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Rethinking Public Space Starts with a Spark

A Look at the Inspiration for #YAFforSPARK

By Maya Henry Posted on September 13, 2018

The new Spark public patio outside Onion Maiden at 639 East Warrington Avenue in Allentown. Image courtesy Onion Maiden To most of Pittsburgh, new outdoor patio spaces located in Allentown and Downtown may seem to have materialized overnight.  However, these two pilot City of Pittsburgh Spark projects were carefully planned, designed and built over many months. The goal of a Spark is to extend the sidewalk into a street’s parking lane, providing space for gathering and relaxation. Part of the City of Pittsburgh’s Complete Streets initiative, Sparks are part of a long-term effort to enhance businesses and invigorate the public realm in a new and unique way.  Sparks originated in 2010 in San Francisco to convert parallel parking spaces into areas for...

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Beyond the Safe Job Site

The Importance of ICRA Construction

By Bea Spolidoro, AIA, Posted on July 15, 2018

Using ICRA construction methods in Pittsburgh The CDC estimates that, every year, there are 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections (HAI), resulting in 90,000 deaths. Pennsylvania alone has over 25,000 HAI.  Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) construction is about preventing contamination from fungi (aspergillum, molds) and bacteria (legionella) during construction, renovation, and maintenance projects, primarily in occupied healthcare facilities.  Pittsburgh is a center for excellence and a reference for the ICRA community in North America. Following ICRA construction good practices can actually save lives.  Outbreaks and infections often result in poor outcomes for compromised patients and a precise process must be followed in order to track the origin of the problem. Unfortunately, the construction site is often the source of the infection in...

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In Memoriam: Mihai ‘Mike’ Marcu, AIA

Former President and Owner of IKM Incorporated

IKM Incorporated is saddened to announce the passing of former president and owner Mihai ‘Mike’ Marcu, AIA.  Mr. Marcu died June 28 in Naples, FL. Mr. Marcu’s legacy as a prominent Pittsburgh architect can be seen in his designs for the entrance to Phipps Conservancy and Botanical Gardens, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. To learn more about Mr. Marcu’s life and legacy read his full obituary featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m. Sept. 15 at Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Ave., in Pittsburgh. Contributions in Mr. Marcu’s name can be made to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1 Schenley Park, Pittsburgh 15213, or to...

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Finding Leadership in All the Right Places

AIA Leadership Institute for Emerging Professionals

By Emily Pierson-Brown, Assoc. AIA Posted on July 3, 2018

The AIA Leadership Institute 2017-2018 cohort at the conclusion of the final session enjoying the sculpture garden at the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in Wilkinsburg.  Photo by Gwen Dakis, AIA. Riding the elevator up to the AIA office on the seventh floor of one of Pittsburgh’s stately old office buildings, you could tell we were all a little bit nervous. It was mid-September 2017, and each of us had been accepted into the second year of the AIA Leadership Institute for Emerging Professionals. What this actually meant and what our experiences would be over the course of the next nine months, few of us had any idea about. But we would soon find a unique mix of professional camaraderie,...

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Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture EX-CHANGE

Faculty and Guests Celebrate and Reflect at Second EX-CHANGE Event

By Chitika Vasudeva Posted on June 5, 2018

Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture / Christina Brown This past fall, the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture (SoA) inaugurated EX-CHANGE, an end-of-semester exhibition celebrating student work. On 4 May 2018, the school opened the second EX-CHANGE, which featured a week-long exhibition followed by a day of discussions with Ming Fung, AIA, principal, and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Hodgets+Fung and director of Academic Affairs at SCI-Arc; Mitch McEwen, assistant professor at Princeton University School of Architecture, principal of McEwen Studio and co-founder of A(n) Office; and Amy Kulper, associate professor and head of the Department of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. Discussions on Saturday, May 5 covered issues of pedagogy and practice framed by questions posed...

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Evolution of Wellness Design

New Tools for Enhancing Campus Wellness

By John Ryan, AIA Posted on May 21, 2018

Image courtesy Terrapin Bright Green In my first week of graduate school, the department chair told our cohort – “What we do here is not normal. That’s why we provide student health services.” He then launched into a listing of the various services provided by the university for student wellness, reciting a litany of different offices and facilities for safety and security, mental, physical and emotional health. Over time, we’ve come to think of student wellness as a set of disparate health services provided for student well-being. This change has largely resulted from specific trends and changes in college healthcare needs, such as rising stress and anxiety levels among students, attention deficit disorders, suicide awareness and prevention, and increasing levels of...

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Winning Credit for Your Work

An Expert's View

By Cynthia L. Taylor Posted on May 15, 2018

Securing basic credit and even modest visibility for design projects is a frequent frustration for architects. If your firm does not have the resources for a high-impact publicity campaign, a few simple steps can still help you receive appropriate credit. The process does not have to be time-consuming or expensive, but it does require a little creativity and follow-through. Write it down One of the first and most important steps begins with your contract. Include a requirement that all project publicity will mention your firm. Whether your firm is the “prime,” part of a design-build or JV partnership, design architect or architect-of-record, be sure this is addressed in your professional agreement. Next, create a solid description of the project. While...

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Architects Action Day 2018

Architects advocate in Harrisburg

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on April 26, 2018

Attendees having some fun in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.  Image credit AIA Pennsylvania. Tuesday, April 17th members of AIA Pittsburgh joined with architects from across the state, led by AIA Pennsylvania, for Architects’ Day 2018.  Nearly 50  architects joined in for this advocacy day in Harrisburg where they met with senators and congressmen from their respective districts. It was a busy day for Pittsburgh members who met with Senator Randy Vulakovich, Senator Jay Costa’s staff, Senator Wayne Fontana, Representative Jake Wheatley, Representative Paul Costa, Representative Dom Costa, Representative Frank Dermody, Representative Ed Gainey, Representative Harold English, and Representative Michael Turzai. In order to promote architects’ role in the health, safety, and welfare of the public, attendees dropped off over 200 educational...

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Striking a Balance Between Voice and Vision

Terry Schwarz's Keynote Address at Build Pittsburgh 2018

By Maya Henry Posted on April 19, 2018

Image credit CUDC/MOOS. The theme of Build Pittsburgh 2018 was “design with purpose.”  This year’s Keynote Address was given by Terry Schwarz, FAICP to a crowded ballroom of early risers who gathered to hear about design culture and community engagement from the director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC).  Schwarz began her presentation by proposing that community design does not need to be about the community OR design (discuss!) but that placemaking could, in fact, include both facets working together.  Portions of Schwarz’s keynote address are captured here. Schwarz began by showing examples of her early fascination with Bauhaus design and then showed how residents repurposed the spare spaces in Mies van der Rohe’s Layfette Park in Detroit...

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Q&A with Kuza Woodard of IMPACCT Brooklyn

What Can Pittsburgh Learn from Brooklyn's Struggle to Maintain Affordability?

By Maya Henry Posted on February 24, 2018

These days Pittsburgh and Brooklyn share a similar dilemma: the rapid acceleration of a real estate market that makes affordable housing development and preservation highly challenging for nonprofits.  Recently Columns spoke with Kuza Woodard, Director of Real Estate for the nonprofit advocacy group IMPACCT Brooklyn about the creative partners and funding mechanisms that have aided his organization in its mission to maintain and develop affordable housing options in Central Brooklyn. Maya Henry, Editor, Columns (MH): Tell us a little bit about IMPACCT Brooklyn and your role there. Kuza Woodard (KW): IMPACCT Brooklyn has been around since 1964, so over 50 years providing all kinds of community improvement services in Central Brooklyn.  Our focus areas are affordable housing, home ownership, as well as...

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