From the Firms – March 13, 2012

Due to the long hiatus while AIA Pittsburgh’s website underwent a massive redesign – including taking this magazine completely digital – Columns recognizes that some of the news sent to us by you, our members and readers, may have fallen through the cracks. If there is a press release or firm announcement that has not made it to this posting, please send it again to and accept our apologies as Columns grows and adjusts to this new format. Additionally, Columns will be publishing material on a more frequent schedule, and wants to hear from you! Send along those press releases, new hire announcements, ground breakings, and project completions (all with images, if available) and we will make sure they...

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Design Connects: AIA 2012 National Convention

May 17-19, Washington, D.C.

This year’s theme, Design Connects, celebrates the boundless potential the profession of architecture offers when you actively connect – with one another, with your work, and with the community. In response to the pressing issues our world faces today, it is essential that we all reach out to express ideas, exchange perspectives, and expand our network. The National Convention offers the opportunity to expand your knowledge base in a myriad of ways – nearly 200 continuing education sessions to choose from, over 700 exhibitors to visit, architectural  tours, and networking will all enhance your professional development. Join the architectural community from across the country in Washington, D.C. this May to discover what the right connections can do for you. Go...

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Local Firm to Lead Team for Moscow Master Plan

Urban Design Associates will aid in city plan

Urban Design Associates has been chosen to head an international team to guide a master plan to expand Moscow, Russia. UDA was the only American firm selected to lead one of the ten teams, teams which will spend months studying the city and region, exploring how the city can expand while redeveloping its historic core. Click here to read more.

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Architectural Billings Index

ABI reports growth for 3rd month

On the heels of consecutive months of strengthening business conditions, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has now reached positive territory three months in a row. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI score was 50.9, following a mark of 51.0 in December.  This score reflects a slight increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 61.2, down just a notch from a reading of 61.5 the previous month.

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CMU Students Win National Competition

Local students take on energy-efficiency

As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, Energy Secretary Steven Chu  recently announced the winners of a competition that challenges collegiate students to develop and present real-world solutions to boost the energy efficiency of buildings across the country.  Secretary Chu recognized the winners of the Better Buildings Case Competition, part of the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge, at an event at the White House on March 5th, and congratulated them for their efforts to tackle some of the most common and stubborn barriers to improving energy efficiency. Nineteen university teams analyzed case studies focusing on a range of challenges faced by private-sector organizations and state and local governments, who are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their operations....

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