February ABI Reveals Slight Improvement

February . Image Courtesy of CalculatedRiskBlog.com

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 (), 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… 

Vault House / Johnston Marklee

© Eric Staudenmaier

Architects: Johnston Marklee
Location: , CA, USA
Architect In Charge: Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee
Design Team: Katrin Terstegen, Andri Luescher, Nicholas Hofstede, Anna Neimark, Anton Schneider, Yoshi Nagamine, Ryan Roettker
Area: 3600.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Eric Staudenmaier

Peter’s House / Craig Steely Architecture

© Bruce Damonte

Architects: Craig Steely
Location: , CA, USA
Area: 1,900 sqft
Year: 2013
Photographs: Bruce Damonte

HWKN + Handel Architects Break Ground on New Jersey’s Tallest Building

© Hollwich Kushner () +

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.

Fifty Three, Inc / +ADD

© Matthew Williams

Interior Designers: +ADD
Location: , NY, USA
Designer In Charge: Laura Gonzalez Fierro
Collaborator: Carolina Rivera
Architect Of Record: Andrew Mikhael Architect
Area: 6600.0 ft2
Year: 2014
Photographs: Matthew Williams

Lavaflow 5 / Craig Steely Architecture

© Bruce Damonte

Architects: Craig Steely
Location: Island of Hawai‘i, Hawaii, USA
Area: 2,800 sqft
Year: 2013
Photographs: Bruce Damonte

Komai Residence / Robert M. Gurney Architect

© Maxwell MacKenzie

Architects: Robert M. Gurney Architect
Location: , VA, USA
Project Architect: Brian Tuskey
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie

MoMA PS1 YAP 2014 Runner-Up: Mirror Mirror / Collective-LOK

© Collective-LOK

A vision by Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under)Collective–LOK’s compelling proposal to reimagine 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.

AD Classics: Peabody Terrace / Sert, Jackson & Gourley

© Jannis Werner

Built in 1964 during his tenure as Dean at the Graduate School of Design, Josep Lluís ’s Peabody Terrace provides housing for almost 1500 Harvard graduate and their families.  One of several projects designed for Harvard’s campus, it is a manifestation of his vision for the ideal neighborhood. Many elements such as the negotiation of scale, mixed use program, shared open space and design aesthetic were influenced by but represent a departure from earlier modern housing projects.

Peabody Terrace is a prototypical example of a twentieth-century project heralded by the architectural community as an exemplar of progressive modern ideals, but lambasted by neighbors and members of the general public for being unattractive, cold and imposing. This project and others like it highlight the disconnect that can occur between the architectural intelligentsia and the communities in which they build.

Berklee College of Music / William Rawn Associates

© Bruce T. Martin Photography

Architects: William Rawn Associates
Location: , MA, USA
Principal For Design: Cliff Gayley, , LEED AP
Area: 167,000 sqft
Year: 2014
Photographs: Bruce T. Martin Photography

House in Palm Springs / o2 Architecture

© Lance Gerber

Architects: o2 Architecture
Location: , CA, USA
Builder: D.W. Johnston Construction
Area: 2100.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Lance Gerber

Holston River House / Sanders Pace Architecture

© Bruce Cole Photography

Architects: Sanders Pace Architecture
Location: Mascot, TN, USA
Design Team: Brandon F. Pace, LEED AP (Principal in Charge), Michael A. Davis LEED AP, Daniel A. Jones
Area: 3470.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Bruce Cole Photography

AIA, AIAS Urges Congress to Support National Design Services Act

Image via "5 Things to Keep in Mind After Graduation by Nicholas Kreitler" (Click image to read). Image © Caro Wallis

The American Institute of Architects () and the American Institute of Architecture Students () 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

Buzzfeed LA Office / JIDK

© Peter Kubilus

Architects: JIDK
Location: 7323 Beverly Boulevard, , CA 90036, USA
Interior Designers: Thomas Jensen, Brigid Björklund
Local Architect: MAKE Architecture
Area: 8000.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Peter Kubilus, Thomas J Jensen

Via Verde / Dattner Architects + Grimshaw Architects

© David Sundberg

Architects: Dattner Architects + Grimshaw Architects
Location: 700 Brook Avenue, Bronx, NY, USA
Co Developers: Phipps Houses, Jonathan Rose Companies
Area: 294,000 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: David Sundberg, Vanni Archive

Imagine 2020: Denver Launches Arts-First Public Policy

Screen shot from Cristobal Palma’s documentation of ’s Biennial of the Americas 2013 exhibition. Click the image to view.

The City of Denver has launched “Imagine 2020,” a pro- 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.

The Sustainability Treehouse / Mithun

© Joe Fletcher

Architects: Mithun
Location: Main Street, Glen Jean, WV, USA
Executive Architect/Architect Of Record: BNIM
Area: 3,357 sqft
Year: 2013
Photographs: Joe Fletcher

David Adjaye Designs Art and Culture Center for Colgate University

© , Courtesy of Colgate University

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 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.”