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 AIA 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 Architecture (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 Robert Greenstreet, Intl. Assoc. , 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 () 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 Denver.

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 Denver.

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 . 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 AIA, none. Columbus, Indiana, a small town of about 44,000 has been ranked by the AIA 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 , 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.

AIA Small Project Awards 2013 – Call for Entires

2012 Small Projects Award Recipient: SPECS Optical Façade, Minneapolis / Alchemy Architects © Geoffrey Warner and Scott Ervin

The Small Project Practitioners (SPP) Knowledge Community presents the ninth annual Small Project Award Program to recognize the work of small project practitioners and to promote excellence in small project design. This Award Program 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.

Award winning projects will be recognized in publications and electronic media, including the SPP Journal and website. Projects will also be displayed at the 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition. Select residential award winning projects will be included in Fine Homebuidling magazine’s annual awds issue, HOUSES, and on finehomebuilding.com.

Judging Criteria

Each entry will be judged for the success with which the project meets its individual program intent and requirements. Entries will be weighed individually, not in competition with each other. Criteria for judging will include the following:

  • The submission complies with all submission requirements
  • The project demonstrates exemplary skill in meeting program intent and requirements
  • The project achieves excellence in design

Award Categories

There are three built categories and one unbuilt category:

  • Category 1: A small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design element up to $150,000.
  • Category 2: A small project construction, up to $1,500,000.
  • Category 3: A small project construction, object, work of environmental art, or architectural design under 5,000 SF constructed by the architect. The architect must have had a significant role in the construction, fabrication and/or installation of the work, in addition to being the designer.
  • Category 4: Unbuilt architectural designs under 5,000 SF for which there is no current intent to build, of all project types including purely theoretical, visionary projects, with or without a client.

Applicants may enter the same project in more than one category. The entry fee is on a per category basis (e.g. the same project entered in two categories will be charged two entry fees).

The Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community encourages submissions of projects in all building types: commercial, retail, industrial, educational, public and private, as well as residential. In addition, projects may include fully completed new and renovations or elements of built projects. There is no limitation other than the quality of the final work. We invite the submission of projects accessible to people of all abilities. New construction and renovations are equally welcome.

Finally, the Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community strongly encourages submissions from the many diverse Small Project Practitioner (SPP) members of the AIA and the profession.

Eligibility

  • Open to architects licensed in the .
  • Built projects completed after January 1, 2009.
  • Entry photography by the submitting architect is welcomed, but there is no restriction on professional photography.
  • Maximum of four entries per firm – (a single project may be entered in two different categories with applicable fees for each entry). Maximum of two unbuilt entries per firm.
  • No projects are permitted that have previously received a national AIA award.

Submissions

2013 Entries must be submitted before 4:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 12, 2012.

The submission deadline date will be strictly observed; no exceptions will be made. No entry fee will be refunded for entries that are disqualified, late, or not completed. Payments and submissions will only be accepted online.

Notifications will be made to Award Recipients mid to late February 2013.

Please review the 2013 AIA Small Project Awards Walk Through and Concealed ID Forms before beginning your submission. When you are ready to submit, go to the Submission Website.

Fees

Built Projects (Categories 1, 2 and 3):

  • AIA members – $150 for each entry
  • Nonmembers – $300 for each entry

Unbuilt Designs (Category 4):

  • AIA members – $75 for each entry
  • Nonmembers – $150 for each entry

All entry fees are nonrefundable.

2013 Jury

  • Leonard Kady, AIA (Chair) – Leonard Kady Architecture + Design – New York, NY
  • Julie Beckman – KBAS – Philadelphia, PA
  • Christopher Herr, AIA – Studio H:T – Boulder, CO
  • Laura Kraft, AIA – Laura Kraft Architect – Seattle, WA
  • Rob Yagid – Fine Homebuilding magazine – Newtown, CT

Check out the recipients of the 2012 Small Project Awards here

AIA Commits to Make Design a Catalyst for Public Health

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced a ten-year commitment to develop design and technology solutions for cities that address challenges faced on public , sustainability, and resiliency to natural disasters. AIA EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, announced the Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, where more than 1,000 global leaders are gathering to address the theme, “Designing for Impact.”

“This commitment by the AIA represents an all-out effort to demonstrate the link between building design and the health of building occupants,” said Ivy. “And it will enable us to bring the force of design to bear in the public health arena and debate.”

AIA Selects Four Projects for National Healthcare Design Awards

Massachusetts General Hospital – The Lunder Building; Boston / NBBJ

The American Institute of Architects () Academy of Architecture for (AAH) has announced four recipients of the National Healthcare Design Awards program. The awards program highlights the “best of healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research” that exhibit “conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns as well as the requisite functional and sustainability concerns of a hospital”.

The AIA National Healthcare Design Award recipients are:

2012 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards Announced

© Benjamin Benschneider. Bertschi School Living Science Building, by KMD Architects, a Recipient of a Merit Award in Educational Facility Design by the CAE.

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on Architecture for (CAE) has selected 15 educational and cultural facilities for this year’s CAE Educational Facility Design Awards. The 15 winners represent the best of emerging and ideas, “honor excellence in planning and design, and disseminate knowledge about best practices in educational and community facilities,” according to the AIA’s press release.

See the complete list of winners, after the break…

AIA selects the 2012 Recipients of the Small Project Awards

SPECS Optical Façade, Minneapolis / Alchemy Architects © Geoffrey Warner and Scott Ervin

The American Institute of Architects () has announced the eleven recipients of the 2012 Small Project Awards. Now in its ninth year, the Small Project Awards Program emphasizes the excellence of small-project design and strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to projects, no matter the limits of size and scope.

The award recipients are categorized into three groups; category 1) a small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design element up to $150,000 2) a small project construction, up to $1,500,000 and 3) a small project construction up to $1,500,000 which does not rely on external infrastructure as its primary power source.

The 2012 Small Project Award winners are:

2012 Disaster Response Grant Recipients

Helping Haiti © NY Daily News

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Architecture for Humanity have announced the five recipients of the 2012 Disaster Response Plan Grant. Awards totaling $10,000 will help each group implement their locally driven preparedness project in the second half of the year.

The Disaster Grant Program is part of the Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Program, which coordinates the organizations’ advocacy, and training to help architects make effective contributions to communities preparing for, responding to and rebuilding after disaster.

The 2012 grant recipients are:

AIA Home Design Trend Survey Q1/2012

© Home Design Trend Survey

The AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2012 reports an optimistic outlook for architectural firms. Key aspects of the survey attempt to illustrate the trending situations compared with previous quarterly surveys. Perhaps the most enlightening aspect prevalent throughout the majority of the survey topics is that growth is beginning to shake off the declines of the housing downturn. More details after the break.

Budget cuts threaten the U.S. Capitol

© Karissa Rosenfield / ArchDaily

The American Institute of Architects () and 10 other groups have sent a letter to Congressional leaders warning that cuts to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC)’s budget could lead to further deterioration of the U.S. Capitol and wind up costing taxpayers more in the long run.

“There is little disagreement that the federal government, including Congress, must live within its means and be judicious in its consideration of short and long term expenditures,” the letter states. “However, the AOC’s FY2013 budget is focused primarily on needed maintenance and repair projects that are designed to keep the buildings of the Capitol complex – some of them nearly two centuries old – in proper working order.”

Continue reading for more.

Eliminating Obstacles for Architects in Government Contracts

Today, Krueck+Sexton Architects principle Thomas Jacobs, , testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce in an effort to urge Congress to eliminate two impediments facing small architecture firms as they compete for government contracts. Jacobs argues that high design-build fees and lengthy “final teams lists” are prohibiting small firms from competing.

Continue after the break to read more.