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Habits are very hard to break and this is why we have regulations and codes.  A large part of our nation is experiencing many times the normal summer rain and attendant water problems this.  Yet we continue to build homes with no vapor impermeable waterproofing in basements and at some lowest story slabs and we still build some nonresidential buildings with subsurface waterproofing that is substantially vapor permeable (allowing humidity/vapor to travel through it even when liquid water is controlled).  In many regions and for many building types this means high to very high vapor drive all year round from the soil in to the occupied space leading to very high relative humidity and condensation.  The resulting moisture damage and health problems are immense and commonly understood.  What is not understood is why building codes did not change decisively decades ago to address the problems with moisture drive they started surfacing as occupying and finishing basements became the norm and as houses and other building were further closed up and air conditioned with far lower air changes than before.  Designing to the building code minimum is not only the norm but so engrained in the culture of our profession that it is expected by most clients as a de facto standard of care.  This is why changing the code to effectively address vapor drive from the soil should have been a done deal decades ago and certainly needs to be addressed now.  The energy we use to dehumidify dank spaces solely because vapor drive to interior spaces from the soil is so prevalent is immense and a greenhouse gas nightmare.  The tiny cost that a vapor impermeable basement would ever have added to any building is completely dwarfed by the cost of using so much energy to manage the problem decade after decade.  The debate about rock bottom first costs creating higher continuing costs should have been won by now.
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The AIA needs input from members like you on upcoming changes proposed to some of the most important codebooks architects use frequently. Read more on at for more details and background, but the main takeaway is: 

AIA members and staff have identified a Top 10 list of code change proposals that we believe will be the most relevant and impactful to architects, and we want to hear from you! Read the Summary of Proposals – AIA Top 10 List document at for further instructions on how to share your opinions and affect the future of construction codes in your practice.

We appreciate your input! Please provide as little or as much feedback as you wish. Email the updated form as an attachment to Please submit feedback no later than COB on Tuesday, July 14.
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The AIA presentation at Pristina Architecture Week has shown again that the international community of architects has a special interest in the AIA and AIA Europe activities. 

The presentation included the brief history of AIA National and AIA Continental Europe, the board, membership and and the goals set forward.
It was discussed about the activities at the AIA National and AIA CE,  the presentation included the information on the past and future AIA CE Conferences (such as: London, Paris, Milan and upcoming Vienna and Barcelona).
There was also a statement sent by Mr. Thomas Vonier, 2016 AIA President Elect and AIA CE founder, especially for this event.
 Here is more on linkedin:
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If you are interested in presenting a fresh idea or lessons learned from a health facility project, please see our Table Talks Submission page at  
The announcement is located here.

Thank you!
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"Engage a ★ beta tester?" you ask. Why yes, you are right.

ArchiCAD is the beer, and, the ★ beta tester is the egg.  When it comes to 
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Architects are some of the misunderstood professionals in society. The general public's perception of architects as heroes and lovers, designing unusually luxurious modernist buildings while acting like brash individualists such as Howard Roark (in The Fountainhead) are results of the interpretations dictated by other industries such as film and television.

An architect is more than the image portrayed in Hollywood movies or even pretending to be one like George Costanza's character in Seinfeld. That's why one of the top 5 largest AIA Components nationwide, the AIA Washington DC Chapter, has stepped up to engage the general public about the value of good design and great architecture. Its 2015 Chapter President Steve White, AIA, is focusing on connecting with each other, one's community, other AIA Components, affiliated organizations in the building industry, and the public in general. In a series of video segments called "Prez Connects", Steve highlights the ways architects are connecting and challenging others to do the same.
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A hectic way of life always requires a cheering surrounding at the end of an exhausting day. The home is rapidly becoming as an important interior designer's centerpiece. A contemporary interior design trend defines that innovative home decor is all about building a comforting ambiance along with the efficiency and simplicity. Just the once the idea of formal interior design comes into our mind, we reluctantly pass on to classic dwellings. To fashion proper surroundings, always keep the concept of appearance in your mind. The furnishings should be in a straight line within the room. Fabric is generally employed on the walls. The exterior of flooring, mirrors and furnishings should be refined to a glittering shine with high burnish.

Everyone has a few choices for brightening their home or business. There are numerous colors and styles that individuals are choosing alongside 3d wall design. Not every outline can make your home talk with these 3d wall panels designs. An excellent picture of something that individuals can imagine could be made into a flawless wall design. Most individuals don’t use ones with pictures of individuals in them however. It may be a lovely sea perspective or a delightful shot taken when the shades of the leaves were changing in the fall season.

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Supported by a vibrant community of architects as designers and influencers, architecture is one essential and structural pier to our civilization.  There are other essential piers that make up our built design, construction, and operation environment most notably those who pay for and occupy each of our creations.  Their needs are what we respond to so creatively every day with our work but we also possess the often untapped power to influence their aspirations and business cases through public advocacy, supported research, organized education efforts, and in helping to inform their vision of what can be.  A great many of us architects may be missing the chance to help change policies that have been widely reported to be counterproductive such as discounting energy performance, the burden of maintenance and repairs, and the durability of our completed work.  While many in society look for ways to reduce the generation of climate warming gases like CO2 when building and operating buildings, we would do well to help stakeholders see that a built environment that lasts far longer than the 35, 50, or even 100 years predicted in recent decades would be a great and bankable achievement. 

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So you're anxious to be your own boss ...

Here's a short story for one to consider, on the subject of a sole proprietorship:

My first years in the field of architecture allowed me the experience of working as a general laborer, wheel barrowing concrete, mixing mortar and the like. One summer, I became an electrician’s assistant, one year a carpenter, and another year as a general contractor for the design, permitting and building of pre-kindergarten facility.

The career began very uplifting, full of hard work. I had entered into the profession of architecture thinking that on the warm days this architect would be out in the field working the designs that had been drawn on the boards on the cold days, in the office, before computer aided design and drafting (CADD).

Although that was a great, correct choice, the lifestyle did not last as long as I had hoped. Within a few years the wife and I had the first Sunshine after the Rain child, then another Beloved One child, and then an economic downturn, that led to diminishing the regional economy. Thus came the reason why relocation to a part of the country where there were many of architectural projects redirected to our young family’s community.

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A home is not just a place where you keep the things you own and sleep at. It is an extension of your life. It is where you spend your most precious moments, entertain your friends, invite your guests… it is the place where your children grow up. 
What your home looks like is therefore a reflection of your personality and expression of your taste. However, often enough we end up staying in homes designed by and built for other people. 
So how do you ensure that your home looks like it belongs to you and not any stranger? How do you make it speak with your voice, express your individuality?
With a facade of course!

Give your home a makeover with a brand new facade design

Sometimes you cannot help the house you live in. But you can personalize it with an exterior facade. Simply put, it will make your home look far more beautiful, and the perfect place you would like to come back to. It can also tell the world about its owner. What you are like and what your real tastes are. And, if these were not reasons enough – getting a brand new facade can also greatly increase the value of your house in the property market.
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Camp CanoeingInstructor

The CAE conference in Detroit was a joy to attend.  From the very first evening as I stepped into the lobby of the Guardian Building with its bright Pewabic tile I could tell we were in for a treat. Detroit’s rich history and current reinvention provided a dynamic context to experience and discuss the possibilities and realities of architecture for education.

Over the four days we toured historical buildings and campuses such as Yamasaki Buildings at Wayne State University and the Cranbrook Educational Community, new buildings such as the Detroit School of Arts and Earhart Elementary-Middle School as well as renovated and repurposed buildings such as the Integrative Biosciences Center and the Argonaut Building. This architectural mix highlighted the wealth and prosperity of historical Detroit and the current resurgence that is alive and reverberating throughout the city.

Being with an incredible number of accomplished architects and scholars during these four days was definitely the highlight of my experience. Inevitably a conversation during a tour or before a lecture would add a new perspective or reveal current projects that attendees were working on in their communities. One conversation in particular highlighted how touring innovative schools at CAE conferences affects change across North America.

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The annual CAE Conference was held in Detroit this year, and like any conference, the host city plays an important role in the overall feel of the conference.  This was my first experience in Detroit, and I was encouraged by the aura of optimism engulfing the city.  Nationally, everyone knows of the recessions blow to Detroit- the city that was perhaps more emblematic of that recession than any other.  The housing crisis, the auto-industry collapse, the blow to manufacturing. . . Detroit had it all, along with a corrupt mayor, resulting in bankruptcy.

But that is not the Detroit of today.

Today, Detroit is surging- downtown is alive, manufacturing has returned, the grit of the City has become a banner to be waved on the road to resurgence.  Detroit is emblematic of a national trend, and seems as likely as any City to be able to become a platform for what the post-recession America wants to be.  Nationally, there is a sense of returning to American ideals that were forgotten in the past 60 years.  A return to housing that is longer-lasting, better-sized, more efficient, less about keeping up with the Jones' and more about living in an appropriate matter suited to a social responsibility; an idea of consumerism that is not simply about having more and more stuff, but about choice to purchase quality, manufactured goods; a return to locally farmed, raised, manufactured, grown, constructed, built, developed fill-in-the-blank that allows us to have a sense of origin in the food we consume and the goods we purchase.  This is the new America, and Detroit seems poised to reclaim its position at the epicenter of this new ideal.
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What does it mean to design schools for change? I’m thinking about this while the contrails of the planes leaving Detroit from the recent AIA CAE conference are still fresh in the sky. The conference’s own topic was Rejuvenation & Reinvention, a topic it portrayed expansively.

This idea of change is often connected to the idea of crisis. That is to say, circumstances do not change drastically until they absolutely must. This connection is poignant in Detroit since so much of the facility design we witnessed was an overlay on existing communities that had experienced significant flux during the past decade. Likewise the will to begin many of the educational programs we heard about arose from the conviction that Detroit needed to try new models.

I’d like to propose a framework for thinking about designing schools for change. This framework is constructed in three scales. The first, smallest scale is called “Flexibility”. This encompasses those daily demands put on a facility to be reconfigurable to meet learning needs. Architects have become adept at designing for flexibility in educational spaces, and the strategies we’ve discovered to support flexibility are numerous. We divide spaces with operable walls and visually connect spaces with ample interior glazing. Furniture on wheels can gather around mark-able wall surfaces and reconfigurable storage can adapt to most teachers’ demands. Beyond “Flexibility”, and larger than it, there is “Adaptability”. I’d suggest that designing for “Adaptability” mean designing schools in such a way that the underlying programming of a space can change. It is designing to support a conversion of use in space. To take this from the abstract to the concrete, many of the schools we visited in Detroit had poor utility of their libraries even though this program typically occupied one of the best locations experientially in the facility. Eventually some other program will displace these libraries. Many architects are tackling the challenge of “Adaptability” by designing new facilities that plan for future programs to occupy the space vacated by programs whose use is in decline such as libraries and computer labs. At the most expansive scale of change, there is “Longevity”. This scale is about allowing for transformation. How does one design schools to support future teaching methods? Schools generally are designed in close partnership with educators to support the method of teaching the educators think is the most effective. But given that new schools do not resemble old schools, and given that current methods of instruction are more effective than previous methods of instruction, it seems like a failure of imagination to think that there aren’t even better methods of teaching waiting to be discovered. How should one design schools to tolerate a change in user group, for example, use by different age/grade cohorts? I suspect that most architects’ experience with “Longevity” as s scale of change comes from planning for additions to be built onto their existing work at some point in the future.

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Having never been to an AIA Knowledge Community conference, I didn't know exactly what to expect when I initially decided to attend last week's CAE Conference in Detroit. I'd been to Convention and Grassroots, and other component-level programming, but I'd never had an opportunity before to engage with a specialized field like architecture for education.

Looking back, I was surprised not only by the quality of the programming and overall planning and coordination of the event, but the lens through which it allowed me to really understand the impact that architecture can have beyond our own profession. Being involved as I have been with the AIA, AIAS, and other collaterals, this idea was something I've heard, and preached, many times before, but I'd never experienced first-hand the perspective of those outside our own ranks on what it is we do and the role it can play in the lives of our clients and the end users of our products.

Detroit served as a stunning example of the incredible opportunity for architecture to make a difference, and the full range of ways that impact can manifest. In visiting a broad range of educational facilities and communities, we experienced spaces and engaged in dialogues with groups ranging from elementary schools, to arts-focused high schools, to private institutions and a world-class research university. In each instance we heard from teachers, administrators, and most importantly, students, about the way that the spaces they inhabited influenced the learning that took place there. From historical campuses like Cranbrook, to state-of-the-art facilities like the Detroit School for the Arts, each unique environment held a dynamic and profound character, all made possible by the architects who crafted their vision and those of their clients into a real, tangible, and vibrant space.
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Knowledge Communities (cross tag) : Committee on Architecture for Education

I think most architects want to improve humanity. This impulse seems even stronger amongst school designers. After 4 days in contemplating, discussing, and visiting schools in Detroit it is clear there are a lot of opportunities available. On the other hand it is also clear that at the confluence of hope and hard work there is recovery.

It may not be surprising that with a title like Rejuvenation & Reinvention my take away from the Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) Spring Conference would be more sociopolitical than architectural.

I suspect most of what you have heard about Detroit is superficially accurate. The signs of decline are conspicuous, but the hope is left unspoken. Educators, developers, students, business owners, and even my taxi driver all believe that with continued hard work the city can be made whole again.

The most impactful moment of the conference for me was the time a small group of us spent with the principal at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, Julia Putnam. We were sitting in the hoop house outside her school. The school is surrounded by run down frequently boarded up houses and empty lots. The building wasn’t designed to be a school. It is old and cramped. Many of the students receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner at school. Yet Julia is making a difference with what she has and telling us, “It’s time to be solutionary not visionary. We need to push beyond what is not just what can be.”

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The Committee on Architecture for Education’s Spring Conference in Detroit was a highly diverse experience in more ways than one. Each day was packed with tours of distinctive sites and built environments, each learning facility we visited possessed a unique approach to education, each presentation of the conference conveyed varying topics with surprising relationships to the broader theme of rejuvenation, revitalization, and education, and the overall experience of the storied “Motor City” was a lesson in cultural diversity and the diversity of human experience.


Site tours began on Day 2, and not all sites were necessarily formal schools, however all were places of learning. Visits included the Detroit School of Arts, Wayne State University’s Yamasaki architecture, sundry local charter and public schools (Focus: Hope, Boggs K-8, Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School, University Prep Science and Math High School, and Earhart Elementary-Middle School), Wayne State’s new Integrative Biosciences Center, and the Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center in the Globe building. Each site had a unique take on the goals of education, reinforcing my realization that children are not a homogenous group of learners but have strengths and weaknesses that should be leveraged by programs tailored to their abilities. 

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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