The AIA's Architecture Billings Index for April was 55.0 (any score over 50 indicates an increase in billings), and the Inquiries Index was 62.4.
The Washington, D.C., Historic Preservation Board has voted 8–0 to make the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library a historic landmark. The designation means that any changes to the exterior or the first floor of the 1972 building, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, will have to be approved by the city.
In other modern architecture news, Jørn Utzon's Sydney Opera House, which opened in 1973, has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is the youngest building to be included on the list and only the second by a living architect.
Architectural lighting designer Sylvan Shemitz died on July 5 at the age of 89. Among his many notable projects were Helmut Jan's United terminal at O'Hare Airport, the façade of Grand Central Station, and, most recently, Steven Holl's addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
As part of its effort to accelerate the creation of advanced solar electric technologies, the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Initiative has named 13 Solar America Cities: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Austin, Texas; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston; Madison, Wis.; New Orleans; New York; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; and Tucson, Ariz. These cities are now eligible for funding and technical assistance from the DOE as they develop local initiatives for the adoption of solar-based power technologies. Learn more about the program at www1.eere.energy.gov/solar.