US ABI Drops Slightly in January

16:00 - 19 February, 2016
US ABI Drops Slightly in January, January 2016 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
January 2016 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Continuing its up-and-down trajectory from the end of 2015, the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Architectural Billings Index (ABI) for January 2016 dropped once again below 50 - to 49.6 - representing a slight decrease in billings. It also showed a reduction in the Projects Inquiries Index, which fell to 55.3 after its strong showing of 60.2 in December.

Rem Koolhaas, Neri Oxman and Kevin Spacey to Speak at AIA National Convention 2016

16:00 - 18 February, 2016
Rem Koolhaas, Neri Oxman and Kevin Spacey to Speak at AIA National Convention 2016, Mediated Matter's Silk Pavilion in the MIT Media Lab. Image © Steven Keating, courtesy of Mediated Matter
Mediated Matter's Silk Pavilion in the MIT Media Lab. Image © Steven Keating, courtesy of Mediated Matter

Update: In addition to the previous announcement of Neri Oxman and Kevin Spacey as keynote speakers, the AIA has now announced Rem Koolhaas as the headline speaker for day three of this year's convention in Philadelphia. Koolhaas' speech will be titled "Delirious Philadelphia," a playful twist on his seminal book Delirious New York. The following article was originally published on February 11th.

AIA Elevates 149 Members to College of Fellows

16:00 - 15 February, 2016
AIA Elevates 149 Members to College of Fellows, 35XV Residences. Image Courtesy of FXFOWLE
35XV Residences. Image Courtesy of FXFOWLE

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016 Jury of Fellows has elevated 149 AIA members and eight international architects to its prestigious College of fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession.

“The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.”

Some of the elevated members are:

Marlon Blackwell on the Importance of Small Projects

14:00 - 13 February, 2016

In this video by the AIA, Marlon Blackwell, one of Arkansas’ foremost architects, speaks on the importance of small projects in an architect's career. “I only really worked on small projects at the beginning…that was doing everything…The scale of the site, the scale of the model, the scale of the hand…the beauty of the small project is that you can work at all of those many scales," says Blackwell. “The smaller projects are the beginning of the development of a language in architecture. I see it not as a benign or banal thing but as the beginning of taking yourself from where you are to where you want to be.”

2016 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award Given to Hans Butzer

16:00 - 7 February, 2016
2016 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award Given to Hans Butzer, The Oklahoma City National Memorial by Hans Butzer. Image © Flickr CC User Leo Reynolds
The Oklahoma City National Memorial by Hans Butzer. Image © Flickr CC User Leo Reynolds

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Hans Butzer as the recipient of the 2016 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. The award recognizes excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement in the public realm. Learn more about Butzer, after the break.

AIA Honors George Smart with 2016 Collaborative Achievement Award

14:00 - 6 February, 2016
AIA Honors George Smart with 2016 Collaborative Achievement Award, via Triangle Modern Homes
via Triangle Modern Homes

The AIA has selected George Smart as the winner of the 2016 Collaborative Achievement Award for his work with North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), which creates “fresh awareness” of modern architecture through its mission to "document, preserve, and promote modernist architecture" across the US. The award, to be presented at the 2016 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Philadelphia, recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.

6 Firms Highlighted as New York's "Promising" New Practices

12:30 - 5 February, 2016
6 Firms Highlighted as New York's "Promising" New Practices, Zone 14 Canopy / Taller KEN. Image © Andres Asturias
Zone 14 Canopy / Taller KEN. Image © Andres Asturias

The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter has named six firms as the recipients of its New Practices New York 2016 award. Under this year's theme of "Prospect," the winners were selected for having "leveraged multiple aspects of the architecture profession, utilizing unique and innovative strategies, both in the projects and the practices they have started." 

The six "promising and pioneering firms" are...

Towards a Hip-Hop Architecture: NYC Edition

07:30 - 21 January, 2016
Towards a Hip-Hop Architecture: NYC Edition, © Flickr CC User Urban_Data
© Flickr CC User Urban_Data

Architecture and Hip-Hop are both social, cultural practices that have remained at polar ends of a societal spectrum for most of their existence. Hip-Hop, which historically was born from communities of under-privileged youth, is often at odds with Architecture, a profession that has until recently, existed to almost solely service the top of society. With the affluence of certain hip hop artists – Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Jay-Z, to name a few – hip hop has begun to encroach the realm of design, and ever so slightly, the dimension of architecture. A new “hip hop architecture” is being born.

US ABI Ends 2015 on Positive Note

16:00 - 20 January, 2016
US ABI Ends 2015 on Positive Note, December 2015 ABI. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
December 2015 ABI. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Despite a few volatile months, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) concluded 2015in positive terrain. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 50.9, up from the mark of 49.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.2, up from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.

“As has been the case for the past several years, there continues to be a mix of business conditions that architecture firms are experiencing,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “Overall, however, ABIscores for 2015 averaged just below the strong showing in 2014, which points to another healthy year for construction this year.”

EHDD's Monterey Bay Aquarium Wins AIA 25 Year Award

16:00 - 15 January, 2016
EHDD's Monterey Bay Aquarium Wins AIA 25 Year Award, Monterey Bay Aquarium / EHDD. Image Courtesy of Bruce Damonte
Monterey Bay Aquarium / EHDD. Image Courtesy of Bruce Damonte

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, has been selected for the 2016 American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Twenty-five Year Award. Designed by EHDD of San Francisco, and completed in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a "light-filled ensemble of diverse spaces, unique among aquariums in its interweaving of indoors and out," says the AIA. The award is presented yearly to a project that has "stood the test of time by embodying architectural excellence for 25 to 35 years." 

AIA Names 18 Projects as Best New Architecture in US

15:00 - 15 January, 2016
Henderson-Hopkins School / Rogers Partners. Image © Albert Vecerka ESTO
Henderson-Hopkins School / Rogers Partners. Image © Albert Vecerka ESTO

A boathouse by Studio Gang, the Smithsonian's BIG plan, and a new Baltimore school by Rogers Partners' are some of 18 projects selected for the 2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Awards. The awarded projects were chosen from 500 submissions as the US' best new architecture, interiors and urban design projects. Each recipient will be honored at the AIA 2016 National Convention in Philadelphia.

The 2016 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture are...

Smithsonian Institution South Campus Master Plan / BIG. Image © Doug & Wolf Case Inlet Retreat / MW Works. Image via AIA Perot Museum of Nature and Science / Morphosis Architects; Associate Architect: Good Fulton & Farrell. Image via AIA WMS Boathouse at Clark Park / Studio Gang Architects. Image © Hedrich Blessing +19

AIA Releases Interactive Infographic of Latest Home Design Trends

14:00 - 19 December, 2015
AIA Releases Interactive Infographic of Latest Home Design Trends, Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released an interactive infographic of its Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2015, focusing on community and neighborhood design.

According to the findings, walkability, higher density and infill development, as well as access to public transportation, are all on the rise, with homeowners “seeking community amenities that allow them to remain connected to people and commerce” throughout the nation’s growing metro areas.

November ABI Takes Another Hit

12:00 - 16 December, 2015
November ABI Takes Another Hit, November ABI 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
November ABI 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has dipped again, this time falling from a mark of 53.1 in October to 49.3 in November. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, "this score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicated an increase in billings)." The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, up just a nudge from a reading of 58.5 the previous month. 

“Since architecture firms continue to report that they are bringing in new projects, this volatility in billings doesn’t seem to reflect any underlying weakness in the construction sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “Rather, it could reflect the uncertainty of moving ahead with projects given the continued tightness in construction financing and the growing labor shortage problem gripping the entire design and construction industries.”

How Energy Modeling Will Impact the Design Process

09:30 - 8 December, 2015
How Energy Modeling Will Impact the Design Process, Morphosis' Bloomberg Center is using energy modeling to achieve a net zero rating. Image © Kilograph
Morphosis' Bloomberg Center is using energy modeling to achieve a net zero rating. Image © Kilograph

It’s a topic that cannot be avoided for any longer. The ongoing Paris Climate Conference has seen an unprecedented amount of participation - even before the summit began, over 150 countries submitted national plans of action to the United Nations - and there seems to now be a global consensus that we must cut back on our energy use and reliance on carbon polluting fossil fuels, or risk causing irreversible damage to our planet. By the end of the conference, an agreement will likely outline energy-reducing strategies by which all countries must abide. For architects, this means fundamentally changing the ways we design buildings and determine their success. Traditional building and construction methods consume large quantities of natural resources and account for a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change. In the United States, the building sector accounts for 41 percent of the country’s energy usage, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

But this information is hardly new, and thankfully, our profession has been preparing for this change for some time. In 2006, the American Institute of Architects became the first adopters of the 2030 challenge, a call for all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to reach carbon-neutrality by 2030, with milestone goals of reduced dependence at 10-year intervals along the way. Each year, the AIA releases a progress report outlining the current standing of energy consumptions and take-aways from their findings. This year’s key conclusion? We must start integrating energy modeling techniques earlier into the design process.

AIA Awards 3 for Impact on US Architecture and Education

12:00 - 4 December, 2015
AIA Awards 3 for Impact on US Architecture and Education, © AIA
© AIA

Alongside the release of this year's Gold Medal and firm award winners, the American Institute of Architects has named recipients of three other national awards: Edward C. Kemper Award, Topaz Medallion, and Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.

Honored for being a "tireless advocate for social justice and diversity within architecture," R. Steven Lewis, AIA, has been selected to receive the 2016 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. "Steve enlightened a generation of architects on the importance of knowing the history of those who came before them. He built bridges that they crossed," Purnell wrote in support of Lewis's nomination for the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. "He has mentored minority architects through his brilliant leadership by example.”

LMN Architects Win 2016 AIA Architecture Firm Award

12:21 - 3 December, 2015
LMN Architects Win 2016 AIA Architecture Firm Award, Vancouver Convention Centre West. Image © LMN Architects
Vancouver Convention Centre West. Image © LMN Architects

LMN Architects, a 145-employee firm based in Seattle, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Firm Award

“LMN Architects exemplify the best in architecture firm culture,” said 2015 AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. “Not only is their work proof of this, but the amazing talent they are cultivating will have a reverberating impact on the profession for years to come.”

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal

09:25 - 3 December, 2015
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Denise Scott Brown, hon. FAIA and Robert Venturi, FAIA, as joint winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. The AIA cited the duo for their "built projects as well as literature that set the stage for Postmodernism and nearly every other formal evolution in architecture." Scott Brown and Venturi are the first ever pair to receive the Gold Medal, after the AIA approved a change to its bylaws in 2013 that allowed the award to be presented to up to two individuals working together.

Best Products Showroom, Langhorne, Pennsylvania (1978). Image © Tom Bernard Episcopal Academy Chapel, Newtown Square (2008). Image © Matt Wargo Franklin Court, Philadelphia (1976). Image © Mark Cohn Vanna Venturi House (1964). Image © Rollin LaFrance +7

AIANY and Center for Architecture Name Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director

14:00 - 23 November, 2015
AIANY and Center for Architecture Name Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director, © AIANY
© AIANY

Following the resignation of Rick Bell earlier this year, AIANY and The Center for Architecture have appointed Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director. Prosky will assume his new position in early 2016, after stepping down as Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). 

“Ben brings a unique energy, intelligence, and experience to the executive director position,” said Carol Loewenson, incoming president of AIA New York and partner at Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, in a statement. “AIANY is poised for great change: more outreach, greater membership value, deeper connections to the academy, and a stronger role in actively impacting the design of our city. Ben is the right person to imagine the AIANY of the future. We are thrilled to have him on board to lead our organization.”