The Architecture of Incarceration: Can Design Affect the Prison System?

Pelican Bay State Prison © Jelson25

On July 9th, 30,000 prison inmates across California took part in a hunger strike to show solidarity with those incarcerated in Pelican Bay State Prison, a ‘Solitary Housing Unit’ in which prisoners are incarcerated – some supposedly for years at a time – in solitary confinement.

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) and its founder Raphael Sperry have made it their mission to make sure that architects are not complicit in designing prisons, even going so far as to form a petition asking the AIA to forbid members from designing execution chambers, ‘supermax’ prison facilities or solitary confinement facilities, as part of their statement that “members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.”

At ArchDaily we have already questioned whether it may actually be beneficial for architects to design prisons, rather than allowing them to be designed by less-trained people who could end up designing a space that is even less humane. Now, an article on Blouin Art Info seems to take a similar position: rather than retreating from the business of prison design altogether, architects should try to encourage prison design that facilitates rehabilitation rather than emphasizing punishment.

June’s ABI Reflects Consistent Industry Growth

June via Calculated Risk

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remained positive again in June after the first decline in ten months in April. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects () reported the June ABI score was 51.6, down from a mark of 52.9 in May. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, up sharply from the reading of 59.1 the previous month.

Key ABI highlights and details on the construction industries remaining threats after the break…

AIA Selects 12 Projects for National Healthcare Design Awards

Kaleida Health, Gates Vascular Institute and UB Clinical Translational Research Center; Buffalo, New York / Cannon Design © K C Kratt Photography

Showcasing the “best of healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research,” the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) has unveiled the 2013 recipients of the AIA National Healthcare Design Awards program. Each project is said to exhibit conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns as well as the requisite functional and concerns of a hospital. See them all, after the break.

AIA Elects Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, for 2015 President

Courtesy of Elizabeth Chu Richter for President, Facebook Page

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports that it has elected Elizabeth Chu Richter, the CEO of Richter Architects in Corpus Christi, Texas, to serve as the 2014 AIA first vice president/president-elect and 2015 AIA president.  James Easton Rains, Jr., FAIA, and Thomas V. Vonier, FAIA, will each serve as vice president from 2014 through 2015; James P. Grounds, AIA, will be the Institute’s Treasurer.

Chu Richter’s statement: “I’m hoping that my will help bring the AIA into a more member-focused future, building greater public engagement and understanding, while also refining the Institute’s structure and operation focus. More than ever, the repositioned AIA will be highly valued and globally relevant in its service to society in building a better world.”

AIA 2013: Top Ten Lessons of Leadership by General Colin Powell

© ArchDaily

“It’s not where you start in life, it’s where you end up and all the places you went in between.” – United States General

For the closing keynote speaker of the stimulating, three-day “Building Leaders” convention in Colorado, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) selected one of America’s most admired public figures to share wisdom and insight to becoming a great leader.

General Colin L. Powell, a first-generation American born from Jamaican immigrants in 1937, is the epitome of the American dream. Starting life in the South Bronx, Powell paved his way to becoming a highly respected, four-star general in the United States Army and the first African American to serve as Secretary of State. A natural storyteller, Powell effortlessly captivated the audience of architects with a series of experiences and lessons he had learned throughout his lifetime of service.

General Colin Powell’s top ten lessons of after the break…

AIA 2013: Citizen Architect

Cameron Sinclair at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver © ArchDaily

“When you build a beautiful building, people love it. And the most sustainable building in the world is the one that’s loved.” – Cameron Sinclair, Co-founder of Architecture for Humanity

Cameron Sinclair is a man who sustains his passion for helping improve the world, one project at a time, by tapping into the skilled enthusiasm of like-minded architects from all over the globe. Since the co-founding of his non-profit organization with Kate Stohr in 1999, Sinclair and his interdisciplinary teams of citizen architects have provided shelter for more than two million people worldwide.

Under his leadership, Architecture for Humanity’s infectious mantra has inspired thousands to join its cause every year, allowing the organization to expand at an unbelievable rate and become the exemplar of . Considering this, it is no surprise that Sinclair was selected to be the keynote speaker on day two of the 2013 AIA National Convention.

Keeping the momentum from yesterday’s inaugural speech, where TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie shared his success story of “doing well by doing good,” Sinclair urged architects to hold close the true value of their profession.

Learn what Cameron Sinclair believes to be the ‘true value of architects’ after the break.

AD Interviews: Mickey Jacob, President AIA 2013

Since we’re in for the AIA National Convention, we seized upon the opportunity to interview Mickey Jacob, FAIA, managing principal at Urban Studio Architects and the President of the AIA for 2013. We sat down with Jacob to get his opinion on some important issues facing the architecture profession today.

On this year’s conference theme (Building Leaders), Jacobs explained, “I want to create better opportunities for architects to take on leadership roles, and once we do, we elevate the public awareness of the importance of architecture.” He also gives his advice for students and emerging professionals, encouraging young architects to, “share your creativity, share your energy, share your leadership ability.”

AIA 2013: Conscious Capitalism and the Future of Business

president Mickey Jacobs © ArchDaily

Thousands have flocked to the Mile High City in Colorado to attend the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2013 National Convention. The three-day event was enthusiastically kickstarted this morning by AIA president Mickey Jacobs who honored Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with the 2013 Architecture Firm Award; highlighted this year’s theme of leadership; and featured words of advice from founder and chief shoe giver, Blake Mycoskie.

Learn TOMS Founder Mycoskie’s top advice for architects after the break. 

AIA Honors Joint Creativity by Revising Gold Medal Award Criteria

Perot Museum of Nature and Science designed by the 2013 Winner: Thom Mayne of Morphosis

In the wake of Pritzker’s refusal to retroactively acknowledge Denise Scott Brown’s role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize, the American Institute of Architects () Board of Directors have voted to expand the prestigious Gold Medal award’s criteria to include either an individual or two individuals working together in a collaborative partnership. In order to be considered, partners must have created a singular body of distinguished architectural work.

Improving Residential Market Leads to Larger Homes and an Increase in Property Enhancements

Paschke Danskin Double Loft, Rhode Island / 3six0 Architecture © John Homer Photography

According to the AIA, The American Institute of Architects, the American housing market is at its strongest growth level since 2005. As the once struggling residential market continues to improve, the size of homes is also growing in both high-end and custom homes as well as in additions to existing homes. Data from the reveals that preferences for accessible spaces in homes – such as open-space layouts and single-floor design – is also on the rise.

To see the survey’s findings and to learn more about today’s housing market, read on.

Four NGOs Launch Housing Competition to Aid Disaster Survivors

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

The American Institute of Architects (), Make It Right, and Architecture for Humanity has formed a strategic partnership to launch “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuild of sustainable and resilient communities.

Should Architects Follow a Code of Ethics?

Pelican Bay State Prison © Jelson25

In the latest episode of his 99% Invisible podcast, Roman Mars bravely takes on a very sensitive topic: the design of prisons which contain execution chambers or house prisoners in solitary confinement. More specifically, the podcast discusses whether architects have a moral duty to decline these commissions and whether, as a profession, architecture should have a code of ethics which prevents registered architects from participating in such designs.

He compares architecture to the medical profession, where the American Medical Association imposes an ethical code on its members which all but forbids them from taking part in execution by lethal injection, based on medicine’s general aim of preservation, rather than destruction of life. The American Institute of Architect’s ethical code is both generic and meager in comparison: “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.”

2013 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards Announced

Anacostia Neighborhood Library; Washington, D.C. / The Freelon Group © Mark Herboth Photography

Biennially, representatives from the American Institute of Architects () and the American Library Association (ALA) gather to celebrate the finest examples of library design by architects licensed in the U.S. This year, for the 2013 /ALA Library Building , they choose to honor six outstanding project. View them all after the break.

Help Rebuild Moore

© Oklahoma National Guard

Recovery efforts are underway in the suburb of Moore after a deadly, 1.3-mile-wide tornado carved a 20-mile-long swath of destruction through neighborhoods and schools on Monday afternoon. With winds up to 210 miles per hour and a death count that currently stands at 24, President Obama has declared this tornado to be “one of the most destructive in history,” ranking it at a Category 5.

In an effort to help, Architecture for Humanity and the American Institute of Architects () have mobilized their teams to provide instant assistance and aid in long term reconstruction efforts. Although professional design and construction volunteers from both organizations are already on the ground, the community needs your help. Find out how you can help the residents of Moore after the break.

2013 AIA Housing Awards Announced

House in the Mountains; Colorado / GLUCK+ © Steve Mundinger

The American Institute of Architects () has selected the six recipients of the 2013 . The AIA’s Program, now in its 13th year, was established to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource. All the winners, after the break.

AIA/HUD Secretary Awards Recognize Three Outstanding Housing Projects

Via Verde – The Green Way; Bronx, New York / Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects © David Sundberg/Esto

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) and Custom Residential Knowledge Community, in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of & Urban Development (HUD), have recognized three recipients of the 2013 . The categories of the program include (1) Excellence in Affordable Housing Design (2) Creating Community Connection Award (no recipient selected this year) (3) Community-Informed Design Award and (4) Housing Accessibility – Alan J. Rothman Award. These awards demonstrate that design matters, and the recipient projects offer examples of important developments in the housing industry.

“These developments prove that you can push the boundaries of design while still creating something very special that folks can actually afford,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “These projects took innovative visions from the drawing board and made them a part of how we live today.”

Groups Urge Congress: Keep Energy Conservation Requirements for Government Buildings

Federal Center South Building 1202; Seattle / ZGF Architects LLP © Benjamin Benschneider

The American Institute of Architects today released a letter from more than 350 different associations and companies expressing opposition to efforts by special interests to gut energy conservation requirements for federal buildings.

The letter, which is addressed to Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, was released one week ahead of the scheduled mark-up of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee May 8.

That legislation, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would promote greater use of energy efficiency technology in commercial and residential buildings and by manufacturers.

AIA Selects the 2013 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

Yin Yang House; Venice, California / Brooks + Scarpa
 © John Linden

The American Institute of Architects () and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. 

The program, now in its 17th year, is the profession’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence. The program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

The 2013 COTE Top Ten Green Projects and Top Ten Plus after the break…