We stand on the edge of a New Frontier—the frontier of unfulfilled hopes and dreams, a frontier of unknown opportunities and beliefs in peril. Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space… John F. Kennedy
It was almost exactly 50 years ago, in his acceptance speech in the 1960 United States presidential election, that the then recently elected president spoke these words.
Today, with the all-out emulation of that time period – An Education, Mad_Men and A Single Man come to mind – there’s a sense, with that decade of promise and passion, something great and profound has passed forever: something elegiac, full of promise, teeming with anticipation.
A direct line could be drawn from the speech heard round the world and events just nine years later at the end of that decade when man had landed on the moon.
We find ourselves today at the threshold of a similarly new era. Take counsel when marveling how quickly the past decade drew by.
As a profession and industry what will our man on the moon moment be?
“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”
Great discoveries surely lie in store for architecture, engineering and construction. There will be marvels as yet undreamed of as there always are.
And yet we find ourselves living in a time convincingly telling us to set aside our preoccupation with the design of objects and things in favor of processes, systems and flows.
BIM and Integrated Design and LEED together are our stimulus and our infrastructure.
It has been a while since we’ve had a frontier to discover, a frontier commensurate with our capacity to wonder.
Today BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our great New Frontier.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Nonetheless, some stand at the threshold looking back, approaching BIM and Integrated Design and LEED with skepticism and cynicism.
Well-earned, no doubt, after many years in the business.
They say these are just tools. Today’s CAD, a newer and better pencil.
That Integrated Design is unrealistic and LEED cumbersome and self-serving.
As assuredly as we will see technologies surpass BIM, processes pronounce Integrated Design obsolete, and superior means to sustainable buildings and places than LEED – today as a profession, as an industry, as a country – BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our Manifest Destiny.
Together they are our rallying cry, our call to expansion of the design professions into new territories that lie in wait beyond, neither by imperialistic expansion into territory belonging to others nor devolving into their slaves.
“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? Cried Daisy, and the day after that, and the next thirty years?”
As the great new frontier BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are ours for the taking by eminent domain.
Our expansion into the unknown, into the future, should be something fierce and exciting – untamed and new.
A means by which to rediscover our territory – and other worlds – all over again.
Enter with trepidation – enter with anticipation – but whatever you do, enter.
You do not become stronger by protecting and contemplating your core. You become stronger by opening up to what lies in store.
“There was the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning briefcase of enthusiasm, thinning hair.”
This, right now, is our moment.
How you approach BIM and Integrated Design and LEED is how you approach anything.
With mutual fear and trepidation, distrust and unwillingness to share?
Or with an open mind, anticipating, expanding into new ground, growing ever outward, a small Kaizen step at a time?
When others are progressing while we are wait-and-see, approach this new territory with small steps if you must. But approach we shall.
By summer we will have jumped fences, barriers, cubicle walls.
By fall, we will have reached all the way across the table.
Who knows where we will be this time next year…if we do not take these first small steps.
This is our moment. Our moment will soon pass.
“For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder.”
BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our new frontier, a land to explore, a territory to discover – and to conquer. So be bold.
Settlers first came to America with one ambition, a better life.
What came of this better life?
As the American Dream is a life in pursuit of opportunity, freedom, equality, community and wealth, ours is one of collaboration, mutual trust and sharing. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, these dreams soon diminished as materialistic values superseded all.
Soon owners will arrive on our shores. What will we do?
BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are at once our green breast of the new world and our green light at the end of the dock.
The green expanse before us offers a better way for owners and a better way for all.
BIM and Integrated Design and LEED are our continent to discover, explore and experience. They are our promise of a new way to work and prosper so that we all may reach our dreams together.
“Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock….his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.”
Together the technology and process paint a picture of a bright new world.
The opportunity they portend is endless. Let us not forsake it.
BIM and Integrated Design and LEED together are commensurate to our capacity to wonder.
They have the power to transform us into who we once envisioned ourselves to be.
Let’s not beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
All quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby” dealing with the failure of the great American dream.