View Blogs

show advanced search
search criteria = ALL

With the bathroom becoming more of a sanctuary and less of a boring necessity, modern and fun bathroom design trends are becoming more popular as the 2015 year approaches. These trends reflect a more simplistic and cleaner style, including new color schemes, tiling, shower options and surface textures. Upgrading your bathroom can immediately add value to your home, so keeping these modern designs in mind while redecorating, can benefit your residence in the future. Larger home spas, wet rooms and other luxury features are becoming increasingly prevalent as these highlights are becoming more affordable.

Image source:
Photo Dictionary

1 person recommends this.

Next week we will come together at the AIA AAJ conference in St. Louis to discuss justice architecture and how it is changing based on the needs of society. Erica Loynd with the DLR Group will be presenting with Eric Fadness and Lorenzo Lopez, both with Nacht & Lewis Architects, on the Net Zero Prison. During their session (FA02 Engineering the Net Zero Prison), we will see solutions developed to optimize loads through detailing and engineering systems to optimize loads toward net zero.

I have interviewed Lorenzo Lopez prior to the session. 

1.  As a general rule of thumb we should design to minimize energy and environment impacts, but why Net Zero for a prison? 

Prisons are 24/7/365 facilities and as such use more energy than buildings occupied primarily from 8am-5pm on weekdays.  The energy use is also somewhat predicable as long as the mission of the facility remains constant and therefore accurate sizing of systems is achievable.  Unfortunately, these facilities are necessary and most will be used for at least 50 years.  The energy used over the lifetime of the building will be greater than the initial cost of construction.  We would be wise to invest in net zero strategies now which more than pay for themselves over the years and reduce the burden of the building on the agencies which operate them.

Be the first person to recommend this.

Susan Oldroyd, FAIA, is going to present a session titled "Safe Public Spaces: Encouraging Positive Social Behaviors Through Design" on November 6, 2014 at 3:10 PM CDT. Don't miss it!!

Photo below courtesy of Susan Oldroyd Architect

Be the first person to recommend this.

Robert Boraks with Parkin Architects Limited will be 1 of 3 speakers presenting Mental Health Delivery Within A Secure Environment: A Post Occupancy Evaluation at the 2014 AIA AAJ Conference in St. Louis this year. The presentation will examine the state of metal healthcare within the Canadian prison system as well as a post occupancy evaluation of the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre located in Ontario. A unique approach to design and clinical involvement has resulted in positive outcomes. I had a chance to ask Robert a few questions about his presentation over the phone while I took notes and paraphrased his answers.

In a broad sense, how does the Canadian prison system differ from the American system for occupants with mental illness?
Speaking specifically about the Canadian prison system, there are 2 systems: Provincial Corrections and Federal Corrections. Provincial corrections manages offenders who are awaiting trial or who receive a prison sentence of less than 2 years. The Correction Service of Canada is the federal government corrections agency. The Federal corrections supervises offenders who receive a prison sentence of 2 or more years.
Be the first person to recommend this.

Raphael Sperry, Architect and President for Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility, will be speaking at the AIA AAJ Conference this year for the topic titled Towards Guidelines for Segregated Housing.  Raphael told me emphatically to bring my pencil sharpened for this session as it will be an interactive workshop where the attendees will break into groups to brainstorm ideas about the future of solitary confinement. I had a chance to ask Raphael a few questions about the presentation and he provided me with excellent and very informative feedback.

What are some mental health issues that can arise in segregated housing? What environmental conditions can cause such issues?

People in solitary have many different kinds of mental illness – depression, rage, hallucinations, psychosis, etc. It’s probably rare for someone to experience an extended time in solitary without developing some mental illness, often severe. You can tell how problematic this is because while solitary confinement is applied to about 4% of people in prison, it accounts for almost half (50%) of prison suicides.

Be the first person to recommend this.

Scott Frakes, Deputy Director of Prisons, Command A, for Washington State Department of Corrections will be presenting at the 2014 AAJ Conference for the following session: Facility Design for Mental Health in the Corrections and Detention Environment. Scott and 2 other speakers will be discussing the need for the design of more appropriate facilities for the mentally ill in the corrections/detention environment. I had a chance to ask Scott a few questions about his presentation this coming November.

In the past, how has mental illness been addressed in a conventional prison and jail design?

Washington State has been putting thought into prison design for the mentally ill since 1980, but the early days focused on high security space for the dangerously mentally ill. By the 1990s we began to think about housing design to provide residential mental health treatment to lower risk offenders. Early efforts focused on simple changes to existing units; offices on the unit, carpet, paint colors. In the 2000’s we began building new residential treatment space, providing smaller sized units, treatment space, small outdoor yards accessible from the unit. In 2011 we created a minimum custody residential treatment unit, providing mentally ill offenders the opportunity to transition to the community from our least restrictive housing/setting
Be the first person to recommend this.

It's almost time for the 2014 AIA AAJ Conference! I'm looking forward to attending the event and learning more about the capabilities of good social design.  In preparation for the event, I have interviewed Susan Oldroyd, presenter of the session Safe Public Spaces: Encouraging Positive Social Behaviors Through Design.

Interview with Susan Oldroyd, FAIA and LEED AP
Monday, October 27th at 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Could you tell me a little about yourself, experiences, and interests?

I am a sole proprieter with my own firm focused on public safety design.

Do you have any current projects focused on public safety design?

San Francisco International Airport Fire Station 3 and Security Checkpoint, San Francisco CA


Be the first person to recommend this.

Hello! It was an honor to be selected for a 2014 Emerging Professional Conference Scholarships to the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) conference on November 5-8. As an Emerging Professional and Associate member with California’s Central Valley local chapter of the AIA, I hope to develop my knowledge on architecture for social justice and carry it into my career as a Project Coordinator with Nacht & Lewis. This week will surely fly by and before we know it we’ll be gathering in St. Louis for the fall conference.  I look forward to meeting all of those involved in justice facilities including architects, owners, administrators and contractors. 

Be the first person to recommend this.

This past May, the Committee on Design's Spring Conference in New York featured many outstanding tours, including the first two segments of the High Line.  The third and final segment of the elevated greenway has recently opened, linking 22 blocks on the lower west side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street near the new projects at Hudson Yards.  Catch up on this new section of greenway which expands the reach of this enormously popular "park" and is having a very positive impact on it's contiguous neighborhoods in an article from Sharon McHugh in the October 7 issue of WAN News Review. New York's third and final section of the High Line Park
1 person recommends this.

AIA Housing Knowledge Community Advisory Group's R. Denise Everson, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, has taken the time to join the Leapfrog From Disaster Symposium in the Philippines. She will be speaking on November 6th Thursday about the AIA’s Housing KC’s recent trip to the Yunnan Provence in Southeast China. She will also speak on November 7th about resiliency in public housing and focus on Langston Dwellings.

AIA Housing KC Advisory Group's R. Denise Everson, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

She is a Redevelopment Project Specialist at the DC Housing Authority and serves as the agency’s Sustainability Liaison. Denise represents DCHA on the citywide Green Building Advisory Council, Mayor’s Sustainable DC Task Forces and various local and national committees including the AIA Housing Knowledge Community and the AIA Design and Health Leadership Group. Denise is committed to design strategies and policy recommendations that intentionally promote equity, inclusion, and positive health outcomes. 
Be the first person to recommend this.

The team presenting the Netzero Prison session (FA02) will present their research on moving towards netzero facilities. Erica Loynd took some time to answer a few questions leading up to the 2014 AAJ Conference in St. Louis: 

Has the net zero prison been achieved?
There are facilities throughout the country that are striving for net zero goals but I am not sure if there is one that is 100% net zero at this time.  I haven’t researched enough of the facilities to know.  The team in our presentation has not created a 100% [netzero] facility and the case study is a research project on what it would take to make it net zero.  All of the examples have features that are making the goal a closer reality.

What is the most challenging aspect of designing a net zero prison in your climate? (e.g. water, building envelope, mechanical system, lighting)

Be the first person to recommend this.

Scott Frakes is Deputy Director of Prisons for the Washington Department of Corrections. He will be part of the panel presenting on Mental Health in the Corrections and Detention Environment at the 2014 AAJ Conference in St. Louis. Below are his responses to a few questions related to their presentation:

As mental health funding is cut and/or eliminated, and prisons & courts become the defacto locations for addressing mental health in our communities- how have you seen Corrections Departments and Courts adapt and address the situation?  
We have added residential treatment beds, and additional out-patient resources.  We have provided (some) training to all staff, and continue to expand this effort.  We operate a “prison system” rather than 12 separate prisons, and it is important that the mental health resources function as a system – our mental health system continues to grow and mature.  This can only happen if the MH system works as, and is seen as, a partner with prisons operations.   

Be the first person to recommend this.

Take a moment to enjoy an article on COD's Big Cities | Big Ideas Conference in New York from the recent issue of YAF's Connection magazine. The article contains interviews of attendees including Chicago's Linda Just, AIA, COD Emerging Professionals Chair Andy King, AIA and a fantastic quote from Sacramento architect Peter Saucerman, AIA describing an experience from the first COD conference he attended. Thank you to Wyatt Frantom, AIA and Ian Merker, AIA for putting the article together.

Click on the link to see the article:
Be the first person to recommend this.

The Royal Institute of British Architects-USA President James Karl Fischer, RIBA, AIA, PhD, is a speaker in the Symposium. Dr. Fischer is dedicated to enhancing the participation of architects in their own governance and that of architecture, serving as Overseas Council Member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), Trustee the RIBA-USA, Lifetime Member of the Society of Architectural Historians, Copper Sustaining Member of the IES (Illuminating Engineering Society), former International Committee Chair of the AIA New York Chapter and twice presenter for ARCASIA.  He develops partnerships within and amongst institutions, associations and NGOs in order to address critical environmental and political challenges. He founded The Zoological Lighting Institute to serve as a bridge between animal welfare advocacy and wildlife conservation efforts. This organization maintains a mission to “Support photobiology research, through animal welfare, wildlife conservation advocacy and healthy environmental development.”  A US Based architect, Dr Fischer owns and operates ‘Zoological Lighting Services”, an architectural firm that adopts a position that the natural luminous environment is crucial for organizing space. Light takes center stage in the effort to improve the environmental welfare and mental stimulation of our communities.  Both “The Zoological Lighting Institute” and “Zoological Lighting Services” promote vigorous and healthy strategies for living on the planet. Having completed a Ph.D. in Architectural Histories/Theories at the Architectural Association in London after study in physics and architecture/architectural lighting, Dr. Fischer advances architectural theories through sensitivity to semiotics, the natural sciences and pragmatics.  An avid pedagogue, he teaches a variety of courses in architectural histories, theories, lighting and design.
Be the first person to recommend this.

It was my pleasure to have a phone interview with Elizabeth Minnis, the Deputy Commissioner at the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) in Massachusetts. In the upcoming AIA AAJ National Conference on Nov. 5-7 in St. Louis, Elizabeth is going to present one of the sessions on the topic: One Mission – Justice with Dignity and Speed – A Strategic Plan in Implementation Mode. The following is the recap of the phone interview:

Q: What is your background? How does it fit into this strategic plan and implementation process?

A: I am an architect working for the state agency – the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance – in Massachusetts. Having been with the agency for the past 16 years, I started as a project manager in my first year, during which the state Legislature adopted a $730 million bond bill to fund various construction projects. At that time, the woman who was involved in the strategy planning took a maternity leave, so I had to fill in the position. That was a great education, and I was fascinated by the court system, correctional, and law enforcement projects.

Be the first person to recommend this.

As one of the AIA AAJ Travel Scholars, I look forward to attending the AAJ National Conference from Nov. 5 to 7 in St. Louis. I have been deeply involved in the design and construction of courthouses and other detention facilities. Justice architecture presents its unique challenges: it is highly technical and carries a tremendous amount of social responsibilities. It is fascinating to see how modern technology transforms a historical courthouse, or to see how we as the designers can address the sensitivity serving the family law in a courthouse facility, for instance. The tour to the Old Courthouse and the various discussions on courthouse design at the Architecture for Social Justice 

Be the first person to recommend this.

In anticipation of the upcoming AAJ 2014 National Conference, Session TB03: Justice for ALL: Embracing Diversity in Civic Design, the following photo shows the Porterville Courthouse in California, serving as an example to illustrate the courthouse planning in an underserved, growing county. (Photo below courtesy of CO Architects)

1 person recommends this.

Hello! I am currently a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, where I am pursuing a master's degree in Architecture. I am currently in my thesis year, and my research is focused on the ability of architecture to create spaces that empower women. I am also researching the design of domestic violence shelters, as this will be the project to accompany my research.

As an AIA AAJ Scholar, I'm very excited to attend the AAJ conference this November in St. Louis.  It looks like the conference content will be very interesting - with lots of content on justice design.  I'm looking forward to attending as many conference sessions as possible, meeting other professionals interested in social design, gaining knowledge to contribute to my educational experience, and getting to experience St. Louis for the first time.

As the conference approaches, I'll be posting a few interest pieces and also blogging during the conference; so look for more posts to follow.  Also, please feel free to send any suggestions for conference topics you would be interested in learning more about or must-see places in St. Louis!
Be the first person to recommend this.

The Leapfrog From Disaster Symposium will challenge speakers as well as the delegates to re-invent the post-disaster paradigm, going beyond current aspirations and expectations in post-disaster rehabilitation.

Organized and led by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)-USA and Leapfrog Project including the American Institute of Architects’ AIA NY Design for Risk and Reconstruction (DfRR) and AIA International, the symposium will be held in the Philippines on November 1 – 7, 2014 to bring together world-leading pioneers in Resilience, Architecture, and Ecology.

We are honored that the Royal Institute of British Architects' Immediate Past President, Angela Brady PPRIBA, FRIAI, FRSA, HonFRIAS, PhD(Hon), FAIA, FRIAC, has taken the time to chime in about the Leapfrog From Disaster Symposium, as well as 2009 TED Fellow Francis L. de los Reyes III, Ph.D. Here's what they have to say:

Be the first person to recommend this.

Hello and welcome to my blog for the AIA AAJ 2014 conference! The theme this year is Architecture for Social Justice and judging from the 3 day schedule it looks like there is a plethora of interesting and informative subject matter. I am personally looking forward to attending as many sessions possible geared toward the Corrections side of Justice Architecture. I am also totally pleased to be earning AIA credits to continue practicing architecture as a licensed professional. This is in fact the first time I will ever have had to renew my license. To give some career background about myself and my interest in corrections architecture, I have worked for a company called Dewberry for the past 6 years and we have some incredible talent, experience and portfolio when it comes to justice facilities. You name the type of justice facility (court house, prison, public safety), Dewberry has done it. The architects I work with know this stuff in their sleep and I am trying to learn best practices from them so that I may some day be fluent and on the cutting edge in the world of Justice Architecture. I have had the opportunity to be involved with nearly 10 Justice facilities in the past 6 years, working closely with some of the innovators of corrections architecture. The complexity of planning and securing a prison building is extremely interesting. The intention of law is to protect society and serve justice to criminals, and our role as architects is how we make designs that contribute to socially conscious environments while keeping our society safe. See you in November!
Be the first person to recommend this.