One subtext this week was overload. First of course, there were the two shows, BuildBoston and GreenBuild. Two three-day shows — one an annual Boston event, the other a one-in-a-generation visit by as big a force as there is in building these days. Somehow, they overlapped on two of their days — the last two days of BuildBoston were the first two days of GreenBuild. From what I could gather — I spoke to some people who might know, but in casual conversation, not in interviews — you could view this as yet another little skirmish between architects and the USGBC. For reasons not readily apparent, those two parties have never quite married up, even though many of the same people are operating in both camps on the local and regional levels. (A story I wrote in June gives some background.)
The ideal for many of the people likely to attend one or both of the shows would have been for them to dovetail, not overlap for two-thirds of their duration. I think it probably hurt the Boston Society of Architects, which runs BuildBoston, by cutting down on attendance, and I can't see how it helped the USGBC, unless it was the enjoyment of sticking it to the little guy. This is, of course, my speculation, and not (necessarily) factual — hey, maybe it was just a quirk of the calendar that no one noticed before it was too late. You can guess the choice I made by my previous description — I was committed to GreenBuild in the extreme, so after spending as full a day as possible at BuildBoston on Tuesday, I didn't return. And even though I gave it my total attention, I still felt horribly overloaded. I didn't get to see the entire exhibition floor, and with almost 20 events in each workshop/speech time slot, it was impossible to catch even close to every interesting presentation. Twice I covered CES, the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, reputed to be the largest trade show in the world (or maybe it was just the country), and this experience felt more overwhelming. Yes, that's good, to provide so much interesting content, but to make so much of it unavailable, that's not so good.