It’s been a while since our last post re-printing the Mississippi Architect, a monthly magazine published by the Mississippi chapter of the American Institute of Architects. So let’s jump back in with the March 1964 issue.
As you may recall, the February 1964 issue contained an article documenting the “updating” of an Art Moderne commercial building by making it somewhat “Colonial.” An article in the March 1964 issue looks at the importance of outside lighting and the sociological impacts of increased night-time activity, and I thought it was interesting enough to include in addition to the first editorial by Edward F. Neal, of Jackson.
How Much Will Your Building Cost?
Every prospective building owner has to face the question of building costs, and the first person he should turn to for a reasonable answer is his architect. Until recent years the answers may have been evasive, casual, or overly optimistic, but fortunately there has been a swing in the right direction. Most architects who are properly trying to expand their services, now consider effective cost estimating to be a fundamental part of these services.
In the opening discussion stage of a building program, the architect may suggest probable building costs in terms of current area, volume, or other unit costs; but when preliminary drawings are submitted they should be accompanied by a semi-detailed estimate indicating proposed building materials and reflecting projected techniques in structure and in mechanical and electrical equipment. Finally, a revised estimate should be submitted after working plans and specifications are completed, in order to reflect changes made during the course of final plan development.
The question now becomes: Just how good is an estimate anyway?
It could be said that any estimate is better than none, but that would hardly be sufficient. Experience indicates that a five per cent variance between the low bid and the estimate is a desirable margin. Obviously we hope for better, but occasionally get worse, since the building industry seems subject periodically to radical ups and downs. The estimate of cost remains however an effective tool
which both architect and owner can use to keep their feet on the ground. One cannot expect to know exactly how much a building is going to cost, but he deserves an estimate from his architect which is sufficiently accurate to launch a successful building program.
Edward F. Neal
Americans Are Becoming “NIGHT PEOPLE”
More Activity Concentrates in Evening Hours With Assistance of Modern Lighting
LITTLE less than two decades ago Americans did most of their shopping by daylight. It was common for Dad, Mom and the children to hustle off in the family car on Saturday for a day of shopping. For, with Dad at work and the children in school during the weekdays, virtually the only family shopping day was Saturday. However, the big, modern, well·lighted shopping centers which sprang up in the post· war period changed the shopping habits of the nation almost overnight. American shoppers became night people and latest statistics prove it.
Consider these facts, released by the Floodlighting Institute of Cleveland , Ohio, concerning recent studies of shopping centers:
- 31.4 per cent of the total traffic arrives during the three- to four-hour period after 6 PM
- Cars arriving at night carry 10 per cent more shoppers than those arriving during the day.
- The average night shopper spends 52 minutes in the center, compared with an average of 29.2 minutes for the daytime shopper.
The International Council of Shopping Centers of New York City conducted a survey of evening-hour
sales in shopping centers. A total of 245 centers responded as follows:
Percent of Reported percentage of
centers reporting gross volume after 6 P.M.
37.7 50 to 75%
36.7 30 to 50%
25.6 5 to 25%
The change in buying habits has been a boon to the shopping center, but it has presented problems
for some of the long-established shopping areas, especially in small towns. Without positive action, these established merchants have found they could not compete with the shopping center in terms of shopper convenience.
In dozens of small towns and cities across the United States–and in some large ones, too–merchants have responded to the challenge. They bonded together into groups, bought property adjacent to their shopping areas, tore down existing buildings and turned the land into spacious, well-lighted parking areas. They also remodeled store fronts and interiors and relighted downtown streets.
This is one side of the coin. On the other side are the merchants and city officials who refuse to help themselves. They lament that business is suffering and land values have been reduced in downtown areas, but they refuse to take positive action to improve the situation.
People, given a choice, refuse to shop in poorly lighted areas, and the country’s constantly spiraling crime rate has a lot to do with it. With the threat of muggings, street attacks and robberies hanging over virtually every city, people generally avoid areas that do not provide proper lighting as some measure of protection.
The longer merchants and officials wait, the harder it becomes to revitalized affected business areas.
This article is reprinted from the March 1964 issue of the Mississippi Architect, with permission from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. View the full March 1964 issue of Mississippi Architect in a digitized format, or for other articles in this ongoing series, including the pdf version of each full issue, click on the MSArcht tab at the top of this page.