The Menil Collection selected to receive AIA Twenty-five Year Award

© Paul Hester

The Menil Collection Houston, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has been selected for the 2013 AIA Twenty-five Year Award. Recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, the Twenty-five Year Award is conferred on a building that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years as an embodiment of architectural excellence. Projects must demonstrate excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards. The award will be presented this June at the AIA National Convention in .

More on The Menil Collection after the break.

2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

Centra Metropark; Iselin, / Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) © Michael Moran

The American Institute of Architects () has selected the 2013 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from over 700 total submissions, 28 recipients located throughout the world will be honored at the 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

Top honors in architecture were awarded to the following:

AIA Announces Legislative Agenda for 113th Congress

Capitol Building © Karissa Rosenfield

The American Institute of Architects () today announced a five-point legislative agenda for the 113th Congress, targeting job creation for small businesses as a top priority. The agenda is the product of months of collaboration and dialogue with AIA members and leaders. More than 3,400 AIA members offered their views about what policies the AIA should advance through the annual Call for Issues last fall.

According to Mickey Jacob, FAIA, 2013 AIA President, the AIA’s agenda “reflects the interests of our members, which not so coincidentally reflects the priorities of the American people. These five priorities for the next two years have the creation of jobs as their centerpiece while also seeking to shore up our aging infrastructure, make our communities more resilient and assure we invest in the next generation of architects.”

The five priorities are:

AIA and NIBS Launch Building Research Information Knowledgebase

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have developed the Building Research Information Knowledgebase (), an interactive portal offering free online access to peer-reviewed research projects and case studies in all facets of the built environment, from pre-design through occupancy and reuse.

“By providing a portal to comprehensive research and data, this initiative is intended to help better educate the entire real estate marketplace on how design strategies and innovations can have a profound impact on building performance,” said Chief Executive Officer, Robert Ivy, FAIA. “The BRIK offering is an entry-way to show quantifiable proof of evidence-based design approaches.”

AIA President Mickey Jacob Urges Congress to Aid Sandy Relief

Photography: The Rockaways, Post-Sandy © Amanda Kirkpatrick

In response an outrage that broke out amongst Democrats and Republicans, after House Speaker John Boehner failed to vote for Sandy relief before the end of the Congressional session two days ago, the House of Representatives have approved a $9.7 billion relief measure to aid flood victims of Hurricane Sandy. This is good news, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recently warned that it would soon run out of funding if no measures were taken. Senate approval is likely to come later in the day and a second congressional vote is scheduled to take place on January 15 for a larger $51 billion request.

Understanding the importance of issuing this federal support,  President Mickey Jacob has offer Congress three key objects for helping these communities recover.

Read AIA President Jacob’s letter to congress and his three objectives after the break…

AIA Comments on “Fiscal Cliff” Vote

The American Institute of Architects () today issued the following statement in reaction to the House and Senate votes approving the “Fiscal Cliff” deal negotiated by Congressional leaders earlier this week. The statement should be attributed to President Mickey Jacob, FAIA:

“On the plus side, the agreement prevents a tax increase on millions of Americans and small businesses. It also extends several business tax incentives that help create jobs and promote design and construction, including for schools and energy efficient homes.”

More after the break…

2013 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Recipients

Three influential groups have been chosen by the American Institute of Architects () to receive the 2013 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.

This year’s award goes to: the Chicago Architecture Foundation for DiscoverDesign.org, the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom), and the . Continue reading to learn how these three programs have had a positive impact on the profession.

2013 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture Recipients

The American Institute of Architects () has announced two recipients of the 2013 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. In category one, the institute recognized Michael Pyatok, FAIA, of Oakland’s Pyatok Architects, as an architect who has dedicated his career to the theory and practice of public housing design. And, in category three, , Chief Librarian and Executive Director of the District of Columbia Public Libraries, has been honored for spearheading the recent renaissance in library construction and renovation in the nation’s capital.

This year’s award recipients will be honored and receive their awards at the 2013 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

Robert Greenstreet awarded Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education

– Courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Practitioner, author and celebrated educator Robert Greenstreet, Intl. Assoc. AIA, has been awarded the 2013 AIA/ACSA for Excellence in Architectural Education. Greentstreet – one of the longest-serving architecture deans in North America – has influenced countless students and architects throughout his 35-year career. He has taught a five schools of architecture in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as spent 20 years as dean at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

In March, Greenstreet will be awarded the medallion at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) annual meeting in San Francisco. The AIA will also recognize him at the 2013 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver in June.

Is the American Dream Shifting Towards Density, In-fill Housing and Accessibility to Amenities?

Ipera / Alataş Architecture Consulting © Gürkan Akay

A recent survey into the billing activity of architecture firms across the country has revealed a growing trend in homeowners’ preferences. The Home Survey released a series of charts, marking the rise between 2011 and 2012 of preferences for low maintenance, and energy efficiency home options with a rise in a desire for homes that have a proximity to neighborhood amenities. What this means is that home buyers are moving away from the auto-centric lifestyle of mid century suburbs and are coincidentally opting for the more sustainable choice where walking and public transportation may take preference. AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, notes that in many areas, there has been a rise in interest in urban infill locations over exurbs, and a general push within communities for public accessibility and proximity to work places, retail options and open space.

What is behind this trend? Is the influence of sustainable design breaking into the mainstream of the American home-buying conscience? Is sustainability changing the “American Dream”?

ABI Reports Strongest Business Conditions Since 2007

ABI November 2012 via Calculated Risk

The numbers are in and the American Institute of Architects’ November (ABI) has revealed positive business conditions for all building sectors for the fourth consecutive month.

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. Understanding this, the is pleased to report that November has reached a five-year high with a score of 53.2, slightly up from 52.8 in October. Since August, the national billings index has continued to increased above 50.0 – the break-even point between contraction and growth – reflecting a steady rise in demand for design services. The West seems to be the only region in contraction, coming in at a score of 49.6.

Additionally, November also sees the Project Inquiry Index at 59.6, marking the 47th straight month in which inquiries into architectural services has been increasing.

“These are the strongest business conditions we have seen since the end of 2007 before the construction market collapse,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The real question now is if the federal budget situation gets cleared up which will likely lead to the green lighting of numerous projects currently on hold. If we do end up going off the ‘fiscal cliff’ then we can expect a significant setback for the entire design and construction industry.”

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

AIA Releases Roadmap to Healthy Design

Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design; via

The AIA is joining numerous other city agencies in the promotion of healthy communities through intelligent design choices. A new document: Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design is a series of guidelines that offer architects and designers specific methods for the design of buildings and communities that encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

Learn more after the break.

AIA Awards: Topaz Medallion for Architectural Education & Kemper Award for Service to the Profession

Courtesy of John D. Anderson, FAIA

Both , Intl. Assoc. AIA, and John D. Anderson, FAIA, have won prestigious AIA award. The Board of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) named Robert Greenstreet as 2013 recipient of the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. In addition, the AIA Board of Directors elected John D. Anderson as the 2013 recipient of the Edward C. Kemper Award in recognition of his many leadership roles within the AIA at the state and national levels. More information on their awards after the break.

Colin Powell, Blake Mycoskie, and Cameron Sinclair to Speak at 2013 AIA Convention

© AIA

Taking place June 20-22, 2013 in , General Colin L. Powell, (Ret.), former Secretary of State (2001 – 2005), joins Cameron Sinclair, co-founder and chief eternal optimist of Architects For Humanity, and Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS, as keynote speakers for the 2013 AIA National Convention,. The 2013 “Building Leaders” theme will give architects and design professionals opportunities to learn, share, and demonstrate the essential qualities that define leadership today. Registration opens in January. For more information, please visit here. More information on the keynote speakers after the break.

2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award to Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago / Architects. Photo © Tom Rossiter

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Directors has announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will receive the 2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award.

Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, have been working together since 1977, first forming their New York City-based practice in 1986. The pair, which has gained a reputation for excellence in designing public cultural and institutional buildings, has merited the honor thanks to their “exquisite care for detail,” “material integrity and sense of innovation.”

According to Toshiko Mori, who wrote of the couple in a recommendation letter: “Their work carries with it a spiritual value which transcends pragmatic solutions. Their projects respond to multiple and complex needs of clients, yet their solutions are simple and elegant. Their firm’s work brings forth the ideals of Modernism, yet is moderated with a contemporary sensibility and intelligence which makes their work rich, tactile, and useful.”

The firm will be honored at the 2013 AIA National Convention in .

Story via the AIA 

Thom Mayne, Recipient of the 2013 AIA Gold Medal

Courtesy of Princeton University Lecture Series

The has announced that Thom Mayne has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Gold Medal, one of the profession’s highest honors, due to his “ambitious government and institutional projects.”

Beyond forming the firm Morphosis and co-founding the innovative Southern California Institute of Architects, or SCI-Arc, in 1972, the AIA cited “Mayne’s palette of bold, angular forms, exposed structural elements, and double-skin veils that play on notions of dynamic transparency” as reason for his selection.

As former AIA Gold Medal Winner Antoine Predock, FAIA, wrote in a letter of recommendation: “[Mayne] is one of the few architects able to head a large-scale, successful practice while influentially designing theoretical premises. The result has been a 40-year body of work that is intellectually rigorous and consistently searching.”

Mayne will be honored at a special event in March in Washington, D.C. as well as at the 2013 AIA National Convention in .

Story via the AIA 

AIA Ranks Columbus, Indiana as US’s 6th Most Architecturally Important City

The 166-foot high campanile, or free-standing bell tower, of The First Christian Church, designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, in Columbus, . Completed in 1942, it was the first contemporary building in Columbus and one of the first churches of contemporary architecture in the United States. Photo via Flickr User CC clarkmaxwell

New York, San Fran, Chicago…Columbus, Indiana. Which of these doesn’t go with the others? Well, according to the , none. Columbus, Indiana, a small town of about 44,000 has been ranked by the as the nation’s 6th most architecturally important city, right after Washington DC.

So what’s so special about Columbus? Apparently, a 1950s philanthropist by the name of J. Irwin Miller took it upon himself to foot the bill for any new public building in the city. The result? Today, Columbus has more than 70 buildings designed by internationally renowned architects – including I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier and Harry Weese.

Check out a Video on Columbus “The Athens of the Prairie,” after the break…

Ways to help affected communities after Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seaside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

Following Hurricane Sandy’s devastating path through the Caribbean, up the Atlantic and into the East Coast of the United States, hundreds of communities are in need of immediate relief and facing the daunting challenge of rebuilding. In effort to help, Architecture for Humanity and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are mobilizing their teams to provide instant assistance and plan for the long term reconstruction efforts. Professional design and construction volunteers from both organizations will be working together to help households, schools, heath facilities, small businesses and local government rebuild in the coming days and weeks. However, relief and reconstruction cannot happen without your support. Learn how you can help after the break.