US ABI Shows Continued Growth in June

June 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index () continued showing significant improvement in June, jumping to 53.5 from 52.6 in May, and hitting new records in the Projects Inquiry and Design Contracts indexes.

As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the new Projects Inquiry Index surged to 66.4, its highest level in the year to date. In addition, the ’s new Design Contracts Index hit 55.7 – its highest mark since the indictor starting being measured in October 2010.

“The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing.  The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Waltham Forest College / Platform 5 Architects + Richard Hopkinson Architects

© Alan Williams Photography

Architects: Platform 5 Architects + Richard Hopkinson Architects
Location: London, UK
Area: 3,000 sqm
Photographs: Alan Williams Photography

Urban Think Tank Responds to the Forced Eviction of Torre David Residents

. Image © Iwan Baan

Following yesterday’s news story about the forced eviction of the thousands of inhabitants living in Venezuela’s Torre de David (Tower of David), the world’s tallest vertical slum, Urban-Think Tank has issued a statement. The group, which spent two years researching the remarkable urban space for their Golden Lion-winning Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012, has spoken with residents and hopes to provoke the architectural/design communities by adding their voice to the debate. Read the full statement, after the break. 

Techstyle Haus: An 800 Square Foot Fabric House That Uses 90% Less Energy

The planters filter rainwater, which is then reused to grow edible plants. Photovoltaic panels are arrayed along the curved roof. Image © Kristen Pelou

The , Brown University and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany collaborated on a passive “fabric” house for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe (which just wrapped up this month – see the winners here). In the following article, originally published on Metropolis MagazineMartin Pedersen reviews the remarkable house.

This summer’s 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe is well underway in France, where a solar-powered village of twenty sustainable homes designed and built by college students from all over the country, has emerged on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. Students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Brown University, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany, have teamed up for Techstyle Haus, an 800-square-foot house that’s not only a model of energy efficiency but an elegant piece of design as well.

Single-family House in Groharjevo / 3biro

© Miran Kambič

Architects: 3biro
Location: Groharjevo naselje, , Slovenia
Area: 33 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Miran Kambič

Reviving Vacant Buildings: A Tale of Two Cities

The Gardens in the early 1900s when it was the Jefferson County Armory. Image © Diane Deaton Street via Flickr

A former treasure in Louisville is now nothing more than a storage facility, while a dilapidated office building in Paris has sat empty for months on end. Both of these cities are taking proactive, but wildly different, measures to help the valuable vacant buildings and lots in their jurisdictions find new life. To learn more about each city’s potential solution to this global problem, keep reading after the break.

© 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP
© 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

Spotlight: Richard Rogers

Richard Rogers, one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, turns 81 today. Rogers made his name in the 70s and 80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd’s Bank in London, which utilized highly expressive structures that placed services on the exteriors.

The Winery at VIK / Smiljan Radic

© Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma

Architects: Loreto Lyon
Location: Millahue, San Vicente de Tagua Tagua, Chile
Year: 2014
Photographs: Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma

Video: Inside Steven Holl’s Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art

Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Spirit of Space, have created two short films of the recently completed Seona Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art. The film series explores the complementary contrast of the new Reid Building and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1909 building (which recently suffered a devastating fire), where “each work of architecture heightens the integral qualities of the other.”

The first film takes the viewers on a “poetic climb” up and through the building’s social circuit, which “purposefully encourages inter-disciplinary activity, with the hope to inspire positive energy for the future of art.” The second film unpacks the design of the Reid Building in a conversation with design architects Steven Holl and Chris McVoy.

KORO House / Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

Courtesy of

Architects: Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates
Location: Toyota, Aichi Prefecture,
Area: 68 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

© Manel Armengol via Flickr
© Manel Armengol via Flickr

Spotlight: Arata Isozaki

Arata Isozaki, Japanese architect, teacher, and theorist, turns 83 years old today. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1954, Isozaki worked for Kenzo Tange, one of his professors, before establishing his own firm. Despite this, the two remained collaborators until the 1970s. Isozaki won the RIBA Gold Medal in 1986 and founded the Italian branch of his firm, Arata Isozaki & Andrea Maffei Associates, in 2005. Learn more about his life and work, after the break.

Hofgut / Format Elf Architekten

© Lothar Reichel

Architects: Format Elf Architekten
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Robert Maier, Stefan Hanninger
Year: 2013
Photographs: Lothar Reichel

eVolo 2015 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo 2015 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo Magazine is pleased to invite architects, students, engineers, designers, and artists from around the globe to take part in the eVolo 2015 Skyscraper Competition.

Extension of the St. Jean de Vedas Technical Center / Chrystelle Sanaa

© Marie-Caroline Lucat

Architects: Chrystelle Sanaa
Location: Avenue de Librilla, ,
Area: 250 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Marie-Caroline Lucat

Lo Curro House / Nicolas Loi

© Marcos Mendizabal

Architects: Nicolas Loi
Location: Lo Curro, Vitacura, Metropolitan Region, Chile
Area: 250 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Marcos Mendizabal

Clark Art Institute / Tadao Ando Architect & Associates + Selldorf Architects + Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture + Gensler

© Jeff Goldberg - ESTO

Architects: Selldorf Architects, Gensler, Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture
Location: 225 South Street, , MA 01267, USA
Area: 97700.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Jeff Goldberg – ESTO, Tucker Bair, Nicholas Whitman, Mike Agee, Betty Sartori, Courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Kris Qua, Jonas Dovydenas, Reed Hilderbrand

See ArchDaily's exclusive coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale

Ticollage City / Costa Rica Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

Curated and commissioned by the German architects  and Marije van Lidth de Jeude, ’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale focuses on a competition-winning project for the new Costa Rican Legislative Assembly, a project which illustrates the “vicious circle of social segregation and spatial fragmentation in the Greater Metropolitan Area of (GAM).”

Read the curators’ description and take a virtual tour of the Costa Rica Pavilion after the break.

Freedom of the Press Monument / Gustavo Penna

© Casa Digital

Architects: Gustavo Penna
Location: Praça Central – Paranoá, – Federal District,
Design Team: Alexandre Bragança, Augustin de Tugny, Fernando Arruda Guillen, Norberto Bambozzi
Trainees: Alessandra Valadares, Carolina Soares, Luiza Martini, Paulo Menicucci, Priscila Dias de Araújo, Roberta Vasconcellos
Total Area: 42.000m 2
Area: 7000.0 sqm
Year: 2000
Photographs: Casa Digital