Photo of the Day: Happy Presidents Day!

National
Monday, February 17, 2014
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The Washington Monument. (Courtesy Department of the Interior)

The Washington Monument. (Courtesy Department of the Interior)

By George, today is Presidents Day, the annual celebration of Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and their successors. While Washington was born on February 22 and Lincoln on February 12, the holiday—dating back to the 1700s—is officially celebrated on on the third Monday in February. To mark the occasion, the U.S. Department of the Interior shared this rather untraditional view of the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital.

The National Security State Watches You. Now You Can Watch It Back

East, Media, National, Technology
Friday, February 14, 2014
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The National Security Agency (Photo by Trevor Paglen)

The National Security Agency. (Trevor Paglen)

More than eight months after Edward Snowden started pulling back the curtain on the national security state, we’re just now getting our first glimpse of what that sprawling apparatus actually looks like – building by building. Up until this point, the only image of the actual, physical intelligence operation was an agency-released photograph of the NSA’s boxy, glass headquarters in Fort Meade.

Read More

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New Research Shows Cities Take an Unexpected Toll on Songbirds

Bird_archpaper1

(Photo by Stephen Gomes/Flickr)

Researchers at Arizona State University have discovered yet another way urbanization contributes to noise pollution. In this case it is not so much what is being added to the aural environment, but rather what is being taken away. A new study establishes a direct link between degrees of urbanization and the prevalence of parasites that tend to fatally affect finches. Beyond prevalence, the research shows that the loss of natural habitat within more urbanized areas also amplifies the severity of the gastrointestinal infections that afflict the songbirds. My poor Swomee-Swans…

AIA Infographic: Designing Community, Shaping Health

Design, National, Newsletter
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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AIA INFOGRAPHIC (COURTESY AIA)

(COURTESY AIA)

Over time, architects, designers, and engineers have demonstrated how the structural significance and quality of architectural design impacts the built environment and the quality of life of people residing within it. To drive that point home, the AIA has released an infographic showing architecture’s key role in the enhancement of individuals’ physical and mental well-being.

The interactive charts explore how design plays significantly more than an aesthetic function. It is not solely about linear or convex shapes, about geometric structures or innovative materials. Rather, the importance of architecture lies in the choices that architects make when designing buildings in order to positively affect the quality of life of its users.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Mayors, Philanthropies Team Up for Energy Efficiency Blitz

National, News, Sustainability
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Read More

Former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood Assumes New Roles

ray-lahood-opt

Obama’s former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has accepted two new jobs since resigning his post last July. First, he has joined a bipartisan group focused on improving national transportation policy. LaHood will be co-chair of Building America’s Future along with Former New York Mayor Bloomberg (I) and former Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell (D). “I am delighted to join Building America’s Future as a co-chair and am excited to work together with some of the nation’s most innovative public leaders,” LaHood said in a statement. Also this month, LaHood announced he will be joining law firm DLA Piper as a senior consultant, according to StreetsBlog. A spokesperson said he will hold a strictly advisory role at the mega-firm and will not become a lobbyist.

Senators, Congresswoman Back National Park Status for Chicago’s Pullman Neighborhood

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN'S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

THE 12000 BLOCK OF SOUTH CHAMPLAIN AVENUE AND THE 11200 BLOCK OF SOUTH FORESTVILLE AVENUE FEATURE SOME OF PULLMAN’S HISTORIC HOMES AND HOTELS. (HPF / ROBERT SHYMANSKI)

Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly today announced their intention to introduce legislation that would make the Pullman Historic District Chicago’s first national park.

Since last year, a movement to designate the South Side Pullman neighborhood a national park has gained momentum. Its historic building stock—full of Romanesque and Victorian Queen Anne style buildings by architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett — was lauded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture Billings Index Dips for Second Month. Is the Recovery Slowing?

National
Thursday, January 23, 2014
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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)

Following a period of extended growth, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), which is compiled by the AIA, declined for the second straight month, down to 48.5 in December from 49.8 in November (any score below 50 indicates a decline). The news is not entirely bleak, however, as new project inquiries rose to 59.2 up from 57.8.

Continue reading after the jump.

AN Launches Newsletter on Building Facade Technology

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
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(BRAD FEINKNOPF/FEINKNOPF / MONTAGE BY AN)

(BRAD FEINKNOPF/FEINKNOPF / MONTAGE BY AN)

To compliment our acclaimed national education conference, Facades+, The Architect’s Newspaper has launched a brand new editorial series to bring readers the most innovative building envelopes on some of the world’s most important, newly completed buildings, and the products and processes behind them. Publishing every Wednesday morning, the Facades+ Newsletter provides in-depth coverage of the newest innovations in building skins, from glass and metal to tile, wood, and composites.

Sign up to have each week’s installment delivered directly to your inbox.

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Colorful Carbon Footprint Maps Illustrates Energy Usage Trends

New!_Carbon_Footprint_Maps_CoolClimate_Network_-_2014-01-16_03.40.47

Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network, Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint (2013)

University of California, Berkeley has released a new set of interactive maps illustrating national energy usage.  The visually striking if troubling images reveal a stark urban/suburban divide regarding carbon footprint, with the latter contributing far more in emissions than their city-dwelling counterparts.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michael Sorkin Proposal Sites Obama Presidential Library in Chicago’s Woodlawn Neighborhood

(michael sorkin studio)

(michael sorkin studio)

After President Barack Obama leaves office, he’s expected to announce the location of a Presidential Library in his name. Its location has been a topic of debate for some time already, years ahead of Obama’s return to civilian life in 2017. His birthplace, Hawaii, has made a push, as has New York’s Columbia University, where Obama got his undergraduate degree in political science.

Chicago, the President’s adopted hometown, is a natural frontrunner in the preemptive race, as it’s where Obama made most of his political ties and first launched his career in public service.

Continue reading after the jump.

November Billings Reveal a Drop in Design Services for the Second Month in a Row

Architecture, National
Friday, December 20, 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)

All good things must come to an end. Following a robust six months, the demand for design services has simmered down.  In November, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) slid from 51.6 in October to 49.8 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). This the second month in a row that the ABI has experienced a small dip.

Continue reading after the jump.

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