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AIA Report Finds Increasing Acceptance of Carbon Reduction Targets

The 2030 Progress Report for the American Institute of Architects (AIA)'s 2030 Commitment - a voluntary program for architects who want to commit their practice to advancing the AIA's goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030 - has found a significant increase in the number of projects that meet its current targets for a 60% reduction in carbon emissions, with over 400 buildings in the program meeting the goal. "There is some very encouraging data in this report that shows how architects are making measurable progress towards reducing the carbon emissions in their design projects," said AIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. Read on after the break for more results of the report.

September ABI Indicates Robust Conditions for US

The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) has indicated a “heightened level of demand for design services” throughout the US. As the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reports, all regions and project sectors have shown positive conditions and the September score was 55.2, up from a mark of 53.0 in August. The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

“Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.” 

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

AIA New York Honors Rebuild By Design With Its Community Development Award

The New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded its 2014 Community Development Award to the Rebuild by Design competition organized by President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. The results of the competition were announced in June this year, with six schemes, including proposals by BIG and OMA awarded a total of $920 million to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and improve the resilience of the coastline in the region.

More on the award after the break

New Practices New York: Upcoming Firms in the Big Apple

WHAT: With its fifth biennial competition and exhibition, the AIANY New Practices Committee is proud to recognize six emerging architecture and design firms working in New York City. These firms will be featured in an exhibition opening on October 1 at 6pm at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place. This year, the opening of New Practices New York 2014 will also kick off Archtober 2014, Architecture and Design Month.

August ABI Remains Strong

Demand for design services in the US continue to increase, as momentum from July’s highest recorded strength since 2007 continues. The American Institute of Architects reported the August Architecture Billings Index (ABI) at 53.0, down from July’s mark of 55.8, and the new projects inquiry at 62.6.

“One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Big Thinking For Small Projects: Bolster Offers Insurance for Residential-Scale Work

It is a common complaint among architects that, unlike other manufacturing systems, the way we build has remained essentially the same for hundreds of years. This presents a huge number of challenges, not only to architects but also to their clients and to contractors, with disputes over unexpected costs and time overruns - resulting in a system where contractors, clients and architects often see each other as adversaries rather than as members of a team.

The world of commercial architecture has at least gone some way to a solution: many large projects financed by developers or by the government are covered by construction bonds, which tie all parties down to a contract, and provide insurance against unexpected expenses and overruns. But what about the architects who work for small private clients? Now, thanks to a company called Bolster, designers on smaller projects can have the insurance used to streamline major projects - as well as a client matching service which can help architects and contractors find work.

Find out more about Bolster, and what it can offer architects, after the break

AIA Rewards 11 Projects with the 2014 Educational Facility Design Excellence Award

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected 11 exemplary educational projects to receive its 2014 Educational Facility Design Excellence Awards. Representing projects from across the United States, the eleven projects also include a variety of types of educational facility, including a child development center, elementary schools, high schools, college and university buildings and a library.

The AIA awards projects which it believes "further the client's mission, goals and educational program while demonstrating excellence in architectural design. These projects exemplify innovation through the client's educational goals through responsive and responsible programming, planning and design. Function and surrounding regional and community context are valued as part of the planning and design process as well as sustainability."

Check out all the winners after the break

PAVE Academy Charter School / Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, LLP. Image © Albert Vecerka / Esto James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University Raleigh / Clark Nexsen + Snøhetta. Image © Jeff Goldberg / Esto Coastline Community College, Newport Beach Campus / LPA, INC. Image Courtesy of LPA inc. Central Arizona College, Maricopa Campus / SmithGroupJJR. Image © Bill Timmerman

US ABI Hits Highest Level Since 2007

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reached 55.8 in July  - its highest level since 2007. The score reflects what has been a steadily increasing demand for design services over the past three months, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports. The AIA’s new projects inquiry and design contracts indexes were also strong at 66 and 54.9, respectively.

“Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Regional Averages:

PAR Awarded AIA LA's Presidential Emerging Practice Award

Design firm Platform for Architecture + Research (PAR) has been awarded AIA Los Angeles’ Presidential Emerging Practice Award. The award, which reflects “notable, innovative achievements in design and service to the profession,” is the highest honor given by AIA LA each year. This year, in response to Los Angeles’s continued urban evolution, the award jury nominated those firms who “take leadership roles in advancing the profession and thus, the City.” PAR fit the bill, both for their research-based design approach, and their commitment to improving public life through design.  See some of their latest work, after the break!

AIA Announces Winners of National Healthcare Design Awards

The AIA has announced 8 projects as winners of their annual National Healthcare Design Awards, rewarding the best in medical architecture from built projects to research excellence. The 8 projects were selected in four categories: built (less than $25 million); built (more than $25 million); Unbuilt; and Innovations in Planning and Design Research.

The awarded projects come from locations throughout the US, as well as one project constructed for Haiti. Read on after the break to see all the winners.

Mount Sinai Hess Center for Science and Medicine / SOM. Image ©  Eduard Huebrer | Archphoto GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) / MASS Design Group. Image Courtesy of AIA Lancaster General Health Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute / Ballinger. Image © Peter Aaron / ESTO Legacy ER – Allen / 5G Studio Collaborative. Image © Michael Moran/OTTO

Latest Issue of ArchitectureBoston Devoted Entirely To Architecture & Design Books

This summer, ArchitectureBoston gives readers a reason to linger in their hammocks a little longer and drift away into the world of architecture and design. The new issue contains extensive and insightful suggestions for book lovers looking to build a personal library of new and important titles. Read on for more information.

US ABI Shows Continued Growth in June

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) continued showing significant improvement in June, jumping to 53.5 from 52.6 in May, and hitting new records in the Projects Inquiry and Design Contracts indexes.

As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the new Projects Inquiry Index surged to 66.4, its highest level in the year to date. In addition, the AIA’s new Design Contracts Index hit 55.7 - its highest mark since the indictor starting being measured in October 2010.

“The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing.  The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…

Russell A Davidson Elected as 2016 AIA President

This weekend, at the AIA's national conference in Chicago, Russell A Davidson was elected the AIA's 2016 president. Davidson, who served as the AIA's Vice President in 2012-13 and president of AIA's New York State chapter in 2007, will be joined by William J Bates and Francis M Pitts as Vice presidents, and John A Padilla as AIA Secretary.

AD Interviews: Helene Combs Dreiling, AIA President 2014

Right at the start of this year's AIA Convention, we had the chance to sit down with the current AIA president, Helene Combs Dreiling (FAIA). 

AIA Names its 2014 Small Projects Awards Winners

Small House / Cooper Joseph Studio. Image © Elliot Kaufman
Small House / Cooper Joseph Studio. Image © Elliot Kaufman

The American Institute of Architects () has selected ten recipients for their 2014 Small Projects Awards, which recognizes design excellence in projects with a budget of up to $1.5 million and with a floor area less than 5,000 square feet. The award "strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to all project types, including renovations and additions, no matter the limits of size and budget."

This year's awards include 5 houses, 2 pavilions, 2 installations and a cafe. See all 10 awarded projects after the break.

Redaction House / Johnsen Schmaling Architects. Image © John J. Macaulay Pure Tension Pavilion / Synthesis Design + Architecture. Image © Fabric Images / © Volvo Italy Head in the Clouds Pavilion / STUDIOKCA. Image © Chuck Choi Topo House / Johnsen Schmaling Architects. Image © John J. Macaulay

NCARB Endorses Licensure for US Architects Upon Graduation

The U.S. National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has released a statement endorsing licensure upon graduation from accredited programs. Though the release did not specify a definite plan of action, the announcement acknowledges the benefits of restructuring U.S. licensure so that “rigorous internships and examination requirements” are all fulfilled during the education process. 

Envisioned by NCARB’s “Licensure Task Force,” the “new path” concept overhaul will move forward by identifying schools interested in participating in the program. A Request for Information will be sent out later this year, followed by a Request for Proposal process in 2015. 

Though many U.S. architects have seemingly longed for news such as this, others argue that there are drawbacks to licensure upon graduation. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section after the break.

A Delicate Endeavor: The Restoration of Modern Masterpieces by Schindler, Lautner, and The Eameses

How do you make a space more livable by current standards, while simultaneously upholding the original architect's design intentions? It's a delicate endeavor, but one that was recently accomplished by a couple of architects in Southern California. Originally published by AIArchitect as "Pacific Coast Sun Rises on Modernist House Restorations," this article investigates the thoughtful restorations of three homes designed by the pioneering modernists Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and Charles and Ray Eames.

Los Angeles’ early Modernist pioneers are no longer around to oversee the restoration of homes they designed more than a half-century ago, but their landmark projects are offering a new generation of designers historic case studies in Modernist preservation that grow more and more significant with each passing day. Vintage architectural renderings and drawings, photos, and notes are all ingredients these architects use to summon the spirits of Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, and Charles and Ray Eames, to name a few, bringing their early works of California Modernism back to life.

AIANY Denounces RIBA's Israel Motion

The New York chapter of the AIA has officially voiced its objection to a proposal by the RIBA to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (UIA). A letter drafted by AIANY President Lance Jay Brown and Chief Executive Rick Bell, and unanimously approved by AIANY's board of directors, states that "the UIA's stated goal is to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination", and refers to the proposal to suspend the IAUA as "directly antithetical to the purpose of the much appreciated umbrella organization".

The original proposal by the RIBA, adopted on March 19th, condemns the IAUA for its failure to "resist projects on illegally-occupied land" in the West Bank and Gaza, and calls on the UIA to suspend the body until it "acts to resist these illegal projects, and observes international law, and the UIA Accords and Resolution 13."

Read on for more on the controversial backstory to the RIBA's motion