To Be Licensed

"Why quit before the finish line?"

By Lee Calisti, AIA Posted on May 3, 2016

I want you to know, I’ve avoided this for years. Time’s up. There’s something in the air these days. There seems to be a belief growing that becoming licensed as an architect is optional or even unnecessary. A thought exists that there needs to be irrefutable value clearly demonstrated in bullet points on a highway billboard for candidates to consider pursuing it after they’ve completed their education. If this is you, you are asking the wrong question. It’s axiomatic. Why is getting a license even a question? Every time this issue arises, I try to listen and be empathetic. I helped start AIA Pittsburgh’s YAF in 1996 for goodness sake – I’m an advocate for emerging professionals. I’ve taught hundreds...

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To Fill a Void

AIA Pittsburgh’s Foundation for Architecture Reemerges

By Becky Spevack Posted on April 24, 2016

“We are invested in the future of the profession,” states Sean Sheffler, AIA. At the beginning of the month, AIA Pittsburgh made a big announcement – that the long-defunct Foundation for Architecture has been reestablished. With a focused mission and enthusiastic, hand-selected Board of Directors (of which Sheffler is a member), the Foundation has hit the ground running in its efforts “to provide leadership development for architects and emerging architectural professionals.” Columns talked with the new board members – chair Daniel Rothschild, AIA, Jen Bee, AIA, and Sean Sheffler, AIA – about how the organization found its legs again, and what they hope for its future. Columns: How did the Foundation come to be reformed?  Jen Bee: For quite some...

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15+ Years of Build Pittsburgh

A Look Back at Graphic Materials

By Becky Spevack Posted on April 12, 2016

This year marks the 15th anniversary of AIA Pittsburgh’s continuing education conference. What began as Tri AIA morphed into Build Pittsburgh within the first few years, and has been growing and evolving ever since. In 2007, the conference moved to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, giving sponsors and attendees alike more space to spend the day learning and networking. The first “themed” conference emerged at Build Pittsburgh 2005 with “A Blueprint for the Region” where then Iowa Governor Thomas Vilsack (a Pittsburgh native) delivered the keynote address – Renaissance and Renewal: Pittsburgh’s Heritage and Future. The importance of branding each conference with an annual theme was set permanently in 2009. Facing a severe downturn in the economy that was...

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From the Firms – April 5, 2016

See What Local Firms Are Doing

AE Works has been recognized as a winner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual DREAM BIG Blue Ribbon Small Business Award. The award recognizes 100 small businesses for their success an contributions to economic growth and vitality. The Hot Metal Flats apartment complex in the South Side Works has achieved LEED Gold Certification. Developed by Oxford Development Company, the 117-unit complex was awarded its certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies for high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. evolveEA was the Sustainability Consultant in the project, helping to determine and prioritize sustainability goals. WTW Architects was the Architect of Record. evolveEA was recently featured in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review,...

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From the Firms – December 23, 2015

AE Works has been listed as part of the 2015 Inner City 100. The Inner City 100 program recognizes successful inner city businesses and their CEOs as role models for entrepreneurship, innovative business practices, and job creation in America’s urban communities. AE Works ranked 38th overall. DLA+ Architecture is the firm behind’s 2015 Ballpark of the Year award winner, Monongalia County Ballpark in Morgantown, West Virginia. The park is home of the Black Bears, an MiLB affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the WVU Mountaineers. Desmone Architects welcomes Abbey Burton as assistant project designer and Joe Beerens as senior architect. The firm has also welcomed Andre Clark and Faisal Sedan as design interns, Paul Bahn as project manager, Afnan...

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Building A Leader

An Interview with Danielle Jones, AIAS

By Becky Spevack Posted on November 23, 2015

Danielle Jones, AIAS is the Midwest Quadrant Director for the American Institute of Architecture Students who originally hails from Western Pennsylvania. She has also been selected as the AIAS representative for the 2016 AIA National Honor Awards jury. Columns caught up with Jones over the summer to ask her about her experiences, both as a student and as an active member of AIAS.  How did you get involved with AIAS? How would you describe your experiences with the organization? Any surprises? I became involved with AIAS my freshman year of Undergraduate at Kent State University. A very influential classmate named Belana Antar came to me the second week of school and encouraged me to attend meetings and become a member. After...

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November @ the AIA

See What's Happening During this Penultimate Month of 2015

Kicking up leaves along a sidewalk. Getting one of the last seats on the bus. An inspiring project. A late-night idea. Homemade meals shared among friends and family. There are so many things to be thankful for and as the year winds down, this month is a great time to keep them in mind. After giving thanks, don’t forget to renew your membership, make sure your continuing education credits are all accounted for, and save room for pie! Design Pittsburgh in the News – Thank you again to all who attended, sponsored, and enjoyed the program! Through exhibits and events, this program provides excellent exposure of architects’ work to a wide variety of audiences – including potential customers. It highlights...

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An Inclusive City, for All Ages

Gil Penalosa on How to Craft a Welcoming City

By Bea Spolidoro, Assoc. AIA Posted on October 29, 2015

On the evening of Sunday, October 19th, the Green Building Alliance and the Design Center of Pittsburgh organized a Community Forum at WESA-FM on the South Side with guest speaker Gil Penalosa. Penalosa is the former Commissioner of Parks of Bogotá, and now Chair of the Board at 880cities, a Toronto-based non-profit organization. The goal of 880cities is to promote walking and biking as activities, and urban parks, trails, and other public spaces as great places for all. Penalosa was in our town to be the keynote speaker at the APA-PA Chapter 2015 Annual Conference. Irina Zhorov from WESA interviewed him during the Community Forum. Penalosa started with a summary of the troubles of contemporary cities, and the global desire...

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Design Pittsburgh 2015

Highlights + Photos

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on October 28, 2015

Design Pittsburgh is a celebration of architecture and design, and honors those who create it. Design Pittsburgh raises the profile of architects as critical resources and industry experts in the Pittsburgh region. Through exhibits and events, this program provides excellent exposure of architects’ work to a wide variety of audiences – including potential customers. This year we had: 35% increase in Design Award Submissions 1,000+ people visit the exhibit during the gallery crawl and PechaKucha Night, held in the exhibit space 520 registered to attend the Design Awards Ceremony & Gala 3,647 votes for the People’s Choice Award 49,000+ unique page views to the Design Pittsburgh webpages and online exhibit throughout the promotional period Additionally, Design Pittsburgh highlights the importance...

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Design Pittsburgh 2015

View the winners of our juried competition

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on October 22, 2015

ARCHITECTURE: Honor Award PROJECT: Uptown Lofts on Fifth CLIENT: ACTION-Housing, Inc. ARCHITECTURE FIRM: FortyEighty Architecture ENGINEERS: Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.; Keystone Structural Solutions; Iams Consulting, LLC CONTRACTORS: Mosites Construction Company PHOTOGRAPHER: FortyEighty Architecture DESCRIPTION: The Uptown Lofts on Fifth are two new multi-unit apartment buildings constructed on opposite sides of Fifth Avenue in Uptown, a neighborhood of Pittsburgh that suffers from steady population decline due to a lack of adequate housing. The developer for the project, ACTION-Housing, Inc., serves a mission to empower people to build secure and self-sufficient lives through decent, affordable housing, and has worked to demonstrate the importance of energy efficiency through various projects. This project was designed to allow for a comparison of the...

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