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The International Code Council (ICC) Committee Action Hearings are coming up April 19-28 in Memphis. Members and national staff will represent the AIA at the 2018 Group A code cycle updating codes that likely affect your practice every day (the IBC, IEBC, IRC, and more). 

AIA submitted more than 50 code change proposals, many informed by input from members like you across the country. We welcome and appreciate your continued input. Please check out the links below for the complete monograph of code changes and other information (To find code change proposals by subject area or specific code section, refer to the cross index of proposed changes starting on page xxxv in the preamble). 
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It may seem obvious, but it's worth stating plainly that the spaces we work in have a profound effect on the work we do. There has been an ongoing discussion in the profession--and one which is coming back to the fore--about the positive and negative attributes of firm culture in the U.S.  While this can be a vague area of discussion, and one populated by a vast array of different approaches in individual practices, I seek only to highlight the ways in which our physical spaces impact that culture, and how deeply rooted in our educational environments those attitudes can be.

Love it or hate it, there are many habits and attitudes that are formed in the crucible of the academic studio, and any conversation relating to making substantive and broad-reaching changes in firm culture must begin with a discussion of studio culture. ArchDaily recently posted a fascinating article revisiting the responses and comments to a previous piece addressing the "All-Nighter Culture" in architecture schools. The article does a remarkable job of presenting arguments both in favor of and opposed to this sentiment, but of particular note is the idea that seemed to be supported by both sides. Everyone seemed to agree that, for better or worse, physically locking students out of the studio space would only result in them pulling the same late-night hours at home. 
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Knowledge Communities (cross tag) : Committee on Architecture for Education

Recent decades in our profession have been defined by the dichotomy of eye grabbing design and sustainability chess games.  The results can be stylistically unforgettable or achieve high marks in a sustainability program or some fusion of both but what is clear is the mark is being missed by miles.  The road we have been on runs right in to a stone cliff of inconvenient data that describes the carbon footprint of our built environment expanding not shrinking, that confirms that unsustainable sprawl has restarted in countless places, and that reports that countless projects are not performing as expected and in many cases are over budget, use more energy and water than planned, and require major repairs and recertification efforts on an almost continual basis.  What is still missing from almost every project are architects and clients who expect every building to be very low energy use, resilient, and straightforward to operate.  As investors wonder day after day where they can find better returns in the markets, the ubiquitous endless profit drain-offs from costly buildings and their operations receives nowhere near the attention it deserves.

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What would you do if you found yourself with an abandoned airport on 1000 acres of formerly beautiful land surrounded on three sides by a fjord---AND it's on the outskirts of a city which also happens to have a housing shortage? 

If you're the city of Oslo, Norway, you might determine to sell off parcels of the perimeter land for housing and mixed-use development and return the remaining runways, airport facilities and land to its former beauty with some humor and water fun for extra measure. We'll visit Nansen Park, designed by Norwegian landscape architecture firm Bjørbekk & Lindheim, as part of the Oslo segment of the "Locally Grown" Conference in Norway this June.

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Activities : Conferences, Walking Tours  Knowledge Communities (cross tag) : Regional and Urban Design Committee

As a representative of the national organization for students of architecture and design, I feel that my participation in this conference could be beneficial in multiple ways, both to the AIA and the AIAS. First, I can speak on behalf of a group engaged directly in the post-occupancy use of educational facilities, and lend that perspective in the various pieces of programming. Additionally, my role within the AIAS entails sharing with our membership the possibilities of a life in Architecture, and the possible avenues they may pursue. The information and experiences I gather at this conference would inform content to be distributed to a base of young designers who may be interested in pursuing educational facilities as a career specialization. This role also extends, in the realm of our advocacy efforts, to promoting diversity in practice that more closely mirrors that currently seen in education. Finally, as a native of Detroit and current resident of Midtown, I can lend first-hand experience to some of the tours and lectures in that area, and share an objective viewpoint on the decisions made in those projects.
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Knowledge Communities (cross tag) : Committee on Architecture for Education

Edge cases engage architects because they provide opportunities to experiment, and they act as provocation to other work.  Although I am no expert at the planning of educational facilities, I have participated in the design of enough schools to notice patterns emerge. The educational philosophies, area models, and design committees each have features that are unique, but they rhyme with each other in fundamental ways. This is why an edge case is so fascinating. Two years ago I was involved in the design of one such edge case, a one classroom STEM space, or a STEM cell. The Sustainability, Engineering, and Design (SED) Lab featured dense programming, immersive student involvement, and an unexpected post-occupancy life that have all informed my career since.

STEM Cell: One Space, Many Purposes

STEM facility planning has been codified to include four different types of space: the classroom, the laboratory, the presentation space, and the shop. We see these components whether it’s an entire school designed to support a STEM curriculum or only a suite of rooms dedicated to STEM classes. In these circumstances there is a one to one relationship between a room and a function.

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Camp CanoeingInstructor

In the school district in which I live it is becoming more and more expensive to secure housing, which is contributing to decreasing numbers of students enrolling in public schools. Public school buildings are underutilized – in fact in the last year 130 schools in the Toronto District School Board were found to be operating at a capacity of 65% or less. Many of these schools are in parts of the city with socio-economic challenges. However, because of the sharp increase of property values the school board could easily be enticed close these schools and sell the land they own to make up for budget shortfalls.  In fact they’re under pressure from the provincial government to balance the books or lose control of their budget entirely.  However a “sell-off” feels short sighted as some demographic projections foresee the need for these school spaces in as little as ten years.

What opportunities arise when underused public school buildings exist in neighborhoods that desperately need lively creative public space?

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As completion of the last new-build school project I designed approaches, I am reminded of the process of decision-making that resulted in the largest elementary school in the state of Kansas.

“You’re building an elementary school for 1,200 students?!” 

“Yes, yes we are, and for good reason.”

For the reason of sustainability.  The term sustainability is tainted in today’s culture of eco-chicness. Yes, we designed Tonganoxie Elementary School to LEED Silver standards (without certification) and, yes, it has all of the trappings of sustainability from a “do it because it’s good design” standpoint.  But, that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about the District thinking about their own sustainability.  How does a rural district, poised for growth within an expanding suburban ring spend its resources in a way that creates a maintainable future?

A poorly-planned, low-quality middle school had been built just six years prior to our project.  A project that was over-promised and under-delivered was an unfortunate lesson that the community of Tonganoxie had taken to heart.  Sins of the past are difficult to overcome.  New board leadership, a new superintendent, and a new design and construction team sought to accomplish a sustainable future for a deserving community.  The decision was anything but clear- an existing elementary school had been part of the community for 60+ years, but it was land-locked, already over expanded with classrooms and trailers built beyond the core capacity, and over-populated by at least 100 students.  Continuing to Band-Aid this building was thought to be the most favored choice, if nothing else, but for sentimental value.  Instead, by proposing change of use to a mixed-use community space, operated by the City, the School District could focus on a new school to accommodate all of their elementary students and provide relief to a crowded middle school by re-adjusting grades.  The reality of this meant Kindergarten through 5

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At risk for being outpaced by foreign educational systems, today's American schools face increasing pressure to produce high-achieving students who are prepared for college and who contribute to an ideal modern workforce. This pressure has prompted initiatives such as Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Language Arts and Mathematics as well as Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize the cultivation of skills tied to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In addition to these curriculum-focused strategies, schools have also increased their efforts in fostering more productive learning environments, which includes inculcating prosocial attitudes and behaviors in their students. In fact, Elias (2014) argues that providing students with social-emotional skills, including relationship skills and social awareness, will facilitate common core implementation and higher achievement. The role of schools in shaping the social and moral fiber of America’s rising generation is not necessarily a new concept, however, as the following excerpt from a 19th century educator illustrates: 

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Camp CanoeingInstructor

I am a licensed teacher with a combined graduate degree in architecture and education, which places me in a unique position when it comes to school design. As a teacher, I have lived experience teaching and learning in a variety of school buildings and educational spaces. My graduate work has allowed me to develop an architectural lens, and given me insight into that lived experience. As a consultant I’ve been excited to develop language that bridges between the worlds of education and design.

I am passionate about the relationship between learners and the design of school spaces, especially with respect to the interactions between nature, architecture and the learners. My research on school design revealed that elements that foster a connection to the natural world, such as indoor/outdoor interfaces have a huge impact on students. Students’ spoke in detail about how these interfaces increased their sense of imagination, productivity, concentration, sense of belonging, emotional, intellectual and even spiritual well being. My research suggested that school buildings really can be a ‘third teacher’ and that nature in the built environment is extremely beneficial to students.

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I recently visited Blue Valley School District's CAPS program (Center for Advanced Professional Studies) and was impressed with the enthusiasm and motivation of its students, who partake in Project Based, 21st Century Learning.

Junior and Senior students in the district can elect to spend half of their school day immersing themselves at the CAPS facility in a collaborative learning environment, solving real-world, profession-based problems while gaining high school and college credit. 

During my visit, I was allowed to explore the building at my own pace and visit with the students in each classroom while they worked.  I could see the enthusiasm in the students' eyes as they told me about their projects.  It was evident that each student had an emotional connection with their project.  They saw it as their "baby," that they had created and they loved it.

One very bright student told me about an app she was creating that would allow doctors to check-up on their patients following a visit.  Beaming, she presented her concept to me in a very professional manner and even allowed me to make a few suggestions for the app.  Later I realized she was just humoring me, she clearly had already thought of all the things I brought up and determined it wasn't right for her project.  The entire exchange with the student was very professional and I could tell she was learning more than she ever could in a typical classroom.  The way this student presented herself, she could easily be mistaken for a graduate student in engineering.
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As a student of psychology, I’ve come to realize one very important fact: the schemas of our mind, products of past experience and our brain’s biological makeup, determine the way we perceive our world. From the interpretation of human interactions to how we perceive the built environments we inhabit, we all carry around with us a set of lenses that colors the way we see things in a completely singular fashion. A few years ago I discovered a passion for photography which helped me stop and reflect on the types of visual subjects that impact me; one of these was architecture. I began to explore my interpretation of the message communicated by architecture through deliberate photographic compositions. At the time, I was an undergraduate studying psychology and had no idea that these simple meditations would slowly nudge me towards an excitingly innovative field of study.

 

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http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB097932
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Thoughts on CAE 2015 Spring Conference Agenda
Educational design is the cornerstone of Hollis and Miller Architects; as a firm, we strive to be leaders in education through innovation and understanding the way people learn better than anyone else. There is no doubt that the excellent program you have set up for this conference will enhance my knowledge as an individual, which will, in turn, strengthen our firm. As our credo states, “grow the individual . . . grow the firm”.
Like most architects, I am interested in place, specifically how place as an impact on the ability of people to learn. I am very excited to visit the storied Cranbrook Educational Community, and specifically interested in listening to Cesar Pelli on Friday.
Equity in education is of profound interest as an architect in greater Kansas City. By comparing two local districts, the quality of education is clearly tied to inequalities of race, income. Blue Valley Schools is a top-performing district: 77% Caucasian, median household income of $101,824. Contrast that with the district that I live in, Hickman Mills- our district is improving, but is currently provisionally accredited, 78% African American, median household income of $24,000. The correlation is clear, moving forward is somewhat more difficult.

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Peter Eisenman, FAIA, the iconoclastic educator who’s done the most to bring rigorous architectural theory back to the forefront of academia since the early 20th-century Modernist reformation, is the recipient of the 2015 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. Jointly awarded by the AIA and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has been intensely involved in architecture education for a decade or more. 

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Statement of Interest

My passion for designing educational spaces stems from an enthusiasm for learning and teaching. My pride as an architect comes from a desire to be a resource to clients, fellow professionals, and students. Given that educational clients often confront a Gordian Knot: with varying and frequently conflicting needs, it is a privilege to be a resource to help guide them through the process of creating engaging places of learning. Events such as the AIA-CAE conference in Detroit are an opportunity for me to expand my horizons, benefiting every client and colleague I interact with, and personally experience the national dialogue with its varied and unfamiliar perspectives. Young professionals are the future of our profession and I am excited that the CAE has elected to dedicate its resources to engaging individuals like myself. I was fortunate to attend the last CAE conference in Tampa, and I was so inspired by the dedication of the Tampa Preparatory School’s commitment to demanding a flexible facility design I invited local educators to a charrette to explore how their school’s spaces could partner with their own educational vision. I look forward to continuing this dialogue with the Committee, educators and the public at the CAE conference in Detroit next month.

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I truly believe that the Institute and architects community would benefit from Mr.Thomas Vonier 's leadership.I feel very inspired to support people like him, who spend their lifetime promoting the architect's profession!
Let's give him our support, so he can share with us his commitment and leadership.

Thomas Vonier's statement:
My commitment as a candidate for AIA president is to advance public outreach and advocate for architects. As AIA president-elect next year, I will launch “Building a Greater America” — an initiative challenging 2016 US Presidential candidates to place buildings and communities at the top of the national agenda.
Candidate for AIA First Vice President/2017 President
Thomas Vonier works from bases in Washington DC and Paris. He is the founding president of AIA Continental Europe, and of the AIA International Region. Tom was elected vice president of the AIA in 2013. He also chaired of the Honorary Fellows Jury for the American Institute of Architects.​​ ​ ​​
Tom began practice in Washington DC and later expanded to Europe for clients with worldwide projects. He gravitated to global work while in university, encouraged by Nathaniel Owings of SOM and Ron Herron of Archigram. Tom is an avid cyclist and musician. He is married to Françoise Vonier.
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COD members who attend the Norway conference in June will be treated to an in-person overview of current work there but for those who can't wait, or who can't attend, one of the best resources online is Architecture Norway, the NAL's (the Norwegian version of the AIA) website for the English version of their publication Arkitektur N. Ingerid Helsing Almaas, the journal's editor-in-chief, is scheduled to present to the COD conference in the Hedmark Museum, designed by Sverre Fehn. 

The online site reviews projects in and from Norway, including photographs and drawings by architects, landscape architects and interior architects. There are also many interviews of architects.

http://www.architecturenorway.no/


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We'll be visiting the Rundeskogen housing designed by Helen & Hard on the Stavanger segment of COD's upcoming Norway conference in June. COD Chair Jim Childress says, "It makes you look at everything differently afterwards. They're pushing the boundaries of design by sticking a building up in the air so the residents in the buildings behind them can still see to the fjord beyond. Applause to the developer for the courage to do that."
http://www.helenhard.no/projects/rundeskogen



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