New Year, New Approach

2016 Is All About Pittsburgh

By Becky Spevack Posted on January 12, 2016

It’s a new year. Again. It happens every 12 months, but it still gives us a feeling of hope and possibility. A chance to start anew, to look back and think about what’s been working and what hasn’t – in our lives, in our work, in our play – and to maybe make some adjustments to increase the chances of a better, more productive, more fun year ahead. With this new year, I’d like to think about giving Columns a fresh start, a renewed focus on filling its hypothetical ‘pages’ with articles that our members will find interesting and intriguing. I’d like to propose a year-long focus on Pittsburgh. Well, sure, duh, that’s where we live and work. But we...

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Feature

Thoughts on the Recent Hire of BIG…

Thoughts on the Recent Hire of BIG as Part of the Civic Arena Redevelopment Team

A Letter from AIA Pittsburgh’s President, Alan Schlossberg, AIA and AIA Pittsburgh’s Executive Director, Anne J. Swager, Hon. AIA As you might imagine, we get quite a bit of feedback when an “out-of-town” architect is hired for a large local project. When this happens, we are often asked to “take a stand” against this practice. While we share some of the frustration many feel, it is perhaps too simple a reaction. We know the architectural talent in Pittsburgh is nothing short of extraordinary. Most in our design community work extensively throughout the region, but many also work across the country and around the globe without restriction. The AIA will always advocate for good design, informed by a deep understanding of...

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Recycling Space

New Architecture for Old Places

By Eric Fisher, AIA, LEED AP Posted on September 7, 2015

This was originally presented as a lecture hosted by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, and subsequently posted to Fisher BLOGitecture. This has been edited and reposted with the author’s permission.  I’ve been thinking about the following idea I presented in a previous post, Reimagining Pittsburgh: Only by carefully studying Pittsburgh’s existing context may an architect design new forms for it.  I’m now of the opinion that that not only is context important when you are coming up with the project ideas, it is also important as you design and build the project. There are different ways to take action. There’s the kind of person who (carefully or not) studies a situation where change needs to occur, forms a strong opinion...

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Viewpoint

Take Five

Clarification from the AIA-Appointed Architect Licensing Adviser of PA...

By Sean Sheffler, AIA Posted on August 25, 2015

Anyone that knows me has probably noticed that I spend a lot of time talking to a lot of young professionals. And it surprises me that, even with the massive effort NCARB has undertaken to educate the community about the pending changes in the exam process (including publishing the Test Specification), there’s still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about what’s actually going on. So let’s all take a collective breather –take five, if you will – and review some of the more important facts about ARE 5.0… 1. The new version of the exam is still over a year away.  ARE 5.0 is not set to launch until late 2016, well over a year from now.  Anyone that...

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feature

Lessons in Human Nature

Anne Swager's 25 Years with AIA Pittsburgh

By Becky Spevack Posted on August 23, 2015

Anne Swager, Hon. AIA has been called many things – progressive, outspoken, ballsy, an ally, a foe, compassionate, cheerleader, easily distracted, thinker of big ideas. And for the past 25 years, she’s also been called Executive Director of AIA Pittsburgh. I have worked with AIA Pittsburgh and Anne in a handful of capacities over the past decade and one thing I have learned is, if she has a story to tell (and she will), you should sit down and listen. We touched base over a cup of coffee recently to look back over this quarter century of her leadership at AIA Pittsburgh and her career serving as a voice for the architecture community. Columns: First things first, did you ever...

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House Vs. Home

This Non-Architect Speaks About the One Structure She Intimately Knows

By Becky Spevack Posted on July 7, 2015

I could never claim to be an expert in the field of architecture. The subject is far too broad, and perhaps my attention span too short. My head starts spinning just merely considering the quantity of information – the periods and styles, influences and materials – that is to be found across this vast and varied planet. People have spent their entire lives focused on a single city or trend, a school of thought or even an individual architect; decades learning all there is to know about one piece of a single subject. It’s amazing, fascinating, and… overwhelming. I will never be an expert on any of these things, but there is one small bit of the architecture world that...

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Determined to Empower

YAF Chair Shares Experiences from Grassroots

By Joshua Harter, AIA Posted on April 9, 2015

This year’s Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference was my first experience participating in an AIA National event. I returned home from the conference with a confidence and passion in what the AIA does to promote our profession and a refreshed view of what it means to be a young architect member of the AIA. I left determined to empower my fellow young architects in becoming the next generation of leaders. Everyday our colleagues are taking action, standing firm and working to defend the role of the architect, providing legislative resources towards important issues such as national model code development, empowering communities back from disaster, and working off the debt aspiring architects face. According to the NAAB 6,347 accredited degrees were...

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The Unbeaten Path

#28BlackArchitectsIn28Days

By Christian J. Hughes, Assoc. AIA Posted on February 15, 2015

Can you name 28 architects? The average young to intermediate architecture professional probably could not. Though 28 is an arbitrary number, I am using it as a unit of measure as there are 28 days in the month of February, also known as African-American History Month. I have created a series, #28BlackArchitectsIn28Days, with the intent to identify 28 African-American architects, one for each day. The series covers historic firsts, such as Dr. Robert Robinson Taylor, the first registered African-American Architect, and present-day game changers, such as Saundra Little, AIA, founding principal of Centric Design Studio in Detroit, Michigan and AIA Detroit’s Chapter Director, also known as an “Eco-Architect.” (It should be noted that both of the terms “Black” and “African-American”...

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Directionless

Is the profession floundering?

By Vincent DeFazio, Assoc. AIA Posted on January 8, 2015

In the matter of three weeks, the field of (capital -A)rchitecture has been brought to the forefront of media outlets in two different world-renowned, American periodicals. Both Forbes and The New York Times have sparked a debate deep inside the profession that has heads ringing and pedagogical debates spurring. Academia from all over the world are chiming in on the quality and state of architecture, including some well-regarded ‘starchitects’ who claim that normal, everyday architects like you and I create ‘pure shit’. And therein lies perhaps the largest problem of them all; the groups involved in this discourse are so far removed from the underlying issues that their coined opinions are nothing more than lackadaisical words strewn together to piss...

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Participation Is Key

Notes from the AIA Pennsylvania Associate Director

By Joanna Beres, Assoc. AIA Posted on December 5, 2014

I have participated in the AIA at varying levels over the years. I was previously an editor for the National Associates Committee AssociateNews publication, and I was secretary of AIA Pittsburgh’s YAF. I first became the AIA PA Associate Director in December 2012 and have learned so much about fiscal responsibility via serving on the state board of directors. Annual participation at Grassroots (the AIA lobbying and leadership conference), National Convention, and the Large States Conference have all been opportunities to learn from and share ideas with our colleagues across the nation. I have also participated on the state communications committee as well as on the awards committee. I believe that participation in the AIA has been a means of...

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