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May ABI Shows Return to Growth in US Market

The US Architecture Billings Index showed a significant improvement in May, jumping to a score of 52.6 and showing some growth after two consecutive months of contraction. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, its two new measures of growth also showed positive results: the Project Inquiries Index rose to 63.2; and the Design Contracts Index - despite dropping slightly from last month's 54.6 - still showed growth at 52.5 points.

"Volatility continues to be the watchword in the design and construction markets, with firms in some regions of the country, and serving some sectors of the industry, reporting strong growth, while others are indicating continued weakness," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. "However, overall, it appears that activity has recovered from the winter slump, and design professions should see more positive than negative numbers in the coming months."

A breakdown of regional and sector highlights, after the break

Exhibition / Conceptions of Space: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Architecture

Focusing on recent acquisitions in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, Conceptions of Space addresses how contemporary architects continue to embrace spatial creation as a fundamental focus of their work. The exhibition reveals how, beyond formal traits and functional needs, the conception and articulation of architectural space still defines architecture as an artistic endeavor, and a response to wider cultural issues.

Prodigy Network Announces Winners of 17John Crowdsourcing Competition

Prodigy Network have selected the winners of the crowdsourcing design competitions for their 17John 'Cotel' in New York, including winners for the design of the public interior spaces and the private rooms. The Cotel concept is intended to meet the changing needs of the modern business traveler; providing living spaces somewhere between a long-term apartment and a short term hotel, but also flexible spaces that can be used for work and meetings.

The crowdsourced competitions were run via Prodigy Network's Design Lab website, and judging was conducted with a mixture of public voting and jury selection. "The winners of the 17John competition were intuitive to the needs of travelers, creative in the interactive spaces and understood the function of extended stay residences," said Prodigy Network Founder Rodrigo Nino. Read on after the break to see the winning proposals.

Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Co-Working area). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Lobby). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network Private space winner: 'Weco, the Nomadic Company" / Vianney Lacotte. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Co-Working area). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network

Frick Collection to Expand With New 6 Story Gallery

Yesterday the Frick Collection announced its plans for a 6-story extension to its gallery in New York, designed by Davis Brody Bond. This article by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times outlines the details of the extension, as the Frick adds itself to the list of post-recession cultural building projects - a list which includes the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Miami's Pérez Art Museum. The article also outlines the challenges the Frick will have in expanding its landmarked 1914 building. Read the article in full here.

Conversation / Soft Footprints: Works by SO – IL

The Parrish Art Museum is pleased to present Soft Footprints: Works by SO – IL as the fourth installment of Architectural Sessions—an ongoing series co-presented with AIA Peconic that explores the connection between art and architecture, and how both disciplines elicit conversation about space, form, materials and aesthetics. On June 6, host architect Maziar Behrooz, AIA, will moderate a discussion with SO – IL co-founders Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu about their design philosophy, inspiration, and interdisciplinary approach to architecture and designing spaces for art.

First Look Inside OFFICEUS, the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

To kick off our coverage of the Venice Biennale, we're bringing you photos of OfficeUS -- the United States' contribution to the national exhibitions organized under the theme of "Absorbing Modernity." The pavilion houses both a repository of information about the history of architectural firms in the US (with a focus on the US's role in exporting architecture) and serves as the base of operations for a new architectural firm that was created solely for this year's biennale. The research, collected into booklets, lines the walls of the space. While visitors mill around the pavilion, the members of OfficeUS work at specially designed tables. The output and deliverables of the office will be determined as the Biennale progresses. We also got the chance to speak to the organizers, so stayed tuned for video interviews with the curators and designers of the US Pavilion (coming soon!). For now, however, read on to the see the curator's statement on the exhibit.

© Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh

Exhibition: Five Proposals for the Future of the Atlantic Yards

Warehouse 623 Gallery is pleased to announce "Five Proposals for the Future of the Atlantic Yards", an exhibition of alternative architectural schemes for the Atlantic Yards site. "Abstracts of New York", a selection of photographs by Jean-Marc Bellaiche, will be shown concurrently.

Exhibition / Knud Lonberg-Holm: The Invisible Architect

Ubu Gallery is pleased to present Knud Lonberg-Holm: The Invisible Architect, a debut exhibition devoted to this overlooked, yet highly influential, 20th Century modernist. Never-before-seen photographs, architectural drawings, letters, graphic design, and ephemera from Lonberg-Holm’s remarkably diverse career will be on view through August 1, 2014. The exhibition, which consists of selections from the extensive archive assembled by architectural historian Marc Dessauce, will solidify the importance of this emblematic figure in early 20th Century cultural and architectural history. Metropolis Magazine, the national publication of architecture and design, will publish an article on Knud Lonberg-Holm to coincide with this groundbreaking exhibition.

Exhibition / Open to the Public: Civic Space Now

This summer, the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture Foundation will present Open to the Public: Civic Space Now, an exhibition exploring why people gravitate to (or avoid) civic spaces – the places between buildings where people can assemble. Curated by Thomas Mellins and designed by Athletics, the exhibition opens Thursday, June 12, 6:00 PM and runs through Saturday, September 6 in the main galleries at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place. 

Exhibition: World’s Fairs / Lost Utopias

In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Onishi Project and Kipton Cronkite are pleased to present World’s Fairs: Lost Utopias, the debut exhibition of Jade Doskow’s groundbreaking 7-year photography project. The exhibition will also include a 1968 triptych by Robert Rauschenberg and a dynamic group show---featuring Alexandra Posen, Greg Haberny, Naomi Reis, and Mark Freedman--- inspired by the cultural zeitgeist that surrounded this event.

Conference: Social Housing in Spain

Social Housing in Spain is intended to be the first of a series of international programs by the AIANY Housing Committee, highlighting exemplary housing design around the world. For the first program of the series, AIANY have invited three leading architects from Spain who are currently teaching in the tri-state area: Carmen Espegel, Iñaqui Carnicero, and María Hurtado de Mendoza. The panelists will present and comment upon innovative projects that follow the country’s strong social commitment to housing.

Request for Proposals: The Energetic City / Connectivity in the Public Realm

The Design Trust for Public Space announces The Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm, a new request for project proposals to redefine public space. 

Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design from East and West in One Context

Competing Utopias is a design collision that should never happen. But somehow, in Los Angeles, in 2014, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it will.

Exhibition: TALL DC / New Monumentalism

Since it was enacted by Congress, the Height of Buildings Act of 1910 has restricted how tall buildings can be designed in the District of Columbia.

Architecture in the USA Today - In Infographics

As part of their ongoing ACSA Atlas Project, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) has just released a new set of infographics, showcasing a range of statistics relevant to both architecture students and professionals alike. The 10 images cover a range of issues, including: demographic concerns such as race and gender, economic concerns such as salaries and employment futures, and the number of architects and students in each state. Read on after the break for the full set.

Wynwood Gateway Park Competition

Metro 1 has partnered with DawnTown Miami to present an international ideas, design and build competition for a true urban park in the heart of the burgeoning Wynwood Arts District in Miami, Florida. The winning design team will have their idea and proposal built as well as a cash prize of $10,000.

Light Matters: Richard Kelly, The Unsung Master Behind Modern Architecture’s Greatest Buildings

Richard Kelly illuminated some of the twentieth century’s most iconic buildings: the Glass House, Seagram Building and Kimbell Art Museum, to name a few. His design strategy was surprisingly simple, but extremely successful. 

Lighting for architecture has been and still often is dominated by an engineering viewpoint, resigned to determining sufficient illuminance levels for a safe and efficient working environment. With a background in stage lighting, Kelly introduced a scenographic perspective for architectural lighting. His point of view might look self-evident to today’s architectural community, but it was revolutionary for his time and has strongly influenced modern architecture.

Read more about Richard Kelly’s remarkable, and unsung, contribution to architecutre, after the break.

Entrance, Seagram Building, New York. Image © Ezra Stoller/Esto Seagram Building, New York. Image © Thomas Schielke Entrance, Seagram Building, New York. Image © Ezra Stoller/Esto Bar, Four Seasons Restaurant, Seagram Building, New York. Image © Hagen Stier

Reanimate the Ruins International Design Competition

Once the fourth largest city in America, Michigan’s primary Metropolis, Detroit has recently filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.  Among the many reasons for Detroit’s decline, two stand out: an undiversified economic model, reliant on the production and sale of automobiles, and an unprecedented degree of sprawl. Currently more than 77% of jobs in the metropolitan area reside more than ten miles from the city center, making Detroit the most job-sprawled city in the US and stretching city services beyond capacity.  Detroit’s deterioration is just as much about urban decline as it is about industrial decline.  Detroit is located in the Midwest portion of the United States and is part of a larger band of cities known as the Rust Belt which have gone through a process of decline over the past decades.