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 Oklahoma City suburb of Moore after a deadly, 1.3-mile-wide 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 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 (AIA) 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 (AIA) has selected the six recipients of the 2013 . The AIA’s Housing 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) Housing and Custom Knowledge Community, in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), have recognized three recipients of the 2013 AIA/HUD Secretary . 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 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…

Positive Signs of Growth Reflected in Steady ABI and Higher Intern Employment Rates

Courtesy of Calculated Risk

For the eight consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting a steady upturn in design activity. 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. Although the American Institute of () reported the March ABI score was 51.9, down from a mark of 54.9 in February, this score still reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). In addition, the new projects inquiry index was 60.1, down from the reading of 64.8 the previous month.

“Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it’s not a big surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months.”

Key ABI highlights and details indicating higher employment rates for intern architects after the break…

AIA/NCARB Survey Indicates Resurgence in Employment Rates for Architects

We have already written about the dauntingly high rates of unemployment that are awaiting architecture-degree graduates in the profession these days, but a recent survey conducted by the AIA/NCARB Internship and Career Survey reveals an optimistic view of job growth and job placement in the two years since the “intense economic contraction” of 2010.  The writes, “emerging professionals have begun experiencing a rebound, with higher employment levels, more young designers getting licensed, and any remaining unemployment becoming, in most cases, mercifully short”.  

AIA Announces the 2013 Small Projects Award Recipients

Studio for a Composer © John J. Macaulay

Selections of the AIA’s 2013 small project have been announced, revealing a broad range of projects, varying in scale, program and function that bring attention to the value of architectural practice no matter the size or scope of the project.  The ten projects were selected on the basis of four categories: small project construction up to $150,000; small project construction up to $1,500,000; up to 5,000 square foot project in which the architect played a significant role in construction and or fabrication; and an inbuilt workhorse up to 5,000 square feet.  Among the recipients are MIN | DAYKariouk AssociatesJohnsen Schmaling ArchitectsMell Lawrence ArchitectsCooper Joseph StudioRobert M. Gurney, FAIAWRNS Studio, and Edward Ogosta Architecture.

Join us after the break for more information on the ten recipients and the projects that earned the AIA’s recognition for the 2013 small project awards.

Celebrate National Architecture Week with the AIA

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

From April 7th through the 13th, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will be hosting National in an effort to increase public awareness on the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities and to elevate the public’s appreciation of design.

Similar to previous years’ observances, National Architecture Week will be virtual and composed of daily pinboards on the social networking site, Pinterest, and an Architecture Is Awesome contest on Instagram. The intent is to use the two social networking platforms to showcase architects’ good designs and encourage architecture fans to share their thoughts and engage with like-minded professionals during the week.

Five Ways You can Take Part in National Architecture Week:

Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA, Honored with the 2013 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award

ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center / Gantt Huberman and Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA, as the 2013 recipient of the .  Established in 1972, the honors architects and organizations that champion a range of social issues, including affordable housing, minority inclusion and access for persons with disabilities. Gantt is being recognized for his efforts as a noted civil rights pioneer, public servant and award-winning architect.

More about Gantt after the break…

2013 AIA New York Design Awards

Perot Museum of Nature and Science © Shu He

After reviewing hundreds of projects submitted by New York City-based architects and firms, a jury of twelve eminent architects, landscape architects, educators, critics, and planners convened by the Center for Architecture in New York has selected 42 thoughtfully considered projects for the 2013 AIANY Chapter’s Design . From small installations to large-scale projects, each awarded submission spanned a breadth of innovative ideas in a large variety of design solutions for projects throughout the world.

Winning submissions received either a “honor” or “merit” award in four different categories: architecture, interiors, projects and urban planning. All will be on view at a Center for Architecture exhibition designed by Kokoro & Moi, from April 18th through May 31st.

Join us after for the complete list of winning projects. Click on the project image for more information.

MIT Collaborates with AIA to Research Solutions for Healthy Urban Futures

Courtesy of Flickr User Sandeep Menon Photography

American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) have announced a research collaboration to support  efforts through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Decade of Design, a measure focused on improving the health of urban communities.  As the global population continues to shift toward urban environments, urban conditions of the past century have become too outdated to address the increase in population and pollution.  In order to advance the state of city livability, professionals in the design and planning fields must reconsider how urban environments need to be designed to work optimally in regards to social, economic and health challenges.  MIT’s collaboration with the profession-based organization of the AIA allows the school’s research to reach the professional world for application and development.  

AIA appoints Mary Ann Lazarus to lead Sustainability and Health Initiative

Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center and USHBC Partners

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, to a consulting position as a Resident Fellow.  In this position, Lazarus will help guide and influence a program heavily based in sustainability and health as the implements its ten-year pledge to the Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge, a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.  The purpose of the commitment is to document, envision and implement solutions that leverage the design of urban environments through research, community participation, and design frameworks.  It is a commitment based in the interest of public health with special attention to the use of natural, economic, and human resources.

More about Mary Ann Lazarus’s work and future at the AIA after the break.

AIA College of Fellows Awards 2013 Latrobe Prize for “The City of 7 Billion”

Courtesy of Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, LLC

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows has awarded Bimal Mendis and Joyce Hsiang of the Yale School of Architecture and Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, LLC the 2013 of $100,000 for their proposal, “The City of 7 Billion.” The research will study the impact of population growth and resource consumption on the built and natural environment at the scale of the entire world as a single urban entity. An antidote to the fragmentary analyses of current practices, this project will remove arbitrary boundaries and reframe the entire world as a continuous topography of development: the city of 7 billion.

The grant, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession.

More on “The City of 7 Billion” after the break…

ABI Reports Six Consecutive Month of Growth and Best Conditions Since 2007

ABI January 2013 via Calculated Risk

Reflecting the strongest growth since November 2007, the January Architecture Billings Index (ABI) surged to a score of 54.2 – a sharp and welcomed increase from December’s 51.2* mark. Released by the American Institute of (AIA), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. By remaining above 50, January’s score illustrates the six consecutive month of growth for the United State’s design and construction industry. This trend doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as the new projects inquiry index accelerated beyond last month’s reading of 57.9 and reached a score of 63.2.

“We have been pointing in this direction for the last several months, but this is the strongest indication that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months,” said Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. .  “But as we continue to hear about overall improving economic conditions and that there are more inquiries for new design projects in the marketplace, a continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry.”

Review the ABI Highlights in greater detail, after the break…

The AIA Elevates 122 Members and Seven International Architects to the College of Fellows

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of () elevated 122 members to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. The 2013 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

Continue reading for more information and the complete list of newly honored Fellows: