The AIA's Architecture Billings Index for April was 52.7 (any score over 50 indicates an increase in billings), and the Inquiries Index was 63.8. By region, the Midwest had the best score, 54.9, followed by the West (54.0), South (52.2), and Northeast (49.3).
Norman C. Fletcher, founding partner of Cambridge, Mass.–based firm The Architects' Collaborative (TAC), died May 31 at age 89. His most notable project is perhaps the 1972 headquarters for the American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C., but Fletcher completed significant additions at a number of universities, as well as elementary schools and medical facilities throughout New England. His family intends to establish a scholarship at the Boston Architectural College in his name.
The World Monuments Fund has announced its 2008 list of the 100 most endangered sites. The locations encompass 58 countries and three continents, with the addition of Scott's Hut in Cape Evans, Antarctica, to the list. The United States tops the list with seven sites, followed closely by Peru, with six, including the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary. To see the full list, visit www.wmf.org.
Palo Alto, Calif.–based Hill Glazier Architects has merged with HKS Architects. Hill Glazier, a 40-person boutique hospitality firm, will continue to operate in its current space as HKS Hill Glazier Studio. HKS, one of the world's largest firms, has offices in 18 countries, and its hospitality group works with clients such as Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed suit against San Bernardino County for failing to account for greenhouse gas emissions caused by continued urban sprawl. The suit alleges that the county, the largest in the United States by area and growing rapidly in population, has failed to regulate greenhouse gas production as required by the 1970 California Environmental Quality Act. It is the first time such a law has been used to sue over global warming concerns. If successful, the suit could force the county to increase density, build more energy-efficient homes, and provide mass-transit opportunities.
Schmidt Associates, a full-service architecture firm in Indianapolis, won the title of best place to work in Indiana in a competition run by the state Chamber of Commerce. The determination was made based on a combination of employer reports and extensive employee surveys.
Gilbert Delgado has been named Cornell's university architect, and he will begin on Aug. 1. Delgado is currently the national director of construction and project management in the Office of the Chief Architect in the General Services Administration in Washington, D.C. He succeeds Donald R. Gordon, who has been the interim university architect since January.
Dan Meis has left his position as president of Nadel Architects to start his own practice, Meis Architects, with a focus on high-end multifamily and mixed-use commercial projects in the United States, Asia, and the Middle East. The new firm has offices in Los Angeles and Colorado.
The board of trustees of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has approved massive changes to the nonprofit's bylaws and articles of incorporation. Chief among the changes is the fact that the foundation will be henceforth operated as a nonmembership corporation. The Taliesin Fellowship's veto power has also been removed, reordering the decision-making power in the organization and allowing for more diversity and viewpoints among the ranks. The biggest focus will still be on preserving the varied entities under the foundation's umbrella. The hope is that the broader base will also improve the financial stability of the organization.
The Washington, D.C., office of Leo A Daly has won recognition from the Maryland/D.C. chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties for the firm's building for The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md. The project was named the best biotech office in the chapter's five-year-old Awards of Excellence program.
Mansilla + Tuñón founders Luis Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón have won the 2007 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture–Mies van der Rohe Award for MUSAC–Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla and León, in León, Spain. The biennial award program's Emerging Architect Special Mention went to Matija Bevk and Vasa J. Perovic, founders of Bevk Perovic Arhitekti, for their Faculty of Mathematics building, located in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The Palos Verdes Art Center has not selected where it will build a new facility, but it has chosen Los Angeles–based Frederick Fisher & Partners to design it.
The Vatican is embracing green energy alternatives. The rooftop of the Paul VI auditorium will be renovated next year to replace existing cement panels with photo-voltaic panels to reach the goal of taking the 6,300-seat auditorium—which is used for the pope's general audiences on Wednesdays and for other activities in inclement weather—off the grid. When the auditorium is not in use, the energy generated will be cycled into the Vatican's power grid to power other facilities.