Design and shelter magazines have been shuttering left and right over the past year, but the mother of them all could yet be to come. On Tuesday, the board of the American Institute of Architects voted to hand over the decennial contract for the official AIA journal to Hanley Wood, stripping the lucrative arrangement from McGraw-Hill, whose Architectural Record is delivered gratis each month to tens of thousands of AIA members nationwide.
It is a huge advertising base the magazine—or any magazine—could ill afford to lose, especially during these difficult times in the design and construction industry. For months now, observers have been handicapping the companies vying for the contract, with a loss considered potentially fatal after Architecture magazine eventually closed after losing the contract some years before. Ironically, that periodical was later reincarnated as Architect, owned by Hanley Wood. In a way, the contract has come full circle.
Recently, a Record source told AN that the magazine would not follow the path of its predecessor, while some in the design press have speculated on whether Record's coverage might actually benefit from being untethered from the AIA. Others have wondered if the move was at all related to the recent ouster of McGraw-Hill Construction President Norbert Young, who left the company in November. Representatives for the two publishers and the AIA could not immediately be reached.
In a letter sent today to select AIA members from president George Miller and executive vice president and CEO Christine McEntee and obtained by AN, they describe the move as creating "an integrated media approach for the AIA’s official publication and our annual convention. The Board decision continues efforts to create a more nimble AIA, able to adapt and change to better meet the needs of members and the clients and communities we serve."
The letter also states that the contract with McGraw-Hill remains in place through the end of the year, with no interruption in service. The decision was made almost a year in advance so that a smooth transition between McGraw-Hill and Hanley Wood may be achieved.