Presley’s Place just received the People’s Choice Award at AIA Pittsburgh’s Design Awards, demonstrating that there is a growing recognition of the strong impact design has on mental and physical health. Located at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Presley’s Place is named after the son of airport heavy equipment operator Jason Rudge, who originally pitched the idea of a sensory room to Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO, Christina Cassotis, through an employee suggestion box. That simple suggestion led to the design and construction of a 1,500-square-foot space that serves as a respite for travelers with sensory processing issues, and their companions, who may have a need to de-stress while traveling. Pittsburgh International’s space isn’t just a room, it is an entire...
A Look Inside People’s Choice Award Winner Presley’s Place
The First Sensory Space of Its Kind
By Jennifer Beck, AIA Posted on October 10, 2019
Dossier: Lee Davis, AIA
Design Pittsburgh Jury Chair
Name: Lee Davis, AIA Firm: ESa Family: Wife – Julie; Daughter – Simms Years in practice: 15 Education: Bach of Arch from University of Tennessee Knoxville Your first job: Domino’s Pizza Delivery…until my parent’s car insurance carrier caught wise Project you’re proudest of: Gulch Crossing Office Building – Relocating our firm after 30+ years was a painful endeavour, but a rewarding conclusion What have you always wanted to tell your clients? “That’s a terrible idea.” What’s the most annoying thing architects do? In spite of wearing goofy, outlandish glasses, I’m going to have to say “wearing goofy, outlandish glasses”. Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical,…): Litter Picker Arm Grabber Favorite building: Case Study House 22 Favorite outdoor space: Capitoline Hill Architect you’d like to have a drink with: Mies van de Rohe Best gift...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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)....
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...
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...