Congratulations again to all of our student teams, and to our competition winners, third place Drury University, second place Kansas State University, and first place Washington University in St. Louis.
Architecture has always been molded by the technology that makes its construction possible: steel construction and elevators enabled building heights that were taller than the average person could climb via stairs, air ducts enabled more closed-off rooms in lieu of a plan centered around a fireplace for heat, and even consumer electronics have in some ways replaced the hearth as the place for family gathering. Instead of changing the way we construct new buildings, advances in consumer technology offer new ways of using current spaces, both in the form of reuse and in applying a new layers of information to the built environment.
Consider the number of parking garages that currently exist to house our vehicles when not in use. With the rise of autonomous vehicles, firms are beginning to imagine a future where your car, truck, or minivan is not stationary and gathering dust while you are sleeping or at work, but offering trips to others. LMN Architects proposed a parking garage with flat floor plates and a car elevator for project in Seattle, keeping maximum flexibility if personal vehicles became less common. The changing landscape of personal transportation and car ownership poses a massive question of how to retrofit and reuse parking garages for more human-centered activities, a new problem for designers and architects to help solve.
As phone manufacturers are packing higher quality cameras, faster processor chips, better software, and more sensors into our phones, companies are finding ways to supplant physical interfaces and objects. The newest releases of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems come bundled with augmented reality software letting you drop virtual objects into your physical space. Home phones, digital cameras, and portable music players have been merged into a single, portable device in a relatively short time. What other interfaces and devices may go this way, and as more aspects of the home become digital interfaces on a screen, how will architects respond? It’s hard not to look to science fiction (think Tron or Minority Report) for possibility, but groups like MIT’s Media Lab are already exploring augmented and connected physical interfaces.
AIA CENTRAL STATES REGION POST-CONVENTION RESPONSE BY ERICA FISCHER, AIA
To the architect, these have nothing to do with architecture. But, the citizen-architect will see that these three perspectives screamed one unified message: citizen first, architect second. As much as we architect’s may like to talk about ourselves and our work, it was refreshing to get the some of the ‘softballs’ like working with architects for the Presidential Library out of the way during Michelle’s interview. Someone with the reach of a first lady should absolutely be encouraging architects to get out from behind their desks and mentor, to stand up where others cannot, to build strong families and communities first, and only then support them with meaningful design.
Michelle also reminded us that the struggle is real for minorities in design and that balance in life for any of us is not easy, nor will it ever be, which is why we need the work Amy Cuddy shares. By re-igniting our self-confidence through our power pose, Amy expects each of us to bring your boldest self to your biggest challenge. While Amy may not know what our biggest challenge as architects is, Michael Ford sure has a few thoughts.
Using the lyrics of Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Message’, Michael challenged us. While some sang along, others rolled their eyes, setting Michael up perfectly to present his challenge: If you don’t like the lyrics you hear in hip-hop music, do something to change the communities they come from.
So, to our firm leaders, when your young team members are looking to get involved, surely support the networker who wants to join the local Chamber of Commerce, but just as equally value the dreamer who wants to mentor a middle-schooler or shelter the homeless. After all, how can we expect colorful built environments when we only have a two-dimensional, monotone palette of architects?
Lessons from frequent winners of the AIA cote top ten award, 1997-2016
Recently, the American Institute of Architects published an article about the Habits of High-Performance Firms based on the habits of winners of the AIA COTE Top Ten Award. What is the COTE Top Ten Award, you may be asking? AIA COTE stands for "The Committee on the Environment" and they serve as the community and voice on behalf of the AIA architects regarding sustainable design. to learn more about COTE click here.
Of the 130 architecture firms that have received at least one COTE Top Ten Award, 29 have done so more than once and 17 have three or more times. Of those receiving more than three COTE Top Ten Awards, 59 percent have also been recognized as AIA Firm Award recipients, the AIA’s highest award given to architecture firms.
According to the report these high-performance firms have the following traits:
Do you want to go to the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando?!
Are you a recent grad or a young architect (licensed for less than 10 years) living in the Central States Region? If so, you are eligible to receive a Travel Scholarship to the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando. The new deadline is only a week away. More information is available here: www.aiacsrep.com/travel-scholarship.html
Happy New Year! We are one month into 2017, and three months into the launch of ARE 5.0. If, like many of us, your New Year's resolution includes getting licensed, you're probably in the midst of making some important decisions about testing. Click on the image above (from Ncarb.org), to visit a recent blog post on Ncarb.org that makes a convincing case for transitioning from 4.0 to 5.0. Whatever you decide, we hope this first-hand account inspires you to find your path and become an Architect in 2017.