Julia Morgan Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal

Julia Morgan, FAIA (1872-1957)

The () has announced today their decision to posthumously award the 2014 Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA (1872-1957), “whose extensive body of work has served as an inspiration to a generation of female architects.”

“Julia Morgan is unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time and a true California gem,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in her recommendation letter. “Morgan’s legacy has only grown over the years. She was an architect of remarkable breadth, depth, and consistency of exceptional work, and she is widely known by the quality of her work by those who practice, teach, and appreciate architecture.”

Toward a Fit Nation: 18 Projects that Promote Healthy Lifestyles

© Benjamin Benschneider

From Atlanta’s Beltline to Los Angeles’ Spring Street “Parklets,” architecture and design is increasingly more relevant in the fight against obesity and chronic disease, conditions which have reached epidemic levels in the United States. In the article, “Toward a Fit Nation,” the and FitNation identify 18 projects from around the country, ranging from large complexes to temporal installations, that encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles. The AIA National Headquarters will be curating the FitNation exhibit till January 31, 3014. Read the article here.

October ABI Reveals Decrease in Demand for Design Services

2013 October . Image © Calculated Risk

After three consecutive months of growth, the American Institute of Architect’s () Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has reveal a slight decrease in the demand for design services. Keeping in mind that any score above 50 indicates an increase in billing, the ABI score fell from 54.3 in September to 51.6 this past October. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index was 61.5, up from the reading of 58.6 the previous month.

ArchitectureBoston’s Latest Issue Tackles Coastal Vulnerability

Courtesy of ArchitectureBoston, Boston Society of Architects

The new issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, Coast, focuses on the thin border of continental crust that is home to 45 percent of the world’s population. The issue examines how architects and urban planners can mitigate or accommodate sea-level rise and surges associated with climate change. Coast promotes debate and offers answers and opportunities surrounding a problem that will inevitably affect most of the world’s urban residents in years to come.

Architects & AIA Respond to Devastation in the Philippines, Call for Immediate Help

A man stands atop debris as residents salvage belongings from the ruins of their houses after Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 10, 2013. Image Courtesy of Flickr user, mansunides

On Friday, one of the strongest storms ever to hit land left 660,000 Filipinos homeless, with countless more desperately needing basic supplies to survive.

In the wake of catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the American Institute of Architects () and Architecture for Humanity are calling for immediate help as survivors face severe shortages of food, water, shelter and medical supplies.

Both organizations will be aiding local volunteers to help rebuild in the coming days and weeks. Through speaking with local stakeholders and construction professionals, they are working to begin understanding the on-the-ground situation to prioritize rebuilding needs and help affected regions build back better and stronger. Relief and reconstruction, however, cannot happen without your support. Learn how you can send aid to typhoon victims today after the break.

Does the Title of “Architect” Deserve To Be Protected?

According to some, Peter Zumthor, Daniel Libeskind, and Renzo Piano should not be referred to as architects (at least in the UK), since they are not registered with the Architects’ Registration Board.. Image Courtesy of Keystone / Christian Beutler (Zumthor); Flickr CC User Tomasz Kulbowski (Libeskind); Architectural Review (Piano)

In August, the AIA posted a topic on its LinkedIn discussion board entitled “Misrepresenting Oneself as an Architect on LinkedIn”. Ever since (and once again), the issue of protecting the title of “Architect” has been a hot topic, as explained in this article on Fast Company. This follows the revelation in BD last year that the Architects’ Registration Board ordered the British architectural media to cease referring to Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind as Architects. With the topic appearing so frequently, and in different countries each time, Fast Company conjures images of a “raging global debate”. But what, really, is going on in the world of architecture to fuel such a debate? Read on to find out more.

Cities are for People: Turning Underused Spaces into Public Places

Metrocable, architect Urban-Think Tank. Image © Omar Uran

It begins with a fundamental premise: Buildings occupy only a fraction of land in cities. Just as important as physical structures, are the public spaces in between.

In many cities these spaces have long been disregarded. Today, however, we are witnessing bold experimentation and innovation coming forth from cities across the globe: cities re-using and re-imagining previously underused spaces in order to uplift communities and transform lives.

September’s ABI Surges Higher

September 2013 ABI; Graph via Calculated Risk

Demand for design services in the U.S. continues to increase, as the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has reached its second highest level this year. According to the (), September’s ABI score was 54.3, up from 53.8 in August. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index fell a few points from 63.0 in August to 58.6 in September. 

RTKL to Debut Smart Transit Hub Proposal

HALO Transit Proposal. Image Courtesy of rtkl.com

RTKL, a global architecture and design practice, announced its HALO project will be featured as part of the TransformKC Exhibition (October 4th – 25th in , Missouri), which seeks to illustrate what the future could look like for transit and innovative rail projects. The HALO concept is a modular, five-foot panelized, glass-enclosed, sustainable walkway for bus passengers that will utilize new technology to capture kinetic energy expended from foot traffic – approximately 7 watts per tile per footstrike. More info here.

Why This Is the Year of the Architect

Butaro Hospital, by MASS Design Group. MASS’s co-founder, Michael Murphy, spoke at the CGI Meeting, saying “We need to expand the horizons of what we expect from our built environment” . Image © Iwan Baan

Last week, we noted how the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) participation with the (CGI), as well as it’s many other initiatives, signify the organization’s commitment to putting resiliency on the agenda. The following article, written by Brooks Rainwater, the Director of Public Policy at the AIA, outlines these efforts and emphasizes how architects are tackling today’s most pressing global challenges.

Architects are increasingly demonstrating their ability to help solve large-scale problems in the areas of resilience and health. At the same time the continued ascendancy of social impact design has helped elevate the conversation and prescribed a needed emphasis on equity considerations, uplifting global populations, and the idea that design should be for and impact all people.

With more than 1,000 global leaders convened in New York last week for the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting it is an ideal time to ask the question, how does design fit into the global conversation?

Working in Brazil: The Pros & Cons

View of Rio De Janeiro. Image © SCIENTIFANTASTIC

In this article, which originally appeared on AIArchitectSara Fernández Cendón discusses the opportunities and challenges for US architects who are taking advantage of ’s development boom, particularly in the wake of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Until Brazil was selected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, only three countries had hosted both events back-to-back. Successful bids for either event are usually equal parts proof that the country already has what it takes and a promise that it will do whatever else necessary to make things run smoothly.

In Brazil’s case, the “promise” part has generated a handful of projects for architectural firms around the world; Populous is responsible for conceptual design a stadium in the city of Natal, for example. And some observers believe that World Cup building delays could generate a rush of last-minute opportunities for foreign construction professionals. But even if these two headline-grabbing events haven’t been fully planned and designed by foreigners new to Brazil, the country is evolving into an emerging market for American architects, built on its intense thirst for upgraded commercial and transit infrastructure.

How Will the Shutdown Affect Architects?

Capitol Rotunda. Image Courtesy of Architect of the Capitol

The President, Mickey Jacob, FAIA has just released the following statement on the US government’s historic shutdown: “The design and construction industry is slowly recovering from one of the worst economic crises in modern history. The last thing we need is the self-inflicted wound that can potentially further damage the .” To find out just how the shutdown could affect you, check out the AIA’s FAQ page here.

A Delightfully Candid Interview with Chicago’s Lifetime Achievement Winner: Stanley Tigerman

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Stanley Tigerman, an outspoken force on the architecture scene, was recently bestowed (much to his amazement) ’s highest honour: the Lifetime Achievement Award. “I’ve done some damage to them and I’m aware of it. I’ve challenged them…” he explains to Meg Graham of Grid. “So that they then turn around in a way and turn the other cheek and give me this award does not go unnoticed by me. And I’m thrilled by it.” You can find the full, wonderfully entertaining interview, in which he discusses the award, keeping up in a digital world, and getting older (without becoming “ridiculous”),here

AIA Puts Resiliency on the Agenda: “Resilience Is the New Green”

At the Clinton Global Initiative (l to r) Robert Ivy, FAIA; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Cameron Sinclair, co-founder Architecture for Humanity; Former U.S. President Bill Clinton; Martyn Parker, Chairman Global Partnerships at Swiss Re; Alex Karp, co-founder Palantir; Judith Rodin, Ph.D, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. Image Courtesy of AIA

The AIA has decidedly found its latest buzz word: .

Just this week at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, former-president Bill Clinton announced the ’ participation in the 100 Resilient Cities Commitment: an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation to provide 100 cities with “chief resilience offers,” responsible for developing and financing new, resilient urban infrastructures. So far, over 500 cities have requested to participate; on December 3rd, the Rockefeller Foundation will announce the winning cities.

Along with Architecture for Humanity, the AIA will then train those cities’ resilience officers, “architects in their communities,” by creating “five Regional Resilient Design Studios that build on our profession’s collective expertise in helping communities recover in the wake of major disasters.”

But the “resilience” doesn’t stop there.

AIA Investigates Home Design Trends in Second Quarter

Courtesy of

The AIA Home Design Trends Survey is out for the second quarter of 2013. Since early 2012, business conditions have steadily been trending upwards, and within the past year alone, residential architects have reported a recovery in nearly every residential construction sector. Taking into consideration the “strong levels of inquiries for new projects, the growing levels of project backlogs, and the uniformly strong readings from firms across all regions of the country,” workloads for residential architects are predicted to stay strong for the next quarters and future market conditions will only improve.

For more on the AIA’s findings, keep reading. 

AIA Compensation Survey: Architect Salary Increases Minimally from 2011

Exhibit 1.1 via

Though most architecture firms have benefited from a steady upturn in the economy over the past few years, architect salaries remain low. According to U.S. Census Bureau, architecture firms have experienced a 11 percent increase in revenue from 2011 to 2012. Despite this, as reported by the (AIA), the average total compensation for architecture positions—including base salary, overtime, bonuses, and incentive compensation—has increased only slightly over 1 percent per year between 2011 and 2013. This 1 percent is barely more than the average increase in compensation between 2008 and 2011, when the construction sector was still in steep decline.

AIA Presents 2013 Educational Facility Design Excellence Awards

Sandy High School; Sandy, Oregon / Dull Olson Weekes – IBI Group Architects © Josh Partee

The American Institute of Architects () Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has selected five educational and cultural facilities for this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design . The award honors educational facilities that the jury believes should serve as an example of a superb place in which to learn, furthering the client’s mission, goals and educational program while demonstrating excellence in architectural design. 

The 2013 CAE Educational Facility Design Award winners are:

AIA Construction Forecast Predicts Brighter Prognosis in 2014

Via Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon.

With slower than expected activity in the nonresidential construction sector in the first half of the year, the projections for growth in spending have been scaled back.  Led by the hotel and retail project categories, the commercial sector looks largely unchanged, but a noteworthy drop in demand for institutional projects has caused participants in the ’ (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast , a survey of the United State’s leading construction forecasters, to reduce projections for spending to a 2.3% increase in 2013, with next year’s projections raised to 7.6%.