Despite a few volatile months, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) concluded 2015in positive terrain. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 50.9, up from the mark of 49.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.2, up from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.
“As has been the case for the past several years, there continues to be a mix of business conditions that architecture firms are experiencing,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Overall, however, ABIscores for 2015 averaged just below the strong showing in 2014, which points to another healthy year for construction this year.”
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, has been selected for the 2016 American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Twenty-five Year Award. Designed by EHDD of San Francisco, and completed in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a "light-filled ensemble of diverse spaces, unique among aquariums in its interweaving of indoors and out," says the AIA. The award is presented yearly to a project that has "stood the test of time by embodying architectural excellence for 25 to 35 years."
According to the findings, walkability, higher density and infill development, as well as access to public transportation, are all on the rise, with homeowners “seeking community amenities that allow them to remain connected to people and commerce” throughout the nation’s growing metro areas.
“Since architecture firms continue to report that they are bringing in new projects, this volatility in billings doesn’t seem to reflect any underlying weakness in the construction sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Rather, it could reflect the uncertainty of moving ahead with projects given the continued tightness in construction financing and the growing labor shortage problem gripping the entire design and construction industries.”
It’s a topic that cannot be avoided for any longer. The ongoing Paris Climate Conference has seen an unprecedented amount of participation - even before the summit began, over 150 countries submitted national plans of action to the United Nations - and there seems to now be a global consensus that we must cut back on our energy use and reliance on carbon polluting fossil fuels, or risk causing irreversible damage to our planet. By the end of the conference, an agreement will likely outline energy-reducing strategies by which all countries must abide. For architects, this means fundamentally changing the ways we design buildings and determine their success. Traditional building and construction methods consume large quantities of natural resources and account for a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change. In the United States, the building sector accounts for 41 percent of the country’s energy usage, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
But this information is hardly new, and thankfully, our profession has been preparing for this change for some time. In 2006, the American Institute of Architects became the first adopters of the 2030 challenge, a call for all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to reach carbon-neutrality by 2030, with milestone goals of reduced dependence at 10-year intervals along the way. Each year, the AIA releases a progress report outlining the current standing of energy consumptions and take-aways from their findings. This year’s key conclusion? We must start integrating energy modeling techniques earlier into the design process.
Honored for being a "tireless advocate for social justice and diversity within architecture," R. Steven Lewis, AIA, has been selected to receive the 2016 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. "Steve enlightened a generation of architects on the importance of knowing the history of those who came before them. He built bridges that they crossed," Purnell wrote in support of Lewis's nomination for the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. "He has mentored minority architects through his brilliant leadership by example.”
“LMN Architects exemplify the best in architecture firm culture,” said 2015 AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. “Not only is their work proof of this, but the amazing talent they are cultivating will have a reverberating impact on the profession for years to come.”
“Ben brings a unique energy, intelligence, and experience to the executive director position,” said Carol Loewenson, incoming president of AIA New York and partner at Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, in a statement. “AIANY is poised for great change: more outreach, greater membership value, deeper connections to the academy, and a stronger role in actively impacting the design of our city. Ben is the right person to imagine the AIANY of the future. We are thrilled to have him on board to lead our organization.”
As reported by the AIA, this month's Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has shown a slight reduction in construction growth in October, dropping by 0.6 points from September's mark of 53.7, but still in solid positive territory at 53.1. The Project Inquiries Index also dropped for the third straight month, falling to 58.5.
“Allowing for the possibility of occasional and minor backsliding, we expect healthy business conditions for the design and construction industry to persist moving into next year,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “One area of note is that the multi-family project sector has come around the last two months after trending down for the better part of the year.”
“Aside from uneven demand for design services in the Northeast, all regions are project sectors are in good shape,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Areas of concern are shifting to supply issues for the industry, including volatility in building materials costs, a lack of a deep enough talent pool to keep up with demand, as well as a lack of contractors to execute design work.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
Walk the Talk—A talk and tour for people interested in learning more about “missing middle” housing in Austin. Join us for a panel discussion and self-guided tour of "missing middle" housing types—such as duplexes, fourplexes, courtyard housing, and accessory dwelling units—in the Blackland and Cherrywood neighborhoods. Our expert panel represents varied perspectives on the subject. After a Q&A session, participants can easily bike or walk to the missing middle sites in the neighborhood. We welcome you to join the conversation!
Most of the projects on display are selected from S+ ARCHITECTURE’s work within the past ten years and include a wide array of building types such as academic, adaptive reuse, cultural, educational, industrial, mixed use, office, residential, retail-recreation and urban project. The overall goal of architectural office is to establish the harmony between the context and the projects. The design approach of the group emphasizes design integrity from urban to object scale
Out of 26 entries for the competition launched earlier this year, a jury of architects and media professionals selected three top prize winners and recognized seven additional films in themed categories. The winning pieces best represent the competition’s call for films that highlight the impact that architects have on communities.
The competition accepts conceptual or final elevations, sections, perspectives, and renderings, drawn by hand, digitally, or by a combination of both. Additionally, this year’s competition features a new category for 3D printed models.
“Over the past several years, a period of sustained growth in billings has been followed by a temporary step backwards,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
As the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act approaches, the fall issue of ArchitectureBoston hits hard with questions about one of the profession’s most heated topics today: preservation. With essays and articles from a dozen different perspectives, featuring a dozen different problems and solutions, the issue is a gateway for discourse for anyone interested in the role of the past, in the future of architecture. Read on for more information.