe at bowling pins with a mini-digger—where, for a ticket price of less than $40, he or she can operate a backhoe, drive a drum-roller, and ride the telescoping arm of a construction lift 50 feet into the air to admire the Philadelphia skyline,” writes Bloomberg. “The idea of Diggerland, say its owners, is to scratch an itch for anyone who’s ever passed a construction site and wondered what it would be like to get behind the controls of a crane or bulldozer.”


How Modern Offices are Making Us Healthier

“Air, light, water, nourishment, comfort, fitness and mind are the tent poles of wellness, and smart developers are approaching each principle earnestly,” writes Bisnow. “To ensure employees’ comfort, for instance, companies are providing ergonomic furniture, standing desks and sound insulation. To care for employees’ mental well-being, some companies are providing wellness libraries, and surveys to find out what they could be doing to improve the work environment.”


Who Builds Your Architecture?

Who Builds Your Architecture?, or WBYA, is a collective of architects, activists, and scholars who are studying the systems and networks required to construct contemporary buildings like Hamad International Airport, writes Fast Co. Design. “WBYA’s priorities include bringing awareness to issues surrounding fair compensation, safe working environments, and worker housing. It aims to inspire students–an emerging generation of activist architects–to view ethical labor as a critical part of their practice, not an afterthought. The organization, formed in 2014, achieves this primarily through lectures and workshops. But this year, it received a larger platform with an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago–and a self-published, downloadable field guide to its research.”


Former Autodesk CEO on Construction Tech

“Construction technology is taking off as developers large and small seek digital solutions for challenges across the job site, and investors respond in kind,” writes Construction Dive. “The rise of CAD (and, later, BIM) in the AEC industry saw a similar trend, and the factors that drove its growth — such as the need to customize platforms for different user groups and new hardware options — are mirrored in the uptick in third-party apps and the growth of mobile and the cloud.To put the current construction-tech trend in context, Construction Dive spoke with former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz, who led the company from 1992 to 2006 as it grew from one of many digifab software options to the undisputed leader of the pack in the U.S.” Read the full interview here.


Multifamily Sector Predicted to Remain Strong in 2017

“After another year when the growth in multifamily housing exceeded expectations, apartment demand and property values could keep rolling through 2017,” writes Building Design+Construction. “The National Association of Home Builders expects multifamily starts to rise to 384,000 units, or 1,000 above last year’s number. Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, believes this pace is being driven by demographics and the balance between supply and demand.”


Designing Offices to Attract Top Talent

“Chicago’s downtown office market has seen significant changes in recent years, from the influx of companies moving downtown to the ongoing construction boom in Class-A office space,” writes Dan Earles of Earles Architects and Associates on “Among the key trends that will shape the Chicago office market in 2017 are a heightened focus on flexible workplace designs; more balance in open-space planning; and an ‘amenities race’ as building owners compete for tenants.”


How Architecture will Shape the Future of Retail

“While it may not be obvious, I think there’s one common theme among the successful retailers in today’s market: an emphasis on customer experience,” writes Gresham, Smith and Partners for Building Design+Construction. “It’s where indoor malls fall short and mixed-use developments, independent shops and forward-thinking big-box retailers thrive. Shopping has gradually become much less transaction-focused and more experience-focused, as consumers place more value on authenticity, atmosphere, convenience and social interaction. And that’s where architecture and interior design come in.”


Admiring the Golden Age of Concrete Architecture

“Ornate buildings invite us to pore over their beautiful details, but the plain, often imposing facades of post-war concrete architecture usually make us look away–or look past them entirely,” writes Fast Co. ” Yet in a new book called Extra Normal from Scheidegger and Spiess, Swiss photographer Serge Fruehauf focuses on their inspired details, which are often hiding in plain sight.” Visit Fast Co. for more images from the Golden Age of concrete architecture and Fruehauf’s book.


Chicago Office Rents Rose 20 Percent in 2016

The bill for high-end office space in Chicago rose almost 20 percent in 2016, the biggest increase in the U.S. and second-highest in the world,” writes the Chicago Tribune’s Ryan Ori. “Chicago’s one-year jump is especially striking considering the city is typically known for less dramatic fluctuations in property values and rents than those seen in coastal markets such as New York and San Francisco. The numbers help explain why developers continue drawing up plans, even though tenants just began moving into two brand-new towers along the Chicago River.”


How the Active-Adult Housing Market is Preparing for the Demand

“The active-adult housing category is about to get even more active,” writes Construction Dive. “A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University offers some idea of just how great the demand in this category could be. Through 2035, more than 825,000 older-adult households are expected to move into new, owned homes while 1.6 million will move into rental properties annually. The first baby boomers reached the age of 70 last year and another 10,000 are turning 65 every day for the next 15 years — which is to say that the growth in this category is likely just getting started.”