New York City's Parsons The New School for Design, which launched the nation's first interior design program in 1906, has announced a new MFA in Interior Design degree. Slated to begin next fall, the two-year program will have a studio-centered, research oriented focus.

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that gus-set plates on the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed in August 2007 were the likely cause of the bridge's failure. The "under-designed" plates were about half as thick as they should have been, said the NTSB, which ruled out corrosion and pre-existing cracks in the bridge as possible reasons for the collapse.

German architecture firm Behnisch Architekten, in partnership with Baltimore firm Ayers/Saint/Gross, has won an international competition to design a new law school building for the University of Baltimore. The building is expected to be completed in 2012 and cost $107 million.

Hitoshi Abe, who chairs the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, has won the second SIA-Getz Architecture Prize for Emergent Architecture in Asia. Established by the Singapore Institute of Architects and the Getz Bros. company, the prize?$30,000 (U.S.) and a medallion?is awarded every two years.

Houston urban land planning firm Vernon G. Henry & Associates has merged with TGB Partners, Texas' largest landscape architecture and planning firm. VHA's employees will relocate to TGB's Houston office.

Peter Templeton has been named the new president of the Green Building Certification Institute. Previously, Templeton was senior vice president of education and research at the U.S. Green Building Council, where he led the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo, LEED training and professional certification programs, and research initiatives.

There are 104,126 registered architects in the United States, according to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' 2008 survey, which collects data from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The five states with the most registered architects: California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida.

Washington, D.C.?based public relations consultant Marilynn Deane Mendell has been named the 2008 PR Woman of the Year by Washington Women in Public Relations. Mendell, whose expertise is in the architecture and engineering fields, counts D.C. firm Hickok Cole Architects among her clients.