Book Review

Is Wellness Design the New Sustainable Design?

A Review of Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives

By F. Jeffrey Murray, FAIA Posted on August 18, 2017

Image courtesy Harper Collins Sarah Williams Goldhagen’s new book, written for the general public more so than the design community, is timely, important and worth a careful read by design professionals. Her fundamental claim is summarized in the preface: “What the new paradigm of embodied or situated cognition reveals is that the built environment and its design matters far, far more than anybody, even architects, ever thought that it did.” (p. xiv) Her book is timely because in the last couple years we’ve seen new checklists and scorecards for ‘wellness’ design (14 Patterns of Biophilic Design, The Well Building Standard, Fitwell — to name a few).  Wellness design appears to be a trendy term for what has traditionally been called...

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Pittsburgh Energy Innovation Center Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

Preservation project achieves peak performance

By Maya Henry Posted on July 18, 2017

A remarkable example of building reuse and historic restoration, a Pittsburgh state-of-the-art green building has successfully met the goal of achieving a high-level LEED Platinum certification.  On July 18, community leaders and government officials, architects, designers, and contractors all gathered to celebrate the the achievement.  The project team includes DLA+ as architect, CJL Engineering as MEP engineer, Klavon Design Associates as landscape architect, evolveEA as the sustainability consultant, and Mascaro Construction as general contractor. The 200,000 square-foot Energy Innovation Center (EIC), which hosts trade apprenticeship programs, energy-related technology labs for five universities, co-working facilities, and other production, design, and workspaces for nonprofit organizations and businesses, was opened in 2015 in the former Connelley Trade School Building.  For years, the design team...

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The Midwife Center’s Expansion Creatively Highlights Women’s Health

Rothschild Doyno Collaborative's design uses iconic mural to weave together old and new

By Maya Henry Posted on June 27, 2017

Photo by Maya Henry This March, nine months after it broke ground on a new 6,700 square-foot expansion, The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health opened its new facility and became the largest free-standing birth center in the United States.  Local architects Rothschild Doyno Collaborative were selected as the design team and both client and architect saw numerous benefits from working together as neighbors. The Midwife Center didn’t set out to work with their new Strip District neighbor when the freestanding birth center thinking about expansion in 2010.  The facility has doubled the number of births and gynecological visits in the practice since 2010 and the expansion would allow for two new birthing suites to better match demand as...

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Lessons in Human Nature

Anne Swager's 27 Years with AIA Pittsburgh

By Becky Spevack Posted on June 21, 2017

Anne Swager, Hon. AIA has been called many things – progressive, outspoken, ballsy, an ally, a foe, compassionate, cheerleader, easily distracted, thinker of big ideas. And for the past 27 years, she’s also been called Executive Director of AIA Pittsburgh.  With Anne’s recent retirement on June 5th we are re-running this inspiring interview with then-editor Becky Spevack.  Best of luck in your future travels Anne! Columns: First things first, did you ever expect to be at the AIA this long, to make a career out of it? Anne Swager: No, absolutely not! I never thought I would be around this long. You know, my mom used to say she thought I’d become an architect but my kindergarten teacher spent the...

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Architecture That Sparks Conversation

Action, Ideas, Architecture: Arthur Lubetz/Front Studio at the Heinz Architectural Center

By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on May 1, 2017

The Heinz Architectural Center is currently displaying an exhibit covering five decades of work by Arthur Lubetz. Lubetz, fully active and with no intention to retire, is one of the principals at Front Studio, an award-winning firm based in Pittsburgh and New York City. It is rare to see the work of an active architect being celebrated in a museum, but if you visit the exhibit, you will immediately understand why. The architecture of Arthur Lubetz is always provocative, even when it’s only proposed, and sparks conversation. That conversation typically involves colorful,  modern architecture, but in a more traditional context. Although Arthur Lubetz says “I learned a long time ago that red paint doesn’t cost any more than beige,” the...

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The Nonprofit Paradox: High-Performance on a Budget

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Annex, Byham Center for Dance

By Nicole Grayburn and Melanie Como Harris, AIA Posted on April 17, 2017

All photos Adam Warner, IKM Incorporated “High-performance building” takes on new meaning when showcasing a visual art like ballet. When the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre announced plans to build an expansion in 2013, they accepted an obligation to grow responsibly and ensure the longevity of a beloved arts organization. With this obligation comes a distinct set of priorities (and constraints) for nonprofit organizations where sustainable practices often fall short in the face of time and budget. How, then, does a brand in the business of “pushing the limits,” push the limits of green design on a budget? In partnership with IKM, a firm committed to the goals of the AIA 2030 Challenge, the Ballet agreed on a design that puts art on...

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William Bates, FAIA has been elected AIA National First Vice President/2019 President-elect

Bates Now Holds the Position of 2018 First Vice President/2019 President-elect

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on April 11, 2017

I’m assuming this national office with hopes of making the AIA more responsive to it members needs and enabling our profession to better serve society. You probably know him as Bill.  He’s been an active member of the Chapter and a familiar face in the Pittsburgh architectural community since serving as the AIA Pittsburgh Board President in 1987.  Since then, Bates has gone on to serve as President of AIA Pennsylvania (twice), become an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon and held a number of positions with AIA National including the Equity Commission and Diversity Council. Most recently Bates, who works at Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, has served as Vice-President of the Board at AIA National.  After being elected during the...

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ACTION-Housing’s Penn Mathilda Development

What an Affordable Housing Solution Can Look Like in an Urban Neighborhood Business District

By Maya Henry Posted on March 28, 2017

All photos by Nathaniel Rice courtesy ACTION-Housing, Inc. unless otherwise noted. ACTION-Housing’s Penn Mathilda development designed by mossArchitects seems to defy conventions about what affordable housing is, can, and should be. The project provides 39 units of affordable housing with half reserved for veterans.  Additionally, the commercial spaces are fully leased to arts-based, locally-grown businesses including Assemble, Level Up Studios, and Silver Eye Center for Photography.  The project is contextual, adjacent to public transportation, and takes into consideration the Penn Avenue Corridor Master Plan that recommends that new developments be pedestrian-oriented and contain ground floor retail, restaurant, and gallery uses to promote active storefronts.  Columns recently sat down with developer Lena Andrews of ACTION-Housing and architect Andrew Moss, AIA of mossArchitects to discuss the project....

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Thomas Vonier, FAIA

Get to Know Build Pittsburgh's Keynote Speaker

This year AIA National President Thomas Vonier, FAIA will deliver the Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 5th.  Make sure you are registered to hear Mr. Vonier present on the nature of influence and demonstrate how good design delivers. He will discuss how the American Institute of Architects is seeking to harness the power of association in order to wield influence more effectively. Name: Thomas Vonier FAIA Firm: Thomas Vonier Architect LLC Family: Françoise (my spouse), Pascale (our daughter) and William (our son-in-law) Years in practice: 38 Education: B.Sc.Arch. and M.Arch. Your first job: Delivering newspapers and shoveling snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Project you’re proudest of: . . . is still to come. What have you always wanted to...

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And the Winner is … Affordability

A Juror Highlights Affordable Projects from the 2017 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

By Bea Spolidoro, AIA Posted on February 15, 2017

Each year AIA National the 2017 Architecture program celebrates the best contemporary architecture regardless of budget, size, style, or type. These stunning projects show the world the range of outstanding work architects create and highlight the many ways buildings and spaces can improve our lives.  Here are four 2017 winners highlighted by Pittsburgh’s own Bea Spolidoro, AIA who was invited to participate on this year’s jury. Last summer, I was invited to be a juror for the 2017 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture with other eight professionals. The jury typically features architect members of the AIA and one non-architect, acting as an allied professional and client representative. At the time, I was serving as the Associate AIA member of the...

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