The Indicator: What the Julia Morgan AIA Gold Medal Says about Equality in Architecture

Interior of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, CA. Image © Mark Anthony Wilson

“Is the building really in charge of a woman architect?” I asked the foreman… The man read me a powerful sermon of just three short sentences, punctuated with the earnestness of a reform orator. “An architect’s an architect,” he said, “and you can count them all on the fingers of one hand. Now, this building is in charge of a real architect and her name happens to be , but it might as well be John Morgan.”

Journalist in 1906 upon learning of Julia Morgan winning a new commission. (Courtesy Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library)

The recent announcement that Julia Morgan has posthumously received the 2014 , the AIA’s top honor, while positive and inspirational, raises some important questions concerning the recognition and advancement of women in the profession. She is the first woman, living or dead, to receive the honor in the award’s 106-year history. From 1907 to 2012, all recipients have been men.

AIA Focuses on Neighborhood and Community Growth for Q3/2013

Americans are indicating that they prefer higher-density, more walkable neighborhoods. Image Courtesy of

The AIA just released its third quarter Design Trends Survey for 2013. Key findings have been made since the previous survey, specifically on neighborhood and community trends.

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, Inaugurated as 2014 AIA President

. Image © William Stewart

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, executive director of the Virginia Center for Architecture, has been inaugurated as the 90th president of the (AIA). She succeeds Mickey Jacob, FAIA, in representing nearly 83,000 AIA members.

“During my term as president, I want to look towards the future of our profession and society in general.  We need to stimulate research to benefit the design and construction industry, emphasize a culture in firms that nurtures emerging professionals and promotes diversity and inclusiveness for under-represented groups, and advance the profession in the eyes of the public,” said Dreiling. “Ultimately, our efforts will be focused on bringing a shift to our own professional culture – the way we think, act and behave to transform the way that our culture regards architects and architecture.”

Design: A Long Term Preventative Medicine

New York City’s High Line. Image © Iwan Baan

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism has produced a new report examining urban health in eight of the USA’s largest , which has been translated into a collection of meaningful findings for architects, designers, and urban planners. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas – a statistic which is projected to grow to 70% by 2050 – the report hinges around the theory that “massive urbanization can negatively affect human and environmental health in unique ways” and that, in many cases, these affects can be addressed by architects and designers by the way we create within and build upon our .

Eskew+Dumez+Ripple to Receive 2014 AIA Architecture Firm Award

Rosa Keller Library / . Image © Timothy Hursley

Just two days after the passing of R. Allen Eskew, FAIA, the -based architect’s practice, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple (EDR), has been announced as the recipient of the 2014 AIA Architecture Firm Award. Presented by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the annual award is the highest honor bestowed by to a firm by the national institution. EDR is being recognized for “rigorously crafting Modernism to repair, restore, and enhance the exceptionally unique cultural and historic context of New Orleans.”

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 . In the article, “Toward a Fit Nation,” the AIA 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 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, 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 storm 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 (AIA) 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 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 . 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 .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 Kansas City, ), which seeks to illustrate what the future could look like for Kansas City 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 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), as well as it’s many other initiatives, signify the organization’s commitment to putting 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 Brazil’s infrastructure 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 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 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 economy.” 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) Chicago’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 Chicago 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