October ABI Reveals Decrease in Demand for Design Services

October . Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Demand for design services in the US has slowed. According to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported by the American Institute of Architects (), the October ABI score was 53.7, down from a mark of 55.2 in September, and the new projects inquiry index fell to 62.7. Despite this, the demand is still considered “healthy” with the South showing the strongest regional conditions.

“Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

AIA|LA Honors Los Angeles’ Best with Design Awards

Emerson College / Morphosis Architects; Los Angeles, CA . Image © Iwan Baan

Los Angeles (|LA) has announced the recipients of the 2014 Design Awards. Twenty-one Los Angeles firms and 14 presidential honorees have been honored for excellence in both built (Design Awards) and unbuilt works (Next LA Awards). 

Among the recipients include Brooks + Scarpa’s Pico Place and Johnston Marklee’s Vault House. View all the winners, after the break. 

AIA Report Finds Increasing Acceptance of Carbon Reduction Targets

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The 2030 Progress Report for the American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s 2030 Commitment - a voluntary program for architects who want to commit their practice to advancing the AIA’s goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030 – has found a significant increase in the number of projects that meet its current targets for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions, with over 400 buildings in the program meeting the goal. “There is some very encouraging data in this report that shows how architects are making measurable progress towards reducing the carbon emissions in their design projects,” said AIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. Read on after the break for more results of the report.

September ABI Indicates Robust Conditions for US

September 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The American Institute of Architecture () has indicated a “heightened level of demand for design services” throughout the US. As the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reports, all regions and project sectors have shown positive conditions and the September score was 55.2, up from a mark of 53.0 in August. The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

“Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

AIA New York Honors Rebuild By Design With Its Community Development Award

The BIG U, by BIG. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org

The New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded its 2014 Community Development Award to the Rebuild by Design competition organized by President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. The results of the competition were announced in June this year, with six schemes, including proposals by BIG and OMA awarded a total of $920 million to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and improve the resilience of the coastline in the region.

More on the award after the break

New Practices New York: Upcoming Firms in the Big Apple

WHAT: With its fifth biennial competition and exhibition, the AIANY New Practices Committee is proud to recognize six emerging architecture and design firms working in . These firms will be featured in an exhibition opening on October 1 at 6pm at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place. This year, the opening of New Practices New York 2014 will also kick off Archtober 2014, Architecture and Design Month.

New Practices 2014 will showcase the work of:
The Bittertang Farm (http://bittertang.com/)
dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture (http://www.dlandstudio.com/)
Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (http://www.fakeindustries.org/)
form-ula (http://www.form-ula.com/)
NAMELESS Architecture (http://namelessarchitecture.com/)
PARA-Project (http://www.para-project.org/)

The six winners have created floor-to-ceiling installations that play with the ideas of structure, reflection, and transparency, designed specifically for the Center for Architecture’s double-height storefront window. Other exhibition materials will include models, project images, renderings, and videos. Pentagram/Natasha Jen, the exhibition designer, has created a custom font for New Practices New York 2014 that will be used throughout the exhibition to highlight the firm’s design philosophies.

A roundtable discussion will precede the exhibition opening. On October 1 from 5-6pm, Beatrice Galilee, curator of architecture and design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will moderate a conversation with members of the winning firms.

WHEN:
Roundtable Discussion: Wednesday, October 1, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Exhibition Opening: Wednesday, October 1, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

WHERE:
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
New York, NY

WHO:
Roundtable Speakers:
Susanna Drake, AIA, dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture
Cristina Goberna + Urtzi Grau, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism
Ajmal Aqtash + Richard Sarrach, form-ula
Unchung Na, Sorae Yoo + Kiseok Oh, NAMELESS Architecture
Jon Lott, PARA-Project
Beatrice Galilee, Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (moderator)

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

Title: New Practices New York 2014
Website: http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=upcoming&expid=288
Organizers: AIA New York Chapter
From: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:00
Until: Sat, 17 Jan 2015 18:00
Venue: Center for Architecture
Address: 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012, USA

August ABI Remains Strong

August 2014. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Demand for design services in the US continue to increase, as momentum from July’s highest recorded strength since 2007 continues. The reported the August Architecture Billings Index () at 53.0, down from July’s mark of 55.8, and the new projects inquiry at 62.6.

“One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Big Thinking For Small Projects: Bolster Offers Insurance for Residential-Scale Work

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It is a common complaint among architects that, unlike other manufacturing systems, the way we build has remained essentially the same for hundreds of years. This presents a huge number of challenges, not only to architects but also to their clients and to contractors, with disputes over unexpected costs and time overruns – resulting in a system where contractors, clients and architects often see each other as adversaries rather than as members of a team.

The world of commercial architecture has at least gone some way to a solution: many large projects financed by developers or by the government are covered by construction bonds, which tie all parties down to a contract, and provide insurance against unexpected expenses and overruns. But what about the architects who work for small private clients? Now, thanks to a company called Bolster, designers on smaller projects can have the insurance used to streamline major projects – as well as a client matching service which can help architects and contractors find work.

Find out more about Bolster, and what it can offer architects, after the break

AIA Rewards 11 Projects with the 2014 Educational Facility Design Excellence Award

Raisbeck Aviation High School / Bassetti Architects. Image © Benjamin Benschneider

The (AIA) has selected 11 exemplary educational projects to receive its 2014 Educational Facility Design Excellence Awards. Representing projects from across the United States, the eleven projects also include a variety of types of educational facility, including a child development center, elementary schools, high schools, college and university buildings and a library.

The AIA awards projects which it believes “further the client’s mission, goals and educational program while demonstrating excellence in architectural design. These projects exemplify innovation through the client’s educational goals through responsive and responsible programming, planning and design. Function and surrounding regional and community context are valued as part of the planning and design process as well as .”

Check out all the winners after the break

US ABI Hits Highest Level Since 2007

Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reached 55.8 in July  – its highest level since 2007. The score reflects what has been a steadily increasing demand for design services over the past three months, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports. The ’s new projects inquiry and design contracts indexes were also strong at 66 and 54.9, respectively.

“Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Regional Averages:

PAR Awarded AIA LA’s Presidential Emerging Practice Award

Taichung Cultural Center- Park View. Image by Luxigon. Image Courtesy of

Design firm Platform for Architecture + Research (PAR) has been awarded AIA Los Angeles’ Presidential Emerging Practice Award. The award, which reflects “notable, innovative achievements in design and service to the profession,” is the highest honor given by AIA LA each year. This year, in response to ’s continued urban evolution, the award jury nominated those firms who “take leadership roles in advancing the profession and thus, the City.” PAR fit the bill, both for their research-based design approach, and their commitment to improving public life through design.  See some of their latest work, after the break!

AIA Announces Winners of National Healthcare Design Awards

Rush University Medical Center New Hospital Tower / Perkins+Will. Image © James Steinkamp

The AIA has announced 8 projects as winners of their annual National Healthcare Design Awards, rewarding the best in medical architecture from built projects to research excellence. The 8 projects were selected in four categories: built (less than $25 million); built (more than $25 million); Unbuilt; and Innovations in Planning and Design Research.

The awarded projects come from locations throughout the US, as well as one project constructed for Haiti. Read on after the break to see all the winners.

Latest Issue of ArchitectureBoston Devoted Entirely To Architecture & Design Books

Courtesy of Society of Architects

This summer, ArchitectureBoston gives readers a reason to linger in their hammocks a little longer and drift away into the world of architecture and design. The new issue contains extensive and insightful suggestions for book lovers looking to build a personal library of new and important titles. Read on for more information.

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 AIA’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…

Russell A Davidson Elected as 2016 AIA President

Russell A Davidson. Image Courtesy of

This weekend, at the AIA‘s national conference in Chicago, Russell A Davidson was elected the AIA’s 2016 president. Davidson, who served as the AIA’s Vice President in 2012-13 and president of AIA’s New York State chapter in 2007, will be joined by William J Bates and Francis M Pitts as Vice presidents, and John A Padilla as AIA Secretary.

In addition to electing its next leaders, the AIA also adopted a new board structure, which will see it add a new body, the ‘Strategic Council’, which will inform the Board and other Institute bodies of important professional issues.

More on these developments from the AIA National Conference after the break

AD Interviews: Helene Combs Dreiling, AIA President 2014

Right at the start of this year’s AIA Convention, we had the chance to sit down with the current AIA president,  (FAIA).

Helene, who also serves as the Executive Director at The Virginia Museum of Architecture & Design, is the third female president in the history of the AIA. We discussed the challenges currently facing the organization, particularly the issue of diversity in the profession, and Dreiling’s ambitions to lead a cultural sea-change to improve the way the profession is perceived in the US.

AIA Names its 2014 Small Projects Awards Winners

Small House / Cooper Joseph Studio. Image © Elliot Kaufman

The American Institute of Architects () has selected ten recipients for their 2014 Small Projects Awards, which recognizes design excellence in projects with a budget of up to $1.5 million and with a floor area less than 5,000 square feet. The award “strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to all project types, including renovations and additions, no matter the limits of size and budget.”

This year’s include 5 houses, 2 pavilions, 2 installations and a cafe. See all 10 awarded projects after the break.

NCARB Endorses Licensure for US Architects Upon Graduation

© CC Flickr User Raja Sambasivan

The U.S. National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has released a statement endorsing upon graduation from accredited programs. Though the release did not specify a definite plan of action, the announcement acknowledges the benefits of restructuring U.S. so that “rigorous internships and examination requirements” are all fulfilled during the education process.

Envisioned by NCARB’s “Licensure Task Force,” the “new path” concept overhaul will move forward by identifying schools interested in participating in the program. A Request for Information will be sent out later this year, followed by a Request for Proposal process in 2015.

Though many U.S. architects have seemingly longed for news such as this, others argue that there are drawbacks to licensure upon graduation. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section after the break.