Architecture Billings Index stays in growth mode

AIAThe Architecture Billings Index (ABI) remained positive again in June after the first decline in ten months in April.  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.  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 51.6, down from a mark of 52.9 in May.  This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, up sharply from the reading of 59.1 the previous month.
“With steady demand for design work in all major nonresidential building categories, the construction sector seems to be stabilizing,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “Threats to a sustained recovery include construction costs and labor availability, inability to access financing for real estate projects, and possible adverse effects in the coming months from sequestration and the looming federal debt ceiling debate.”

Key June ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (55.6), South (54.8),  West (51.2), Midwest (48.3)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (54.7), multi-family residential (54.0), mixed practice (52.4), institutional (51.8)
  •  Project inquiries index: 62.6

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

AIA offers course on sustainable materials in restrooms and locker rooms

AIAThe AIA Continuing Education course entitled “Sustainable Materials in Restrooms, Locker Rooms and Other Applications” is designed for architects and designers in commercial markets. The course will cover the sustainable attributes and benefits of HDPE materials in the design and construction of bathroom and locker projects. Scranton Products leads the industry as a manufacturer of plastic bathroom partitions and lockers.

Sponsored by Scranton Products, the course will also explain how High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) reduces environmental impact and offers improvements to the indoor air quality of any project. Examples of how responsible manufacturing is a critical part of any products life cycle assessment will be discussed. Participants can earn 1.0 AIA HSW/SD CE hour and 1.0 GBCI CE hour for LEED professionals.

Using Powerpoint, the course is guided by a Scranton Products facilitator. It is suitable for audiences of any size and is limited only by the space available at each venue. And, there is no cost to bring this program into an architectural firm or chapter meeting.

Recognizing that continuing education is crucial for architects to stay ahead in their professions, Scranton Products has developed AIA-certified courses on key industry topics that help fulfill membership requirements of 18 CEU hours per year.

Additional courses online include: “Introduction to Barrier Free Design and ADA Standards for Accessible Design,” a web-based self-study course for 1.00 AIA HSW CE Hour on RonBlank.Com and “School Hallway Lockers Made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)” for 1.00 HSW/SD Hour in the Architectural Record’s Continuing Education Center.

For more information about the course in sustainable materials, please reference AIA course #ISP 10B and contact Sue Botschellar or visit the Scranton Products website.

2013 AIA Institute Honor Awards recognize excellence in architecture, interiors, and urban design

Washington, D.C. – January 14, 2013 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the 2013 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from over 700 total submissions, 28 recipients located throughout the world will be honored at the AIA 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.

You can see images, jury comments and additional credit information by clicking on the titles of the projects.

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture
The jury for the 2013 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture includes: Mary Katherine (Mary Kay) Lanzillotta FAIA, Jury Chair, Hartman-Cox Architects; Brian Fitzsimmons, AIA, Fitzsimmons Architects; John Kane, FAIA, Architekton; William Leddy, FAIA, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects; Philip Loheed, AIA, BTA Architects, Inc.; Robert Maschke, AIA, robert maschke ARCHITECTS inc.; Douglas L. Milburn Assoc. AIA, Isaksen Glerum Wachter LLC and Becky Joyce Yannes, AIAS Representative, Drexel University. 

Art Stable

Built on the site of a former stable, the simple, low-to-no-maintenance design of the Art Stable draws upon the warehouse typology of the formerly industrial neighborhood.

Art Stable; Seattle
Olson Kundig Architects

Art Stable is a seven-story mixed-use, urban infill project in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle.  

The Barnes Foundation; Philadelphia
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

The new museum replicates the galleries in the old Paul Cret designed facility but provides visitors with a light-filled, contemplative space.

Boat Pavilion for Long Dock Park; Beacon, New York
Architecture Research Office (ARO)

This project for the Scenic Hudson Land Trust is a boat pavilion in a new park on the Hudson River. 

Centra Metropark; Iselin, New Jersey
Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF)

Developed by The Hampshire Companies, CENTRA re-imagines an obsolete dated existing structure into a state-of-the-art office experience. 

Clemson University, Lee Hall College of Architecture; Clemson, South Carolina
Thomas Phifer and Partners

The 55,000-square-foot addition to the Lee Hall College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University is an ultra-energy efficient building.

Mason Lane Farm Operations Facility; Goshen, Kentucky
De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

The project consolidates dispersed operations facilities for a 2,000-acre farm into a single centralized complex and is rooted in the simplicity of regional farm structures and local building traditions.

Milstein Hall, Cornell University; Ithaca, New York

Milstein Hall is the first new building in over 100 years for the renowned College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) at Cornell University. 

Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges; New Haven, Connecticut

Designed by Eero Saarinen, the Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges are part of Yale’s system of residential colleges.

The New York Public Library – Exterior Restoration; New York City
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

The New York Public Library is considered one of the most important works of the firm of Carrère and Hastings.

Saint Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church; Springdale, Arkansas
Marlon Blackwell Architect

This project is the result of a transformation of an existing metal shop building into a sanctuary and fellowship hall in anticipation of a larger adjacent sanctuary on the same site. 

Vancouver Convention Centre West; Vancouver, Canada
LMN Architects + MCM/DA

The new Vancouver Convention Centre West is certified LEED® Canada Platinum and integrates the urban ecosystem at the intersection of a vibrant downtown core and one of the most spectacular natural ecosystems in North America. 

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture
The jury for the 2013 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture includes: Andrew Wells, FAIA, Jury Chair, Dake Wells Architecture; Susan H. Jones, FAIA, Atelierjones, LLC; Carlos M. Martinez, AIA , Gensler; Ronald J. McCoy, FAIA, Princeton University and Catherine M. Truman, AIA, Ann Beha Architects.

Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Abbey Church Pavilion–Modifications to Marcel Breuer’s 1961 St.John’s Abbey Church Project; Collegeville, Minnesota

The original Abbey Church complex by Marcel Breuer (1961) was modified to include a new Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a two-level lobby addition (9,200-square-foot) and the renovation of the existing Chapter House.

BNIM Iowa; Des Moines

Located in a former bank lobby on the southeast corner of an active street intersection, the space includes full-height glazing to the north and west, building lobby to the south, and a new demising wall to the east.

Charles Smith Wines Tasting Room and World Headquarters; Walla Walla, Washington
Olson Kundig Architects

Inspired by the client’s rock-and-roll style, the space is capable of transforming from office and retail to dining and entertainment.

Chicago Apartment; Chicago

The new 5,500-square-foot apartment is located in a new high-rise in the Midwest. The main social spaces are lined by warm wood surfaces conceptually set within larger, brightly lit and open circulation areas.

Doc Magic; Torrance, California

For a technology company that deals in highly sensitive information transmitted over the internet, RA-DA’s unique play of light and careful sculpting of passageways contrasting open work areas succeeded in creating a powerful physical presence to reflect the company’s strong virtual presence.

Lamar Advertising Corporate Headquarters; Baton Rouge

This adaptive re-use of a 1970’s era data center transforms what most considered a ‘throw away’ building into an unexpected and exciting corporate headquarters for a billboard advertising company. 

McAllen Main Library; McAllen, Texas
Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MS&R)

In need of a new library and understanding that the greenest building is one that already exists, the City of McAllen, Texas, decided to convert an abandoned Walmart big box store into its new main library.

PACCAR Hall (interior), Foster School of Business, University of Washington; Seattle
LMN Architects

The design responds to the business school program’s strong emphasis on social connectivity and its active central campus site with a high degree of porosity—in terms of both visual and functional relationships. 

Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity; Kansas City, Missouri

Relocating the Kansas City Ballet (KCB) involved preservation and adaptive reuse of the 52,000-square-foot historic Power House at Kansas City’s Union Station, a former coal-burning plant completed in 1914.

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

The jury for the 2013 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design includes: Mark Shapiro, AIA, Jury Chair, Mithun, Inc.; Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, Georgia Institute of Technology; William A. Gilchrist, FAIA, Place Based Planning; Toni L. Griffin, AIA, The City College of New York and Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.

Burnham Place at Union Station Master Plan; Washington, D.C.
Shalom Baranes Associates, PC HOK

Placing 3 million square feet of new mixed-use construction above the active rail yard behind Washington, DC’s historic Union Station, Burnham Place stands as a model of innovative and sustainable urban development.

Coal Harbour Convention District; Vancouver, Canada
LMN Architects + MCM/DA

This CAN$883 million civic district succeeds by connecting Vancouver’s expanded convention center with the public realm, acting as the city’s “front porch to the world.” 

The Great Lakes Century – a 100-year Vision; Great Lakes Region, United States
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill

The Great Lakes Century is a pro-bono initiative of SOM’s City Design Practice to promote a comprehensive 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. 

Nanhu New Country Village Master Plan; Nanhu District, Jiaxing, China
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Nanhu Country Village addresses agricultural goals and environmental problems through the introduction of modern farming technologies and sustainable design practices. 

National September 11 Memorial; New York City
Handel Architects

The National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in New York is a verdant and vibrant urban plaza that marks the site of the former Twin Towers with emptiness. 

Parkmerced Vision Plan; San Francisco
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

The Parkmerced Vision Plan is a pioneering neighborhood revitalization program that holistically integrates best principles of environmental sustainability and neighborhood livability. 

Rock Street Pocket Housing (RSPH); Little Rock, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center

RSPH is an affordable housing project that serves as a catalyst for redevelopment of Little Rock’s struggling Pettaway neighborhood. 

Superkilen; Copenhagen, Denmark
BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

At almost a mile long, this urban park is positioned through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in Denmark.

High demand for rental housing raises Architecture Billings Index


Billings at architecture firms in September increased at their fastest pace since late 2010. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 51.6, up from the mark of 50.2 in August. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.3, compared to a mark of 57.2 the previous month.

Key September ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (53.4), South (51.9), Northeast (49.5), Midwest (47.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (57.3), institutional (51.0), commercial / industrial (48.4), mixed practice (47.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 57.3

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

AIA Selects 2012 Top Ten Green Projects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.

The COTE Top Ten Green Projects program, now in its 16th year, celebrates projects that integrate architecture, natural systems and technology.  They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA

1315 Peachtree St. is a civic-focused adaptive reuse of a 1986 office structure transformed into a living laboratory and educational tool for sustainable design.

1315 Peachtree Street/Perkins+Will; Atlanta, GA
This project is a civic-focused adaptive reuse of a 1986 office structure transformed into a living laboratory and educational tool for sustainable design.  Rainwater from the roof and the 5th floor terrace is captured and stored in an underground cistern which is then filtered, treated with ultraviolet light, then pumped to all flush fixtures in the building. Solar studies and energy modeling informed design decisions regarding daylighting, glazing replacement, glazing materials and shading systems.  Pervious paving was replaced by permeable paving and landscaping to help recharge the region’s aquifer.

ASU Polytechnic Academic District; Mesa, AZ
RSP Architects and Lake Flato Architects
The design for the Arizona State University Polytechnic Academic Distric transformed a decommissioned airbase into an inviting pedestrian campus that includes five high-performance LEED Gold rated buildings.  The design for the new campus creates a new identity that responds to its desert climate and context by using a dense network of linear buildings that maximizes shade and creates a vibrant pedestrian environment.  The building typology grew from the same objective by extroverting the circulation which also served to minimize the air-conditioned square footage and electricity for lighting.

Chandler City Hall; Chandler, AZ
This project is a low to mid-rise government complex that responds to the harsh desert climate and at the same time provides for appropriate outdoor spaces that introduced much needed green space.  The building takes a comprehensive approach to reducing potable water use by employing interior and exterior strategies.  Passive shading strategies along with a high performance glazing were utilized to knock out as much of the solar heat gain as possible.  This allowed mechanical systems to be appropriately sized and varied depending on building function.

Iowa Utilities Board Office of Consumer Advocate Office Building; Des Moines, IA
This project is an infill development on the 6-acre site of a former landfill. The project captures and infiltrates 100% of the stormwater from the average annual rainfall event and diverts stormwater from 6-acres of adjacent streets for on-site treatment. Thermal mass captures “free heating”, modulates temperatures and, thus, reduces loads. A year after opening, the project is performing at 68% energy savings beyond the energy code baseline (ASHRAE 90.1-2004). The geothermal well field uses the earth’s constant temperature to offset heating and cooling loads. High performance glass is tuned to the characteristics of each elevation’s exposures. Over 95% of the regularly occupied spaces in the building have daylight.

Mercy Corps Global Headquarters; Portland, OR
THA Architecture
This project is comprised of the restoration of a 42,000 square foot neglected historical landmark.  The project includes a 3,800 square foot green roof, which not only filters water and slows stormwater discharge but contributes to better air quality in this area of the downtown.  Potable water use was reduced by 40% by installing water saving plumbing fixtures such as low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets.  Landscape plants are xeriscaped to eliminate the need for irrigation water, resulting in a more than 50% reduction of potable water consumption for irrigation.  On-site paving is pervious to encourage direct ground infiltration during rainfall.

Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts; Philadelphia, PA
SMP Architects (in collaboration w/ SRK Architects)
The design team concentrated on making this project as transparent and inviting as possible.  Since completion truancy has dropped from 35% to 0%, tests scores have quadrupled and graduation has gone from 29% to 69% – in one year.  The faculty has embraced many of the visible sustainability features and used them as teaching tool for students.  A high percentage of recycled and rapidly renewable materials were incorporated into the project design and construction waste management achieved 82%.  The Design Team put special emphasis on orienting classrooms for optimal daylighting, reducing artificial lighting and HVAC loads.

Music and Science Building; Hood River, OR
Opsis Architecture
The goal of this project was to create a public building that truly fuses sustainable design with sustainability curriculum, and carefully integrate the facility into the existing National Historic Landmark site.  The project team worked closely with the school’s teachers to include and enhance building components that will be incorporated into the curriculum.  From the science classroom, the students have access to the heart of the building’s geothermal and water system, the pump room, labeled and metered specifically to be used for classroom demonstration and instruction.

Portland Community College (PCC) Newberg Center; Newberg, OR
Hennebery Eddy Architects
Designed to be the first net zero energy, higher education building in Oregon, this project supports PCC’s sustainable mission to reduce green house gas emissions by 80% by 2050.  Overall water use was reduced by 49.2% through the use of low-flow faucets and toilets.  A weather-based irrigation system controller, drip irrigation and high efficiency spray heads reduced irrigation water use by more than 50%.  Stretched out along the east-west axis, the design maximizes the north and south building exposures.  Taking advantage of the Pacific Northwest’s climate, the building incorporates natural ventilation and passive cooling articulated by the ventilation stacks that organize the circulation spine.

University of Minnesota Duluth – Bagley Classroom Building; Duluth, MN
Salmela Architect
Serving eight different departments, this project incorporated the German Passiv Haus system in the design process to meet all the performance goals set forth by the client. Educational and pedagogical innovations were paramount throughout the design, construction and operation of the building.  The vegetative roof provides additional habitat, the chives and flowering sedum attract butterflies and bees. It also keeps the building and surrounding area cool.  Building orientation eliminates artificial cooling and the building is cooled by shading with existing tree cover in the summer towards the South as well as shading devices designed for the building.

University of California, Merced 2009 Long Range Development Plan; Merced, CA
UC Merced
This projects approach embraces economic, social and environmental sustainability in all aspects of its built environment, operations and approach to programming.  The plan’s design standards include daylighting in 75% of interior spaces.  The building includes energy efficient lighting, daylighting controls, and carbon dioxide sensors that adjust airflow depending on occupancy.  Under the plan’s zero net energy approach, the campus generates as much electricity as it uses through a portfolio of solar, wind, waste to energy and energy efficiencies.  To design for longevity, spaces and building shells are oriented for flexible re-use wherever possible.

Positive conditions persist for Architecture Billings Index

The commercial sector continues to lead the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) which has remained in positive territory for the fifth consecutive month.  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.  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the March ABI score was 50.4, following a mark of 51.0 in February.  This score reflects a slight increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from mark of 63.4 the previous month.

Key March ABI highlights:

Regional averages:

  • Midwest (54.1)
  • Northeast (53.9)
  • South (50.1)
  • West (46.6)

Sector index breakdown:

  • commercial / industrial (56.0)
  • multi-family residential (51.9)
  • institutional (47.7)
  • mixed practice (47.2)

Project inquiries index: 56.6

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

AIA to Honor Post-9/11 Architects

American Institute of ArchitectsAt its annual National Convention & Design Expo in Washington, DC, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will dedicate the Saturday, May 19th general session  to honor the architects who orchestrated rebuilding initiatives and designed the memorials following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

In addition to the inspiring stories of the rebuilding and memorial at the Pentagon and the Flight 93 National Memorial, six architects who offered their training and experience to help rebuild and memorialize Ground Zero will share their emotions, observations, and anecdotes, including Daniel Liebeskind, FAIA, David Childs, FAIA, Michael Arad, AIA, Craig Dykers, AIA, Steve Davis, FAIA, and Santiago Calatrava, FAIA.

The architects will receive a specially-cast medal commending them for their contribution to our national healing.  Architect members of their teams will also be honored on stage with an AIA Presidential citation.

AIA and NIBS to jointly promote building research

NIBS/AIAThe American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding underscoring the two organizations’ mutual interest in the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance buildings and the desire to collaborate on issues surrounding these topics.

One of the first projects the two organizations will work on collaboratively is the joint development of an on-line portal for building industry research and knowledge. Intended to be accessible to the public, this initiative will include the participation and contribution of a variety of building science and performance disciplines. NIBS and AIA anticipate this partnership will culminate in providing a centralized location for the knowledge and research efforts underway that are relevant to the building industry.

Later this year, NIBS and AIA will also collaborate on an industry summit bringing together leaders in the fields of architecture, construction and engineering. The summit will focus on elevating awareness and understanding of how design adds value to the building process, whether it’s expressed through increased property value or the health, safety and welfare of the building’s users.

Additionally, AIA and NIBS are working together on High Performance Buildings: Combining Field Experience with Innovation, the third Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST) Conference, April 2-4, 2012, in Atlanta. The Conference is part of the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council’s (BETEC) mission to explore the advancement of energy efficiency of buildings as well as the durability of buildings as affected by moisture and the indoor environment. The AIA and NIBS have been partners in the Building Enclosure Councils since 2004.

Architecture Billings Index Positive for Second Straight Month

AIAAfter showing struggling business conditions for most of 2011, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has now been positive for two consecutive months.  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.  The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 52.0, following the exact same mark in November.  This score reflects an overall increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 64.0, down just a point from a reading of 65.0 the previous month.

Key December ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (54.2),  Midwest (53.1), Northeast (52.6), West (45.1)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.3), commercial / industrial (54.1),institutional (51.3), mixed practice (44.5)
  • Project inquiries index: 64.0

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

AIA introduces five new documents for use on sustainable projects

AIAFive AIA Contract Documents are going green! Developed using AIA’s flagship documents as a base, and incorporating concepts and model language from the AIA’s Guide for Sustainable Projects, the new documents address the unique roles, risks and opportunities encountered on sustainable design and construction projects.

The new AIA Contract Documents created for use on sustainable projects include:

  • A101-2007 SP, Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Contractor, for use on a Sustainable Project where the basis of payment is a Stipulated Sum
  • B101-2007 SP, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect, for use on a Sustainable Project
  • A201-2007 SP, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, for use on a Sustainable Project
  • C401-2007 SP, Standard Form of Agreement Between Architect and Consultant, for use on a Sustainable Project
  • A401-2007 SP, Standard Form of Agreement Between Contractor and Subcontractor, for use on a Sustainable Project

AIA Document D503™-2011, Guide for Sustainable Projects, including Agreement Amendments and Supplementary Conditions, was released by the AIA in May 2011. In the short time since it was released, over 4,000 users have downloaded the Guide. In addition to providing model language that may be used to amend or supplement AIA Contract Documents for design-bid-build projects, the Guide discusses the applicability of key concepts to other delivery models such as design-build, construction management and integrated project delivery.

Because the AIA believes the Guide is an important resource for the design and construction industry, it is available as a free download.

These new documents will be available in the first quarter of 2012 as part of the new AIA Contract Documents service and AIA Documents on Demand®. To purchase these and other AIA Contract Documents, please go to the AIA website.