Search results for "multi-family residential"

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Single Family House
Brillhart House in Miami, Florida by Brillhart Architecture.
Stefani Fachini

On December 12, in New York City, seven jurors convened to evaluate and discuss more than 200 projects submitted to AN's second annual Best Of Design Awards.

The jury included Thomas Balsley, of Thomas Balsley Associates; Winka Dubbeldam, of ARCHI-TECTONICS; Kenneth Drucker, of HOK; Chris McVoy, of Steven Holl Architects; Craig Schwitter, of Buro Happold; Annabelle Selldorf, of Selldorf Architects; and Erik Tietz, of Tietz-Baccon.

This year, the jury reviewed projects submitted in nine categories, including Best Facade, Best Landscape, Best Single Family House, Best Multi-Family Residential, Best Residential Interior, Best Non-Residential Interior, Best Fabrication Project, Best Student Built Work, and Building of the Year.

In some categories the jury selected a winner and honorable mentions, in others just winners, and in one, Single Family House, they selected a tie between two winners. Over the coming days we will be posting all of the jury’s selections, starting with our winner and honorable mentions for the Building of the Year.

Best Of: Single Family House: Tie

Brillhart House
Miami, Florida
Brillhart Architecture

“I just like here, the thinking of the details, the simplicity. It’s almost Jean Prouvé like—the house as machine, but not in the Corbu sense. And the fact that it’s all moving parts and different zones, so it’s a very dynamic house but done in a simple way.”—Winka Dubbeldam

 
Bruce Buck; Stefani Fachini
 

Brillhart Architecture’s elevated, 1,500-square-foot house provides a tropical refuge in the heart of Downtown Miami. It includes 100 feet of uninterrupted glass spanning the full length of both the front and rear facades and four sets of sliding glass doors that allow the house to be entirely open when desired.

 
Stefani Fachini; Jake Brillhart
 

Front and back porches add 800 square feet of outdoor living space, and exterior shuttered doors provide privacy and protection against the elements. The architects organized their design around four questions that challenge the culture for building big: what is necessary, how can the impact on the earth be minimized, how to best respect the neighborhood, and what can actually be built? Some answers came from the Dog Trot style house, which has been a dominant typology of Florida vernacular architecture for more than a century. The glass pavilion typology and principles of Tropical Modernism also played influential roles in the final design.


Joe Fletcher Photography
 

Best Of: Single Family House: Tie

Fall House
Big Sur, California
Fougeron Architecture

“If this house is about the site, then the architecture is working with the site.”—Chris McVoy

This three-bedroom house in Big Sur is anchored in the natural beauty of the California coast. Fougeron Architecture embedded the building within the land, taking advantage of the site’s dramatic views while creating a form more complex than a giant picture window.

 
 

The main body of the house is composed of two rectangular boxes connected by an all-glass library/den. The main entry is located at the top of the upper volume with the living spaces unfolding from the most public to the most private. The living room kitchen and dining room are an open plan with subtle changes in levels and roof planes to differentiate the various functions.

   
 

The lower volume, a double-cantilevered master bedroom suite, acts as a promontory above the ocean, offering breathtaking views from its floor-to-ceiling windows. The link between these two volumes is the glass library and den, which unites the house inside and out.


Courtesy HGA
 

Best Of: Single Family House: Honorable Mention

Marlboro Music: Five Cottages
Marlboro, Vermont
HGA

These five cottages serve as residences for senior musicians during Marlboro College’s seven-week summer festival, Marlboro Music. Sited on 15 acres in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the design of the cottages was inspired by the Cape Cod cottage, a 400-year-old typology derived from 17th century English settlers’ dwellings in New England.

   
 

The small footprints, sloped roofs, compact volumes, and indigenous materials fit snuggly into the lush Vermont landscape of rolling hills and streams and respond in a modern contextual way to the farm buildings on Marlboro College’s campus.

 
 
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Building of the Year
Albert Vecerka / ESTO

On December 12, in New York City, seven jurors convened to evaluate and discuss more than 200 projects submitted to AN's second annual Best Of Design Awards.

The jury included Thomas Balsley, of Thomas Balsley Associates; Winka Dubbeldam, of ARCHI-TECTONICS; Kenneth Drucker, of HOK; Chris McVoy, of Steven Holl Architects; Craig Schwitter, of Buro Happold; Annabelle Selldorf, of Selldorf Architects; and Erik Tietz, of Tietz-Baccon.

This year, the jury reviewed projects submitted in nine categories, including Best Facade, Best Landscape, Best Single Family House, Best Multi-Family Residential, Best Residential Interior, Best Non-Residential Interior, Best Fabrication Project, Best Student Built Work, and Building of the Year.

In some categories the jury selected a winner and honorable mentions, in others just winners, and in one, Single Family House, they selected a tie between two winners. Over the next six days we will be posting all of the jury’s selections, starting with our winner and honorable mentions for the Building of the Year.

   
 

Henderson Hopkins
Baltimore, Maryland
Rogers Partners

Henderson Hopkins is the first new public school built in Baltimore in 30 years. A cornerstone for the largest on-going redevelopment project in the city, an essential part of its mission is to serve as a catalyst in the revitalization of East Baltimore, housing innovative early childcare facilities, a school, and shared resources for residents and businesses.

 
 

The seven-acre campus accommodates 540 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and 175 pre-school children. Rogers Partners’ design was guided by four key principles: community engagement, integrated urban planning, architecture of its place, and progressive education. The program was put together based on the wants of the local residents. The site planning and building massing take their cues from the surrounding urban fabric. The community’s cultural heritage informed the architectural language. And the architecture was designed with flexibility in mind, so that it will be capable of adapting to evolving pedagogies over time.

 

“What was achieved here at a very modest budget was really impressive.  Not just in the planning, but in the use of materials, of open spaces, of the entire way that the school operates. They just never let up on this thing.”—Craig Schwitter


Courtesy Davis Brody Bond
 

Building Of The Year Honorable Mention

The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center
New York City
Davis Brody Bond

Davis Brody Bond took on the daunting task of creating a museum to house the World Trade Center site remains and artifacts. The firm’s goal was to create a space capable of giving each visitor a personal connection with the events of 9/11.

   
 

To do this, the design introduces visitors to the museum gradually, via a ramped descent.  The sequence by which visitors come across relics of the disaster and obtain an understanding of the architectural framework allows each individual to develop their own reckoning with the space, its monumental features, and the depth of the human tragedy that occurred on the site.


Courtesy Cutler Anderson Architects and SERA
 

Building Of The Year Honorable Mention

Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building
Portland, Oregon
Cutler Anderson Architects and SERA

This renovation of a 1960s SOM government building transformed the structure from an energy consuming Class B office block to a LEED Platinum Class A tower. The architects designed a high performance curtain wall to replace the precast concrete paneled facade, increasing the interior space by 26,000 square feet.

   
 

The energy efficient skin is shaded by a vertical brise soleil calculated to respond to the sun in Portland, reducing heat loading while proving glare-free daylight in the interior. Inside, the architects cut away at the building to expose its structure, giving tenants a direct connection to its history.

 
 
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Shake off the October Architecture Billings Index
The party’s over, folks. Take down the streamers, re-cork that bottle of champagne, and turn off the Taylor Swift. Actually, on second thought, turn the Swift back on because “Shake It Off” might be exactly what we need to hear right now. We’ll tell it to you straight. After months of strong momentum, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped from a 55.2 in September to a 53.7 in October. Here’s where Ms. Swift plays back into the data set—since any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, things are still in the positive territory so we can shake, shake, shake the October Architecture Billings Index score off, more or less. By region, the South was still feeling that summer heat, posting a strong 58.4. The West wasn’t too far behind with a 56.1, followed by the Midwest at 54.4. The Northeast broke the positive streak with a sub-50 score of 47.0. We're not mad Northeast, we're just...disappointed? Okay, moving on. Let's talk sector, shall we? It was mixed practice at the front of the pack with a 56.9, followed by multi-family residential (54.7), institutional (54.4), and commercial / industrial (52.3). While things are still positive overall, the Design Contracts Index and the Project Inquiry Index both lost some steam, dropping from 56.8 to 56.4 and from 64.8 to 62.7, respectively. But despite these disappointing figures, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker remained optimistic. “Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” he said in a statement. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.” In short, shake it off.
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The September Architecture Billings Index is on top of the world
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) report is back and it’s ready to party so drop that Monday morning cup of coffee and take a sip of the hot data the AIA is serving up. Last month, while we were all just going about our everyday lives, the ABI was soaring to new heights. Any score above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, but the ABI wasn’t satisfied with playing it safe. No, it went all the way to 55.2. Sure, it’s not the 55.8 that got the world talking in July, but it’s still good news and better than August’s 53.0, am I right? There's more. The New Projects Inquiry, presumably not wanting to be upstaged by the big kid on campus, did some work of its own and leaped from 62.6 to 64.8. As for the Design Contracts Index, it ticked down from 56.9 to 56.8. Get better soon, Design Contracts Index. We’re pulling for you. “Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in a statement. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.” So how did it all shake out? By region the South performed best with a 55.3 followed by the Midwest at 55.1. The West kept it cool with a 54.2, and the Northeast plunged but played it safe at 51.0. Over on the sector side of things, multi-family residential had the strongest month with a 55.3. Institutional wasn’t too far behind at 54.9 and was followed by mixed practice at 53.8. Industrial kept us on the edge of our seats with a nail-bitingly close 50.8. Before we leave you today, let’s just check in on the Projects Inquiry Index. Last time was at 62.6. Where did things stand one month later? 64.8.
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Rancho Deluxe
Meandering roads weave their way through the hilltop developmentts raised terraces.
Courtesy SWA

Although it is difficult to believe after traveling around the gated communities of Southern California, not all large greenfield developments here greedily eat up open space and destroy their native landscapes. Probably the most generous new example is Rancho Mission Viejo, a mixed-use residential project in the hilly unincorporated area of South Orange County, near San Clemente and Camp Pendleton, which is being master planned in part by SWA.

One of the last new towns to be built on Southern California ranch land (and the last working ranch in Orange County), Rancho Mission Viejo encompasses 23,000 acres, but development is sited on just over 6,000 acres, with the remaining 17,000 acres set aside as a preserve. SWA’s current parcel, phase 2 (there will be 8 phases in total) takes up 865 acres.

The ranch’s owners, the O’Neill/Avery/Moiso family, decided early on to establish the preserve, called the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo, as a way of “keeping their way of life and a legacy to leave behind,” said SWA managing principal Sean O’Malley. The specific boundaries were set as a response to ecological studies, reserving sensitive land—most of it at lower elevations—for open spaces made of canyons, creeks, cattle pastures, oak groves, and citrus orchards.

Above and below: SWA’s studies of density, open space, and landscape. Various looks at the site’s rugged and complex topography and how it shapes the development.
 

Where development does occur—there will be 15,000 homes total, with 3,000 in phase 2—it is sited to minimize impact and to emphasize walkability and outdoor activity. Located in the less ecologically sensitive highlands, housing tracts are shaped largely by the natural coastal hills and other landforms. Instead of leveling this area with homebuilders’ usual repertoire of cut and cover, SWA has elected for light to medium grading.

SWA managing principal Sean O’Malley likens this process, in which flat zones for development lie on top of recreated graded areas to “abstracting the hill.” “You’re sculpting it as a series of terraces as close as possible to the form of the hill,” he said. “We’re always trying to find the balance to preserve the character of the hill and minimize the grading as much as possible.” Informal, curving streets, trails, and local vegetation will be inserted within this topography, while selected areas—such as a natural canyon known as Oak Canyon Park—will be preserved in their original form.

 

On the ridgeline at the top of the development the firm has placed the town main street, community center, local retail, parks, and interior trails. With this strategy, “everyone can share in the most spectacular view,” adding value to the development at large, said O’Malley.

This strategy is becoming more common as developers begin to capitalize on the desire for a greater sense of community. SWA architect Andrew Watkins gives the owner families and their consultants credit for being “willing to explore lots of different options.”

 

Starting from this focal point, the firm has clustered more density near the top of the hills, increasing walkability to these amenities (another option may be shared electric vehicles) and increasing home worth. Houses range from clusters of four-to-10 bungalows, to detached duplexes, to single family units. Age qualified housing will be actively incorporated into this mix, not separated. The lowlands along the edge of the development will incorporate multi-family apartments, including some affordable housing, as well as parks, and schools. Robert Hidey Architects is putting together a mix of traditional ranch and modern homes, staying away from the Spanish Colonial style that dominates Orange County.

 

Phase two grading has begun and work should be completed in two to three years, said O’Malley. SWA will next embark on phases three and four (which could include denser retail and commercial development) as the market dictates. The entire project could be completed in 10 to 20 years, said O’Malley.

Green corridors—made up of both un-programmed green space and programmed parks and paseos, run between the development areas, creating an interconnected network. Along the edges of the development the firm has created a web of paths and trails, borrowing views from the open space preserve beyond while not infringing on it. The views to these open spaces, not to mention the lookouts from houses on the terraces of this emerging hill town, all add value to the development, said O’Malley. Much more so than the traditional zigzag of destruction that traditional development promotes.

“There’s an underlying value to working with the land,” said O’Malley. “Working with the land is the key.”

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Relive the summer with the Architecture Billings Index's August report
As the summer turns to fall, it’s easy to look back and remember the season that was. There was that outdoor concert, that weekend trip to Montreal, that margarita served in a mason jar, and that time you and your neighbor Karl tried to repave the deck. Hey there, chin up, no need to get so nostalgic just yet, that's what the winter is for. There is one last way to relive that glorious summer right now. How? Through the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), of course. With the newly-released August-time data it's like the Autumnal Equinox never even happened at all. Lather up the sunscreen and throw on those shades because here we go! In August, the ABI posted a 53.0, which is down from July’s 55.8, but it's not all bad news, because, say it with us, “any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.” Exactly, very good. A similar story played out with the new projects inquiry index; it dropped from 66.0 in July to 62.6. No reason to get all bent out of shape, things are still looking up. For one, design contracts jumped from 54.9 to 56.9 in August. “One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.” Let’s dig into the numbers even further, shall we? By region, the Northeast led the pack at 58.1, followed by the South at 55.1, and then the West at 52.5. The Midwest squeaked over the positive line at 51.0. By sector, multi-family residential pulled a Northeast and posted a 58.1. Mixed practice wasn’t far behind at 57.1, followed by institutional at 54.0. Industrial really played it close in August posting a 50.4. Living on the edge now are we, Industrial?
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The Architecture Billings Index Is Crushing It
You should probably be sitting down for this because there is some big news regarding the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) that is not for the faint of heart. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s proceed. So everyone knows that the ABI has really been flexing its muscle this summer—it posted a 52.6 in May and then a 53.5 in June. Those are pretty solid scores given that anything above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, but then July happened—and it happened in a big way. Last month, the ABI posted a 55.8. That's important news considering the index hasn't been that high since 2007—since before the whole global financial meltdown. What truly makes this news so special is that everyone played a part. By region, the Northeast won the gold with a score of 55.5, the South took silver with a strong 55.1, and the Midwest got the bronze at 54.1. While the West didn't take home a medal, it still scored in the positive territory with a 53.5. So, if you think about it, they are all winners. The same can be said for each sector. Mixed practice really blew things out of the water with a score of 61.0, multi-family residential wasn't too far back at 56.5, institutional posted a respectable 53.3, and commercial/industrial landed in positive territory at 51.2.How about the design contracts index? How did that do? Well, how does a 54.9 sound to you? Pretty good, right? And the new project inquiries index? Well, have you ever heard of a 66.0? And that’s not all! The forecast looks good too. “Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, said in a statement. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.” Let’s finish things off here today with just a little more data. The American Society of Interior Designers recently announced that in June the Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) scored a 55.8 and the Inquiries Index went even higher to 58.2. Sure, that’s obviously down from May, but still positive, still positive.
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The Architectural Billings Index is Having a Great Summer
Yes, the rumors are true—the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is in positive territory for the second straight month. That's right, the second straight month. After the ABI posted a solid 52.6 in May there was no telling what could happen next. Would it go up? Would it go down? Would it maybe even stay the same? It was anyone's guess. Today, those questions were answered and what we got was even more good news. In June, the ABI  posting jumped to 53.5 in June. And that's not all, folks. The new projects inquiry index did some climbing of its own—moving from 63.2 to 66.4. So what’s to account for this blockbuster summer? “The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, said in a statement. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing.  The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.” To the data! By region, the Midwest led the pack with a score of 56.3 followed by the South (53.9) and the Northeast (51.1), and the West (48.7). Any score above 50 signifies an increase in billings, but you know that by now. By sector, multi-family residential (57.7) and mixed-use practice (53.8) had the best month. They  edged ahead of commercial/industrial (53.1), and institutional, which eeked a positive score of 50.2. All good news. The design contracts index, the new metric on the block, was also in positive territory at 55.7. See you here same time next month.  
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Billings Index Goes Positive & Architects Licensed At Youngest Age in a Decade
And there it is, after months in negative territory the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) jumped into positive territory in May with a score 52.6—that’s up from 49.6 in April. Any score over 50 signals an increase in billings. The new projects inquiry also jumped from 59.1 to 63.2. Rounding out the positive news is the AIA’s new design contracts indicator, which posted a 52.5. Nice job by all. By region, the strongest gains were in the South (58.1) and the Midwest (51.3). The Northeast (47.6) and West (46.9) had a rougher month. And by sector, the breakouts were multi-family residential (58.2), commercial/industrial (53.6), and mixed practice (50.4). Institutional was one the other side of the ledger with a 47.3. “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,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “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.” In other data news, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) released a statistical report this week that found the "median age of people at initial licensure is the lowest in 10 years." Essentially, architects are getting licensed earlier in life—the median age for licensure is currently 34. The board also found "an increase since 2011 in the number of women applying for NCARB Records. The percentage of women applying continues to hold around 40 percent—a marked increase from 10 percent in the early 1990s. unnamed Applications by Gender
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Architecture Billings Index Continues to Contract in April
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remains in negative territory for the second straight month. While the April index ticked up to 49.6, from 48.8 last month, it was not enough to break 50, which signals an increase in design services. The new projects inquiry, however, increased from 57.9  to 59.1. The overall decrease was caused by disappointing numbers posted in the West (48.9), Midwest (47.0), and especially in the Northeast (42.9). While those regions came up short, the South showed signs of life with a score of 57.5 By sector, multi-family residential (52.6), commercial/industrial (50.2), and mixed practice (50.7) all saw gains, while institutional  (47.1) could not break 50. The AIA’s latest metric introduced last month, the design contracts index, recorded a steep increase to 54.6. “Despite an easing in demand for architecture services over the last couple of months, there is a pervading sense of optimism that business conditions are poised to improve as the year moves on,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “With a healthy figure for design contracts this should translate into improved billings in the near future.”
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Plans For 200-Acre Neighborhood in Austin Meet With Various Community Reactions
The evening of April 14th was a big one for the East Austin community, when developers met with residents to unveil the master plan for the 208-acre lot of land known as Colony Park. Plans for the development were rolled out onto a community center floor as a giant map that enabled attendees to walk, step-by-step, through the five-year-plus initiative. The project hopes to bring commerce, parks, new residences, into a sustainable community. Currently, the land is home to little more than cedar trees, with drifters and litterbugs capitalizing on the vast expanse of space. So in 2012, the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) department applied for a $3 million grant to revitalize the land. It’s a unique opportunity—rarely does the chance to build a neighborhood completely from scratch fall into the hands of developers. With great potential comes great responsibility, however, and the jurisdiction of how to utilize the land has caused friction in the surrounding neighborhoods. Although the initiative's leaders have continually stressed the importance of community involvement, dialogue between the planners and residents got off to a rocky start. The NHCD applied for the grant without notifying the Colony Park community. The competitive and rapid process involved in applying for and winning such grants shortchanged the initiative’s handle on time, explained NHCD’s president, but residents were understandably miffed at the oversight. Their irritation at the communication breakdown spilled over into the planning of the zone. Colony Park, as it stands now, houses many elderly and fixed-income residents. These tenants are fearful of displacement and gentrification that new housing developments often instigate. Others voice trepidation over the idea that this project will contribute to sprawl—that it will be more difficult than planners are acknowledging to account for commerce. As it stands now, the community is removed from commercial space. It’s a difficult area to access, explained residents, bordered as it is by two interstates, with the nearest grocery store over a mile away. But the initiative is actively striving to hear out these concerns and respond to them appropriately. 750 residential units will be built with the mixed-income community to prevent gentrification. Nearby residents from Agave are pulling for inclusion of urban farming opportunities, as well as farmers markets and more local business. Economic considerations are at the forefront of the discussion, and the plan offers an intriguing option of making provisions for a shared-car transportation program that will cut down on the cost of living for families. As far as the initial lack of dialogue, the initiative is trying hard to make it up to Colony Park residents. In September, college students canvassed the area to speak with tenants about what they wanted in their community. A website acts as virtual forum, and the neighborhood has formed a team of leaders who voice their opinions on behalf of the community. So what was featured in the master plan? Parks, 500 single-family ownership units and 250 multi-family rental units, on-site recycling and composting, and a mandate that all buildings meet or exceed SMART Housing Program standards for green development were all presented on Tuesday night. While community reactions were mixed, the tone was ultimately hopeful.
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AIA "Surprised" Architecture Billings Index Dipped Down Again in March
After starting the year on a positive trend, the Architectural Billings Index ticked down last month. The March ABI score dropped sharply from February’s score of 50.7 to 48.8. This moves the index into negative territory as any score below 50 signifies a decrease in design services. The new projects inquiry, though, did tick up from 56.8 to 57.9. The sharpest declines were in the Northeast and Midwest, which posted scores of 46.8 and 46.6, respectively. The South (52.8) and West (50.7) both remained in positive territory. By sector, multi-family residential was the only positive marker at 52.1, while commercial/industrial (49.6), institutional (49.0), and mixed practice (47.6) dipped below 50. “This protracted softening in demand for design services is a bit of a surprise given the overall strength of the market the last year and a half,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Hopefully, some of this can be attributed to severe weather conditions over this past winter. We will have a better sense if there is a reason for more serious concern over the next couple of months.” The AIA has also announced a new metric to measure design contracts. According to the AIA, this will be a less subjective way to estimate future billings activities at architecture firms. “We determined that the most accurate predictor of future design workloads is the monthly change in the volume of new design contracts.” said Baker. In its inaugural measurement, the Design Contracts Index posted 48.2 in March.