The Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects honored 107 projects with its annual small project awards last Friday, putting the spotlight on objects, small structures, and small firms. According to the AIA Chicago, "the goal of this award program is to raise public awareness of the value that architects bring to small projects and to promote small practitioners as a resource for design excellence." This year, the third year for the awards program, small projects were honored in four categories: Additions/Remodeling, Kitchens, New Construction, and Small Objects. “Big ideas and transformational spaces come from creative people, and those people are at firms small and large,” AIA Chicago Executive Vice President Zurich Esposito said in a statement. “The Small Projects Awards reward that innovative thinking that works on a smaller scale.”
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The Architecture Billings Index has reported a slight fluctuation in design activity over the past few months, recording a score of 51.9 for March, a 3 point decrease from February’s mark of 54.9. Any score above 50 indicates positive growth. All four regions were in positive territory with the Northeast leading at 54.6, the Midwest at 53.9, the South not far behind at 53.6, and the West finishing with a 51.9. Inquiries for new projects came in at 60.1. “Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement. “But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it’s not a big surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months.” By sector, all areas remained in positive territory: Multi-family residential scored the highest at 56.9, commercial/industrial scored a 53.5, mixed practice followed with a 53.3, and institutional came in last but stayed positive at 50.6.
Quite appropriate for Earth Day today, the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the ten most outstanding examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions. The projects, which protect and enhance the environment through sustainable design practices and reduced energy consumption, will be honored at the AIA 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver. Now in its 17th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is celebrated as the best program in recognizing sustainable design. The program acknowledges projects that succeed in this environmental endeavor via an integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology and ones that benefit their communities by reducing environmental impact. Federal Center South Building 1202 Seattle, Washington ZGF Architects From the AIA: "Federal Center South Building 1202 (pictured at top) is the result of responding to both the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which focused on improving our nation’s infrastructure and creating jobs, and the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Design Excellence program which was established to procure the nation’s best architects in order to achieve the most innovative and high performance design in federal government building projects. The project’s integrated design-build team developed a design and construction solution that fuses programmatic, functional, and aesthetic objectives while achieving a new standard for high-performance, cost-effective and sustainable workplace environments." Charles David Keeling Apartments UCSD, La Jolla, California Kieran Timberlake From the AIA: "The Charles David Keeling Apartments employ a suite of tactics to address Southern California’s pressing environmental challenges of stormwater management, water scarcity, and carbon emissions. The apartments are situated to provide expansive views of the ocean and mountains from all interior spaces, and from exterior walkways and the large roof terrace, which have become popular gathering spaces. The buildings and landscape promote the active use of exterior spaces, encouraging interaction among students with outdoor circulation that leads to chance encounters, convenient spaces for individual and group activity, and spaces conducive to congregating." Clock Shadow Building Milwaukee, Wisconsin Continuum Architects + Planners From the AIA: "The Clock Shadow Building is not your ordinary sustainable building. The developer wanted a building that was a commercially viable project, repeatable in different communities, a radically sustainable building that followed the Living Building Challenge, and met the quadruple bottom line mission of economic improvement, social justice, environmental restoration, and cultural celebration. With these ambitious and unapologetic goals, the project team set off to design a one-of-a-kind building for a one-of-a-kind developer." Marin Country Day School Learning Resource Center and Courtyard Corte Madera, California EHDD From the AIA: "Marin Country Day School’s Strategic Plan aspires to make ecological literacy an integral part of its curriculum, and to reinforce the students’ sense of connection with nature on their very special site. Throughout the design process they worked to develop synergies between the physical campus and the school's educational program that would allow students to creatively tackle real, local issues using all the tools at their disposal. Site work included creek restoration, a new playground and the courtyard." Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments Oakland, California Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects From the AIA: "This new affordable senior housing transforms an abandoned site near a busy freeway into a community asset for disadvantaged or formerly homeless seniors while setting a high standard for sustainable and universal design. The high-density, transit-oriented project is one of the first new developments planned near the Lake Merritt BART regional transit station. The 70 apartments are all reserved for seniors with incomes between 30% and 50% of area median. Over half of the apartments were set aside for seniors who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, living with HIV/AIDS or challenged by mental illness." A New Norris House Norris, Tennessee Tricia Stuth, Robert C. French From the AIA: "In 1933 the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) constructed a model community, Norris, Tennessee, as part of the Norris Dam construction project. A New Norris House is conceived and created by its design team to mark the 75th anniversary of the Norris Project and to revisit themes on the use and scale of public and private resources. The project entails an integrated team approach to the design, construction, evaluation and demonstration of a model dwelling. The process required that the team confront and resolve not only technological or scientific challenges; but also legal, social, and aesthetic issues that currently restrict green construction." Pearl Brewery/Full Goods Warehouse San Antonio, Texas Lake Flato Architects From the AIA: "The Pearl Brewery Redevelopment Master Plan and the adaptive reuse of the Full Goods Warehouse are serving as a model and catalyst for green urban revitalization in a long neglected portion of San Antonio’s inner city. After 15 years lying derelict, the creative reuse of this 26-acre brownfield site and its neglected structures are drawing in a rich mix of new residents, small businesses, retail, and non-profits while emphasizing community, conservation, and local economic development. This is a new community meeting ground where visionary private development and public space come together to create a vibrant urban destination." San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters San Francisco, California KMD Architects From the AIA: "The City and County of San Francisco embarked upon a rigorous building commission for a new administrative building for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) at 525 Golden Gate Avenue. The recently completed building acts as the defining northwest edge to the large “urban room” formed by the buildings of the Civic Center. Of paramount importance from the very onset of the project was to keep in mind the impact that the building would have on human performance. Along with creating a world-class sustainable building, the designers constantly had the employees in mind in creating the healthiest, most effective and comfortable work environment." Swenson Civil Engineering Building Duluth, Minnesota Ross Barney Architects From the AIA: "The Swenson Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth is a two-story structure wrapped around double-height laboratories. Engaging the adjacent building and responding to existing pedestrian patterns presented challenges. The site sloped significantly from east to west, while access was required in both locations. The project team successfully designed a building that seamlessly engages the adjacent structure, reinforces existing circulation patterns, and mediates grade changes." Yin Yang House Venice, California Brooks + Scarpa From the AIA: "This nearly net-zero energy live/work home and office was designed to function not only as a home and commercial office for both parents, but also as a private home for a large and growing family with several children. It was designed to incorporate sustainable design as a way of teaching a green lifestyle and the offices are purposefully integrated with the home, making both the house and office feel large despite their small combined area. Passive measures, such as a very tight building envelope, reduce energy demand by more than 50 percent. The 12-kW solar system produces 100% of it's electricity needs."
The American Institute of Architects has announced the winners of the 2013 Small Project Awards, a program dedicated to promoting small-project designs. Since 2003 the AIA Small Projects Award Program has emphasized the work and high standards of small-project architects, bringing the public's attention to the significant designs of these small-projects and the diligent work that goes into them. This year's ten winners are grouped into four categories: projects completed on a budget under $150,000, projects with a budget under $1.5 million, projects under 5,000 square feet, and theoretical design under 5,000 square feet. CATEGORY 1: These three recipients had to complete small-projects constructions, objects, an environmental art, or architectural design with a budget of $150,000. Bemis InfoShop Min | Day Omaha From the AIA: "More than a new entry and reception area for a contemporary art center, the InfoShop is a social condenser and transition space between the city and the galleries. With increasing emphasis on social and environmental issues, the art center is becoming a laboratory for ideas rather than a repository for artifacts." The jury commented: "This is such a remarkable process! It represents a designer's victory as opposed to an ideologically born, experientially rich element. ... A context is built on triangular patterns cut into a wall of panels and beautifully engages a sculpturally reception desk that double as a bar for entertaining. The reception space looks great, effortlessly orients the visitor and functions very practically. It is playful without being whimsical. This project is an exemplary demonstration of craft in the digital age." Cemetery Marker Kariouk Associates South Canaan, PA From the AIA: "Before dying, a woman left a note for her children to be read after her death. This note was less a will (she had nothing material to leave her children) than several abstract wishes for them. The sole request on her own behalf was that her gravesite becomes a garden." The jury commented: "This is a design that embodies the idea of ‘remembrance’. The bronze plates, graced with a deeply personal and poetic message, are organized beautifully—pushing and pulling you through the space as you engage it. This is respectful, celebratory work that gracefully merges with its landscape and poignantly reveals the spirit of a woman." Studio for a Composer Johnsen Schmaling Architects Spring Prairie, WI From the AIA: "An unassuming structure nestled into a rural Wisconsin hillside, this intimate retreat serves as a studio for a Country Western musician to write his work and reconnect with nature." The jury commented: "The wood detailing, the use of color, and the simplicity of this retreat for a musician is inspiring. An inspiring place in which to create music and commune with nature. The color palette is at once animated and subtle." CATEGORY 2: These three recipients had to create small-project constructions with a budget of $1,500,000. Nexus House Johnsen Schmaling Architects Madison, WI From the AIA: "This compact home for a young family occupies a small site in a historic residential district in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Successfully contesting the local preservation ordinance and its narrow interpretation of stylistic compatibility, the house is an unapologetically contemporary building, its formally restrained volume discreetly placed in the back of the trapezoidal site to minimize direct visual competition with its historic neighbors. The jury commented: "This is absolutely beautiful. It is well detailed and not overwhelming. It fits fantastically into the surrounding neighborhood and doesn’t take away from the other architecture. As the name Nexus suggests, this house is very well connected. Composed of a brick podium and a wood clad block on top, it masterfully accomplishes a variety experiences in a compact footprint." Pavilion at Cotillion Park Mell Lawrence Architects Dallas From the AIA: "Commissioned by the Dallas Parks Department, this new shade structure bridges the gap between two groups of trees at a natural gathering place in the park." The jury commented: "This is such a fantastic way for the public to be able to experience architecture in a park setting. The whimsical pop of red draws the eye and leads to you walk in and experience the space. It plays with light and provides a shading experience. An exquisite filigree steel structure, that is at once shade pavilion and large environmental art piece." Webb Chapel Park Pavilion Cooper Joseph Studio Mission, TX From the AIA: " We were asked by the Department of Parks and Recreation to create a picnic pavilion to replace a decaying 1960s shelter. Given Texan heat and humidity, climate control was a priority." The jury commented: "Cleverly integrated into the site the side berm and concrete overhead create a thermal cooling mass the way sustainable design traditionally did. This pavilion project is unlike anything we have seen before. A beautiful public work that will surely inspire those that experience it to embrace architecture in a new way." CATEGORY 3: The three recipients in this category had to complete a small-project construction, object, an environmental art, or architectural design under 5,000 square feet. These projects had to be designed as well as constructed, fabricated, and/or installed majorly by the architect. 308 Mulberry Robert M. Gurney, FAIA Lewes, DE From the AIA: "The starting point for this project is small house at 308 Mulberry Street, originally constructed in the early nineteenth-century in the heart of the historical district of Lewes. In the redesign, the exterior of the original structure is meticulously restored." The jury commented: "A demanding redesign that respectfully preserves the original architecture, while artfully transforming the home." Nevis Pool and Garden Pavilion Robert M. Gurney, FAIA Bethesda, MD From the AIA: "Located in a neighborhood bordering Washington, DC, this suburban site has the advantage of being located adjacent to woodlands. A contemporary house surrounded by mature trees and manicured gardens anchors the site. A new swimming pool, stone walls, and terraces behind the house organize the rear yard and establish a dialogue between the existing house and a new pavilion." The jury commented: "A suburban backyard is transformed with a new panoramic awareness of water, forest and sky." Tahoe City Transit Center WRNS Studio Tahoe City, CA From the AIA: "The Tahoe City Transit Center (TCTC) represents a vital step toward achieving a more sustainable transportation network within the region." The jury commented: " This is first class design and craftsmanship that works on many levels. The scale of the bus is tamed. The project is reminiscent of the approachable architecture of the early century. The wood siding and trees in the background integrate very well. The design is modern and vernacular at once. This profound piece of public infrastructure serves a very important civic function with a low impact modest foot print." CATEGORY 4: The recipient in category 4 was challenged to draft a completely original architectural design that is purely hypothetical and theoretical, and less than 5,000 square feet. Four Eyes House Edward Ogosta Architecture Coachella Valley, CA From the AIA: "A weekend desert residence for a small family, the Four Eyes House is an exercise in site-specific "experiential programming". Rather than planning the house according to a domestic functional program, the building was designed foremost as an instrument for intensifying particular onsite phenomenal events." The jury commented: "The imagery is expertly rendered and communicated. Both rational and lyrical and possessing excellent spatial quality. Architectural towers and horizontal lines modulate the viewer's experience and connection with an elemental landscape. It redefines how a home should be built. ... This project takes the experience of place and via an ‘architectural amplifier’ of thoughtful movement (ascension into each bedroom space) and choreographed view capture / light receiver (well-placed windows), makes it a triumphant celebration of humankind situated in the center of the natural universe."
Hurricane Sandy not only caused considerable damage to the Rockaways, but it also exposed the vulnerability of New York City’s waterfront communities to future storms and changing weather patterns. Today, the American Institute of Architects New York, along with NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, and Enterprise Community Partners, announced a new design competition for "resilient and sustainable development in the Rockaways." The group called on architects to come up with different strategies for how cities can build more thoughtfully in areas prone to flooding. Following the June 14th deadline for submissions, a jury will preside over the proposals. The jury will announce four finalists in July—each of which will receive a stipend of $30,000 to continue to hone their ideas. The winner will be revealed on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and will be granted an additional $30,000 for their work. The Rockaways have been the focus of a number of competitions, including MoMA PS 1's EXPO 1: NEW YORK, that asked artists, designers, and architects to submit 3-minute videos that provide ideas for making the Rockaways more sustainable.
Over the past few months the Architecture Billings Index has shown the strongest growth in the demand for design services since 2007 and once again reports an incrementally strengthened score of 54.9 for February, a slight increase from a 54.2 in January (and a 51.2 in December). All four regions scored above 50, an indicator of positive growth. The Northeast performed the best at 56.7, the West and the Midwest tied at 54.7, and the South finished with a 52.7. Inquiries for new projects scored the highest mark since January 2007, steadily inching to a 64.8 from last month's 63.2. “Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.” By sector, all areas were in positive territory and showed a healthy increase from January: mixed practice (56.9), commercial/industrial (53.3), institutional (50.2), and multi-family residential (60.9), which particularly soared from a 54.9 in January.
A new bill before the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking to build consensus to junk Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial on the National Mall. The bill, known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Completion Act, was proposed by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). It cites concerns over the controversial nature of the design and its escalating costs (currently estimated at well over $100 million) and seeks to "facilitate the completion of an appropriate national memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower." Opposition to Gehry's proposal has been brewing for some time. The antagonists include members of Eisenhower's family and the National Civic Art Society, which published a 153-page report that called Gehry's scheme a "travesty" and a "Happy McMonument." The AIA feels differently. The association released a statement opposing Rep. Bishop's bill. The statement does not express an opinion about the value of Gehry's design, but rather disapproves of the "arbitrary nature" of this exercise of "governmental authority." Lodge your feelings about the bill and/or Gehry's design in the comments section of this post.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows announced today that it will award the 2013 Latrobe Prize of $100,000 to the proposal, “The City of 7 Billion." This ambitious research study will explore how population growth and resource consumption, on a global scale, affects the built and natural environment looking "at the world as a single urban entity." The winning team, consisting of Bimal Mendis and Joyce Hsiang of the Yale School of Architecture and Plan B Architecture & Urbanism, will create a geospatial model of the world with different sets of data—including demography, finance, geography, infrastructure, and resources—that will shed light on patterns of urbanization to better understand how resources can be more effectively used. This model will ultimately serve as a resource to help architects "address the challenges of global urbanization." The Benjamin Henry Latrobe grant is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for "research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession."
The Architecture Billings Index showed renewed strength in January, with a jump to 54.2 from 51.2 in December (any score above 50 indicates positive growth). All four regions were in positive territory with the Midwest leading at 54.4, the long struggling West showing strength at 53.4, the South came in at 51.7, and the Northeast at 50.3. The Index posted the strongest gains since November 2007. Inquiries for new projects also surged, rising to 63.2 from 57.9 in December. “We have been pointing in this direction for the last several months, but this is the strongest indication that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement. “But as we continue to hear about overall improving economic conditions and that there are more inquiries for new design projects in the marketplace, a continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry.” By sector, all areas were in positive territory: mixed practice (54.9), multi-family residential (54.5), commercial/industrial (52.0), and institutional (50.2).
All barn jokes aside, this is great news for the Louisville firm of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop. They received one of the AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, allegedly the first Kentucky project to do so since Michael Grave’s cash register, the Humana Building. The barn is an operations facility for Mason Lane Farm and it’s really kind of amazing. Let’s hope that this becomes a rags to riches design story and that we see bigger, more amazing projects coming from De Leon & Primmer. Now that Museum Plaza was knocked off the drawing board, there’s room for a new iconic tower in Louisville. (Photo: Courtesy De Leon & Primmer)
AIA Michigan is looking for a new executive director. The 126-year-old, Detroit-based organization needs someone to act as its “ambassador to the broader business and civic community.” Dennis M. King, the search committee chair, is accepting submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org until the close of business Friday, March 1. More information is available at aiami.com. (Image: Bernt Rostad / Flickr)
The AIA's Architectural Billings Index (ABI) stayed in positive territory for the fifth straight month in December with a score of 52.0 (any score above 50 indicates growth). The level of growth edged down slightly from November's mark of 53.2. By region, the Midwest is currently performing the best (55.7), followed by the Northeast (53.1), and the South (51.2). The West remains in negative territory (49.6). “While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement. Federal budget cuts, however, could impact the recovery. “Moving into 2013 we are expecting this trend to continue and conditions improve at a slow and steady rate. That said, we remain concerned that continued uncertainty over the outcomes of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling could impact further economic growth,” Baker said. By sector, commercial/industrial led with 53.4, followed by mixed practice at 53.0, institutional at 50.9, and multi-family residential at 50.5. Project inquiries were also in positive territory at 59.4, down just slightly from November's 59.6. The National Association of Home Builders is also reporting growth and forecasting greater gains:
Multifamily production, which has posted a 273 percent gain from its fourth quarter trough of 82,000 units in 2009 to 306,000 units in the final quarter of 2012, is expected to reach what is considered a normal level of production by 2014. The single-family market, which has the farthest to go, was running at 44 percent of normal production in the fourth quarter of 2012. Single-family starts are expected to steadily rise to 52 percent of what is considered a typical market by the fourth quarter of this year and 70 percent of normal by the fourth quarter of 2014. NAHB is forecasting 949,000 total housing starts in 2013, up 21.5 percent from 781,000 units last year.