The American Institute of Architect's Architecture Billings Index for October was 51.1 (any score over 50 indicates an increase in billings), while the index of inquiries for new projects was 62.7. By region, the West led the way with a billings index of 52.2; the Northeast, at 47.1, had only its second decline in billings since late 2003.
The nation's capital goes green: On Dec. 6, Washington, D.C., became the first major American city to adopt the standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. The city council passed a bill requiring that all commercial development of 50,000 square feet or more conform to LEED standards starting in 2012.
In an effort to find an industry-wide definition of mixed-use development, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the Building Owners and Managers Association International, and the National Multi Housing Council collaborated on a cross-member survey this summer that totaled 1,004 respondents. The new working definition for these four associations: “A mixed-use development is a real estate project with planned integration of some combination of retail, office, residential, hotel, recreation, or other functions. It is pedestrian-oriented and contains elements of a live-work-play environment. It maximizes space usage, has amenities and architectural expression, and tends to mitigate traffic and sprawl.” So now you know.
Architect and critic Peter Blake, a former editor of Architectural Forum and the designer of many houses in the Hamptons on Long Island, died on Dec. 5, 2006, in Connecticut. He was 86.
Last fall, the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois announced its 2006 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards. Among the nine winners were, as project of the year, the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's S.R. Crown Hall in Chicago, by Krueck & Sexton Architects, and, for lifetime achievement, Donald Kalec of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Paul Teicholz will receive the fifth annual Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology, awarded by the National Building Museum. Teicholz, a professor emeritus of civil engineering at Stanford University, pioneered computer applications for the construction industry.
The board of the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture has named professor and urban planner Lance Jay Brown, currently coordinator of design at the City College of New York, as the 2007 recipient of the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. The award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to architecture education for at least 10 years, whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students, and who has helped educate those who shape the built environment.
AutoCAD developer Autodesk has joined with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to increase architects' and engineers' use of technology and to ease further adoption of sustainable design and green building. As a first step, Autodesk and the USGBC plan to develop an educational curriculum for architecture and engineering students.
In other Autodesk news, on Nov. 13 the company filed suit against the Open Design Alliance (ODA)—an industry group that promotes an open standard for the DWG file format used by AutoCAD—alleging that the ODA's DWGdirect libraries infringe Autodesk's “TrustedDWG” technology. On Nov. 22, the U.S. District Court for the District of Washington granted Autodesk's request for a temporary restraining order against the ODA. The order will be in effect until a Jan. 18, 2007, hearing. To comply with the order, ODA released a version of its DWGdirect libraries that does not contain the offending code. The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, devoted to the late abstract expressionist artist, has chosen Portland, Ore., firm Allied Works Architecture to design its new 30,000-squarefoot building.
Two venues for the viewing and discussion of new architectural projects have opened: Extension (www.extensiongallery.us), located in Chicago, is “an experimental forum for testing new thought and practice in architecture.” Outlet (www.outlet4arch.org), based in Los Angeles, is a “medium for an open, informal discourse on architecture and urbanism” that does not have its own space but will instead hold monthly events at a various locations throughout the city.
According to a survey by The Saint Consulting Group, NIMBYism remains alive and well, with 70 percent of Americans opposing new development in their communities. However, the level of resistance depends on the type of development: Only 6 percent of respondents balked at new single-family homes, whereas 68 percent opposed Wal-Mart, and 87 percent opposed landfills. The nationwide phone survey of 1,000 randomly chosen people was made in September and early October. More information is available at www.tscg.biz.