May Architecture Billings Index Bounces Back From April Slump

National
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

April showers bring May flowers. The AIA’s latest numbers for May’s Architecture Billings Index have fortunately showed renewed strength with a score of 52.9, an increase from April’s low score of 48.6, which marked a surprising setback into negative territory for the first time in nine months. (Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.)

“This rebound is a good sign for the design and construction industry and hopefully means that April’s negative dip was a blip rather than a sign of challenging times to come,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, in a statement. “But there is a resounding sense of uncertainty in the marketplace—from clients to investors and an overall lack of confidence in the general economy—that is continuing to act as a governor on the business development engine for architecture firms.”

Regional and sector breakdowns after the jump.

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Architects Reimagine Micro-Apartments in Denver

International, National
Monday, June 17, 2013
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The "Micro Urban" proposal was awarded first prize.

The “Micro Urban” proposal was awarded first prize. (Courtesy Micro Ideas Housing Competition)

The Denver Architectural League asked architects and designers from across the world to reimagine the micro-apartment on a riverfront site by designing an eight-unit structure that diverges from the uninspired design of multi-family housing elsewhere in the community. Their Micro Housing Ideas Competition generated over 100 entries and a jury selected ten proposals for special distinction. The competition was inspired by a concern regarding a shortage of innovation present in Denver’s multi-family housing market. Members of the design community were given the opportunity to rework and establish the future of this specific sector.

View the winners after the jump.

Q+A> Michael Graves On His J.C. Penney Collection

National, Newsletter, Product
Monday, June 10, 2013
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Michael Graves (left) and the toaster he designed for J.C. Penney (right).

Michael Graves (left) and the toaster he designed for J.C. Penney (right).

At J.C. Penney’s recent rebranding launch party, AN spoke with architect and product designer Michael Graves about his new collection for the company and some career highlights. He even offers advice for aspiring architects and designers and talks about some current design work.

How did designing a collection for JCPenney come about?

I’ve known some of the people at Penney’s since my Target days, so when this opportunity came around we were looking for a way to slow down our commitment to Target at that time. When Penney’s offered what they did to us, we grabbed it in a second. It was such a good deal in terms of having a shop within a store.

For me, that’s the game changer. If we were close friends and you told me you had to do some shopping for a relative or something like that, I’d tell you to go to our shop in Penney’s. It’s all there and that’s what excites me.

Continue reading after the jump.

Climbing the Wall: Architectural Record Tries Out An Online Paywall

Eavesdroplet, National
Monday, June 10, 2013
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(Montage by AN)

(Montage by AN)

Readers enjoying Architectural Record’s free online content got a wake-up call in late May: a paywall for articles older than 30 days. Now to access “the archive,” one must subscribe to the publication or sign up for an online subscription ($20/year). Thus, Record, one of the oldest surviving publications on architecture, joins the ranks of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which in recent years have asked readers to pony up for full online access. Record’s move sent a jolt through the Twitterati of the architecture and design world, who speculated on what other pubs might follow. No paywall plans for us, Metropolis and Architect cheerfully tweeted back. Thanks to its high volume of online traffic, Record can afford to experiment with paid content, even if it means stymying some potential readers. On Reddit’s architecture site, a recent post that asked “What design do you like best?” and included a link to Record received the reply: “I like the one that doesn’t link to the F—ING PAYWALL.”

Product> Work This Way: A Preview of NeoCon Debuts

National, Product
Friday, June 7, 2013
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Lagunitas by Coalesse.

Lagunitas by Coalesse.

Getting excited for NeoConAN is. In fact, AN product editor Emily Hooper was so eager to see the latest design products for commercial interiors that she prepared this preview of some of best chairs, casegood systems, and acoustical panels that will be on view this year in Chicago.

Lagunitas
Coalesse

To meet the needs of the nomadic workforce, Coalesse tapped Milan-based Toan Nguyen to design the Lagunitas line. Made to accommodate a solitary task session, a working lunch, or a brief touchdown to check emails, the collection features more than 50 combinations of seating, tables, and privacy screens perfect for laidback productivity.

Continue reading after the jump.

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The Shortlist> Top Five Competitions of the Week

National
Thursday, June 6, 2013
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(Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

(Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

Are you eager to put your architectural design skills to the test?  Here are some exciting upcoming competitions that will be sure to present you with the type of challenge you’ve been waiting for. AN‘s editors have combed through our online listing of architecture and design competitions to bring you five of the most interesting competitions happening right now. If you’d like your competition to be included in the listing, please submit it here.

Architecture at ZeroA competition for zero net energy architecture, Architecture at Zero is open to students and professionals in pursuit of energy efficient design. Presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and AIA San Francisco in partnership with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, the competition invites designs for a new, 150 unit mixed-use residential apartment building in San Francisco that is as close to zero net energy as possible. The structure must consist of affordable and market rate housing, and include a ground floor neighborhood-serving grocery store. $25,000 in prize money will be awarded. There will be at least one award for a student entry and one for a professional entry.

Submission Deadline: October 1, 2013.

More after the jump.

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ULI Announces Finalists in Urban Open Space Award Competition

National
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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Brooklyn Bridge Park (Flickr - Urban Land Institute)

Brooklyn Bridge Park (Flickr – Urban Land Institute)

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced five finalists for the Urban Open Space Award, a competition identifying exceptional examples of flourishing public open spaces that have encouraged economic and social rejuvenation within their neighborhoods. To qualify for the competition, projects must have been open to the public for a minimum of one year and a maximum of fifteen years. The open spaces must also be situated predominately outside, offer ample and diverse seating, sun and shade, and plantings, among other specific requirements.

View all the finalists after the jump.

Product> Small Spaces and High Design in the Kitchen

National, Product
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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G925 Door in Moka Glass by Porcelanosa

G925 Door in Moka Glass by Porcelanosa

Tight spaces shouldn’t dictate a sacrifice in style or function, particularly when it comes to outfitting the kitchen. Our round-up of sleek and compact kitchen products below proves good things do come in small packages.

G925 Door in Moka Glass
Porcelanosa

Small kitchens and baths call for innovative wall surfaces. Porcelanosa’s semi-custom kitchen includes the G-925 (above), a flat surface door finish with the company’s Moka Glass and walnut veneer. The cabinets come in a choice of nine colors and feature integrated handles, which give them a seamless look that can be re-configured to fit any space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Minneapolis, Cycling City: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

National
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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Cyclists and Frank Gehry. (Grant Smith)

Cyclists and Frank Gehry. (Grant Smith)

[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]

We liked Minneapolis—it ended our sojourn in the wilderness of South Dakota, we saw some nice things, met a lot of cool people and the biking there is great!

On our journey plan we had highlighted the fact that the city was host to a bevy of starchitects—Herzog and de Meuron with the 2005 Walker Art Gallery extension, Jean Nouvel with the Guthrie Theater of 2006, and Frank Gehry at the Weisman Museum which opened in 2011.

Continue reading after the jump.

Six Outstanding Libraries Honored by the AIA and American Library Association

National, Newsletter
Monday, June 3, 2013
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South Mountain Community Library. (Bill Timmerman / Mark Boisclair)

South Mountain Community Library. (Bill Timmerman / Mark Boisclair)

As cities across the country struggle to bring new life to aging athenaeums and cash-strapped local libraries, the AIA has honored six outstanding examples of library design in this year’s AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. In the past we have seen a Walmart transformed into a library, a controversial starchitect renovation in New York, and an interactive, LED light-show—now take a look at these honored projects. From democratic design in the nation’s capital to a stunning Beaux-Arts restoration in St. Louis and high-tech solutions in North Carolina, this year’s winning projects present a range of answers to the challenges facing our fading repositories.

View the winners after the jump.

Review> Palatial Kitsch: At Home with Liberace

National
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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Scene from Behind the Candelabra. (Courtesy HBO)

Scene from Behind the Candelabra. (Courtesy HBO)

With gay marriage rippling across the country and even the Boy Scouts opening their doors to gays, it’s hard to believe that during Liberace’s lifetime, coming out was career suicide.  The mystery is how anyone, particularly his adoring blue-haired female fans, could have ever thought otherwise.  His flamboyant, over-the-top more –is-better excess in décor and fashion, both on stage and off, screams “queen” louder than his proficient, versatile piano playing.  “The Impossible Dream” indeed.

“I call this palatial kitsch” says Michael Douglas playing Liberace, known as Lee, to Matt Damon’s Scott Thorson, his soon to be paramour in HBO’s Behind the Candelabra.  This is shortly after Scott enters the Las Vegas spread where he asks the friend who’s brought him: “Is this a palace?” which prompts the reply “Lee thinks he’s King Ludwig II.”  Scott: “ Who’s he?”  “The Liberace of Bavaria.”  (Ludwig [1845-1886], also gay, commissioned extravagant palaces, patronized composer Richard Wagner, and was deposed as “mad.”)

Continue reading after the jump.

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Registration Open> facades+ PERFORMANCE Coming to San Francisco this July

National, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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Banner_Image-Tempate_630x160_v2

Keynote Speaker, Ken Yeang's vision for a green skyscraper.

Keynote Speaker, Ken Yeang’s vision for a green skyscraper.

Whatever your plans may be for this summer, be sure to check out this year’s second facades+ PERFORMANCE conference, symposium, and workshops in San Francisco on July 11th-12th, hosted by The Architect’s Newspaper in collaboration with Enclos. Registration is now open!

Facades+ is an ongoing series of conferences that has traveled to cities across the nation, including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Each year the event focuses on a new theme, this year we have selected Performance.

Continue reading after the jump.

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