Posts tagged with "AIA Convention":

Notes from the AIA: Product News

For those of you who missed the AIA Convention or spent most of your time in seminars (or eating gumbo in the French Quarter), here's a look at news from the exhibition floor: (Above) TOTO offered architects a mini-CEU in which they could wear a suit designed to simulate the effects of aging. Promoting universal design is part of the company's strategic partnership with the AIA. A new mesh cladding product called Texo created quite a buzz at the convention. The pre-stressed fabric paneling is a patented system designed by Milan-based Tensoforma and can be used as a secondary facade on new structures or on existing buildings with poor solar performance (panels can even be made with photovoltaic textiles). The company just launched in the U.S., so we're excited to see its first projects here. 3form's Advanced Technology Group presented its collaboration with ITAC, a building technology integration research group at the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning. The group designed a facade called CRATE made by using 3form Koda XT as a latticework to create various solar shading profiles. Duo-Gard unveiled plans for its new solar-powered car charging stations. The company's turnkey service includes in-house design, engineering, fabrication and installation services, plus field support on photovoltaics, inverters, and metering required to connect to the grid. (If building owners want to recoup the cost, credit card machines can also be installed.) Elevator manufacturer Schindler demonstrated its new "machine room-less" low-rise elevator design, which can fit into the footprint of a hydraulic elevator design but operates with energy efficient traction technology.

Notes From the AIA: New Orleans Master Plan

While our recent feature on New Orleans highlights some of the more high-profile architectural and development projects in the city, yesterday we were introduced to the other half of the rebuilding equation: the New Orleans Master Plan, which is being developed by Boston firm Goody Clancy and New Orleans-based Manning Architects. At an afternoon panel, Goody Clancy principal David Dixon and Manning principal W. Raymond Manning shared their experiences creating a document that sets a new course for the city, from land use and transportation planning to environmental protection. "I haven't had a single boring day here," said Dixon, who dove head first into the city's labyrinth of bureaucracy, inefficiency, and even racial divisions to create the gargantuan still-evolving document. The plan includes creative elements like landscaped open canals and urban wetlands; practical ideas like making the building code more rehab-friendly,  promoting adaptive reuse and focusing on new creative districts; and tried-and-true principles such as promoting walkable, urban neighborhoods, planning for innovative new industries  and improving infrastructure. While some inside and outside New Orleans have  called for abandoning certain badly hit and vulnerable neighborhoods, the plan wholeheartedly endorses "accelerating the resettlement of under-populated neighborhoods." In some cases, said Dixon, that could mean major federal investments, which "could be repaid by most neighborhoods." Outside of implementing an overall planning culture in the city (which, for instance, had lacked a transportation planner until this year, Dixon said), perhaps the biggest issue that the plan addresses is the lack of communication between various rebuilding players. Dixon bemoaned one state-funded project that "removes the neighborhood" with a giant blank wall along the street. "It takes a real dialogue to get great urban renewal," said Dixon. "The plan is more about turning the switch across all types of government."

Notes from the AIA: Tepid Outlook for 2011

Yesterday we attended a sobering panel at the AIA convention entitled The Construction Outlook: Implications for Architecture Firms. Presented by the AIA's Chief Economist Kermit Baker and McGraw-Hill Construction's Vice President of Economic Affairs Robert Murray, the panel crystallized the problems that continue to plague the architecture profession. In short, while the downturn has ended, the upturn, which is indeed inching along, is coming along VERY slowly, or as Murray put it, we're facing "an extended bottom." Projected 2011 growth for U.S. construction starts is 1%, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. The high points are multi-family housing, which are projected to see a 22% gain, Manufacturing building, which could see a 24% gain, and commercial building, which is set to see an 11% jump. Other high points include urban infill, adaptive reuse, renovations, and sustainable design. Perhaps the biggest loser in the coming year will be public work, which is seeing cuts across the board due to debt issues. The AIA's Billing Index has edged just barely into slightly positive territory after three years of steady declines, said Baker. But overall the losses sustained over the last few years have been, as Baker put it, "monumental." Since 2009, he said, firms have cut about 30 percent of their pay-rolled employees, and that doesn't even include firms that have cut staff to part time or instituted furloughs. Firms are starting to hire contract employees, but still seem hesitant to hire full time staff, he said. "The industry is slowly, gradually recovering," said Murray. Or as Baker put it: "The upturn is going to be a good deal slower than the downturn."

Landscape Architects to Invade Chicago

In spite of the down economy, on Wednesday, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) released an official statement that cited an increased number of registrants for this year’s Landscape Architecture Meeting and Expo in Chicago. This year’s meetings, set to take place on September 18-21 in one of the nation’s most sustainable cities and the world leader in green roof design, will focus on the theme “Beyond Sustainability: Regenerating Places and People.” The event is expected to become the largest gathering of landscape architecture professionals in the Society’s 110-year history, reaching approximately 7,000 attendees. With this year’s AIA 2009 National Convention and Expo in San Francisco falling behind in attendance, we are left to wonder what is it about Chicago that attracts so many landscape architects? To find out, register, and view the complete schedule, visit the ASLA’s website.

Escape From Moscone Center

One of the highlights of visiting the AIA Convention has been leaving the convention hall to see some of the wonderful new architecture in San Francisco. We got to see favorites like Daniel Libeskind's new Jewish Museum, Herzog & De Meuron's De Young, and Renzo Piano's Academy of Sciences. But perhaps more unique were the AIA SF Home tours, where we could step inside homes otherwised closed to the public. Two highlights were in the lovely South Park Neighborhood: the Gallery House, by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects and the South Park Residence + Studio by Sand Studios. Both are studies in contrast. The first, which boasts a world class art collection and a visually interconnected series of vertical spaces, contrasts huge exposed steel beams with pristine white art-ready walls. The second combines the exposed concrete and wood of an old warehouse space with sophisticated, and layered modern finishes.

Wish You Were Here?

If you couldn't make it out San Francisco for the AIA Convention this weekend (if you did, be sure to say hi to Sam and the rest of the gang), don't fret. The Institute has been kind enough to set up streaming video of many of the lectures and events, and you can even earn credits for it. Sure, you'll miss all the fun after-parties, like our own, but it also beats flying coach.

Illusions at the AIA Convention

Another strange day at the AIA Convention in San Francisco. And perhaps the weirdest place of all is the Expo floor, where you can examine products ranging from stainless steel bathroom stalls to impact resistant drywall to powder coatings for steel systems (actually not a bad idea). But perhaps the strangest, and perhaps most intriguing product award goes to a company called Sky Factory, which manufactures "virtual windows" and "sky ceilings" which create the illusion that you have a beautiful waterfall or an ocean view outside your building. It's pretty simple: Printed images are sandwiched between acrylic panels and backlit with daylight-balanced illumination. The image catalogue includes "sunsets and sunrises," "trees and forests," "flowers and fields," "mountains," and "deserts" and moves to more bizarre backgrounds like "deep space" and "underwater." And the company offers a brand new product, called SkyV, in which moving HD videos are projected from the sky, to create an even more realistic effect. Yes, we are no longer living in reality. Instead, we can turn on the wall and see whatever we want outside. More strange but true architectural gems from the show: •Lego Play For Business: Lego's consulting arm which has worked with companies like Microsoft and RBS, using lego bricks to improve teamwork, project management, problem solving, creativity, and managing complexity. •Crystal Sensations: 3D crystal engravings formed through laser etching. The etchings are drawn directly from CAD files and created by making tiny cuts within a large crystal. Got more? Post them to the comments...