At this year’s SXSW Festival, engineering took center stage in the documentary DamNation (directors Travis Rummel & Ben Knight), which won the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award. It begins with America’s rash of dam-building under FDR when these mammoth structures were considered man-made wonders. Hoover and Grand Coulee are the large-scale examples, but there were about 80,000 smaller dams built across the country.
The AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced the winners of its annual sustainability awards program. Now in its 18th year, the COTE awards celebrate green architecture, design, and technology. According to a press release, the winning projects must “make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts.”
Each of the ten winners will be officially honored at the AIA’s National Convention and Design Exhibition in Chicago later this year, but, in the meantime, here’s a closer look at the 10 winners.
After starting the year on a positive trend, the Architectural Billings Index ticked down last month. The March ABI score dropped sharply from February’s score of 50.7 to 48.8. This moves the index into negative territory as any score below 50 signifies a decrease in design services. The new projects inquiry, though, did tick up from 56.8 to 57.9.
The Congress for the New Urbanism has announced that Lynn Richards will serve as the organization’s new president and CEO. Richards joins the Congress from the EPA, where she worked in the Office of Sustainable Communities. She has organized with environmental groups in former Soviet Republics and holds a Loeb Fellowship from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She will assume her new role on July 1.
“We want to see more great places built. We want to build neighborhoods where more people can walk and bike,” said the incoming president in a statement. “We want to create more vibrant and prosperous places that celebrate great design and development approaches.” To make this happen, Richards wants to “road-test innovative design and polices.”
Richards succeeds John Norquist, who was appointed CNU’s president in 2002. In his previous position as the mayor of Milwaukee, he led the charge to demolish a major highway in the city. And under his leadership at CNU, the organization called on other cities to do the same, with their biennial “Freeways Without Futures” list.
What was the most popular architecture or design exhibition in 2013? If you guessed MoMA’s Le Corbusier spectacular or SFMOMA’s landmark Lebbeus Woods: Architect (coming to New York’s Drawing Center April 15) you’re close but off the mark. In fact the most popular architecture exhibition in the world, according to The Art Newspaper‘s 2013 Visitors Figures was MoMA’s Henri Labrouste exhibition that drew 438,680 viewers (4,100 a day) compared to the Le Corbusier show that had 405,000 visitors (4,010 a day).
Amtrak is out with a new promotional video, and it’s targeted right at millennials. As UrbanCincy reported, “On the heels of kicking off their new Writers Residency program, where writers can ride intercity passenger rail for free, Amtrak welcomed 30 prominent new media ‘influencers’ on a long-distance train ride from Los Angeles to SXSW in Austin.”
After the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) posted positive gains in January, the question everyone was asking was, “What comes next?” Today, the AIA’s monthly report answered that question with a bit more good news. The ABI was measured at 50.7 in February, which is up slightly from a January score of 50.4. So, how did this happen? The change was due to strong numbers posted in the South (52.8) and the West (50.5). But dragging the group down, the Northeast and Midwest both scored below 50 with scores of 48.3 and 47.6, respectively (any score below 50 indicates a decline).
The U.S. has finally caught up to 1956. With the help of 146 million more people, the country has finally managed to match the number of trips American’s took on mass transit 57 years ago. Largely skirting the population elephant in the corner the American Public Transport Administration released a reported revealing some 10.7 billion trips were taken on US public transportation in 2013.
The every diminishing ranks of architecture critics suffered another loss, as Bloomberg News cut James Russell’s column, as a part of a larger reorganization/elimination of its cultural coverage. According to a post on Russell’s personal blog, Bloomberg is focusing on luxury and lifestyle coverage over arts and culture coverage.
Design giant Perkins + Will has swallowed up Freelon Group Architects, one of the country’s most prominent African American–led firms. The firms announced Tuesday that North Carolina–based Phil Freelon will help lead Perkins + Will’s design efforts in the region and globally.
The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects announced the winners of their annual Design Awards. For the 2014 edition, 5 submissions received honors and additional 13 were chosen for merits from a field of 70. Participants from various New York-based firms provided designs for sites found within the city as well as other parts of the country. Award-recipients will be displaying their designs at the Center for Architecture beginning on April 3rd through the end of the month.