After starting the year with a “modest uptick” that disrupted a three month cycle of decline, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for Feburary has revealed that design services in the United States are continuing to (slowly) improve. As reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), last month’s ABI score was 50.7, up slightly from a mark of 50.4 in January. In contrast, the new projects inquiry index continued to fall, dwindling from 58.5 to 56.8 in February. This however, as AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker believes, could be due to harsh weather conditions that stalled construction activity throughout many parts of the country over the past few months .
More information and regional highlights, after the break…
Jersey City’s Journal Square will soon reach new heights, as Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) and Handel Architects have broken ground on what will be the tallest building in New Jersey: Journal Squared. The transit-oriented urban renewal project will be completed in three phases; the first, which will add 540 residential units to the area, is planned for completion in mid-2016. Once the 2.3 million square foot project is complete, three metal panel clad towers will dominated the skyline, ultimately totaling in 1,840 units and reaching up to 70 stories.
A vision by Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under), Collective–LOK’s compelling proposal to reimagine MoMA PS1’s triangular courtyard with a billowing “urban mirror” was one of five finalists shortlisted for the annual competition’s 15th edition. Though the Living’s compostable brick tower was ultimately crowned winner, the Collective-LOK’s Mirror Mirror was an intriguing proposal that transcended the boundaries of the site.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) have committed themselves to pushing a bill that would provide U.S. architecture graduates student loan relief in exchange for community service, an offer already granted to lawyers and doctors. The bipartisan legislation, known as the National Design Services Act (NDSA), was introduced today in an effort to free young professionals from the crushing cost of education (architecture being one of the disciplines with the highest loan balances) and aspire them to contribute their design service to the betterment of their communities. Learn more, here, and sign the petition in support of NDSA.
The City of Denver has launched “Imagine 2020,” a pro-arts cultural plan that will pave the way for more city-wide “art opportunities” over the next seven years. According to the Denver Post, this initiative will include the revision of “plans, permits and codes” to allow for more installations, offer small micro-art grants for residents and neighborhoods, and establish large public gathering places throughout the city. You can learn more, here.
Adjaye Associates has unveiled plans for a striated stone-clad cultural center at New York’s Colgate University. Inspired by the site’s surroundings, from the existing landscape to the “articulated volumes historic Hamilton Village Hall,” the Colgate Art and Culture Center aims become a “high-quality, sustainable, and environmentally responsive building that creates a fantastic environment for art.”