Karissa Rosenfield


March ABI Reflects Increase in US Design Services

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was 51.9, up from the mark of 50.3 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.1, down from a reading of 59.5 the previous month.

US Architecture School Bans Styrene as Model Making Material

By next Fall, the architecture students of Washington University in St. Louis will no longer be allowed to use Styrene on their projects. The university's newspaper, Student Life reports that the commonly used white plastic material was deemed in 2014 by the National Research Council's National Toxicology Program as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." Thus the Sam Fox School of Design is taking its own measures to protect their student's health. A number of other schools and cities have already banned Styrene since the NRC's ruling.

AIA Names 10 Best US Houses of 2016

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected ten recipients for the 2016 Housing Awards. The AIA’s Housing Awards program, now in its 16th year, was established to recognize "the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life."

The 2016 AIA Housing Award recipients include:

Santiago Calatrava Reveals New Details About Dubai Observation Tower

New images and information has been released regarding Santiago Calatrava's competition-winning design for Dubai's new "landmark" observation tower. Planned for a site in Dubai Creek Harbor, near the Ras Al Khor National Wildlife Sanctuary, the tower was inspired by the "natural forms of the lily and evokes the shape of a minaret, a distinctive architectural feature in Islamic culture."

"The building’s design is inspired by the Islamic tradition, evoking the same history that brought the world the Alhambra and the Mosque of Cordoba. These architectural marvels combine elegance and beauty with math and geometry," commented Calatrava. "The design of the tower of Dubai Creek Harbor is rooted in classical art and the culture of Dubai itself."

Los Angeles Architect Jennifer Siegal Wins 2016 arcVision Prize

Jennifer Siegal, founder of Los Angeles-based Office of Mobile Design (OMD), has been announced as the winner of the fourth arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture, an international award to women’s architecture organized by Italcementi. Siegal was unanimously chosen by the jury for being “a fearless pioneer in the research and development of prefabricated construction systems, at low prices for disadvantaged users and areas, who has been able to invent and build practical solutions and a new language for mobile and low-cost housing."

"Innovation and unconventional thinking are both hardwired into my DNA. This shows in my body of work and research that questions everything, particularly the static, heavy, inflexible architecture that we somehow still expect in a world that is anything but," said Siegal in a press release.

Steven Holl to Design a Program and Masterplan Study for Williams College

Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has been commissioned by Williams College to complete a program and masterplan study for the Williams College Department of Art and Museum of Art (WCMA). "The Master Plan aims to evaluate programming and space needs toward the determination of a program to catalyze the engagement of students, faculty and visitors with the visual arts," says SHA.

After talking with nearly 30 distinct groups of students, faculty and museum staff, SHA defined five main goals in which the study is based on:

OMA and Hassell to Design Perth's New WA Museum

The Western Australia Government has commissioned OMA and Hassell to design the new WA Museum in Perth. The team was chosen over three shortlisted consortia for the reputation of "creating dynamic architecture" and "international reputation," according to WA Culture and the Arts Minister John Day. A schematic design is expected to be released this summer. The museum plans to open by 2020.

OMA Reveals Plans to Redevelop Washington DC's RFK Stadium Campus

Two conceptual plans designed by OMA have been unveiled for the redevelopment of Washington DC's 190-acre Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Stadium-Armory Campus site. Released by Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, the phased design concepts aim to "leverage the District's waterfront, provide neighborhood serving amenities and connect the current site with increased and sustainable green space, flexible recreational fields and natural access to pedestrian-friendly paths."

Thomas Heatherwick Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Thomas Heatherwick has been selected to receive the Tribeca Film Festival's (TFF) 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Part of the TFF's seventh annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA), the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Heatherwick for his "dedication to bringing design, architecture and urban planning together in a single workspace at his own Heatherwick Studio." He will be presented the award alongside Kenya Wildlife Service Chair and leading paleoanthropologist and conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey.

Sebastian Errazuriz Designs Audemars Piguet's New Lounge at Art Basel Hong Kong

Chilean-born artist and designer Sebastian Errazuriz has designed Swiss watchmaking brand Audemars Piguet's new lounge for Art Basel Hong Kong. "Taking inspiration from the ice formations and snowy winters of Audemars Piguet’s home in Le Brassus, Switzerland, the lounge will express the purity of nature and the passing of time," says Errazuriz.

"With water and ice as its main thematic elements, the new stand will give form to the concept of ice cycle as a metaphor of time. Three key components will anchor Errazuriz’s design: the icicle as a beautiful form, accumulating over time; the water drop, seen as nature’s ticking pulse; and ripples in the water, symbolizing the forward movement of new life. The drips of the melting icicles resemble nature’s pulse, like the beating of a heart or a ticking clock."

David Tajchman Envisions Cylindrical Skyscraper for Tel Aviv

French architect David Tajchman has envisioned a new skyscraper for Tel Aviv, Israel. The conceptual project, "Gran Mediterraneo" offers a mix of programs including apartments, a hotel, an automated car park, public charging station, farming and public gardens, co-working spaces, spas and more - all "wrapped in mirrored glass" and white concrete.

AIA Awards 4 US Projects Research Grants

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected four projects for its Upjohn Research Initiative, a joint program of the College of Fellows and the Board Knowledge Committee to support knowledge sharing between practitioners and academicians. "The purpose of this grant, now in its ninth year, is to provide base funds for applied research projects that advance professional knowledge and practice," says the AIA. "The 18-month long project grant qualifies recipients to have their findings and outcomes published both electronically and in a nationally distributed publication." Read on for more on each project. 

Phyllis Lambert Wins Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize 2016

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) has announced Phyllis Lambert, architect and CCA Founding Director Emeritus, as the winner of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize 2016 Architecture Awards from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. The $20,000 prize is given to an architect of any nationality who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.

Lambert "is the conscience of modern and contemporary architecture, protecting its past and advocating for its future as a vital art form," said jury chairman Elizabeth Diller.

CREO Arkitekter and JAJA to Design Home for Children with Autism Near Copenhagen

CREO ARKITEKTER A/S and JAJA architects have won a competition to design a new home for Children with Autism near Hareskoven, one of the large forests near Copenhagen. The project will be the future home for eighteen children, ranging in age up to 18 years old.

"The proposal creates an inviting and intimate atmosphere that makes it feel like home... It fulfills all our aspirations in creating a model of future homes for children with special needs," commented the jury.

Tributes Pour in With News of Zaha Hadid's Passing

Zaha Hadid's sudden passing has led to an outpouring of heartfelt tributes from some of the profession's most prominent figures. A "brave and radical" trailblazer, and the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, Hadid's significant impact on the world of architecture is undeniable. She will be missed.

"We are all shocked and devastated that we lost Zaha today, a most beautiful individual, talent, leader and friend," Patrik Schumacher, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, wrote on Facebook.

We will continue to update this link as more tributes come in. 

5 Practices Compete to Design Bournemouth Cultural Center

Known for its seven miles of "golden" beaches, the English town of Bournemouth is planning to build a £25 million cultural centre on the country's south coast. The project's organizers, Bournemouth Development Company (BDC) has shortlisted five international practices from 38 interested participants to vie for the commission: Zaha Hadid Architects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Levitt Bernstein Associates and Jestico + Whiles.

C.F. Møller Wins Competition to Masterplan Copenhagen Shoreline

C.F. Møller Landscape's Nordhavn Islands project has won the international competition for an innovative learning, activity and water landscape in the harbor basin in front of the new Copenhagen International School in Nordhavn, Copenhagen. The new Nordhavn district is taking shape fast, and, having won the international Nordhavn Islands project competition, C.F. Møller Landscape will now create one of the first and most unique projects in, on and under the water in the quarter.