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As a travel scholarship recipient to the Committee on Architecture for Education's 2016 spring conference, I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had this past week. Berlin presented a myriad of architectural wonders, both within the education sector and without. The city itself was quite inspiring, given that the Berlin wall came down only 27 years ago, and much has already been accomplished in this once-divided city. Conference attendees toured a variety of educational settings, from kindergarten to higher education, which provided us with a small peek at the German approach to education (see CAE's Facebook page for pics of the sites). This...
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Greetings from Louisville and the ICC Group B Committee Action Hearings Construction codes and standards adopted by state and local government agencies impact architectural practice every day. These regulations are heavily influenced by national model codes developed every three years through a consensus process involving building industry stakeholders. AIA member involvement in this process is critical to continue enhancing our nation’s model codes to reflect the design process and embody the AIA’s public policies. The International Code Council (ICC) Group B Committee Action Hearings running April 17-27 in Louisville will determine the...
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Do you believe in the power of architects to make the world a better place? Do you want to have a say in the laws and regulations of your state or community, but don’t know where to start? Your chance to advance the architecture profession by engaging in legislative and political advocacy is here. Registration is now open for SpeakUp 2016 , AIA’s premier advocacy training event in Washington, D.C. For three dynamic and inspiring days, SpeakUp will unite you with other engaged members to develop the skills you need to advocate for your profession and your community. Whether you’re a student tackling debt, a small firm owner concerned with...
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Action Needed to Save Federal 2030 Targets After a false start earlier this year, the U.S. Senate is poised for a final vote as soon as today on S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Now we need your help to save sustainability in federal design. This legislation would repeal the current mandate to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in new and majorly renovated federal buildings by the year 2030. The 2030 targets are a cornerstone of the federal government’s sustainability efforts, committing federal facilities to meeting the terms of the 2030 Challenge in which many leading architecture firms are participating. Although the legislation...
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Department of Energy Expands Building Technology Crowdsourcing Initiative Architects have an exciting and unique opportunity to share their innovative ideas in order to help the Department of Energy improve building performance. DOE recently announced a major expansion of Jump, its online crowdsourcing platform for building technologies. Jump currently has active calls for innovation in six categories: Appliances, Building Envelope, Building Analytics and Information Systems, Lighting, Heating and Cooling Systems, and Sensors and Controls. The best ideas in each category will be eligible for cash rewards or opportunities to partner with national...
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It’s been a busy week for the Administration. In addition to new inversions regulations , the Treasury Department also unveiled its latest tax reform proposal . Below are a few of the highlights on how the plan might impact design firms, starting with the good news: This year marks the 30 th anniversary of the passage of the last major tax reform bill (captured in the image above). In that time, it’s become saturated with unnecessary and wasteful provisions, and is long overdue for another overhaul . The White House plan takes important steps to “trim the excess fat” from the code, freeing up much-needed revenues. As quintessential...
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By Erin Persky, Assoc. AIA, CCHP and Tommy Sinclair, AIA The criminal justice system is facing a critical juncture: “reform” is on the horizon, but what this means and where it will lead are yet to be determined. The decisions made by justice architects today will have a lasting impact on the relevance of architecture professionals in the discussion of justice reform, and those individuals currently young in their justice architecture tenures will be faced with the consequences of present-day decisions for the duration of their careers. Fortunately, many of these young professionals possess keen insight into factors influencing emergent...
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By Lorenzo Lopez, AIA University Outreach is a new committee of the Academy of Architecture for Justice. It is intended to be another means to reach out to emerging professionals; specifically, those still enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate architecture program. The goal is to partner with architecture programs to help influence the projects in design labs and collaborate on projects for presentation at AAJ conferences. This program may also provide opportunities to involve the universities in AAJ research. The idea of the University Outreach program developed out of a unique professional experience. A few years ago, I was invited...
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By April Pottorff, FAIA with T.J. Rogers Remember when Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) with Graphic Annunciation Panels were cutting edge in jail security electronics? The PLCs integrated all the various systems and devices so they communicated with one another – cameras, intercoms, door controls – it was all the rage. Those floor plan graphics on a membrane board with colorful lights a glow were the best thing since sliced bread. The control officer answered an incoming intercom call, viewed the smiling face of an officer that automatically appeared on the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) call-up monitor, and, then pressed the door...
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By the AAJ Communications Committee Personal Information: Where did you go to school and what degrees did you earn? MF: I went to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for a BArts in Architecture, and then the University of Arizona for a MArch and BArch. Experience: What was your role in the AAJ before you joined the Leadership Group and what other committees are you involved in? MF: I was the AAJ Research & Technology Committee Co-Chair from 2006 – 2015 and since 2007, continue to be actively engaged on the AAJ Sustainability Committee. Why Justice?: What prompted you to begin working...
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By the AAJ Communications Committee Personal Information: How do you like to spend your free time? EL: Seattle has the best options for relaxing after a long day or week. Typically a walker, I explore different routes around the city and hopefully find a small trek in a more natural setting on the weekends. I recently purchased a remote cabin in the North Cascades, so I’m planning projects and hikes around the area for a summer out in nature. Where did you go to college? EL: I was an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, and graduate at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, (mainly to find an excuse to play in...
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Spring is coming! It’s minus -20 degrees Fahrenheit outside as I write this today, but mark my words, spring is coming and newness is emerging. The proof is the youthful energy in our first Journal of 2016. It all starts off with an interview featuring Emerging Professional Erica Loynd. I had the pleasure of meeting Erica for the first time during our conference in St. Louis and am now looking forward to working with her as she is the co-chair of the Sustainability Committee. You will get a perspective on not only her love of Seattle, but also her drive as an architect to “actually change human lives in a direct and influential manner.” My thanks to Erica...
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The Treasury Department last week released its latest proposal for combating “inversions,” a strategy that’s been increasingly used by companies seeking to reduce their tax liability, or avoid U.S. taxes altogether. In its simplest form, an inversion is little more than a change of address. An American corporation will either merge, buy, or be bought by a foreign company, and in the process change its legal location. Inversions generally don’t change the operational structure or actual location of a company, but in the eyes of the IRS it is seen and taxed (at lower rates) as a foreign entity. As a result they’re highly controversial, and have become a favorite...
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Joined by more than 100 organizations and companies, the AIA is urging lawmakers to take action on a critical tax deduction which is set to expire at the end of the year. The Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction – known better simply as “179D” for its section in the U.S. tax code – was renewed by Congress in 2015 but only until December 2016. The 179D incentive provides a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for the design and installation of qualified energy efficient building systems in new buildings or in the renovation of existing buildings. The design-based deduction has leveraged billions of dollars in private capital,...
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In a recent piece in the Huffington Post, cultural heritage lawyer Greg Werkheiser takes an illuminating look at the records of the presidential candidates on historic preservation. His also takes a deep dive into the history of federal preservation policy and the ways in which a president can impact preservation efforts. Greg’s firm, Cultural Heritage Partners, is managing the Preservation50 initiative marking 2016 as the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. This legislation established for the first time a comprehensive national strategy to protect America’s cultural resources. In January, the American Institute...
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AIA member Susan Stokes Hill of Tate Hill Jacobs Architects in Lexington, KY, spoke at a Capitol Hill briefing last week for Congressional members and staff entitled “Solar Power and Resilient Design for Schools and Shelters.” Susan shared insights from her experience designing the net-zero energy Locust Trace AgriScience Center for vocational students outside of Lexington. With daylit classrooms and low-impact land development, the buildings and campus at Locust Trace provide hands-on learning for today's job skills with minimal energy/water use and low carbon emissions. Other panelists shared experiences from New York and Maryland about how their work...
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For years, laptops and tablets have enhanced our lives at work and home as well. They’ve allowed us to stay connected and access information with much ease. Nowadays, devices such as smartwatches, laptops, tablets, iPads, iPhones, and smartphones are increasingly being used in the classroom. They’ve literally upended the traditional models of learning such as the use of chalk blackboards, diagrams, and maps. These devices have largely benefited students by making learning easier and improving their performance. A study conducted by Project Red found that these educational gadgets can help students engage with academic subjects more easily and...
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Earlier this month, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (S.2655), a bill aimed at modernizing the 35-year old Historic Tax Credit. Some of the key changes made by the HTCIA include an expansion of the credit’s value for certain small projects, and a provision that makes it easier to qualify for the HTC, among several others. Preservation efforts underway in Texas to rehabilitate the Lavo and Lucas buildings. (Photo courtesy the Texas Historical Commission) Aside from a few minor differences the bill is identical to legislation introduced last year in the House (H.R. 3846)....
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Saving energy is not just about being environmentally conscious, but also a great way to save money. With just minor adjustments in your homes endeavors, you could be right on track to saving hundreds of dollars on your heating, electricity and gas bills. The following energy saving tips will come in handy if you are looking to cut down your household energy consumption. How to cut down on energy consumption at home; · HEATING AND COOLING 1. Stay warm, cut costs - Turning your home thermostat 1͒ C below the usually temperature would save a minimum of $100 in twelve months. Also keeping your heating on a constant low...
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Earlier this month, the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) announced that it had selected Studio Gang Architects for the design of the new U.S. Embassy compound in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia. The multi-building campus will be situated on the existing 4.8 hectares (12-acre) Chancery complex within the city’s “Diplomatic Sector” near the seat of the Brazilian government. O BO is tasked with providing safe and functional diplomatic facilities to U.S. staff serving overseas, while also ensuring that these buildings best represent the U.S. government to their host countries. In keeping with this mission, OBO recently...
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