The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index for December was 59.5, the best mark of 2006 (any score over 50 indicates an increase in billings). The commercial/industrial score of 63.0 was the sector's highest since the monthly survey began in 1995.

Hotels, office buildings, and health care facilities will be 2007's hottest nonresidential construction sectors, according to the AIA. The group's semiannual “Consensus Construction Forecast” also projects the entire nonresidential market to grow by almost 7 percent, which would make 2006–07 the best two-year period for the industry in nearly a decade.

The AIA has awarded David Dixon and Michael Fitts the 2007 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. Dixon directs the planning and urban design group at Boston-based architecture firm Goody Clancy. Fitts has been the Tennessee state architect for 35 years.

A new report says geothermal power could provide up to 10 percent of the nation's electricity by 2050, with minimal environmental impact and at a cost comparable with other energy technologies. “The Future of Geothermal Energy” (available at, produced by an MIT-led interdisciplinary panel, is the first comprehensive study on the subject since a 1979 report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Congress for the New Urbanism's Florida chapter has given the University of Miami School of Architecture the John Nolen Medal for its contributions to urbanism in the state.

Volume two of Dialogues in Urban Planning, published by the Global Planning Education Association Network (, is now available. The series is an effort to present the best in urban planning scholarship from around the world. GPEAN comprises 10 planning associations, including the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in the United States.

ASAI Architecture, located in Westwood, Kan., has merged with St. Louis–based PGAV Architects. The combined firm, which will keep the PGAV name as well as ASAI's Kansas City–area office, now has a staff of more than 120.

Gregory Dreicer has joined the Chicago Architecture Foundation as vice president of exhibitions and programs, a position created to expand the foundation's scope. Previously, he ran Chicken&Egg Public Projects, the New York–based exhibition planning, development, and design firm he founded in 2000.

The winners of the 2007 Palladio Awards program (, which recognizes outstanding work in traditional architecture, have been announced. For commercial, institutional, and public work: Hartman-Cox Architects, Washington, D.C.; Commonwealth Architects, Richmond, Va.; Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, Norfok, Va.; and Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott, Boston. For residential work: BKSK Architects, New York; Zivkovic Associates Architects, New York; John Simpson & Partners, London; Christine G.H. Franck, New York; Alert, Righter & Tittmann Architects, Boston; and Archer & Buchanan Architecture, West Chester, Pa.

The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties ( has created a CD of green commercial real estate development case studies. Exceptional Green Buildings contains details on 19 projects, including comments from the developers.

Michael Kwartler, principal at Michael Kwartler and Associates, and RKT&B Architects president Carmi Bee are the recipients of this year's John Hejduk Award, given by the Cooper Union Alumni Association. The award is presented to alumni of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat ( has compiled a list of the 10 tallest buildings completed in 2006. Coming in at No. 1: Hong Kong's 1,046-foot, 80-story Nina Tower 1. Of the remaining nine buildings, the United Arab Emirates is home to four (three of which are in Dubai), China contains two, and Australia, Japan, and Singapore have one each.

For a second year, no city in the United States is on the list of the world's top intelligent communities, as chosen by the global think tank Intelligent Community Forum ( The forum selects the communities based on how far along they are in deploying broadband, creating a knowledge-based workforce, combining public- and private-sector “digital inclusion,” and fostering innovation and economic development. This year's list: Dundee, Scotland; Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea; Issy-les-Moulineaux, France; Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario-Quebec, Canada; Sunderland, England; Tallinn, Estonia; and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.