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Architecture Billings Index flat in May, according to AIA

June 24, 2009
Building Design and Construction

After a slight decline in April, the Architecture Billings Index was up a tenth of a point to 42.9 in May. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.   

The U.S. architecture industry has now experienced flat or lower billings for 16 straight months, dating back to January 2008. The low point was January 2009, when the ABI bottomed out at 33.3.

Of the four geographic regions tracked by AIA for the index, the Northeast fared the best, with a 48.3 index score in May, followed by the Midwest (41.5), South (41.3), and West (39.4). When broken down by sector, multifamily residential scored the highest (45.5), followed by mixed practice (44.5), commercial/industrial (43.1), institutional (38.0).

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.

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The ten most creative people in architecture

BY Cliff Kuang
Tue Jun 9, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Which architects have the most unusual, influential visions for the field?
1. Will Alsop, ALSOP Architects

Few architects have been so dedicated to such an unusual design aesthetic as maximalist Will Alsop. And fewer still have been as successful at building their designs. His nearly completed “Chips” building was inspired by piled french fries; his extension for the Ontario College of Art and Design is one of the strangest, most exciting buildings in recent memory:
ALSOP Architects

ALSOP Architects

Architects 2-10 via Fast Company
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Architecture firm RicciGreene builds on judicial reform brings human approach to courthouses, jails.

Onondaga County / City of Syracuse Courthouse, Syracuse, NY

Onondaga County / City of Syracuse Courthouse, Syracuse, NY

Architecture firm RicciGreene Associates is collaborating on a jail complex in Denver that’s attractive enough to sit in the city’s downtown core—right next to the U.S. Mint building.

With its sleek design, and its absence of eyesores such as razor wire and barred windows, the Denver Detention Center won’t look like a jail at all, says Frank Greene, a principal at RicciGreene: “It will look like an art museum.”

Designing jails and courthouses that look and function better than traditional facilities has made 20-year-old RicciGreene a leader in the movement to design judicial buildings that emphasize conferences over confrontations and rehabilitation over punishment. The 35-person firm’s expertise puts it in position to continue its steady growth even as the economy falters.

“We made the choice to be an inch wide and a mile deep,” Mr. Greene says.

Design work for government buildings, schools and hospitals continues to grow. As of May, billings in that sector were up, while those from commercial and residential projects were sliding, according to the American Institute of Architects.

RicciGreene, which has offices on West 27th Street in Manhattan and in Lexington, Ky., has won raves from those who work within the legal system. The Onondaga County Courthouse in Syracuse, for instance, is “all very efficient, economically and security-wise,” according to Fifth District Administrative Judge James Tormey.

Full article via Crain’s New York Business

Related Performa Architects Blog

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Some interesting arch/design websites


For Architects
A searchable database of architecture firms around the world. (added to sidebar under architectural links::online journals)

GAB Report
GAB = Green Architecture Building Report, “a resource for sharing information on responsible, green, and sustainable design, ranging from the architecture to the building details, and from the site features to the building products.” (added to sidebar under blogs::sustainability)

“A search by images, words, signs, colors on places of living. A sailing by sight, a trip around ideas, people, and what makes them part of nature, and the world.” (added to sidebar under blogs::urban)

“A space dedicated to the discussion of contemporary world architecture, art and design.” (added to sidebar under blogs::architecture)

The redesigned web page of the AIA New York Chapter.

Credit to the A Daily Dose of Architecture blog

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Boston’s KidsBuild is May 29 and 30


From the BSA Currents online Newsletter, May 21, 2009 – Bring your children on May 29 and 30 to learn about architecture and design from the ground up at KidsBuild! Adults and children ages six and older will design the building of their dreams and see a city come to life at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA, 100 Northern Avenue, Boston). Friday, May 29 is reserved for school and community groups and ICA members from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. On Saturday, May 30, the public is welcome to participate from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The activity takes approximately two hours. Pre-registration is required.

For more information, visit KidsBuild.

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National Audubon Society green design case study

National Audubon Society Manhattan Headquarters
National Audubon Society Manhattan Headquarters

FXFOWLE’s Manhattan headquarters for the National Audubon Society offers lessons in how to maintain green leadership

By Aric Chen

Some organizations jump through elaborate cost-benefit hoops before deciding to build a green office. But for the National Audubon Society, the choice was a no-brainer. When changing needs prompted the century-old, New York-based environmental advocacy group to move its headquarters elsewhere in the city, “We wanted to make sure we were maintaining our leadership in green architecture,” says John Flicker, its president and CEO.

Full article via GreenSource


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Not business as usual

NBAU_268The economy has changed radically throughout the world in the last few months. The impact has been strongly felt in the New York City design community. Projects have been put on hold or altogether stopped; new commissions are not readily forthcoming. Firms have begun, in turn, to downsize. Many of our colleagues are losing their jobs. Many young professionals are not being hired. And our bills are not being paid.

AIA New York kicked off its Not Business as Usual lunchtime initiative on December 17, 2008, in an effort to unite the architecture and design community around these issues. As the location for these lunches, the Center for Architecture serves as a space for problem-solving, discussion, and action planning, as well as for coping with the realities of an economic downturn. The initiative continues in 2009 with two Wednesday sessions every month, each with a different focus.

Full article via AIA NY


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