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Los Angeles River: The Latest Architecture and News

March ABI Continues to Increase

13:30 - 22 April, 2015
March ABI Continues to Increase, March 2015 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
March 2015 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

For the second consecutive month, the US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has indicated a "modest increase" in design activity in March. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 51.7, up from a mark of 50.4 in February. The new projects inquiry index was 58.2, up from a reading of 56.6 the previous month.

“Business conditions at architecture firms generally are quite healthy across the country. However, billings at firms in the Northeast were set back with the severe weather conditions, and this weakness is apparent in the March figures,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The multi-family residential market has seen its first occurrence of back-to-back negative months for the first time since 2011, while the institutional and commercial sectors are both on solid footing.”

3 Projects Win 2015 Global Holcim Awards for Sustainability

07:00 - 21 April, 2015
3 Projects Win 2015 Global Holcim Awards for Sustainability , Courtesy of Holcim Foundation
Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

Emerging from over 6,000 entries, three winners of the fourth Global Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction have been selected. The international competition, occurring every three years, recognizes designs that provide sustainable solutions to local issues faced by communities throughout the world. This year's winning projects addressed sites in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the United States and will receive monetary prizes ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

The winning entries were selected from last year's top-prize recipients in the five regional Holcim Awards competitions, a total of 15 proposals (see our previous coverage here). An international jury of industry leaders, led by Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of Harvard University's Graduate School of Design), determined the winners of the 2015 Global Holcim Awards.

See the winners after the break.

BRONZE: BIG U contains a protective ribbon: 21 km (13 mi) of flood protection tailored to each neighborhood and the community it serves. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation BRONZE: View of BIG U from The Battery in the financial district. Berms are strategically located to protect the infrastructure below and create a protective upland landscape. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation SILVER: The common lobby with its panoramic window. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation BRONZE: The undulating berm in East River Park will rise 15 feet to provide flood protection and connect coast and community. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation + 19

AIA Names 10 Most Impressive Houses of 2015

13:00 - 18 April, 2015
AIA Names 10 Most Impressive Houses of 2015, La Casa Permanent Supportive Housing / Studio Twenty Seven Architecture + Leo A Daly
La Casa Permanent Supportive Housing / Studio Twenty Seven Architecture + Leo A Daly

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) have announced the recipients of the 2015 Housing Awards. Currently in its 15th year, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in US housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.” This year, the jury awarded ten designs in three categories. See them all, after the break.

Marlboro Music: Five Cottages / HGA Architects and Engineers Broadway Affordable Housing / Kevin Daly Architects 160 Massachusetts Avenue Tower / William Rawn Associates. Image © Bruce T. Martin Photography Bayview Hill Gardens / David Baker Architects. Image © Matt Edge + 11

Living Building Challenge Now Fulfills LEED Energy and Water Requirements

19:00 - 17 April, 2015
Living Building Challenge Now Fulfills LEED Energy and Water Requirements, Living Building Challenge certified: Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory. Image © Flansburgh Architects
Living Building Challenge certified: Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory. Image © Flansburgh Architects

The Living Building Challenge will now fulfill the energy and water requirements for LEED. As the U.S. Green Building Council announced, this marks an important step in the USGBC's mission to make LEED an accessible platform that complements other construction rating systems.

The USGBC's decision essentially equates the two systems in the fields of water and energy efficiency, recognizing projects that meet the Living Building Challenge's standards within these areas as equivalent to LEED standards. By doing so, it encourages a spirit of collaboration toward sustainable goals across competing rating systems.

International Spy Museum Aims to Relocate to New Richard Rogers Building

16:00 - 15 April, 2015
International Spy Museum Aims to Relocate to New Richard Rogers Building, L'Enfant Plaza metro station. Image © Flickr CC User Brad Clinesmith
L'Enfant Plaza metro station. Image © Flickr CC User Brad Clinesmith

The Washington DC International Spy Museum is seeking permission to relocate to a new $100 million building designed by Richard Rogers at L’Enfant Plaza. Contingent on approval from the Commission of Fine Arts, as the Washington Business Journal reports, the new 100,000-square-foot, six-story proposed museum would be sited on an open area adjacent to the L'Enfant Plaza hotel.

“I think everyone in the city knows that’s somewhat of a dead area right now,” said Spy Museum Chief Operating Officer Tamara Christian to WBJ. “When we came to Penn Quarter, it was somewhat of a dead area. Now it’s completely energized, and we’re really hoping that we’ll be able to be a catalyst to energize L’Enfant.”

AIAS Launches Campaign to Promote Early Licensing

14:00 - 13 April, 2015
AIAS Launches Campaign to Promote Early Licensing, Courtesy of AIAS
Courtesy of AIAS

The AIAS has launched a new campaign, the Professional Advancement Support Scholarship, or PASS. The program, available for AIAS alumni pursuing licensure, provides incentive for recent graduates to take a portion of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) by reimbursing them for successfully undertaking this task. Through a proactive approach, coupled with an informative blog series, the AIAS encourages aspiring architects to actively seek licensure to kick-start their professional careers.

Grimshaw to Masterplan Washington DC's Union Station

14:00 - 9 April, 2015
Grimshaw to Masterplan Washington DC's Union Station, Existing Washington Union Station. Image © beautifulcataya
Existing Washington Union Station. Image © beautifulcataya

Grimshaw Architects has been asked to collaborate with New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle on a $10 billion masterplan that will modernize Washington DC's 1913 Beaux Arts Union Station. Along with the potential to triple passenger capacity, the plan aims to make the station more accessible and efficient, while integrate a new three-million-square-foot, mixed-use development by Amtrak and Akridge over its rail tracks.

"Washington DC deserves a station that serves the region on a practical level whilst celebrating the gateway to the nation’s capital," said Grimshaw partner Vincent Chang.

These Maps Reveal Just How Disjointed Many US Bike Lanes Are

14:00 - 6 April, 2015
These Maps Reveal Just How Disjointed Many US Bike Lanes Are, Boston's bicycle infrastructure grid: includes bike lanes, protected lanes, shared roads, and off-road trails. Image Courtesy of Washington Post
Boston's bicycle infrastructure grid: includes bike lanes, protected lanes, shared roads, and off-road trails. Image Courtesy of Washington Post

As cities worldwide are plagued with increasingly congested streets, more people are turning to bicycles to ease their commute. To accommodate the trend, bike lanes have been popping up around cities, yet often in a disjointed manner. A series of maps compiled by the Washington Post illustrates this surprisingly sporadic cycle infrastructure in several US cities.

Cropping up as afterthoughts in the existing urban fabric, many US bicycle networks consist of fragmented stretches of bike lanes and “sharrows” (shared car and bike lanes) loosely bound together by their proximity. In the case of Washington D.C., most of these are under a mile in length. A lack of cohesion and continuity leads to commuter chaos, forcing cyclists onto unprotected shoulders or into traffic when their designated lanes pull a disappearing act. Take a look at the maps after the break.

New Images Released of Mecanoo's Plan to Modernize Mies' D.C. Library

18:00 - 3 April, 2015
New Images Released of Mecanoo's Plan to Modernize Mies' D.C. Library, © Mecanoo, Martinez + Johnson Architecture
© Mecanoo, Martinez + Johnson Architecture

Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson Architecture has released their completed preliminary designs for the modernization of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - the only library and Washington D.C. building ever designed by Mies van der Rohe. The team’s competition-winning scheme aims to improve “Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.”

“While not final, these renderings demonstrate the amazing possibilities as we work to transform this historic building into a center for learning, innovation and engagement for the District,” says the D.C. Public Library. Updated images and more information about the design, after the break.

32 Winners of Inaugural Knight Cities Challenge Announced

07:00 - 3 April, 2015
32 Winners of Inaugural Knight Cities Challenge Announced, Courtesy of Knight Foundation
Courtesy of Knight Foundation

Thirty-two projects have been announced as the winners of the Inaugural Knight Cities Challenge, sharing in a prize pool of $USD5 million. An initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the challenge received an overwhelming number of entries, with winners selected from a pool of over 7000 submissions. Each of the projects proposed strategies for the civic and economic development of one of the 26 cities in which the Knight Foundation invests, including Detroit, Akron Ohio, San Jose California, Lexington Kentucky, and Biloxi Mississippi.

The winning proposals each addressed one or more of the Knight Foundation’s “three drivers of city success”: (1) Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest, (2) Opportunity: Ideas that create economic prospects and break down divides, (3) Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.

AIA Names 6 US Libraries as 2015's Best

19:00 - 2 April, 2015
AIA Names 6 US Libraries as 2015's Best, Cedar Rapids Public Library / OPN Architects. Image © Main Street Studio
Cedar Rapids Public Library / OPN Architects. Image © Main Street Studio

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has revealed six libraries they believe to be the year's best. In collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), the AIA/ALA Library Building Awards are intended to promote and honor exceptional designs in library architecture. Taking into account the evolving role of the library, these six award recipients are believed to have elevated the institution to one of congregation and community-specific programs.

See the winning designs after the break.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center / Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. Image © Timothy Hursley Vancouver Community Library / The Miller Hull Partnership. Image © Benjamin Benschneider Slover Library / Newman Architects with Tymoff + Moss Architects. Image © Newman Architects Mission Branch Library / Muñoz and Company. Image © Chris Cooper + 12

Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive to Open in 2016

08:00 - 2 April, 2015
Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive to Open in 2016, Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

As construction continues on its new home across from the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is finalizing plans for its first exhibition - Architecture of Life - in this location. The curvilinear structure, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with EHDD as executive architect, fuses old and new, outfitting what was the UC Berkeley printing plant with modern exhibition space, offices, and theaters to make it a focal point in Berkeley's downtown arts district.

More on the $112 million project after the break.

Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro + 10

First Look Inside BIG's W57 Manhattan Pyramid

17:30 - 30 March, 2015
First Look Inside BIG's W57 Manhattan Pyramid, South Facade. Image © Field Condition
South Facade. Image © Field Condition

Field Condition has published a photographic tour through BIG’s first New York project, two months after W57 topped out. A “courtscraper,” as the Danish practice affectionately calls it, the 32-story, 709-unit tower is a hybrid of the European courtyard block and New York City skyscraper. It’s tetrahedral shape, “born from logic,” is designed to provide every resident in the building's North Tower to have views of the Hudson River, while allowing sunlight deep into the building's interior space. View the project from within, after the break.

Southeast corner of W57 (left) and the Helena (right) from West 57th Street. Image © Field Condition © Field Condition Looking South from the peak structure. Image © Field Condition Northeast corner from West 58th Street. Image © Field Condition + 7

6 Ways to Repurpose the Chicago Spire "Hole"

12:00 - 29 March, 2015
6 Ways to Repurpose the Chicago Spire "Hole", Chicago Beacon / Solomon Cordwell Buenz. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine
Chicago Beacon / Solomon Cordwell Buenz. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine

With Santiago Calatrava’s unfulfilled Chicago Spire amounting to just a (costly) depression along the Chicago River, what was to be the second-tallest building in the world certainly has not established the legacy it intended. However, following the site’s relinquishment to local developers Related Midwest, it may yet have a meaningful impact on its community. Six Chicago-based firms of various disciplines have developed designs to make use of the "hole" by injecting a public program into the abandoned site.

Check out the inventive proposals, with ideas from firms including UrbanLab and Solomon Cordwell Buenz, after the break.

Urban Island / VOA. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine Birds in Horto / Hoerr Schaudt. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine Swimming Hole / UrbanLab. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine Underground Amphitheater / SPACE Architects + Planners. Image Courtesy of Chicago magazine + 7

Video: How Clive Wilkinson Architects' Activity Based Working is Revolutionizing the Office

14:25 - 28 March, 2015

The latest innovation in workplace design, Clive Wilkinson Architects’ “Activity Based Working” (ABW) has revolutionized the way people go about their daily activities at the GLG Global Headquarters in New York. Broadening the idea of workable area to a number of specialized environments, ABW fosters a new dynamic in office relations, providing spaces for both individualized activity and collaboration. Experience this through the Spirit of Space-produced video above.

February ABI Reports "Nominal Increase" in Design Activity

19:00 - 18 March, 2015
February ABI Reports "Nominal Increase" in Design Activity, February 2015 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com
February 2015 ABI. Image via CalculatedRiskBlog.com

The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has returned to a healthy state, recovering from its first negative score in ten months. Showing a "nominal increase" in design activity, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported February's ABI at a score of 50.4, up from a mark of 49.9 in January. The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from a reading of 58.7 the previous month.

A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.

Female Architects Earn 20 Percent Less Than Male Architects in US

16:00 - 18 March, 2015
Female Architects Earn 20 Percent Less Than Male Architects in US, Source: Table of 2013 American Community Survey estimates, U.S. Census Bureau
Source: Table of 2013 American Community Survey estimates, U.S. Census Bureau

In 2013, there were 145,439 full-time, year-round architects in the United States - roughly 31,000 of which were women. Making up just over 21 percent of the workforce, these women were on average paid just 80 percent the salaries of their male counterparts, according to the latest statistics released by the US Census Bureau. This means the median income for male architects was $14,877 more than female architects.

James Corner Field Operations Chosen to Design Miami “Underline”

18:00 - 16 March, 2015
James Corner Field Operations Chosen to Design Miami “Underline” , The site. Image via TheUnderline.org
The site. Image via TheUnderline.org

High Line co-designer, James Corner Field Operations has been selected to design the proposed 10-mile “Underline” in Miami. Chosen by a local jury from 19 submitted entries, JCFO has been asked to envision a bicycle route and linear park that will replace the threadbare M-Path under the Metrorail tracks from Dadeland to the Miami River. The project has yet to achieve funding, but it is hoped that JCFO’s plan will spark more investor interest.