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US ABI Ends 2015 on Positive Note

16:00 - 20 January, 2016
US ABI Ends 2015 on Positive Note, December 2015 ABI. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
December 2015 ABI. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

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.”

EHDD's Monterey Bay Aquarium Wins AIA 25 Year Award

16:00 - 15 January, 2016
EHDD's Monterey Bay Aquarium Wins AIA 25 Year Award, Monterey Bay Aquarium / EHDD. Image Courtesy of Bruce Damonte
Monterey Bay Aquarium / EHDD. Image Courtesy of Bruce Damonte

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." 

AIA Names 18 Projects as Best New Architecture in US

15:00 - 15 January, 2016
Henderson-Hopkins School / Rogers Partners. Image © Albert Vecerka ESTO
Henderson-Hopkins School / Rogers Partners. Image © Albert Vecerka ESTO

A boathouse by Studio Gang, the Smithsonian's BIG plan, and a new Baltimore school by Rogers Partners' are some of 18 projects selected for the 2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Awards. The awarded projects were chosen from 500 submissions as the US' best new architecture, interiors and urban design projects. Each recipient will be honored at the AIA 2016 National Convention in Philadelphia.

The 2016 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture are...

Smithsonian Institution South Campus Master Plan / BIG. Image © Doug & Wolf Case Inlet Retreat / MW Works. Image via AIA Perot Museum of Nature and Science / Morphosis Architects; Associate Architect: Good Fulton & Farrell. Image via AIA WMS Boathouse at Clark Park / Studio Gang Architects. Image © Hedrich Blessing +19

AIA Releases Interactive Infographic of Latest Home Design Trends

14:00 - 19 December, 2015
AIA Releases Interactive Infographic of Latest Home Design Trends, Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released an interactive infographic of its Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2015, focusing on community and neighborhood design.

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.

November ABI Takes Another Hit

12:00 - 16 December, 2015
November ABI Takes Another Hit, November ABI 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
November ABI 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has dipped again, this time falling from a mark of 53.1 in October to 49.3 in November. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, "this score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicated an increase in billings)." The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, up just a nudge from a reading of 58.5 the previous month. 

“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.”

How Energy Modeling Will Impact the Design Process

09:30 - 8 December, 2015
How Energy Modeling Will Impact the Design Process, Morphosis' Bloomberg Center is using energy modeling to achieve a net zero rating. Image © Kilograph
Morphosis' Bloomberg Center is using energy modeling to achieve a net zero rating. Image © Kilograph

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.

AIA Awards 3 for Impact on US Architecture and Education

12:00 - 4 December, 2015
AIA Awards 3 for Impact on US Architecture and Education, © AIA
© AIA

Alongside the release of this year's Gold Medal and firm award winners, the American Institute of Architects has named recipients of three other national awards: Edward C. Kemper Award, Topaz Medallion, and Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.

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 Win 2016 AIA Architecture Firm Award

12:21 - 3 December, 2015
LMN Architects Win 2016 AIA Architecture Firm Award, Vancouver Convention Centre West. Image © LMN Architects
Vancouver Convention Centre West. Image © LMN Architects

LMN Architects, a 145-employee firm based in Seattle, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Firm Award

“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.”

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal

09:25 - 3 December, 2015
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal, © Frank Hanswijk
© Frank Hanswijk

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Denise Scott Brown, hon. FAIA and Robert Venturi, FAIA, as joint winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. The AIA cited the duo for their "built projects as well as literature that set the stage for Postmodernism and nearly every other formal evolution in architecture." Scott Brown and Venturi are the first ever pair to receive the Gold Medal, after the AIA approved a change to its bylaws in 2013 that allowed the award to be presented to up to two individuals working together.

Best Products Showroom, Langhorne, Pennsylvania (1978). Image © Tom Bernard Episcopal Academy Chapel, Newtown Square (2008). Image © Matt Wargo Franklin Court, Philadelphia (1976). Image © Mark Cohn Vanna Venturi House (1964). Image © Rollin LaFrance +7

AIANY and Center for Architecture Name Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director

14:00 - 23 November, 2015
AIANY and Center for Architecture Name Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director, © AIANY
© AIANY

Following the resignation of Rick Bell earlier this year, AIANY and The Center for Architecture have appointed Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director. Prosky will assume his new position in early 2016, after stepping down as Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). 

“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.”



October ABI Remains on Solid Ground

16:00 - 19 November, 2015
October ABI Remains on Solid Ground, October ABI 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
October ABI 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

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.”

September ABI Returns to Positive Territory

12:00 - 21 October, 2015
September ABI Returns to Positive Territory , September ABI 2015 . Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
September ABI 2015 . Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

After a slight contraction in August, the September Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has returned to positive territory. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the September ABI score was 53.7, up from a mark of 49.1. The new projects inquiry index was 61.0, down from a reading of 61.8 the previous month.

“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—Tour and Panel Discussion of "Missing Middle" Housing in Austin, TX

07:00 - 4 October, 2015
Walk the Talk—Tour and Panel Discussion of "Missing Middle" Housing in Austin, TX, Walk the Talk—A talk and tour about “missing middle” housing in Austin
Walk the Talk—A talk and tour about “missing middle” housing in Austin

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!

S+ ARCHITECTURE's Recent Projects on Display at AIA Baltimore

19:30 - 3 October, 2015
S+ ARCHITECTURE's Recent Projects on Display at AIA Baltimore, AIA Baltimore Newsletter
AIA Baltimore Newsletter

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

AIA Announces Look Up Film Challenge Winners at Chicago Biennial

15:08 - 3 October, 2015
AIA Announces Look Up Film Challenge Winners at Chicago Biennial , Courtesy of Andrew Jeric and Soha Momeni
Courtesy of Andrew Jeric and Soha Momeni

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the winners of the Look Up Film Challenge at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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 winners of the Look Up Film Challenge are:

Call for Submissions: Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition 2015

12:00 - 3 October, 2015
Call for Submissions: Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition 2015, Courtesy of AIA Dallas
Courtesy of AIA Dallas

The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has announced its 41st Annual Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition. Dubbed “KRob,” it is the longest running architectural drawing competition of its kind.

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.

August ABI Contracts Slightly

13:30 - 23 September, 2015
August ABI Contracts Slightly , August 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com
August 2015. Image © CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) declined in August, following fairly healthy business conditions so far this year. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 49.1, down from a mark of 54.7 in July. The new projects inquiry index was 61.8, down from a reading of 63.7 the previous month.

“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. 

Preservation Takes the Spotlight in Fall Issue of ArchitectureBoston

16:00 - 20 September, 2015
Preservation Takes the Spotlight in Fall Issue of ArchitectureBoston, Courtesy of Boston Society of Architects
Courtesy of Boston Society of Architects

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.