The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) for June remained in negative territory for the third month in a row. Last month AIA chief economist Kermit Baker expressed concern that the summertime doldrums might mirror a 2011 trend when the ABI lulled after an initially healthy first quarter. Now it looks as though the index is doing just that. “While not all firms are experiencing negative conditions, a large share is still coping with a sluggish and erratic marketplace,” Baker said in a statement. All of the regions of the country and all industry sectors remained in negative territory with the overall index barely budging from May’s 45.8, with June registering at 45.9 (any score below 50 reflects a decrease).
While a winner has not yet been selected, Tex-Fab’s new APPLIED: Research Through Fabrication competition has already produced interesting results as four semi-finalists emerge. The competition solicited proposals that best displayed “research through computational fabrication.” The four proposals selected in the first round of adjudication address acoustics, structure, construction, material, and surface effects, each using on digital modeling and fabrication techniques. The proposals, described in more detail below, will be shown at ACADIA 2012 this October at the Synthetic Digital Ecologies conference, hosted at the California College of the Arts.
From coast to coast, we editors at The Architect’s Newspaper hope you have a fun and safe Independence Day! We’ll be out of the office on the Fourth, but here’s an innovative take on fireworks for your enjoyment, a birds-eye perspective taken from a camera attached to balloons right in the middle of the action. [Via Boing Boing.]
At NeoCon this year, IIDA (International Interior Design Association) presented copies of What Clients Want, the first-ever study of the client/designer relationship told from the point of view of the client, written and edited by Melissa Feldman, IIDA’s executive vice president. IIDA CEO Cheryl Durst called it “a groundbreaking account of how some C-suite executives have been able to alter their companies’ destinations through design [by] firms who got inside their corporate DNA and pushed them to be better.”
Durst is referring to companies like Autodesk, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Cowboys Stadium, and Facebook, which enlisted the services of Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander of Studio O+A, a husband and wife duo who have designed interiors for a roster of “techie brands” like Aol, eBay, Microsoft, and PayPal. In 2008, O+A was commissioned to consolidate Facebook’s spread of ten office buildings in Palo Alto, California, and merge them into Hewlett Packard’s former HQ. Studio O+A credits the extensive research they conduct on potential clients prior to any design work for landing the gig.
On June 28th, the academicians of the National Academy welcomed 23 newly elected members, recognized for their contribution to American art and architecture. This year, the nominees included artists working in video, photography, and installation, further reinforcing the National Academy’s mission of promoting art across America. The roster of over 2,000 academicians includes famous pioneers of early American art such as Thomas Cole and seminal architects such as Philip Johnson.
This year’s inductees include visual artists such as Cindy Sherman and Bruce Nauman and architects Steven Holl and Michael Graves. Chosen annually by their peers, the elected members contributed representative work to the Academy’s permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks, architectural drawings, photographs, and models.
“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said of the steep springtime drop reflected in May’s Architectural Billings Index (ABI). Baker was referring to the trend from 2011, when design activity took a substantial hit after an initially healthy first quarter. “But we don’t want to have a repeat of last year,” he added referring to the sluggish numbers that continued to shadow the profession through the fall. The new numbers were the worst since October and, Baker said, reflect trends in the larger economy.
With nine million dollars total in prizes up for grabs, The Mayor’s Challenge simply asks for innovations in city life, a subject that’s been a growing concern for countless architects, planners, and governments worldwide. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the competition last week calling for individual designers and teams to address urban challenges from sustainability to citizen empowerment. “Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward.”
With just a year and a half left of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure remaining, the first of his major appointees, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, is moving on. Under Benepe, the Parks Department was transformed on a scale that approached the early tenure of Robert Moses. Since his appointment in 2002, the commissioner oversaw the largest expansion of waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park, embraced public-private partnerships as seen on the High Line, and distributed more than $250 million in Croton Water Filtration funds to small pocket parks throughout the Bronx.
As North America’s largest interior design conference, Neocon is a great place to scout interiors trends. Here are a couple themes AN spotted during this year’s opening days. Video conference calls are an integral part of day-to-day office work for a growing share of businesses. Elegant office design and high-tech compatibility seemed to dovetail in many of the new products on display at Neocon. Read More
On Monday at the Society for Information Display’s Display Week trade show in Boston, Corning Inc. launched their new high-performance, paper thin, cost effective, and fully flexible Willow Glass. Capable of being manufactured with efficient roll-to-roll processing, like that used for newsprint, and processed at up to 500° C, Willow glass is sure to usher in a new wave of development in displays, lighting, and flexible solar cells. Read More