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Architectural Model

Livable Communities Exhibition at VCA

What makes some communities seem like better places to live than others? Ask several neighbors, and you’re likely to get a different answer from each of them. The American Institute of Architects has identified some common elements and created 10 Principles for Livable Communities. Livable Communities for Virginia explores each of the 10 principles using examples from communities all over the state, including Richmond, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Newport News, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Alexandria and more. Attend the opening reception for Livable Communities for Virginia at the Virginia Center for Architecture on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 from 4:30–7 p.m.

For more information, call (804) 644-3041, extension 100 or visit www.architectureva.org.  There is no charge to attend the Opening Reception; however spaces are limited. RSVP online to secure tickets. Livable Communities for Virginia is at the Virginia Center for Architecture through March 23, 2014. There is no charge to visit the exhibition.

Livable Communities for Virginia kicks off a year-long recognition of the centennial anniversary of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects called Virginia Celebrates Architecture. The exhibition is intended to help citizens, public officials, and others who are actively engaged in civic dialogue, to understand the basic elements of community design. It is a starting point to leverage existing tools, strategies, and synergies at the policy, planning, and design levels so that our communities can reach their full potential.

In addition to the exhibition, the Center will be offering an SOL-correlated educational program for groups each Wednesday through March 20.

Livable Communities for Virginia is sponsored at the Virginia Center for Architecture by Branch & Associates, Inc.

Posted in Membership News

Changes Coming to the AIA and VSAIA

Alert members will have read recently of proposed changes in governance of the American Institute of Architects.  On Sept. 20, the AIA Board of Directors adopted resolutions that are expected to lead to the restructuring of the board, diminishing the Institute’s governing board to an 11-member group charged with overseeing the internal management and finances.  A larger council, with representatives of the diverse makeup of the AIA — regions, knowledge communities, and affiliated groups — will become the “think tank” for the profession, assessing where the profession and its professional society should be moving.

On the same day, the Virginia Society AIA Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan that will guide its work over the next three years.  Starting, of course, with the members, strategies and tactics will evolve from the fundamental statement that “Member needs, values, and aspirations will inform the Society’s programs and services.” Acknowledging that neither architects nor their professional society work in isolation, “The Society will strengthen and enrich its strategic relationships.” Addressing the profession’s expectations that the Virginia Society will act as advocate for the profession, “The Society will inform the public of its members’ concerns and achievements.” From that single statement, the Society will revisit and revise the way it talks to the public about architects and architecture.  Finally, in order to achieve all that members have come to expect of its statewide society, the Society must revisit and refresh itself as an operating entity.  Thus, “The Society will be structured and financed to ensure operational sustainability.”  In making this statement, the Board of Directors has committed to a rigorous examination of its programs and their effectiveness, of the structure of the board of directors itself, and of the funding mechanisms that are available to provide the wherewithal to fulfill its obligations to Society members.

While much remains to unfold in the AIA’s “repositioning” project, the Virginia Society’s launching of its new strategic plan promises — in the same year it celebrates 100 years of service to the profession and to society — to provide a way for Virginia to share in the careful recalibration of a profession that will continue changing in the 21st century.

Posted in Membership News

Free Membership for New Grads

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

Know a recent graduate from architecture school? Please help spread the word that AIA national and the Virginia Society AIA offer recent graduates from an accredited school of architecture complimentary Associate AIA membership. While most (if not all) components in Virginia extend the free membership to new grads, they will want to contact their local chapter to confirm.

To qualify for free membership, the candidate must have graduated with a professional degree in architecture from an accredited school or program during the 2012–2013 academic years. (If they graduated before 2012, they’ll want to complete the application for Associate membership.)

To take advantage of this offer, new grads will want to:

• Contact their local chapter to inquire about complimentary membership (The AIA is a three-tiered organization where members join at all levels, and this offer only applies to AIA national and state dues);

• Be ready to provide a copy of their diploma or transcript of a degree in architecture from an accredited school of architecture/program.

New this year, recent grads can even join online. There is a handy walk-though document which provides step-by-step instructions.

See a complete list of benefits and encourage new grads to join today>>

Posted in Membership News

September 2013 Building Code Update

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.”

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

If you thought the building code is continually changing, you would be right.  Every three years, the International Code Council publishes an updated family of model codes.  Every three years, Virginia spends about 18 months reviewing it.

The reviews and approval of the alterations, deletions, and additions are still under way.  The latest date for implementation of the new Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code still looks like the fall of 2014.  And then, traditionally, Virginia allows a one-year grace period for projects already in design to continue under the old code.

Prior to implementation, however, several hurdles still need to be cleared.  These include publication, public hearings, approvals by the Housing and Community Development Board, the attorney general, the secretary of commerce and trade, the governor’s office, the codes commission and then a final publication.

Anyone considering taking advantage of the grace period should confer with the local building official first.  By the same token, those who wish to incorporate portions the future code also should confer with the local building official for a variance.

The latest information can be found at the DHCD website:  http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/index.php/va-building-codes/building-and-fire-codes/code-change-process.html.

Posted in Advocacy News

Repositioning Town Hall Registration Open

The AIA’s Repositioning initiative, which began more than a year ago, is a research and assessment effort that identified specific areas in the AIA that require real and meaningful change for the organization to remain relevant to members and the profession of architecture. The recommendations of LaPlaca Cohen, the consultants that conducted the research and analysis, focused on three core areas: AIA leadership structure, institutional framework and operational focus.

The AIA has engaged Kotter International, the foremost expert in change management, to help implement the next phase of Repositioning. Their expertise, mapped onto the AIA’s strategy and vision, will point the way forward, thoughtfully and operationally. Kotter joins world-renowned design firm Pentagram in the Repositioning effort to bring clarity and focus to AIA leadership structure, institutional framework and operational focus.

The AIA will hold quarterly Virtual Town Halls to give members a forum to speak out and gather great ideas. Robert Ivy, FAIA, EVP/CEO and Mickey Jacob, FAIA, 2013 AIA President, invite you to join them as they have an open conversation about the progress of AIA’s Repositioning efforts. Registration is now open for the October and December sessions. Please share your voice.

Registration information for Friday, Oct. 25, 1-2 p.m.

Registration information for Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1-2 p.m.

Posted in Membership News

Deep Energy Retrofit Guide Now Available

Sorg AIA 2003362A growing body of research discussing the substantial economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency has led U.S. policymakers, investors, building owners, environmental groups, and design and construction professionals to seek ways to scale up the energy efficiency retrofit market. As the energy-efficiency retrofit market develops, architects are in a position to seize a robust business opportunity by offering a new line of service — deep energy retrofits. These are retrofits that aim to deliver greater energy savings by taking a whole-building approach to energy efficiency.

The AIA and the Rocky Mountain Institute have partnered to produce a new guide that serves to not only demystify energy modeling in general, but also to provide tips and information that will help architects to better discuss energy modeling; the assumptions, the process, the tools and what the output means to potential design decisions — with their engineers, energy modelers, consultants, contractors, code officials and clients.

AIA members can access and download the guide for free.

Posted in Membership News

AIA Foresight Report 2013

AIA Issues Foresight Report

AIA Foresight Report 2013The AIA Foresight Report highlights key trends and their impact on business and growth in the architecture marketplace. It is intended to provide original research that applies to the current and future practice of architecture focusing on the areas of sustainability, advances in building performance, changes in project delivery and the evolution of technology.

The 34-page document  focuses on key trends and how they impact your business and a profession in transition. Working the Greenway Group, a respected organization providing insights into the design and construction profession, the AIA Foresight Report, contains readily implementable strategies related to sustainability, building performance, technology, leadership, and more. With this timely research, you and your practice should enjoy a greater opportunity for success.

Key findings include:

Stiffer competition in the designs services marketplace is here to stay due to recession pressure

New markets and a growing base of talent for the A/E/C industry due to the rise of emerging economies, including Brazil, Russian, India, China and South Africa

Greater collaboration among design, engineering and construction disciplines

Increasing push for measuring the effect and benefit of design strategiesand providing building performance data

Rise in alternative and complementary services being offered by architecture firms

Strong market for green products and design

FREE to AIA Members, digital copies of the AIA Foresight Report retail for $24.99; print-on-demand paperback books may be purchased for $34.99 through our distribution partner, Lulu.

Posted in Membership News

Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA

Hansen, Moje, Reader Elevated to Fellowship

Three Virginia members — Alan L. Hansen, FAIA, Robert W. Moje, FAIA, and Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA — have been elevated to Fellowship, the AIA announced today.

Alan L. Hansen, FAIA

Alan L. Hansen, FAIA

Hansen, a Director at DBI Architects, Inc., is noted for his work to form the Loudoun County Design Cabinet through the county’s Department of Economic Development. The Cabinet promotes high-quality, environmentally sustainable, and culturally respectful architectural and landscape design in one of the fastest growing communities in Virginia.  The Design Cabinet is made up of planners, architects, landscape architects, and engineers who, in volunteer collaboration, resolve community design challenges that arise when an agrarian county steeped in historical significance faces sweeping cultural and economic change.  Having successfully set the Design Cabinet in motion, Hansen encourages every architect in a community without a design recognition mechanism to create one as a Citizen Architect, thereby embracing the AIA’s national initiative to promote design excellence through collaboration with community decision makers.

Robert W. Moje, FAIA

Robert W. Moje, FAIA

A founding principal of VMDO Architects in Charlottesville, Moje has advanced the practice of educational facility design considerably by developing innovative instructional environments for a multitude of school districts, enriching the spaces where children learn and where educators teach. He leads VMDO Architects’ public K-12 school projects, directing design teams to create great schools that inspire students to become active participants in the learning process. In the current fast-paced Information Age where students cannot learn enough, fast enough, solving that mission has required a new direction in educational architecture. Moje has defined this new direction with his commitment to designing every school space – hallway, cafeteria, playground, and classroom alike — in innovative ways that promote opportunities for teaching and learning.

Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA

Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA

In a small city within a rural area, Reader has established a vibrant, diverse, collaborative architecture practice that excels in design and is committed to bettering the community. Along with her husband and partner, Beth Reader began her practice — Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.,  — during the 1990 recession, in a small city of 21,950 people, proving that architecture firms don’t need to be located in large metropolitan areas to be viable. The firm has received over fifty design awards, from national, state, and regional entities for a diverse range of project types, from low-income housing, to museums, to innovative adaptive reuses of historic buildings. The firm’s work has been published in many books and magazines. Additionally, she has served as an advocate for architecture and small design firms by serving as both a juror, and a speaker, for many AIA programs. Over the years, design award juries have consistently praised her ability to achieve excellence in design. Doing good design work, despite a project’s budget or location, is an essential component of her practice.

The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) elevated 122 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows. Out of a total AIA membership of over 80,000 there are over 3,000 members distinguished with this honor.

The 2013 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National AIA Convention on Friday, June 21.


Posted in Membership News

Architects Sought for Code Advisory Committee

Everybody, so the saying goes, complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.  The same cannot be said about the building code.  Architects can do something about it …  including how current and future building-code officials interpret it.

For many years John McGrann, AIA, helped fashion this perspective through his tenure on the Building Code Academy Advisory Committee.  But he left that position in 2008.  Another architect is needed for the position.

To obtain first-hand knowledge of what is entailed in the position, contact McGrann in Richmond at (804) 343-1010 or  jmcgrann@baskervill.com.

The committee meets in person at least annually and attempts to meet quarterly.  Depending upon the situation, the committee can meet via conference call or email.  The committee advises the Board and director of the Department of Housing and Community Development “on policies, procedures, operations, and other matters pertinent to enhancing the delivery of training services provided by the Building Code Academy.”

The Virginia Society AIA may nominate architects for one slot on the 17-person committee.  If you are interested in this position, please get in touch with Duncan Abernathy, AIA, (daber@aiava.org) after conferring with McGrann.

Posted in Advocacy News

Architectural Model

ABI Inches Back into Positive Territory

Architectural Model

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

On the heels of a nearly three-point increase, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) climbed into positive terrain for the first time in five months. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects  reported the August ABI score was 50.2, up from the mark of 48.7 in July. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.2, up from mark of 56.3 the previous month.

“Until the economy is on firmer ground, there aren’t likely to be strong increases in demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. “In the meantime, we can expect to see design activity alternate between modest growth and modest decline.”

Key August ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (52.2), West (51.2), Northeast (45.5), Midwest (45.3)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (53.0), institutional (50.2) commercial / industrial (47.9), mixed practice (46.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 57.2

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI.  These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the White Paper Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending on the AIA web site.

Posted in Advocacy News

Membership News

  • Virginia’s Favorite Architecture to be Announced April 10 VCA_ANN_LOGO_HORIZ_CMYK

    In a public poll which garnered nearly 30,000 votes, 100 structures were identified as Virginia’s Favorite Architecture. On April 10, the list will be announced to the public and the Top 100 will appear in an exhibition called Virginia’s Favorite Architecture at the Virginia Center for Architecture.

Professional Development News

  • New Degree Program Offered at WAAC © 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

    The School of Architecture + Design at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) now offers a Master of Science in Architecture with an Urban Design Concentration.

Government Advocacy News