I wish I could say I am able to walk through every building about which I write. Out of the hundreds of buildings I’ve written about during my career, I’ve probably only stepped foot in as many as I can count on my fingers. Instead, I rely on building professionals to share their vision for and memories of a project with me during telephone interviews. Then, I condense 30-minute-plus conversations with each person I interview into a 1,500-word story, which is probably the most difficult part of what I do. You may have noticed I often write beyond that self-imposed word count, and there still are many tidbits of fascinating content I have to leave out of the magazine because we just don’t have the space.
Enter the Web. When I first started my publishing career in 2000, websites were not my concern. Somebody else posted information to the website, and it mostly just repeated what already was in the magazine. As the years passed and the Web became something none of us could live without, I realized a website can be an amazing extension of a magazine. Every day I’m able to post news items that would be old by the time the next print issue hits the streets. I can load new products galore when we only have space for a handful in the magazine. I can post thought-provoking online exclusives that link to outside sources for more description, further educating readers. I also can add content that complements individual stories in the issue (see Online Buzz at the end of several articles in this issue). retrofit’s website also ensures photos and information that didn’t fit within the magazine’s pages now are seen.
Even more exciting are the Web’s video capabilities. With this issue, we are launching retrofitTV.com, a robust video player that will host continuing education, product demonstrations, advice and opinions, and—what I’m most thrilled about—our cover-feature tour series. We’re actually bringing our cover stories to life via professionally shot video walkthroughs with project stakeholders and design and construction team members. The high-definition walkthroughs will focus on unique aspects of the building’s retrofit; interesting facts that didn’t make the magazine article; and historic background about the project’s design, construction and uses. We’re visualizing the tour series to be similar to some of those popular HGTV shows (minus the fictitious budgets). We want the tours to be educational and fun to watch. Our first tour of this issue’s cover feature, Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington, Del., is available for viewing now.
During a recent trip to North Carolina, I had the chance to tour Saxapahaw Rivermill, our March-April cover feature. (We hope to create a video of Saxapahaw for retrofitTV.com soon.) I realized during the tour that actually walking through a building is a completely different experience than hearing or reading about it. Each of our imaginations is unique and, no matter how well something is described, the way you and I visualize it will never be exactly as the project’s team created it. Thanks to the Web, retrofit now can virtually transport you to our cover features so you can see exactly what the design and construction team intended. We are tremendously excited about this opportunity and would love to know what you think of our first tour, as well as what else you’d like us to showcase on retrofitTV.com and www.retrofitmagazine.com.