The Architect Newswire is an aggregation of news from media outlets around the world, intended to keep you abreast of all of the industry’s important developments. The stories we feature are not reported, edited, or fact-checked by Architect’s staff.

REUTERS
Year of the landlord

Dallas-based JHP Architecture is busy with dozens of apartment projects. “We're seeing overall work come back and there's a backlog of contracts to go through,” says Brian Keith, the firm's director of urban design and planning. “There's strong interest in multi-family units and plenty of pent-up demand.” Margaret Chadbourn reports that Morgan Stanley analyst Oliver Chang recently named 2012 “The Year of the Landlord.” The Morgan Stanley report says, “Rents are rising, vacancies are falling, household formations are growing and rental supply is limited. We believe the demand for rental properties will continue to grow.” New housing starts—almost entirely in the multifamily market—are at their highest level in 19 months.

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Housing prices down

The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home-price index declined in 19 of 20 American cities between September and October. Dow Jones Newswires report that 18 cities saw the index drop on a year-over-year basis. Atlanta saw the worst tumble, dropping 5 percent month-to-month. Midwestern cities, including Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Minneapolis saw declines of 1 percent or more.

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TIMES-NEWS (HENDERSONVILLE, NC)
James P. Beardsley dies

Hendersonville, N.C. architect James P. Beardsley has died at 90. The Times-News reports that the Cornell grad led a “pre-eminent” firm in Auburn, N.Y., with his brother before retiring to North Carolina. During his later years, he was a principal with O’Cain Architects, where he worked on institutional and commercial projects, including the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, the Hendersonville Fire Department, and the Hendersonville Little Theater.

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THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Buckhead’s revival

Buckhead, an uptown district in Atlanta, was hard hit by the recession, as 3 million square feet of office space was completed following the start of the recession. J. Scott Trubey reports that things are starting to turn around, with office vacancy in the area dropping to 18.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011, down from 23 percent in the first quarter of 2010. “We see the sunlight at the end of this tunnel, and Buckhead is taking advantage of it,” says Buckhead Coalition president Sam Massell. “Buckhead has surprised everybody and turned out better than we thought,” says PM Realty Group executive vice president Bill Weghorst.

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ROMEREPORTS.COM
Vatican nativity scene goes native

According to RomeReports.com, this year’s Nativity scene in the Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square depicts architecture authentic to the time and place of Christ’s birth—the Palestine of 2,000 years ago. The setting for the figures is changed each year, but the statues, created in 1842 by St. Vincent Pallotti, have been used annually in the square since 1982, when Pope John Paul II established the tradition. The display will be up until February 2.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES
Brand that building

New York’s current crop of apartment buildings is getting some help with their names. Joanne Kaufman reports that most aren’t going by their street addresses, sporting titles like Citizen, MiMA, The Ice House, and The Tribeca Summit. “It’s Branding 101,” says Allen P. Adamson, the managing director of corporate identity consultant Landor. “A name tells a story, and a good name can tell a very strong story.” One such story is Shigeru Ban and Dean Maltz’s Metal Shutter Houses. “The name speaks to one of the building’s attributes, the retractable shutters on the facade,” says Jasmine Mir, Corcoran Sunshine senior vice president Jasmine Mir. “You don’t generally refer to condos as ‘houses,’ ” Mir adds, “so that made it special. It had a simple, utilitarian sound which speaks to the architect’s ethos.”

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ANNISTON STAR (AL)
Site chosen

Architects Design Group finally has a site for the public safety complex it’s designing for Jacksonville, Ala.: between Jacksonville High School and a Walmart. David Jennings reports that the $8 to $12 million building will include a fire department, police department, court, and jail. One advantage of the chosen site is that the city already owns it, which will save the municipality the cost of land acquisition. One drawback is the compatibility of adjacent uses. “The jail would be further away from the high school than the current jail is away from Kitty Stone Elementary, so it is not like we are putting it on top of the school,” Mayor Johnny Smith says. “There will also be many, many protections [so] that I just do not see that being a problem.”

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THE WASHINGTON POST
Cool spaces

High tech companies are leading the new trend in “cool spaces,” according to Dan Levy. Examples include Google’s new Menlo Park, Calif., campus that reflects a “hacker” style with industrial materials; the same company’s New York offices, located in a block-square warehouse; and Twitter’s renovation of a 1930s furniture mart in San Francisco. “A new generation of corporate leaders is looking at space-planning as a core part of business to increase productivity and keep people in the office,” says Real Capital Analytics managing director Dan Fasulo. “Real estate developers think tenants want architecturally significant space on the outside, but they really want cool space on the inside, access to public transportation and open-space planning,” says Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst John Guinee.

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QUAD-CITY TIMES (DAVENPORT, IOWA)
Davenport wants master plan

The city of Davenport, Iowa, is looking to develop a master plan for the Village of East Davenport historic district. “The bottom line is, I think we are looking for something that inspires people,” says Community Planning and Economic Development Department senior manager Matt Flynn. Kurt Allemeier reports that that the impetus for the plan is the recent loss of several historic homes to demolition. “Hopefully, master planning will give us a better idea of what we should be keeping and what could be replaced and keep the integrity of the historic district,” alderman Bill Boom says.

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CURBED NATIONAL
The “other” glass house, for sale

The revived interest in mid-century modern is bringing to light many long-forgotten gems. Sarah Firshein reports that a 1,700-square-foot home in Lansing, Mich., by architect William Kessler is one of them. Dubbed the “dean of Detroit’s architectural community,” Kessler built the three-gabled home for his family in 1958.  It’s now on the market for $159,000.

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