The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Housing Knowledge Community, together with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has announced two selections for the 2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards, which recognize innovative housing projects with excellence in design. This year’s projects were selected in the Excellence in Affordable Housing Design and Creating Community Connection categories.
The Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Award was awarded to Brooks + Scarpa for their Step Up project in Santa Monica, California, which embodies the award’s recognition of “architecture that demonstrates overall excellent design responses to the needs and constraints of affordable housing.”
Gossens Bachman Architects was announced as the winner of the Creating Community Connection Award for their Co-op Plaza Redevelopment in Brattleboro, Vermont. This award “recognizes projects that incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purposes of either revitalization or planned growth.”
More about the winners, after the break…
Continue reading "2015 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards Honor Housing Projects"
An unconventional man with radical ideas, Buckminster Fuller was an “affable weirdo” and “counterculture icon” who, as Gizmodo reports, often caught the attention of the FBI. For the first time ever, his (heavily redacted) FBI files have been released, revealing some of the reasons why the FBI felt the need to keep tabs on the world famous architect and designer, including speculations regarding Fuller and the Soviet Union. Though it seems nothing ever went beyond speculation, the files are fascinating. You can read them in full, here.
Before the impossibly “super-thin” tower became ubiquitous on the Midtown Manhattan skyline, Raimund Abraham’s Austrian Cultural Forum challenged the limits of what could be built on the slenderest of urban lots. Working with a footprint no bigger than a townhouse (indeed, one occupied the site before the present tower), Abraham erected a daring twenty-four story high-rise only twenty-five feet across. Instantly recognizable by its profile, a symmetrical, blade-like curtain wall cascading violently toward the sidewalk, ACFNY was heralded by Kenneth Frampton as “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Museum of 1959.” 
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Africa Union of Architects (AUA) has signed a cooperative agreement to “share practice tools and resources, creating a framework for American and African architects to work collaboratively in achieving development and infrastructure goals in Africa.” The agreement articulates their mutual interests to advance the “Africa Sustainability Campaign” in spirit of the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to reinvigorate and formalize the AIA’s relationship with our colleagues in Africa,” said AIA 2015 President, Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. “We look forward to increased knowledge sharing on topics such as health and resilience which are critical to the sustainable future of our planet.”
Continue reading "AIA Signs Cooperative Agreement with Africa Union of Architects"
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the governing body for much of the architectural profession in the US, is taking steps to take “intern” out of architectural vocabulary. In a press statement, NCARB president Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB, said that in the future, NCARB will only encourage regulatory language for post-licensure individuals
“Architects are those who have met all the requirements to become licensed in states and jurisdictions throughout the United States,” McKinney said. “Everyone else is not an architect. But their status also doesn’t need a regulatory title such as ‘intern’ or any similar reference. This has become a term that has been perceived as negative by many in the architecture community and a term that really does not fully value the work that aspiring architects bring to the profession.”
The US World War I Centennial Commission has launched a design competition for the National World War I Memorial in Washington DC. The competition will be a two-stage design competition, and is open internationally to any professionals, university-level students, and all other interested participants. “The objective is to transform Pershing Park from a park that happens to contain a memorial to a site that is primarily a national World War I memorial, within a revitalized urban park setting with a distinct sense of place that complements the memorial purpose while attracting visitors, workers, and residents of the District of Columbia,” says the Commission.
The deadline for Stage I submissions is July 21, 2015, and Stage II finalists will be announced August 4, 2015. The Commission expects to announce its selected design in January 2016. Learn more about the competition, here.
For the second month this year, the USArchitecture Billings Index (ABI) has revealed a decrease in design serves. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report, the April ABI score was 48.8, down sharply from a mark of 51.7 in March. The new projects inquiry index was 60.1, up from a reading of 58.2 the previous month.
“The fundamentals in the design and construction industry remain very healthy,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that both inquires for new projects and new design contracts continued to accelerate at a healthy pace in April points to strong underlying demand for design activity. However, April would typically be a month where these projects would be in full swing, but a severe winter in many parts of the Northeast and Midwest has apparently delayed progress on projects.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.Continue reading "ABI Slows in April"
Thomas V. Vonier, FAIA, has been elected as the 2016 First Vice President and 2017 President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Currently serving as 2014–2015 AIA Vice President, Vonier is the founder and past president of AIA Continental Europe from 1994 to 1995. He served on the AIA Board of Directors representing the AIA International Region from 2010 to 2012. Vonier received an M.Arch. and a B.Arch. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after attending the school of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also currently Secretary General of the International Union of Architects, after previously serving as its Vice President. To see all other newly elected officials, follow this link.
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The College of Charleston is now accepting abstracts for its upcoming symposiumSuffragette City: Gender, Politics, and the Built Environment. Exploring the convergence of these topics throughout history, the interdisciplinary event aims to inspire new research that examines how both past and present efforts have challenged customary gender roles and impacted the physical, social, and conceptual identities of cities. The deadline for paper proposals, which must be 300 words or fewer, is July 1, 2015. For more information or to submit a topic, visit arthistory.cofc.edu.
SecondMedia has been selected as the winner of Storefront for Art and Architecture’s 2015 Street Architecture Prize Competition. Now in its third year, the biennial international competition seeks to implement temporary outdoor installations that facilitate “new forms of collective public gathering.” Participants in the 2015 competition were asked to respond to the theme of New York‘s IDEAS City Festival, “The Invisible City.” SecondMedia’s winning proposal ‘Foamspace’ — which envisions creating an “urban lounge” with Geofoam blocks — beat out over 70 submissions from teams of artists, engineers, and architects across the globe.
Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.
Urban waterfronts have historically been the center of activity for many cities. They began as economic, transportation and manufacturing hubs, but as most industries changed their shipping patterns and consolidated port facilities, many industrial waterfronts became obsolete. In Europe, smaller historic ports were easily converted to be reused for leisure activities. However, in North America, where the ports were larger, it was more difficult to convert the waterfronts due to logistical and contamination issues.
Over the past 40 years or so, architects and urban planners have started to recognize the redevelopment potential for waterfronts across the United States and Canada, and the impact they can have on the financial and social success of cities. Though cold-climate cities pose a unique challenge for waterfront development, with effective planning waterfront cities with freezing winter months can still take advantage of the spaces year-round.
The Architectural League of New York has announced the winners of its 2015 Prize for Young Architects + Designers. Launched in 1981 and organized by a committee comprising League Programs Director Anne Rieselbach and a selection of winners from last year, the Architectural League Prize is one of the United States’ most prestigious awards for young architects, recognizing provocative work and offering a platform for the winners to disseminate their ideas. This year’s theme, “Authenticity,” asked designers how technological changes in computation, visualization, material intelligence, and fabrication technologies are altering our perception of design and the role of the architect.
The jury for the prize consisted of Keller Easterling, Sanford Kwinter, Michael Meredith, Lyn Rice, and Billie Tsien, as well as previous winners Carrie Norman, John Rhett Russo, and Jenny Sabin. As part of their prize, in June the six winning practices will present a series of lectures, and their work will be on display in an exhibition during the summer.
Read on for the complete list of winners.