Groups Urge Congress: Keep Energy Conservation Requirements for Government Buildings

Federal Center South Building 1202; Seattle / ZGF 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 COTE Top Ten Green Projects 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 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 activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and spending. Although the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 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 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 AIA 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 awards 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 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

From April 7th through the 13th, the American Institute of (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 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.  Established in 1972, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award 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 HOK and USHBC Partners

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed HOK’s green-building leader , 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 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 (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 Architects (AIA), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and spending. By remaining above 50, January’s score illustrates the six consecutive month of growth for the United State’s design and 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 AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “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:

13th Annual Structures for Inclusion Conference

© Iwan Baan

The thirteenth annual Structures for Inclusion conference (SFI-13) will be held March 23-24 at the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis Campus. The conference is preceded by the Public Interest Design Institute, a training program sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, that will be held at the same location on March 21-22. These are two major events that help compose the inaugural Public Interest Design Week, March 19-24.

Projected Increase for Nonresidential Construction in 2013

Consensus Forecast

Late last month, the AIA released a report indicating that nonresidential construction is projected to increase by approximately 5% this year.  While the recovery of both residential and nonresidential construction markets continues to grow slowly, the indication that it is steadily increasing marks a sense of security or stability that owners are beginning to identify in the economy.  In the commercial and industrial sectors, hotels are seeing the largest projected growth at 15.7%, with retail and office buildings hovering between a 7 to 8% growth rate.  In the institutional sector, construction growth is projected to be highest in health care facilities, which is expected to rise by 4.4%, while public safety spending is expected to decline in 2013.

More on the report after the break.

2013 Young Architects Award

The American Institute of Architects () has selected fifteen recipients to receive the 2013  Young Award. Defined as professionals who have been licensed ten years or fewer, the Young will be honored for making significant contributions to the profession and providing exceptional leadership. The recipients will be presented the award at the  2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver, Colorado.

The complete list of the 2013 Young Architects:

ABI Reports Five Consecutive Months of Growth

ABI December 2012 via Calculated Risk

Concluding 2012 with strong business conditions, the December Architecture Billings Index (ABI) marks five consecutive months of growth with a score of 52.0. Released by the American Institute of (AIA), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and spending. By remaining above 50, December’s score reflects an increase in demand for design services. However, growth is slightly slower than the previous month, whose mark at 53.2 brought the strongest business conditions since 2007. Additionally, the new projects inquiry index remains in positive territory with a score of 59.4, also down slightly from the 59.6 mark of November.

A five-month run of growth is a trend that has repeated itself since 2010. However, analysts are optimistic. Growth in 2012 began earlier in the year, picking up speed in early August rather than late Fall.

“While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Moving into 2013 we are expecting this trend to continue and conditions improve at a slow and steady rate.  That said, we remain concerned that continued uncertainty over the outcomes of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling could impact further economic growth.”

View the ABI highlights in greater detail, after the break…

2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

© Iwan Baan

You’ve reviewed the work selected by the American Institute of () to receive top honors in architecture and interior architecture at the 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver, Colorado. We now present to you the projects and initiatives that have been announced by the as exemplars for excellence in regional and urban design. Check them out after the break.