ABI Reports Six Consecutive Month of Growth and Best Conditions Since 2007

January 2013 via Calculated Risk

Reflecting the strongest growth since November 2007, the January Architecture Billings Index (ABI) surged to a score of 54.2 – a sharp and welcomed increase from December’s 51.2* mark. Released by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. By remaining above 50, January’s score illustrates the six consecutive month of growth for the United State’s design and construction industry. This trend doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as the new projects inquiry index accelerated beyond last month’s reading of 57.9 and reached a score of 63.2.

“We have been pointing in this direction for the last several months, but this is the strongest indication that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months,” said Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. .  “But as we continue to hear about overall improving economic conditions and that there are more inquiries for new design projects in the marketplace, a continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry.”

Review the ABI Highlights in greater detail, after the break…

The Beaumont House / Henri Cleinge

© Marc Cramer

Architects: Henri Cleinge
Location: ,
Design Team: Henri Cleinge, Michel Lefebvre
Structural Engineer : César Zelaya
General Contractor: Bâtitu
Area: 3200.0 ft2
Year: 2011
Photographs: Marc Cramer

Courtesy of The Kennedy Center
Courtesy of The Kennedy Center

Nordic Cool 2013 Forum Talk by Bjarke Ingels

As part of the Nordic Cool 2013 Forum: Designing Nature: Art & Architecture in Cities and Public Spaces exhibition, which is on now until March 17, Bjarke Ingels, the internationally acclaimed Danish architect and founder and principal of BIG…

Why Pitting the Sexes Against Each Other Won’t Close the Gender Gap

An article published in The Telegraph last week has been getting a lot of negative attention for its headline: “For safer, prettier cities pick a woman to build them.”

Oh dear. It’s certainly hard to get past that third word – prettier. The Globe and Mail lamented the word’s “sexist twinge.” A blogger for bricksandclicks suggested that the unflattering adjective “would never have headlined in an article about male architects.” And as Kristen Richards, the Editor-in-Chief of ArchNewsNow.com perfectly put it in her Newsletter: “‘prettier’?!!? this headline wins our groaner-of-the-year award.”

But, groan-worthiness aside, it seems rather unproductive to spend time poking at “pretty,” when the central thesis of the article is so darned sexist in itself – for women and men architects alike. 

City Green Court / Richard Meier & Partners

© Roland Halbe

Architects: Richard Meier & Partners
Location: Pankrac, Prague,
Design Principals: Richard Meier, Dukho Yeon
Project Architect: Guillermo Murcia
Collaborators: Robert Kim, Marianna Mello, Yoshiki Waterhouse, Joseph Watson
Year: 2013
Photographs: Roland Halbe, Guillermo Murcia

3D Printing Pen Turns Sketches Into Reality In Seconds

The 3Doodler isn’t just a small pen-like device that’s “the most affordable way to 3D print” – it’s also a smash. The pen reached its $30,000 goal in just a few hours, and, at the time of publication, has earned $555,301.

We’ve mentioned before for its exciting potential for architecture in the long-term; however, this little doodler shows how quickly the technology is progressing (and how cheap it’s becoming). Plus, it’s easy to imagine the 3Doodler becoming an integral part of any architect’s life, as the device lets you trace your drawings and then pop them to life. It’s not a 2D plan, it’s not a 3D visualization, but something – awesomely – in between. 

Learn more about this 3-D Printing Kickstarter success, after the break…

Extension of the IUFM school in Lyon / Atelier de la Passerelle

© Jérome Ricolleau

Architects: Atelier de la Passerelle
Location: Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, Lyon,
Area: 3620.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jérome Ricolleau, Frenchie Christogratin

Tokyo #1, 2006, Digital C-Print, 54 x 36 inches (137.2 x 91.4 cm) / © Iwan Baan
Tokyo #1, 2006, Digital C-Print, 54 x 36 inches (137.2 x 91.4 cm) / © Iwan Baan

Iwan Baan: ‘The Way We Live’ Exhibition

Opening tonight, February 20, at 6:00pm PST at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Los Angeles, Iwan Baan‘s ‘The Way We Live’ exhibition features captivating large-scale images of urban, architectural, and home environments that capture Baan’s singular vision. Baan’s artistic practice examines how we live…

The Countries Where Demand for Architects Outstrips Supply

While The WA100, Building Design’s annual ranking of the world’s largest architecture firms, isn’t perfect (see our controversial article here), it does reveal a lot about the state of architecture today. And for 2013, the research shows that there are finally brighter days ahead for architects – just not at home.

BD’s research reveals that China remains the world’s largest construction market (a title it’s held since 2010); that the Asia-Pacific Market is expected to be the largest by 2020 (with projected value of $4.6 trillion dollars); and that China, India, and offer the best growth potential for architectural services. Not surprisingly, the survey’s top three ranking firms – Aecom, Gensler, and IBI Group – all have a significant presence in these markets.

However, are these mega-firms really the best models to aspire to? With the economic crisis making it everyday more evident that there are more opportunities abroad than at home, where is a firm to go? China? India? Brazil?

Almost certainly not.

Find out whether/where you should go abroad, after the break… 

New Shoots Childrens Centre / Collingridge and Smith Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: Collingridge and Smith Architects
Location: , Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Architect In Charge: Phil Smith
Design Team: Phil Smith, Graham Collingridge, Grayson Wanda, Chloe Pratt
Area: 650 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Collingridge and Smith Architects

Courtesy of RAMSA
Courtesy of RAMSA

Robert A. M. Stern Architects announces the RAMSA Travel Fellowship

The RAMSA Travel Fellowship is a $10,000 prize awarded yearly by Robert A. M. Stern Architects for the purpose of travel and research. More specifically, the RAMSA Travel Fellowship seeks to promote investigations on the perpetuation of tradition through invention – key…

AD Classics: La Muralla Roja / Ricardo Bofill

Courtesy of

La Muralla Roja, Spanish for ‘The Red Wall,’ is a housing project located within the La Manzanera development in ’s Calpe. The building makes clear references to the popular architecture of the Arab Mediterranean Area, a result of the architects’ inspiration by the Mediterranean tradition of the casbah. The striking colors that cover the outer and inner facades are selected to either contrast with nature or complement its purity.

Courtesy of Evren Başbuğ, İnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, Engin Ayaz
Courtesy of Evren Başbuğ, İnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, Engin Ayaz

‘Seapeaker’ YAP Istanbul Modern Proposal / Evren Başbuğ, İnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, Engin Ayaz /

‘Seapeaker‘, was recently named as one of the five finalists for Istanbul Modern “Young Architects Program” 2013 cycle. Designed by the collaborative team of Evren Başbuğİnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, and Engin Ayaz…, the main intent of

New City School, Frederikshavn / Arkitema Architects

Courtesy of Arkitema

Architects: Arkitema Architects
Location: ,
Area: 13,500 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Arkitema

Arabista Ribera School / Victor García Martínez

© Diego Opazo

Architects: Victor García Martínez, Victor García Terol, José Gozalbez Esteve
Location: ,
Collaborators: Daniel Martin Fuentes, Marta Sinisterra Olavarrieta, Cristina Tudela Marco
Area: 13450 sqm
Photography: Diego Opazo

K House / Studio Arthur Casas

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Architects: Studio Arthur Casas
Location: , Brasil
Architects In Charge: Arthur Casas, Regiane Khristian e Beto Cabariti
Area: 566.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Rebière 21 housing / Hondelatte Laporte Architectes

© Ronan Lacroix

Architects: Hondelatte Laporte Architectes
Location: ,
Project Manager: Charlotte Fagart
Project Team: Pierre Aubertin
General Contractor: Léon Grosse
Area: 1445.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Ronan Lacroix

Trinity College Theological School Extensions / Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design

© John Gollings

Architects: Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design
Location: , Australia
Architect In Charge: Peter Elliott, Justin Mallia
Design Team: Felicity Soh, Julian Tuckett, Wil Goodsir
Structural Engineer: Clive Steele & Associates
Landscape Architects: John Patrick & Associates
Head Contractor: Ducon
Year: 2010
Photographs: John Gollings