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January ABI Falls into the Red

After nine consecutive months of growth, January’s Architecture Billing Index (ABI) reported a “softening” in US design activity. According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the January ABI score was 49.9, down from a mark of 52.7 in December. This score reflects a “very modest decrease” in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.7, down from the reading of 59.1 the previous month.

“This easing in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market over the past nine months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Likely some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions in January. 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 Elevates Five International Architects to the College of Fellows

The 2015 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elevated five international members to its prestigious College of Fellows, including two architects from the Spanish firm Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos that recently won the 2015 Alvar Aalto Medal. The award is given to those who have made significant contributions to the profession. All Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2015 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. The complete list of newly inducted Honorary Fellows, after the break.

AIA Construction Forecast Predicts Increased Spending

This week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results of its first Consensus Construction Forecast of the year. The forecast is compiled based on predictions of the industry's leading forecasters and is conducted bi-annually to anticipate shifting business conditions in the construction industry. The dominant trend in this forecast (projected for 2015 and 2016) is an overall increase in spending in the construction sector.

Architecture & Human Rights: AIA Rejects Controversial Ethics Amendment

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) recent rejection of a proposed amendment to its existing ethics code has sparked debate over the issue of design and human rights violations. The proposed addendum was drawn up late last summer by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), a nonprofit organization advocating social consciousness in the design field. It stipulated that all AIA members would refrain from designing spaces involving human-rights violations, specifically those "intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement." This would include execution chambers, interrogation rooms intended for torture, and "supermax" security prisons in which prolonged solitary confinement take place.

However, the main controversy arose when considering whether or not the amendment would be an attainable goal for the AIA. Although the content of the amendment was never in question, its clarity and ability to be enforced were.

Read more about the AIA’s decision to reject the ethics amendment, after the break.

14 Architects to Receive 2015 AIA Young Architects Award

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected 14 recipients for the 2015 AIA Young Architects Award. This award, now in its 22nd year, honors young architects - licensed 10 years or fewer regardless of their age - who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers. All recipients will be presented the award at the AIA 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. View them all, after the break. 

Code of Context: The Uneasy Excitement of Global Practice

Global, the Winter 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, out now, is an examination of the challenges and opportunities facing architects working abroad, from the Middle East to Africa to Asia. The topics explored in this issue include how to value resource-constrained approaches, honor local vernacular, and learn from the urbanization precedents set in other parts of the world. In this article, Jay Wickersham FAIA examines how in a globalized market, architecture firms can take steps to ensure that their designs act in the best interests of the foreign communities they affect.

The signs of architecture’s globalization are all around us. Foreign students flock to Boston to study architecture, prominent buildings are designed by foreign architects, American firms build practices around international projects. Globalization has allowed architects to work outside their own regions and cultures, at a scale and with a freedom of design they might never enjoy at home. But beneath the excitement and glamour of international practice, I sense an unease. Are we creating vital and original new architectures, or are we homogenizing cities and landscapes and obliterating regional differences? Are architects helping to strengthen and develop the economies of host communities, or are they acting as unwitting tools of inequality and repression?

Sasaki Associates. Technologico de Monterrey. Monterrey, Mexico Machado and Silvetti Associates. Vietnamese-German University. Binh Duong, Vietnam Kyu Sung Woo Architects KAIST IT Convergence Building Daejeon, Korea Höweler + Yoon Architecture. Sky Courts. Chengdu, China

AIA Says December ABI Closed 2014 on "Solid Footing"

Rising from a score of 50.9 to 52.2 in December, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) closed 2014 on "solid footing." As reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), design services continued to increase throughout the majority of last year and all regions, except the Northeast, experienced favorable conditions. 

“Business conditions continue to be the strongest at architecture firms in the South and the Western regions,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Particularly encouraging is the continued solid upturn in design activity at institutional firms, since public sector facilities were the last nonresidential building project type to recover from the downturn.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

2015 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture

Celebrating the most innovative spaces in the realm of interior design, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected this year's recipients for the prestigious Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture. These eight projects will be recognized for their exceptional design at the AIA 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta

Learn more about the winning designs after the break.

Arent Fox / STUDIOS Architecture. Image © Eric Laignel Beats By Dre / Bestor Architecture. Image © Jasper Sanidad Barbarian Group / Clive Wilkinson Architects; Design Republic Partners Architects LLP. Image © Michael Moran National September 11 Memorial Museum / Davis Brody Bond. Image © James Ewing Photography

2015 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

Several projects have been selected to receive this year's Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, chosen by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The award celebrates projects which exhibit design excellence in the field of architecture, and is one of the highest such awards in the industry. The recipients will be recognized for their work at the AIA 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. 

View the winners after the break.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Image © Eduard Hueber / ArchPhoto LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park. Image © Michael Moran Danish Maritime Museum. Image © Luca Santiago Mora UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium and Training Center. Image © Jim Simmons

Registration Now Open: AIA Convention 2015

Registration is now open for AIA Convention 2015, one of the largest and annual gatherings of architects and design professionals in the US. This year's much-anticipated schedule includes: President Bill Clinton's day one keynote address, 300+ career-changing workshops, seminars, tours, and events led by visionaries, grassroots champions, change agents, and rising stars. A dynamic expo floor turned into a temporary built environment with hundreds of exhibitors, first looks, and surprises. All the details can be found, here. ArchDaily will see you there!

2015 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

Four projects have been selected by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 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 AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design at the 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. See the winners, after the break.

© CBT Architects © BIG © SOM Courtesy of Morgan Sheff

Open Call: POP-UP 2015

The AIA Small Project Practitioners (SPP) invites architects and architecture students to submit design ideas to the 2015 SPP Small Project Design Competition – POP-UP 2015: “A Safe Space.” In this unique design competition, submitters are asked to design a discreet, compact and efficient shelter for the homeless. The fully constructed and completed winning design will be donated to the local non-for-profit partner, The Mad Housers, for use by their clients and program participants. 

AIA Honors SOM's Broadgate Exchange House with 25-Year Award

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Broadgate Exchange House (1990) in London has been announced as the 2015 recipient of the American Institute of Architects25-Year Award. The first UK project to ever win the award, the ten-story Exchange House was commended for “standing the test of time” with its “simple yet ingenious structural system that unifies design and function in the mid-century Modernist tradition.”

© John Davies © Nick Guttridge © Nick Guttridge © SOM

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.”