U.S. ABI Declines Sharply in March

March ABI. Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

It seems the U.S. Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has yet to recover from 2013’s end of the year decline. Though 2014 started with a “modest uptick,” the March ABI has reveals a share decrease in design services. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (), the March ABI score was 48.8, down from a mark of 50.7 in February. Despite this, the new projects inquiry index was 57.9, up from the reading of 56.8 the previous month.

“This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

AIA Names Top 10 Most Sustainable Projects in U.S.

Treehouse; Glen Jean, West Virginia / Mithun with BNIM © Joe Fletcher

In honor of Earth Day, we have complied a preview of the top ten most sustainable exemplars of U.S. architecture selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE). Each project featured will be honored with a COTE Top Ten Award for “sustainable design excellence” at the 2014 National Convention in . View them all, after the break…

AIA Names 10 Most Impressive Houses of 2014

Sol Duc Cabin; Seattle / Olson Kundig Architects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected ten recipients for their 14th annual . Considered to be the year’s most impressive works, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in U.S. housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.” The winners, after the break… 

Cool Spaces! Premiers Tomorrow, Puts Architecture in the Spotlight

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / Moshe Safdie. Image © Tim Hursley

Stephen Chung‘s new PBS show Cool Spaces! hopes to engage the general public’s perception of design by “demystifying” contemporary architectural practice. You can tune in to the hour-long premier tomorrow (April 1) as Chung investigates the sports and performing arts spaces of Moshe Safdie (Kauffman Center for Performing Arts), HKS (Dallas Cowboys Stadium), and SHoP (Barclays Center).

2014 AIA|DC Unbuilt Award Winners

Courtesy of AIA|DC

The Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC) has announced the 2014 Unbuilt Award competition winners. The annual award, now in its sixth edition, was created as a response to the global economic crisis that brought many architectural projects to a halt. Thus the are designed to recognize both delayed and theoretical projects that are deemed imaginative and thought-provoking.

The 2014 winners are…

AIA Happy to Announce Pharrell Williams as Keynote Speaker

. Image © Flickr CC User Merlijn Hoek

UPDATE: Sadly, according to ARCHITECT, Pharrell has canceled his appearance due to a “scheduling conflict.” 

Pharrell Williams, the Grammy awarding winning musician and entrepreneur whose recent collaboration with Despicable Me 2 has inspired the world to be “happy,” will be joining architect Jeanne Gangand “Cool Spaces” producer Stephen Chung as the featured keynote speakers at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago. As reported by ARCHITECT, Williams is likely to discuss issues that transcend music, as his interests seem to be evolving from furniture and fashion design to architecture; he has even mentioned collaborating on a pre-fab home with the dame: Zaha Hadid

Earthquakes – How Well Are We Prepared?

CCTV / OMA – © Frank P. Palmer. Image Courtesy of AIA Chapter / Organizing Team

In a symposium at the AIA New York Chapter, seismologists, earthquake engineers, seismic code experts, emergency response managers, and architects conversant in seismic design will assemble for a conversation on available technologies and testing capabilities that, surprisingly, are located in New York State. They will “clarify the evolving role of design professionals, the building industry, and municipal and federal agencies in safeguarding our local communities”, as well as “educate the audience about the earthquakes, subsurface conditions, and construction approaches.”

February ABI Reveals Slight Improvement

February . Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

After starting the year with a “modest uptick” that disrupted a three month cycle of decline, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for Feburary has revealed that design services in the United States are continuing to (slowly) improve. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (), last month’s ABI score was 50.7, up slightly from a mark of 50.4 in January. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index continued to fall, dwindling from 58.5 to 56.8 in February. This however, as AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker believes, could be due to harsh weather conditions that stalled construction activity throughout many parts of the country over the past few months .

More information and regional highlights, after the break… 

ArchitectureBoston’s Latest Issue Offers Design Recommendations For A New Boston

Available today, the spring 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, Blueprint for a New Mayor, investigates the critical design challenges facing ’s first new leader in two decades. The issue focuses on the city’s challenges surrounding , transportation, public space, and regionalization, plus offers recommendations for designing a that is more open, safe, beautiful, and fair. Visit architectureboston.com to read the latest issue.

2014 Emerging Visions Winners Announced

Helsinki South Harbor. Image © Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell (PORT)

The Chicago Architectural Club has named Christopher Marcinkoski and Andrew Moddrell of PORT Architecture + Urbanism and Grant Gibson of CAMES/gibson winners of this year’s Emerging Visions. Since its inauguration in 1998, the portfolio competition has sought to recognize significant endeavors by young architects, designers and new practices in Chicago. Works designed by the recipients will be on display at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago. More information, here

AIA, AIAS Urges Congress to Support National Design Services Act

Image via "5 Things to Keep in Mind After Graduation by Nicholas Kreitler" (Click image to read). Image © Caro Wallis

The American Institute of Architects () and the American Institute of Architecture Students () have committed themselves to pushing a bill that would provide U.S. architecture graduates student loan relief in exchange for community service, an offer already granted to lawyers and doctors. The bipartisan legislation, known as the National Design Services Act (NDSA), was introduced today in an effort to free young professionals from the crushing cost of education (architecture being one of the disciplines with the highest loan balances) and aspire them to contribute their design service to the betterment of their communities. Learn more, here, and sign the petition in support of NDSA

Doctors in the Studio: The Right Medicine for Healthcare Architecture?

Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, designed by a joint venture between HDR + Corgan. HOK is responsible for the hospital’s furnishings and equipment, and has also been executing a study of the role of furnishings and artwork in inpatient care. Image Courtesy of HDR + Corgan

This article, written by Kim A. O’Connell, and first published on the AIA website as “Is there a Doctor in the Firm? (Or a Nurse in the Studio?)” discusses the growing overlap between architects and healthcare professionals, who collaborate or even learn both disciplines to design more effective healthcare architecture – relying on research more rigorously than ever before.

Since it opened last fall, a cardiac hospital in Bulgaria is already operating at full capacity and is among the most technologically advanced of its kind in Europe. Project delivery for the City Clinic in Sofia was remarkably fast—only a year from the time Dallas-based HKS Architects was hired until doctors began seeing patients. A former car dealership was renovated to create the 38,000-square-foot, 55-bed facility, helping to expedite matters.

The other major contributing factor may have been that, from its earliest beginnings, a physician played a leading role—from landing the project to identifying specific medical needs and seeing the design through to completion. It’s a model that seems to be taking hold in architecture. More and more, architecture firms are bringing health professionals into their design studios to help them create the next generation of healthcare architecture.

Read on after the break to find out how this shift is producing better buildings for healthcare

AIA Awards Four with 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the recipients of the 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award, to be presented at the 2014 and Design Exposition in Chicago, 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. Among this year’s winners include the ACE Mentor Program, the National Building Museum, the AIA ’s “Post-Sandy Initiative,” and computer-aided design pioneer Rick Smith. You can learn more about the awardees here.

2014 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture Recipients

AIA Convention 2014, June 26‒28,

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected James L. Abell, FAIA, Carole J. Olshavsky, FAIA, and Robert G. Shibley, FAIA, as recipients for the 2014 for Public Architecture. The award recognizes excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement in three categories: Private-sector architects who have established a portfolio of accomplishment in the design of architecturally distinguished public facilities (category 1); public-sector architects who manage or produce quality design within their agencies (category 2); and public officials or other individuals who by their role of advocacy have furthered the public’s awareness and/or appreciation of design excellence (category 3). Learn more about the recipients, after the break.

January ABI Reports “Modest Uptick”

January via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Business in the United States has started the New Year on a more positive note, as January’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) revealed the first increase in design services after three consecutive months of decline. As reported by the American Institute for Architects (), the January numbers rose from December’s score of 48.5 to 50.4, indicating an increase in billings. However, the new projects inquiry index was 58.5, down a bit from the reading of 59.2 the previous month.

“There is enough optimism in the marketplace that business conditions should return to steady growth as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.

2014 AIA Young Architects Award

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Recipient: Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) Campus / KPMB Architects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected 18 recipients for the 2014 AIA Young Architects Award. Defined as professionals who have been licensed ten years or fewer, regardless of their age, the “young architects” will be honored for making significant contributions to the profession and providing exceptional leadership early in their careers. All recipients will be presented the award at the National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.

December ABI Dips Again

December 2013 . Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

Following consistently increasing demand for design services throughout most of 2013, the (ABI) has posted its first consecutive months of contraction since May and June of 2012. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 48.5, down from a mark of 49.8 in November.  This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 59.2, up from the reading of 57.8 the previous month.

More highlights from the December ABI, after the break…

2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

Denver Union Station Neighborhood Transformation / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP © Sponge Production

Six US projects have been selected by the American Institute of Architects’ () for honorably expanding the role of the architect beyond the building and into the realms of urban design, regional and city planning, and community development. These projects will be honored with the ’s Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design at the 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in .