FEATURE

Palaces for the People

How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life

By Emily Pierson-Brown, AIA Posted on September 12, 2019

Palaces for the People cover.  Image courtesy Penguin Random House. On the same day I received Palaces for the People to review, I wandered through the Carnegie Library Downtown & Business on my lunch hour. A whiteboard faced the front door advertising the month’s events. Book clubs, reading lists, support groups. Men and women in suits mingled with the less well-heeled to browse the new book tables and utilize the free WiFi. In Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg (who also authored a previous work of social history chronicling the Chicago heat wave of 1995 that inspired this book) advocates for stronger “social infrastructure,” of which the library is a prime example. The author defines social infrastructure as “the physical...

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FEATURE

When Architects Give Back, Part 2

How Architecture Firms Support Volunteerism

By Maya Henry, COLUMNS editor Posted on September 5, 2019

AE Works employees show off their CANstruction structure.  With the support of local business partners, AE Works has donated over 6,000 cans of food during this annual event Volunteerism is an integral part of the architecture profession whether it is through individual architects’ efforts to give back in their own communities or ingrained in firm culture. In this article we take a closer look at different ways two firms make community support integral to their bottom line. This article is part of a series; read Part 1 here. AE Works: Business for Good The architects, engineers, and building consultants at AE Works think about how they are affecting the environment, community, employees and their clients in each project. To measure...

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FEATURE

When Architects Give Back, Part 1

How Architecture Firms Support Volunteerism

By Maya Henry, COLUMNS editor Posted on August 22, 2019

Volunteers from Hayes Design Group’s Adopt-a-Landmark program at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in May Volunteerism is an integral part of the architecture profession whether it is through individual architect’s efforts to give back in their own communities, or ingrained in firm culture. In this article (the first in a series) we take a closer look at different ways two firms make community support integral to their bottom line. Hayes Design Group Architects: Adopting a Landmark On Friday, May 17th, the Hayes Design Group Architects (HDG), headquartered in Robinson Township, held its fourth annual company-wide Adopt-a-Landmark program at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, a National Historic Landmark located on the North Side. Throughout the day, sixteen of the firm’s employees assisted with work inside...

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What’s Coming: Highlights from the AIA CACE conference

By Michelle Fanzo, Executive Director Posted on August 16, 2019

AIA Pittsburgh staff traveled to Columbus, Ohio last week for the annual AIA Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) conference to meet our peers, share best practices and hear the latest from AIA National about the year ahead. We also had the pleasure of spending time with our most-on-the-move chapter member, AIA President Bill Bates. A key message from the conference is an institution-wide emphasis on three themes: energy, economy, equitable communities. The national AIA Strategic Council prioritized the areas where they felt architects can make the most impact in the coming years. Much is still under discussion but more definitive information is expected before the end of this year on how these themes will help shape our work at...

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Sensing Economic Uncertainty? Insights and Trends from AIA

By Michelle Fanzo, Executive Director Posted on

Given this week’s market uncertainty, I want to share with members and partners the recent economic insights coming from AIA National. Last week at the Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) conference in Columbus, AIA Managing Director of Research and Practice, Michele Russo, gave a robust presentation to chapter / component staff about trends and indicators in the A/E/C sector. Here are the top takeaways (a link to the full presentation is at the end of the article): Economic growth: The pace of economic growth nationally is moderate. The economy is still growing but it is slowing down. Non-residential: Non-residential growth has not rebounded fully to where it was before the 2008 recession. However, work on existing buildings has remained...

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Viewpoint

The Many Meanings of Architecture

By F. Jeffrey Murray, FAIA Posted on July 11, 2019

Mount Angel Abbey Library in Saint Benedict, Oregon.  Alvar Aalto, 1970 There have been many definitions of ‘architecture’; mostly written by and for architects. What matters to me is what non-architects think of architecture. Over my nearly five decades in architecture (education plus practice), I’ve recognized five fundamental definitions or meanings of architecture held by non-architects. Architecture as consumer product; about style, fashion, and entertainment (embraced by most media, and most media influenced public, and I suspect most of the public are deeply media influenced). Architecture as real estate; an investment product (embraced by real estate brokers, developers, investors, business media and most building owners). Architecture as useful tool; minimal functional shelter (embraced by many builders, engineers, and facility managers)....

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Feature

Changes to Design Awards 2019

New Categories Simplify Awards

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on June 28, 2019

2018 People’s Choice Award winner and Architecture Honor Award winner Century Inn by Margittai Architects, photography by Breanna Kristian Photography & Pittsburgh Real Estate Media It’s rare these days for things to get simpler, but that is exactly what is happening with the new categories determined by AIA Pittsburgh’s Board of Directors for 2019 submissions.  The categories have been simplified, but changes have also been made to more closely align to AIA Pittsburgh’s organizational values. In the past award categories were siloed by type of architecture. Going forward there will be three Architecture categories differentiated by square footage and one Unbuilt category. A number of other AIA Chapters have moved in a similar direction “The intent is to simplify to...

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Feature

Architects Action Day 2019

Members advocate in Harrisburg

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on June 14, 2019

Quintin Kittle, AIA of qkArchitecture (and AIA Pittsburgh Advocacy Committee Co-chair) and Rebecca Lowe, AIA of Desmone Architects in front of the PA State Capitol. AIA Pittsburgh members caravaned to Harrisburg to ADVOCATE for architecture, EDUCATE Pennsylvania state legislators and PARTICIPATE to make architects’ voices heard.  On Tuesday, June 11th architects from across the state, led by AIA Pennsylvania, united in Harrisburg for Architects Action Day 2019.  AIA Pittsburgh members participated in this advocacy day where they met with senators and State Representatives from their respective districts to speak directly about issues critical to advancing the profession of architecture throughout the state. 40 AIA PA members and staff comprised 9 groups that advocated in Harrisburg for Architect’s Action Day. The groups held...

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Feature

Designing the Front Door to Our Region

The Pittsburgh International Airport’s New Terminal Modernization Program

By Maya Henry, COLUMNS editor Posted on May 30, 2019

Arrivals.  Rendering courtesy Allegheny County Airport Authority Pittsburgh International Airport is undergoing a multi-year, $1.1 billion dollar modernization.  With construction to be completed by 2023, the design has been informed by a multi-year effort bringing stakeholders together to explore what designing a “world-class” facility really means to Pittsburgh. The new terminal is inspired by the beauty, tech renaissance and people of the Pittsburgh region. It is meant to be iconic, practical and affordable while also being adaptable as technological and transportation needs change. The necessity for a redesign comes as the airport transforms itself from a hub, appropriate for US Airways in the 1980s, to a destination-type airport.  The majority of travelers now originate from Pittsburgh, as opposed to passengers connecting to...

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Feature

Influencers

Review of The Pritzker Architecture Prize Exhibit at the Heinz Architectural Center

By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on May 23, 2019

Jean Nouvel, Competition Entry: Central Berlin, 1990, Carnegie Museum of Art. Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Influencers: The Pritzker Architecture Prize, is now on display at The Heinz Architectural Center recapping 40 years of the prestigious prize. Following a nine-month hiatus in programming due to the Carnegie International, this inspiring exhibit is a great comeback. The exhibit is smaller than others in the past with two areas of the HAC dedicated to the annual architecture summer camp for kids, rather than the exhibition alone. Still, the pieces on display are mighty, and the variety of the techniques presented is very entertaining. Founded in 1979 by the Pritzker family, the international prize is awarded annually to a living...

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