My interest was piqued by a piece in the news which said that Apple had trademarked their store design. The trademark includes such comically broad terms as “a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade” and “multi-tiered shelving along the side walls” (1). If you do any work in retail, you’ve likely done a store that would fit this description. Several, probably. This month. My immediate outrage at this dovetailed nicely with the simmering angst I feel about Apple having ridiculous software patents, such as the patent that gives them sole dominion over rounded squares. It needs to be noted here that patent law and trademark law are separate ways of protecting two different types of intellectual property. Patents...
Apple, Patents, and Trademarks
By Raymond Bowman Posted on March 13, 2013
A Sustainable Ideal
Has designing with sustainability in mind changed architecture?
By John Altdorfer Posted on March 10, 2013
On one of the hottest days of this past summer, Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA sits near the end of a long conference table at the Wilkes-Barre office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the firm he helped found in 1965. Impeccably dressed in a blue button down shirt and grayish white slacks, peering at a video screen that projects the image of an interviewer 250 miles away in Pittsburgh, he pauses a moment, then coolly states his opinion about people who think that sustainable design is uninspired design. “If an architect thinks that, he’s brain dead,” replies the 72-year-old AIA Gold Medalist. “And if the public thinks that way, then it’s our job to convince them that it’s not.” With nearly a...
Another Pittsburgh Gem
This transplant is wowed by "Imperfect Health" and the Miller Gallery
By Becky Spevack Posted on February 14, 2013
When I was in art school, my college held a course that focused on the life and works of Andy Warhol. After spending a semester learning exclusively about this 20th century icon of pop-art, the class culminated in a trip to The Andy Warhol Museum to survey his archives. This may not seem like a very big deal; after all, The Warhol Museum is right across the 9th Street Bridge from Downtown. But I went to school in Providence, RI, so this endeavor involved a multiple-day trip across half a dozen states, all to learn more about Andy. At the time, I had never been to Pittsburgh, nor was I planning a trip in the near future. Suffice it to...
State Historical Marker for Pittsburgh Architect
Ecclesiastical Architect John T. Comès to be honored
By Becky Spevack Posted on January 20, 2013
Like any city, Pittsburgh has distinct characteristics. It is known for its hills and bridges, its love of Eastern European foods, its many varied neighborhoods, and some breathtaking views. Another aspect of Pittsburgh is its churches. Throughout the city these places of worship can be found, small and large, grand and humble. They speak to the history of their surroundings – the immigrants that predominantly settled in a given neighborhood – as well as the history of the larger community and evolution of the city – the wealthy industrialists, the development of the universities, the seat of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Lesser known is the architect behind so many of these buildings. On Sunday, January 27th, the first State Historical...
Libraries for Life
Exceptional, award-winning libraries of the Carnegie Library System
By Becky Spevack Posted on January 3, 2013
In 2011, the Design Pittsburgh jury awarded another Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) project an Honor Award for the renovation and expansion of a branch library within the system. This is the fifth such award granted over the past eight years, and does not take into consideration awards and accolades given at the national level. What lies behind this recent dedication to these key community spaces? It all started in 2001 with the CLP’s Libraries for LIFE Capital Campaign, raising money to renew and reinvigorate libraries as neighborhood centers, with a focus on energy efficiency and quality design as a way to look to the continued and future relevancy and functionality of these places. The Libraries for LIFE Capital Campaign...
AIA Introduces Energy Modeling Guide
In order to help architects more accurately predict the energy consumption in their design projects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has put together An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process. The guide is an exhaustive, step-by-step map to predicting (and thus reducing) the energy usage of buildings. Written and assembled by a committee of architects, sustainability experts, and government building science officials, as well as AIA staff, the guide surveys a wide swath of the building design and construction industry to present baseline best practices for empirically evaluating the energy performance of buildings. Beyond defining and making a case for energy modeling, this primer walks readers through different types of energy modeling and the individual...
Design Pittsburgh 2012
See the winners of this year's juried competition
ARCHITECTURE: Silver Medal PROJECT: Gateway Station – North Shore Connector CLIENT: Port Authority of Allegheny County ARCHITECTURE FIRM: Light/Motion Collaborative CONTRACTOR: Whiting-Turner PHOTOGRAPHER: Massery Photography, Inc. ENGINEERS: AECOM; Atlantic Engineering Services; Allen & Shariff Corporation DESCRIPTION: Gateway Station is the centerpiece of a 1.2-mile extension of the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s light rail system. Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle business district, the station provides intermodal connections and dramatic views of the city. The extensive use of glass introduces natural light deep into the station and serves as a visible gateway and readily identifiable landmark. JURY COMMENTS: As the entry says, “It is intuitive, it’s transparent, and it’s transit.” The architect captured this very essence. This is...
Observations… and A Few Suggestions
An inside look at the jurying process
By Anne J. Swager, Hon. AIA Posted on October 10, 2012
Many years ago, I was tortured for a number of months by an architect who insisted we had to standardize the graphic presentation of the notebooks that everyone submitted for design awards. He was convinced and remained so, no matter what I said, that the jury members would be unduly influenced by a flashy graphic presentation. I never saw any evidence of that then anymore than I see it now. I had another architect tell one of his employees that if I didn’t like a project I could influence the jury to not give an award. Again not true. Juries are extremely independent. While I am flattered that anyone would think I have that much power, even if that was...
New Art Landscapes speak with many voices
Blurring distinctions between art, architecture, and landscape
By Michelle Nermon, Assoc. AIA Posted on October 5, 2012
The new exhibit at the Heinz Architectural Center at Carnegie Museum of Art – White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes – is an abounding display of six art institutions – or “sites,” as curator Raymund Ryan prefers – from around the globe that challenge the traditional museum setting. All six diverse sites are connected in their rupturing of the “white cube,” ultimately blurring distinctions between art, architecture, and landscape. Chosen by Ryan, the featured sites are themselves substantial, and so is the exhibit, whose mixed media collection is punctuated by the featured photographs of renowned Iwan Baan (a recent recipient of the Gold Lion at this year’s Venice Biennale). White Cube, Green Maze also features work from 18 different...
The State of Sustainability
The challenge of designing for the future
By Deborah Knox Posted on September 19, 2012
Sustainable design isn’t just about doing what is right. It’s smart, current, and for design professionals, has added an important layer to their work. The clear consensus is that green design adds value, but how professionals integrate sustainable design and use LEED certification varies through the region’s architectural community. This brief analysis highlights some of the issues and projects in the region. Pittsburgh is second in the nation with 20 LEED certified buildings, most of them commercial, which is something to be proud of, but the commercial sector is still part of the problem. According to the Pittsburgh Climate Protection Initiative, the commercial sector is responsible for over half of the total CO2 equivalent emissions, which is a far greater...