Planning and transportation wonks from around the country gathered at NYU’s Kimmel Center this morning to mark the beginning of three-days of the NACTO Designing Cities conference, emphasizing new and innovative ideas for designing streets and public spaces. To jumpstart the event, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released the Urban Street Design Guide, collecting design principles, strategies, and case studies from across the country on how to best design and implement everything from cycletracks to bus rapid transit.
The AIA has released its Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for September, and the news looks good. According to the organization, the ABI score went to 51.6, up from 50.2 in August (any score above 50 reflects an increase in billings). The spike marks the fastest increase in the demand for design services since 2010.
The AIA tied the upswing in billings to an increased demand for rental housing. “Going back to the third quarter of 2011, the multi-family residential sector has been the best performing segment of the construction field,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “With high foreclosure levels in recent years, more stringent mortgage approvals and fewer people in the market to buy homes there has been a surge in demand for rental housing. The upturn in residential activity will hopefully spur more nonresidential construction.”
Cecil Balmond, who famously left ARUP to start his own firm, Cecil Balmond Studio, a couple years ago, has a mesmerizing new project. The ethereal light sculpture, dubbed Snow Words, stretches out towards the Alaskan sky and illuminates the lobby of the new Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage. Suspended between a glazed skylight and a mirrored floor, the 30-foot-high beacon, which opened last month, seems to float within its laser-cut cylindrical shell. Made of LED-lit rods calibrated to a unique sequence, the installation commemorates the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
This year is the first ever Designers & Books Fair in Manhattan and The Architect’s Newspaper is giving away two Exhibition Floor Tickets to one lucky reader to attend the event. The fair, presented by the Designers & Books website that reveals architects’ favorite reads, runs from Friday, October 26 to 28 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. The event will exhibit leading design book publishers and sellers from the United States and Europe along with discussions, interviews, and presentations from an international panel of designers including Todd Oldham, Hal Rubenstein, Michael Bierut, Steven Heller, Paul Goldberger, Tod Williams and Billy Tsien among others. There will also be rare and out-of-print book dealers, with up to 40 percent discounts, book signings, and demonstrations on calligraphy, letterpress printing, and bookbinding.
To win a ticket, post a comment below with the title of your favorite architecture or design book. We’ll choose a random winner Thursday at 1:00p.m. EST. For more information about the fair, the schedule, and to purchase exhibition floor or panel tickets, visit the Designers & Books’ website.
Two new apps are helping to change the relationship between architecture and technology, allowing architects and designers to sketch and trace and view augmented reality 3-D renderings right on their iPads.
As its name suggests, the Trace app from the Morpholio Project allows users to draw—with a stylus or a finger—over digitized manilla-yellow tracing paper and sketch graphic concepts directly onto an iPad screen. Designers can add new layers of Trace, creating a timeline for the design process and allowing for easy sharing between colleagues.
Attend a Nemetschek Vectorworks BIM Camp, and learn how easy it can be to adopt a BIM workflow! BIM Camps will take place November 1 in New York City and November 9 in San Francisco. Attendees will better understand how IFC-based standards benefit design teams, create sustainable and high-performing designs, and enable collaboration through Open BIM.
Don’t miss this chance to earn 4 AIA/CES/HSW or LA CES PDH learning units and receive a BIM Survival Kit, loaded with presentation materials and other resources.
Event sponsors and participants include: buildingSMART alliance; buildingSMART alliance Interest Group NYC; François Lévy Architect; Novedge; Nemetschek Scia; Severson & Werson, A Professional Corporation, and Zetlin & De Chiara LLP.
Questions? Email BIMcamp@vectorworks.net or call 888-646-4223.
This morning AN reported that a massive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural drawings, photographs, models, and more are heading to a new home at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, opening up the archive to academic and scholarly research. For your enjoyment, below is a sampling of the treasures encompassed in the collection and a video about the news.
Studio Mode | modeLab is excited to announce a promotional offer for the upcoming NON-LINEAR LAB: Growth Systems and Digital Fabrication with Skylar Tibbits. With generous support from The Architect’s Newspaper and Fabrikator, we are giving away a Complimentary Seat to this intensive design workshop. The Lab is scheduled for September 8th/9th and will be a weekend full of programming, parametric design, and digital fabrication. Come design and make some wild prototypes with us!
Promotional Details: “Like” us and enter to win a free seat in the Lab. Winner announced Friday, August 31st at 11:59PM EST.
Lab Details: NON-LINEAR LAB is two-day workshop on Growth Systems, Parametric Detailing, and Digital Fabrication. This Lab is the next installment in our coLAB series and is the result of collaborative research undertaken by Skylar Tibbits [SJET + Previous coLAB Instructor] and Ronnie Parsons + Gil Akos [Studio Mode/modeLab]. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, we will cover Fundamental Concepts of Programming and Parametric Design as well as an introduction to Laser Cutting Constraints and Best Practices. Emphasis will be placed on iterative prototyping, allowing for a thorough investigation of a series of Growth, Component, and Detailing Scripts using Python and Grasshopper while working directly with our CNC equipment.
Director Henry Urbach just announced a program that will reintroduce fresh flowers into Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House in New Canaan, CT, where they’ve been missing seen since Johnson and his partner, David Whitney, passed away in 2005. The arrangements will be created by local designer Dana Worlock, using Whitney’s original plant selection and archival photographs of the home’s interior as inspiration.
Meanwhile, AN is participating in this week’s Glass House Conversations about themes in this year’s Venice Biennale, especially the relationship between critical compliance as espoused by David Chipperfield and Spontaneous Intervention and as featured in the U.S. Pavilion. Share your thoughts through September 2nd.
The Glass House
199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840
Open Thursday-Monday, 9:30a.m-5:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $30.
The AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for July came in with a disappointing 48.7 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in billings for design activity). The news was not all bad though. The ABI was up significantly from last month’s score of 45.9. “Even though architecture firm billings nationally were down again in July, the downturn moderated substantially,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “As long as overall economic conditions continue to show improvement, modest declines should shift over to growth in design activity over the coming months.”
You might have heard that the next version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 6, is scrapping transit directions when it revamps its mapping program. That’s a big deal for city dwellers in a constant rush to grab the closest subway or the fastest bus and caused quite an uproar earlier this summer when news hit the internet. While Google’s standard app is no longer default, a plethora of software developers have jumped at the opportunity to design custom transit apps. Open Plans, a non-profit software developer in New York, is one of them, and they’re in the final hours of a Kickstarter campaign to fund their transit app.
As of publishing, their open-source OpenTripPlanner Mobile project is still about 20 percent short of its goal, but closing in pretty quickly. The software promises features that the current Google maps app doesn’t allow, like planning for multi-modal trips involving transit, walking, and bikes. New Yorkers can check out an example of Open Plans’ bike-share software Cibi.me, which will help plan Citi Bike trips once the city finally works out all the bugs.