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Bill Clinton to Deliver Keynote Address at 2015 AIA Convention

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced that former president Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation, will give the keynote address on May 14 at the 2015 National Convention in Atlanta. Learn more, after the break, and view the convention's complete schedule, here

Elizabeth Chu Richter Inaugurated as 2015 AIA President

Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, CEO of Richter Architects in Corpus Christi, Texas, has been inaugurated as the 91st President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), succeeding Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, in representing over 85,500 AIA members. 

“As architects, we use our creativity to serve society—to make our communities better places to live. Through our profession and our life’s work, each of us has shaped and re-shaped the ever-changing narrative that is America in both humble and spectacular ways,” said Richter. “We have created harmony where there was none. We have shown we can see what is not yet there. We have shown we have the courage to grow, to change, and to renew ourselves.”

Read on to learn the three critical issues Richter plans to address during her presidency. 

November ABI Continues to Drop

While the US Architecture Billing Index (ABI) has remained positive for seven consecutive months, the score continues to slowly drop and is now teetering on the edge of falling into the red. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) says, any score above 50 reflects an increase in design services. However, November's ABI score was 50.9, down from the mark of 53.7 in October, revealing a drop in demand. The new projects inquiry index was 58.8, following a mark of 62.7 the previous month.

“Demand for design services has slowed somewhat from the torrid pace of the summer, but all project sectors are seeing at least modest growth,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Architecture firms are expecting solid mid-single digit gains in revenue for 2014, but heading into 2015, they are concerned with finding quality contractors for projects, coping with volatile construction materials costs and with finding qualified architecture staff for their firms.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

#ILookUp: AIA Seeks to Enhance Public's Awareness of Design Importance

What do you see when you look up? As part of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) #ILookUp campaign, this video seeks to elevate the public’s awareness of the impact and importance of the design profession by asking everyone to “look up.” It is the AIA’s goal to spark a two-way conversation on the value of architects and architecture. Please watch the video above and share your thoughts on social media using the #ILookUp

AIA Honors Edward Mazria with 2015 Kemper Award

Edward Mazria, AIA, founder of Architecture 2030, has been selected to receive the 2015 Edward C. Kemper Award. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) chose Mazria for “catalyzing the architecture community to address climate change through the design of decarbonized, sustainable and resilient built environments.” 

AIA Honors Rural Studio with 2015 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Rural Studio as winner of the 2015 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, recognizing the Newbern, Alabama–based design/build program for its student-led projects that have catered to one of the South’s poorest and most underserved regions.

“Rural Studio’s projects prove that an authentic conversation with the residents, no matter how unconventional the client, can yield ambitious architecture,” stated the AIA in their official press release.

Ehrlich Architects Win 2015 AIA Architecture Firm Award

Ehrlich Architects, a Los Angeles-based practice dedicated to the philosophy of Multicultural Modernism, has been selected to receive the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2015 AIA Architecture Firm Award. The award celebrates Ehrlich Architects' 35 years of practice, which, as the AIA notes, has become renowned for “fluidly melding classic California Modernist style with multicultural and vernacular design elements by including marginalized design languages and traditions.”

The firm, originally founded by Steven Ehrlich in 1979 after working with the Peace Corps in Africa, is now led by four diverse partners: Ehrlich, alongside Takashi Yanai, Patricia Rhee, and Mathew Chaney. You can preview some of their most notable projects and watch an interview with Ehrlich, after the break.

AIA Honors Peter Eisenman with 2015 Topaz Medallion

Following Moshe Safdie’s selection to be the next AIA Gold Medalist, the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) has announced Peter Eisenman, FAIA, as winner of the 2015 Topaz Medallion. Eisenman, known for a lifetime of scholarly work and his long associations with Princeton, Harvard, Cooper Union and Yale, will be honored for his global impact on architectural education after more than 60 years of teaching.

“There are probably very few schools of architecture where Peter is yet to have lectured,” wrote Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, in a recommendation letter. 

Moshe Safdie Wins 2015 AIA Gold Medal

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has just announced that Moshe Safdie, FAIA, will be the 2015 AIA Gold Medal recipient. Honoring him for his “comprehensive and humane approach to designing public and cultural spaces across the world has touched millions of people and influenced generations of younger architects,” the AIA believes that Safdie's work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

“Moshe Safdie has continued to practice architecture in the purest and most complete sense of the word, without regard for fashion, with a hunger to follow ideals and ideas across the globe in his teaching, writing, practice and research,” stated Boston Society of Architects president Mike Davis in his nomination letter. 

October ABI Reveals Decrease in Demand for Design Services

Demand for design services in the US has slowed. According to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), 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

AIA Los Angeles (AIA|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. 

Santa Monica Public Parking Structure #6 / Behnisch Architekten & Studio Jantzen; Santa Monica, CA. Image Courtesy of AIA Los Angeles Pico Place / Brooks+ Scarpa; Santa Monica. Image Courtesy of AIA Los Angeles Vault House / Johnston Marklee & Associates; Oxnard, CA. Image Courtesy of AIA Los Angeles Lexington Center Reinvention and Expansion / NBBJ; Lexington, Kentucky. Image Courtesy of AIA Los Angeles

AIA Report Finds Increasing Acceptance of Carbon Reduction Targets

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

The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) 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 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 New York City. 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.

August ABI Remains Strong

Demand for design services in the US continue to increase, as momentum from July’s highest recorded strength since 2007 continues. The American Institute of Architects reported the August Architecture Billings Index (ABI) 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

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

The American Institute of Architects (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 sustainability."

Check out all the winners after the break

PAVE Academy Charter School / Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, LLP. Image © Albert Vecerka / Esto James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University Raleigh / Clark Nexsen + Snøhetta. Image © Jeff Goldberg / Esto Coastline Community College, Newport Beach Campus / LPA, INC. Image Courtesy of LPA inc. Central Arizona College, Maricopa Campus / SmithGroupJJR. Image © Bill Timmerman