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TradeWinds

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Slight Increase in Nonresidential Construction Spending Expected in 2012 with Substantial Growth Projected for 2013
Commercial sector expected to lead real estate recovery

Despite the lingering effects of an over-built housing market, the continued difficulty to obtain financing for real estate projects, budget shortfalls at state and municipal governments and the anxiety surrounding the prolonged European debt crisis, there are signs that the U.S. design and construction industry will be improving. Corporate profits have returned to pre-recession levels and businesses have subsequently been increasing their capital spending, borrowing costs are at record low levels and pent up demand for commercial and retail projects factors into what projects to be a 2.1% rise in spending this year for nonresidential construction projects. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation’s leading construction forecasters, also projects a 6.4% increase of spending in 2013.

“Spending on hotels, industrial plants and commercial properties are going to set the pace for the construction industry over the next two years,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The institutional market won’t experience the same growth, but healthcare facilities and places of worship are poised for a positive economic outlook in that sector.”
Market Segment Consensus Growth Forecasts    2012    2013
Overall nonresidential          2.1%        6.4%
  • Commercial / industrial                        
5.6%         11.4%
  • Hotels                     
10.2%  19.7%
  • Industrial                                             
6.0%    10.2%
  • Retail                 
5.0%    9.9%
  • Office buildings                              
4.3%    9.6%
     
  • Institutional           
-0.1%  3.6%
  • Religious                      
5.1%    6.3%
  • Healthcare facilities              
4.5%    5.3%
  • Amusement / recreation                                 
0.2%    6.5%
  • Education              
-1.7%   3.1%
  • Public safety           
-3.8%   0.3%

Remarking on what could derail a positive turnaround, Baker added, “We are concerned that the unusually high energy costs, given the overall weakness in the economy, might trigger a jolt in inflation and hamstring economic recovery. The housing market also needs prices to stabilize and to resolve the high number of delinquencies and foreclosures before it can fully recover.”

About the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel
The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is conducted twice a year with the leading nonresidential construction forecasters in the United States including, McGraw Hill Construction, IHS-Global Insight, Moody’s economy.com, Reed Business Information, Associated Builders & Contractors and FMI. The purpose of the Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is to project business conditions in the construction industry over the coming 12 to 18 months. The Consensus Construction Forecast Panel has been conducted for 13 years.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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AIA Database Now Totals More Than $1 Billion Worth of Stalled Projects
If Financed, Projects Could Create More than 28,000 Jobs in Design and Construction

Barely more than two and a half months after its launch, the American Institute of Architects’ stalled projects database now contains 36 projects worth a total of almost $1.2 billion, and 50 (both anonymous and public) investors looking for projects to finance, the AIA announced today.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB092746

Launched on November 7, the AIA’s stalled projects database, housed at www.aia.org/stalledprojects, is designed to let developers and architects network with investors interested in lending to projects that have been stalled primarily due to lack of financing. The database seeks to addresses the persistent lack of financing facing the construction sector, which has an unemployment rate of 16 percent, almost twice the national average.

According to a study by George Mason University economist Stephen J. Fuller, each $1 million in new construction spending supports 28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs. If each of the projects listed in the database obtained financing, according to this equation, 28,500 jobs could be created nationwide.

“This effort by the AIA to match projects with investors has no precedent we know of, and so we have to be pleased with the development of the database so far,” said AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA. “We won’t be satisfied, however, until we see deals being consummated at a rapid pace as a result of our efforts.”

“In large part the fortunes of the entire U.S. economy rest on whether the design and construction industry can create jobs,” said Potter.

The credit crunch crisis in design and construction shows no signs of abating. A report issued by the AIA’s economics and market research group finds that the share of projects stalled due to financing problems through August 2011 has almost doubled since 2008 and that one-in-five stalled projects directly result from financing problems. Indeed, almost two-thirds of architects responding to a May AIA survey reported at least one project stalled due to lack of financing.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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DaVinci Roofscapes Hosts “Color from the Top Down” Sweepstakes for Attendees of the 2012 NAHB International Builders’ Show

Building industry professionals attending the 2012 NAHB International Builders’ Show® in Orlando, Fla. in February will have three opportunities to win an Apple® iPad2® at the DaVinci Roofscapes® booth #W3771.

Three iPads will be given away during the show — one each on February 8, 9 and 10, 2012 — in the “Color from the Top Down” sweepstakes that allows show attendees to create a dream roof color combination at a kiosk in the DaVinci Roofscapes booth. One winner will be selected at random each day with non-winning entries rolled over into the next day’s sweepstakes drawing.*

“This is the easiest and most colorful roofing promotion imaginable,” says Wendy Bruch, marketing manager for DaVinci Roofscapes. “Start by selecting your ideal roof tile profile, the number of colors you want to mix and match, and then create your dream roof color blend. DaVinci has 49 unique colors to choose from, so you’re limited only by your imagination!”

DaVinci Roofscapes will exhibit a wide variety of its award-winning polymer slate and shake roofing tiles at the building industry trade show. The roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and include enviable features such as resistance to fire, wind, high impact and severe weather conditions.

The color leader in the polymer industry, DaVinci Roofscapes offers its free online DaVinci Color Studio (http://davinciroofscapes.com/color-studio.php) for the use of architects, builders, remodelers and roofing contractors. An interactive advice component featuring a national color expert, a downloadable 30-page Color Guide and the ability to create custom roof blends using any of 49 colors are just some of the eye-catching features of the site that allow industry professionals to confidently guide homeowners when selecting roofing colors for the home.

DaVinci Color Options

DaVinci offers the widest select of polymer roofing colors in the industry. Slate colors are available in Medium Terracotta, Dark Terracotta, Light Clay, Dark Clay, Light Gray, Medium Gray, Dark Gray, Light Green, Medium Green, Dark Green, Light Brown, Medium Brown, Medium Tan, Dark Tan, Light Purple, Dark Purple, Green Stone, Dark Stone, Slate Gray, Slate Black, Light Violet, Dark Violet and Dark Amber.

Shake colors are available in Light Chesapeake, Medium Light Chesapeake, Medium Chesapeake, Dark Chesapeake, Light Autumn, Medium Light Autumn, Medium Autumn, Dark Autumn, Light New Cedar, Medium Light New Cedar, Medium New Cedar, Medium Dark New Cedar, Dark New Cedar, Light Mountain, Medium Mountain, Dark Mountain, Light Tahoe, Medium Tahoe, Medium Dark Tahoe, Dark Tahoe, Light Weathered Gray, Medium Light Weathered Gray, Medium Weathered Gray, Medium Dark Weathered Gray and Dark Weathered Gray.

DaVinci Roofscapes has manufactured award-winning polymer slate and shake roofing since 1999. The roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and far more cost effective than the natural product. DaVinci leads the industry in tile thickness, the tile width variety and the greatest selection of subtle earth-toned colors. Company products have a 50-year warranty and are 100 percent recyclable. DaVinci proudly makes its products in America and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit www.davinciroofscapes.com.

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SITEOPS® Announces 2012 Certified Provider Program

BLUERIDGE Analytics® – provider of SITEOPS®, patented site-optimization software – announces its 2012 lineup of Certified Providers. SITEOPS allows civil engineers, architects, landscape architects and planners to provide essential services that are beneficial to real estate developers and owners, such as:
  • Site design optimization proven to save an average of $15,000 per acre
  • Comparison of numerous site design options up front, allowing developers to select the best design for a project and gain confidence in the development costs—even in the earliest conceptual stages
  • Value-engineering up-front leading to better cost and design driven decisions
  • Shortening of the collaborative effort in the conceptual phase, reducing the time it takes to get to permitting and construction document preparation
  • Use of 3D visualization of site and surroundings to communicate the project’s intent to stakeholders

SITEOPS Certified Providers hold certification from BLUERIDGE Analytics as being fully trained and expert in providing land design optimization services. The SITEOPS Certified Providers are as follows:

  • AES Consulting Engineers – a multi-disciplinary firm specializing in civil site design, landscape architecture, surveying, land planning and municipal utilities design serving Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
  • Alpha Consulting Engineers, Inc. – an engineering, planning and surveying consulting firm that provides services in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Eberly & Associates – a land planning, civil engineering and landscape architecture firm based in Atlanta.
  • Hurt & Proffitt – a full service, employee-owned engineering and surveying firm providing a comprehensive array of services with four offices in Virginia and licensed in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and West Virginia.
  • Langan Engineering & Environmental Services – a premier provider of integrated land development, engineering and environmental consulting services with regional offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Nevada and California.
  • Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering – a land planning, civil engineering and surveying firm located in San Diego, Calif.
  • Little Diversified Architectural Consulting – a national architecture and design firm with five locations across the United States.
  • Manhard Consulting – a full-service civil engineering, water resources management and surveying firm with locations across the United States.
  • McCrone, Inc. – a broad-based engineering firm operating from seven design center offices in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
  • McIntosh & Associates – a civil engineering, land surveying, land planning, landscape architecture and environmental planning firm located in Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Stantec – a provider of professional consulting services in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management and project economics for infrastructure and facilities projects with offices in more than 170 locations in North America and four locations internationally.
  • Stewart Engineering – a multi-discipline design firm specializing in land development, structural and transportation engineering, surveying/geomatics and construction services with offices in Raleigh, N.C., and Charlotte, N.C.
  • Taylor Wiseman & Taylor – a professional services firm with broad expertise in civil engineering, land development, planning, surveying, environmental science and consulting with eight offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions.
  • Tierra West, LLC – a civil engineering company providing civil engineering, land use planning, projects and construction management/administration in both the private and public sectors located in Albuquerque, N.M., and registered in eight states.
  • URS Corporation – a fully integrated engineering, construction and technical services organization with SITEOPS specialists in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
  • Ware Malcomb – a leading design firm offering planning, architecture, site development, interior design and graphic design services with locations across North America.
  • Wood Rodgers – a multi-disciplined engineering firm with offices in California, Nevada and Idaho.
  • Woolpert, Inc. – a national design, geospatial and infrastructure management firm with 23 offices located throughout the United States.

About SITEOPS
SITEOPS® is patented, land development software provided by Charlotte-based BLUERIDGE Analytics, Inc. that can deliver cost-optimized preliminary site designs and cost estimates in hours instead of weeks. SITEOPS can save thousands to millions of dollars per project in grading and other site costs. Clients include Stantec, Lowe’s Companies, Target, SSOE and other leading civil engineers, retailers, architects and land developers.

About BLUERIDGE Analytics
Charlotte-based BLUERIDGE Analytics® delivers world-class, evolutionary computing software to retail, real estate and the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

For more information visit: www.siteops.com

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Architecture Billings Index Positive for Second Straight Month
All regions except for the West showing improved demand for design services

After showing struggling business conditions for most of 2011, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has now reached positive terrain in consecutive months. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 52.0, following the exact same mark in November. This score reflects an overall increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.0, down just a point from a reading of 65.0 the previous month.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB092722

“We saw nearly identical conditions in November and December of 2010 only to see momentum sputter and billings fall into negative territory as we moved through 2011, so it’s too early to be sure that we are in a full recovery mode,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Nevertheless, this is very good news for the design and construction industry and it’s entirely possible conditions will slowly continue to improve as the year progresses.”

Key December ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: South (54.2), Midwest (53.1), Northeast (52.6), West (45.1)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.3), commercial / industrial (54.1),institutional (51.3), mixed practice (44.5)
  • Project inquiries index: 64.0

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the White Paper Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending on the AIA web site.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Simpson Strong-Tie Acquires Automatic Stamping, LLC. and Automatic Stamping Auxiliary Services, LLC. to Launch Truss Plate Offering

Simpson Strong-Tie has recently acquired the majority of the assets of Automatic Stamping, LLC. and Automatic Stamping Auxiliary Services, LLC. to launch its truss plate offering. Automatic Stamping is based in Edenton, N.C., and is a family-owned business with a long history in the truss plate industry. Former owner Bill Black will continue to lead manufacturing and plate innovation operations in Edenton.

“Automatic Stamping is well known in the truss industry and highly regarded as an extremely efficient, high-quality manufacturer of truss plates. We are very excited about this new venture and look forward to being able to offer our customers some of the best truss plate products in the industry,” said Mike Bugbee, vice president of the truss and component industry for Simpson Strong-Tie.

Bill Black added, “It’s an honor to be affiliated with a company such as Simpson Strong-Tie who has the same integrity and determination as Automatic Stamping, LLC. We look forward to making history in the truss plate industry.”

In addition to the new truss plate offering, Simpson Strong-Tie will launch an initial release of its new truss plate software later this year. The company acquired the source code of Keymark’s truss software last fall and has been aggressively developing its software and technical support capabilities in order to provide truss and component industry customers with a high-quality, high-performance product offering.

About Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc.
For more than 55 years, Simpson Strong-Tie has focused on creating structural products that help people build safer and stronger homes and buildings. Considered a leader in structural systems research, testing and innovation, Simpson Strong-Tie works closely with industry professionals to provide code-listed, field-tested products and value-engineered solutions. Its extensive offering of connectors, fasteners, fastening systems, anchors and lateral-force resisting systems are recognized for helping structures resist high winds, hurricanes and seismic forces. Simpson Strong-Tie is committed to helping customers succeed by providing exceptional products, full-service engineering and field support, product testing and training. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.strongtie.com.

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2012 AIA Institute Honor Awards Recognize Excellence in Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the 2012 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from over 700 total submissions, 27 recipients located throughout the world will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.

You can see images, jury comments and additional credit information by clicking on the titles of the projects.

2012 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture

The jury for the 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture includes: Rod Kruse, FAIA, (chair) BNIM Architects; Barbara White Bryson, FAIA, Rice University; Annie Chu, AIA, Chu & Gooding Architects; Dima Daimi, Assoc. AIA, Rossetti; Harry J. Hunderman, FAIA, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.; Scott Lindenau, FAIA, Studio B Architects; Kirsten R. Murray, AIA, Olson Kundig Architects; Thomas M. Phifer, FAIA, Thomas Phifer & Partners and Seth H. Wentz, AIA, LSC Design, Inc.

8 House; Copenhagen, Denmark
BIG

This multi-family residential housing structure contains 475 units that accommodates a variety of residents. The bow-shaped building creates two distinct spaces, separated by the center of the bow which host the communal facilities of 5,300 square feet. The apartments are placed at the top, while the commercial space unfolds at the base of the building. As a result the apartments benefit from sunlight, fresh air and the view, while the commercial spaces merge with life on the street.

41 Cooper Square; New York City
Morphosis Architects


As the new academic building for The Cooper Union, this building was conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools, previously housed in separate buildings. A vertical piazza—the central space for informal social, intellectual, and creative exchange—forms the heart of the new academic building. An undulating lattice envelopes a 20-foot wide grand stair which ascends four stories from the ground level through the sky-lit central atrium, which itself reaches to the full height of the building.

The Gates and Hillman Centers for Computer Science; Pittsburgh
Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects


Located on Carnegie Mellon University’s west campus, this building houses four departments of the School of Computer Science. The design required negotiating a series of complex existing site conditions and programmatic pre-requisites. Site challenges included demolition of existing buildings, a large zone of subsurface rock, existing sewer lines that limited the constructable area, and an existing campus spacial hierarchy that had to be respected.

Ghost Architectural Laboratory; Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia
Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited


This project, an architectural education center in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin is sited on Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, where Samuel de Champlain made his first landfall in 1604. The permanent structures which now occupy the site among the ruins – tower, studio, cabins, barns and boathouse – are, in part, products of the design/build curriculum itself. They provide accommodation for the program and a venue for community events.

LumenHAUS
Virginia Tech Solar Team


The house is both a dwelling and an exhibition informing the public about issues of alternative energy and sustainability and has been exhibited internationally. The structure is a grid-tied solar powered house based on the concept of ‘Responsive Architecture’. It adjusts to climactic changes and user requirements through automated systems that optimize energy consumption while offering an architecture of delight. As a net-zero energy house employing active and passive systems, it generates more power than it uses over the course of a year.

Pittman Dowell Residence; La Crescenta, California
Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.


Inspired by geometric arrangements of interlocking polygons, the home is a heptagonal figure whose purity is confounded by a series of intersecting slices. Bounded by an introverted exterior, living spaces unfold in a moiré of shifting perspectival frames. Movement and visual relationships expand and contract to respond to the centrifugal nature of the site and context. An irregularly shaped void defined by these intersections creates an outdoor room whose edges blur into the adjoining spaces.

Poetry Foundation; Chicago
John Ronan Architects


Visitors enter through a garden then move towards the library space, which contains an exhibition gallery that connects the library to the performance space, where visitors can listen to poets read their work against the backdrop of the garden. Public functions (performance space, gallery and library) are located on the ground floor, while office spaces are located on the second level, organized into three areas. The building is configured to allow for views from all spaces out onto the garden. The building’s outer layer of oxidized zinc becomes perforated where it borders the garden, allowing visual access to the garden from the street to encourage public investigation.

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion; Indianapolis
Marlon Blackwell Architect


This project is the result of a studied relationship between building, land and art, and serves as both a threshold to and a destination within the 100 Acres Art & Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The pavilion is a place of shared resolve where nature and artifice are sensually perceived as one and many; the detail and horizon. The 100 acre park site is born of wildly turbulent natural and cultural phenomena constantly changing the land’s structure, and is a place where one becomes conscious of the residual forms that reveal the creative life force at work in our world.

The Standard, New York; New York City
Ennead Architects


The 18-story hotel straddles the High Line, a 75-year-old elevated railroad line recently developed into a new linear, public park. The two slabs of the building are “hinged,” angled to further emphasize the building’s distinction from the city’s grid and its levitation above the neighborhood. The building responds to its context through contrast: sculptural piers, whose forms clearly separate the building from the orthogonal street grid, raise the building fifty-seven feet off the street, and allow the horizontally-scaled industrial landscape to pass beneath it and natural light to penetrate to the street.

2012 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture

The jury for the 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture includes: Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, (chair), CMB Architects; Robert Allen, Jr., AIA, Metalhouse; Mark Jensen, AIA, Jensen Architects; David Lenox, AIA, University Architect/Dir. Campus Planning, Stanford University and Erick S. Ragni, AIA, MaRS Architects.

ARTifacts; Omaha
Randy Brown Architects


The Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts strives to ignite the creative spark in inner city youth. The design focused on minimal interventions to upgrade the building and provide the new spaces for the facility. The storefront intervention was a three dimensional sculpture of steel plates/tubes which creates windows, seating, facility signage, and the main entrance. The staircase/balcony intervention creates a continuous steel plate walkway that connects the entrance, gallery, library, office and the second floor studios. The library intervention is a meeting and reading space hovering above the gallery defined by a folded wood panel wall/ceiling that frames the artist’s moving backdrop wall.

Children's Institute, Inc. Otis Booth Campus; Los Angeles
Koning Eizenberg Architecture


The adaptive reuse of three industrial buildings created the headquarters for a non-profit organization that assists children and families exposed to violence. The campus is split by an alley with the north site focusing on preschool and early childhood services and the south site anchored around a community center offering educational programs (art, technology, nutrition, and after-school) as well as counseling services. A key part of the process was re-thinking program organization to reveal opportunities for creative and collaborative community engagement.

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center; New York City
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects


Wedged into Manhattan’s dense fabric, the 7000-square-foot passageway serves as Lincoln Center’s public visitor facility, welcoming city newcomers and neighborhood residents. Cantilevered canopies announce the presence of the atrium. Visitors enter through large glass doors. They are greeted by 20 foot-high plant walls. Green marble benches, as well as moveable chairs and tables, offer places to rest. A fountain in the ceiling drops thin streams of water into a stone basin. Sixteen occuli pierce the golden ceiling to bring natural light into the double height space.

HyundaiCard Air Lounge; Incheon, South Korea
Gensler


This project shifts the paradigm of a traditional lounge by combining lounge, retail and museum programs. Rather than a static place for waiting, it is a dynamic space one passes through to better prepare for the trip ahead. Among the unique features in the lounge are a custom vending machine, fantastic dream-like art movies by Hiraki Sawa, and a personalized flight tracking system. Also, there are two virtual skylights in the black box, both of which move slowly through the color spectrum of the sky. Within the constraint of a small envelope, reflective surfaces provide visual relief while cove lighting plays up the ethereal atmosphere of the space.

Integral House; Toronto, Canada
Shim-Sutcliffe Architects


The project integrates many sustainable features into the site and building. A field of vertical geothermal pipes supplies heating and cooling for the entire project including the main concert hall/performance space for 150 – 200 people. A lush green roof is centrally located and a visual feature from many parts of the project. The vertical wooden fins provide sun shading from the exterior as well as contributing to the acoustical performance of the concert hall/performance space. Materials have been carefully selected for their aesthetic contribution as well as their enduring qualities based on life cycle costing calculations.

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World; Providence
Anmahian Winton Architects


This project, on the campus of Brown University, restores Rhode Island Hall's exterior, and entirely renovates its interior. Translucency of both glass and wood creates varying levels of transparency and daylight between program spaces, encouraging a more interactive dialogue between faculty and student. The project is a leading example of the University's approach to reanimating its historic building fabric and also demonstrates its commitment to sustainability. Rhode Island Hall is the first building at Brown to be certified LEED Gold for New Construction.

Memory Temple; Los Angeles
Patrick Tighe Architecture


The installation proposes a new structural materiality through the use of renewable polyurethane foam. The foam was used as a total building assembly: structure, envelope, and acoustical barrier. Layers of closed cell foam (used structurally) and open cell foam (used acoustically) were combined to make up the wall assembly. A spectrogram of the composition served as a source from which a mapping of frequency was translated into points and vectors. This provided a framework for the digitally modeled three-dimensional surface. The data was then used to robotically carve the interior surface of the volume.

Prairie Management Group; Northbrook, Illinois
Goettsch Partners


Inserted into a single-story, speculative office suite, the 7,500-square-foot facility is organized around three compositional elements: the colonnade, created by the building’s exposed structural steel columns and central ridge beam; full-height glass screen walls; and a custom maple “pavilion.” The simple, classic interior composition of thin glass frames and bold, clear millwork forms rendered in a timeless color palette—all awash in natural light—creates a platform in which the appreciation of fine art, design, and nature enables the client to continue his lifelong passion for creating business value through design.

Record House Revisited; Owings Mill, Maryland
David Jameson Architect


Four decades after this project was featured in the 1969 Record Houses issue of Architectural Record, the current owners revisited the house with several alterations. A truss roof system allowed interior walls to be eradicated, yielding a condition of an unencumbered public and private pavilion linked together by a glass entry node. Floor to ceiling window apertures relating the pavilions could not be experienced within the original floor plan. The purity of the original brick fireplace and skylight ring at the center of the house is exposed and left uninterrupted, allowing for additional connection to the site.

The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum; New York City
Andre Kikoski Architect, PLLC


The design solution references the building’s architecture, what Wright specifically called “the primitive initial,” without repeating it. In the process underlying architectural geometries were transformed into dynamic spatial effects. The sculptural forms create a flared ceiling. The undulating walls become comfortable seating. The arced bar and communal table animate the space. The playfulness of these forms offers a dynamic experience for visitors. The space achieves an elegant and dynamic setting for dining that both celebrates the museum and transcends it.

2012 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

The jury for the 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design includes: Bruce Lindsey, AIA, (chair) Washington University in St. Louis; Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, AIA, Catherine Seavitt Studio and Martha Welborne, FAIA, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Fayetteville 2030: Transit City Scenario; Fayetteville, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center


As a complement to Fayetteville’s 2030 City Plan, this plan independently models a future based on development of a streetcar system. While city planning is generally future-oriented, scenario planning models specific futures from the insistent exploration of a particular driver through “what if” propositions. Scenario planning helps the community envision plausible planning possibilities that would not have emerged from charrettes and similar participation processes.

Grangegorman Master Plan; Dublin, Ireland
Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners; DMOD Architects


This plan represents the largest higher-education campus development ever undertaken in the history of the state of Ireland, creating a vibrant new Urban Quarter for Dublin’s north inner city. It will accommodate 422,300-square-meters of academic and residential buildings for the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), along with replacement psychiatric facilities and new primary care facilities for Ireland’s national health care service, the HSE, and new amenities for the local community and the wider surrounding city.

Jordan Dead Sea Development Zone Master Plan; Amman, Jordan
Sasaki Associates, Inc.


This plan encompasses 40-square-kilometers of coastal land along the lowest body of water on earth. The plan lays out a vision and blueprint for fostering a dynamic, robust and sustainable tourism-based economy at the Dead Sea that will become a source of pride and revenue for the Kingdom and set the highest standard for sustainable development and innovative urban design. Critically, the plan establishes a "balanced approach" between development and conservation of this most precious resource. At the same time, it will strengthen local economies and greatly support social infrastructure for nearby existing communities.

Master Plan for the Central Delaware; Philadelphia
Cooper, Robertson & Partners; KieranTimberlake


The master plan for six miles of the Delaware River waterfront in Center City Philadelphia, based on the Civic Vision which was prepared through an extensive public engagement planning process. The goal of the plan is to provide a practical implementation strategy for the phasing and funding of public realm enhancements to the waterfront, including the locations of parks, a variety of waterfront trails, and connections to existing upland neighborhoods. Specific zoning recommendations to shape private development as well as design guidelines for the public spaces are integral components of this project.

Miami Beach City Center Redevelopment Project; Miami Beach
Gehry Partners, LLP; West 8; Hines Interests Limited Partnership


This 5.86-acre project consist of New World Center, an innovative facility for music education and performance; Miami Beach SoundScape, an adjacent 2.5-acre public park and event space; and a 556-space municipal parking structure. The project is located on two city blocks previously used as surface parking lots. New World Center is a unique performance, education, production, and creative space with state-of-the-art capabilities, owned and operated by the New World Symphony (NWS). Miami Beach SoundScape is a multi-use park that serves as an urban oasis and a gathering place for cultural and special events.

Portland Mall Revitalization; Portland, Oregon
ZGF Architects LLP


Extending the entire length of downtown Portland, this plan mixes multiple modes of transportation, stimulates adjacent development and re-establishes itself as one of Portland’s premier civic spaces. The project involved renovation or rebuilding of 58 blocks and 59 intersections while providing exclusive transit lanes for buss and light rail, dedicated lanes for autos and bicycles, enhanced sidewalks for pedestrians, and parking and loading zones. The revitalized Mall combines design character, aspirations, active context, operations and management of a truly great street for the 21st century.

Reinventing the Crescent: Riverfront Development Plan; New Orleans
Eskew + Dumez + Ripple


Hurricane Katrina heightened public understanding that the riverfront in New Orleans is in fact the “high ground” and ripe for possible redevelopment. As such, this plan calls for the East Bank of the city’s central riverfront to accommodate a continuous sequence of public open spaces, and along this sequence establish 15 special environments. Some of these places reinforce and enhance existing public domains, such as improving the riverfront’s Moonwalk and creating a better pedestrian connection between the Moonwalk and Jackson Square.

SandRidge Energy Commons; Oklahoma City
Rogers Marvel Architects


The master plan for the new headquarters of SandRidge Energy spans multiple buildings, and multiple city blocks, where architecture and landscape architecture weave to balance company needs and civic engagement. The project creates a network of programs to support employees while forming a destination location within downtown. The distribution of programs serves as catalysts to encourage development of adjacent properties and integrate the company into the fabric of the city. Shared outdoor spaces enable employees, their families, and the broader community to enjoy spending time downtown.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Gehry Residence Selected to Receive the AIA Twenty-five Year Award

Award recognizes an architectural design that has stood the test of time for 25 years

The Gehry Residence in Santa Monica, Calif., has been selected for the 2012 AIA Twenty-five Year Award. Recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, the Twenty-five Year Award is conferred on a building that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years as an embodiment of architectural excellence. Projects must demonstrate excellence in function, in the distinguished execution of its original program, and in the creative aspects of its statement by today’s standards. The award will be presented this May at the AIA National Convention in Washington, D.C.

You can see images and learn more about this project here.

A seemingly ad hoc collection of raw, workmanlike materials wrapped around an unassuming two-story clapboard bungalow, Frank Gehry’s, FAIA, home for his wife, Berta, and two sons found a literal, but unexpected, answer to the question of neighborhood context, and used it to forever re-shape the formal and material boundaries of architecture.

As soon as it was completed in 1978 reactions ranged from hagiography to anathema. Over time, critical reactions mirrored the role the house would play in the larger canon of contemporary architecture. A 1979 review by New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA, recognized the house as an extremely successful provocation—if not much more. He called the Gehry Residence the most significant new house in Southern California in years, admiring its central conceptual conceit: an old house wrapped in jagged panels of corrugated metal, creating a new band of patio-like indoor/outdoor space on three sides.

The exposed structure, chaotic fusion of disparate materials, and aggressive juxtaposition of old and new communicate a sense of real-time formal evolution and conflict, as if the building were dynamically, violently creating itself with found objects. This notion of embracing unfinished imperfection has been powerfully influential among progressive building designers, especially in Gehry’s home base of Southern California. The sculptural qualities of Gehry’s house presage the wild eruptions of form at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Walt Disney Concert Hall that would make him a world design icon, still recognizable under the rectilinear massing of the old bungalow and its curious new armature.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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27th RCI International Convention To Be Held March 15-20, 2012 In Dallas, Texas

RCI International Convention & Trade Show will feature over 30 hours of educational seminars, live product demonstrations, and a two-day trade show with over 130 exhibitors.

The annual event will be held March 15 - 20, 2012 at Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas, Texas.

RCI, Inc. is an international non-profit association of professional consultants, architects, and engineers who specialize in the specification and design of roofing, waterproofing and exterior wall systems.

For complete details regarding the educational sessions offered, please visit: http://www.rci-online.org/international-convention.html or call 800-828-1902.

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TCA Releases The Construction of Tilt-Up

The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) – a non-profit international organization that serves to expand and improve the use of Tilt-Up as the preferred construction method -- has announced the release of The Construction of Tilt-Up.

The newest publication from the TCA is the second in a planned trilogy of resources covering the architecture, engineering and construction of Tilt-Up. The Construction of Tilt-Up presents state-of-the-art information and large colorful imagery of the construction process. Continuing the high quality evidenced in The Architecture of Tilt-Up, this book also uses the new large format (10 inches by 10 inches).

“The Construction of Tilt-Up is a long overdue publication,” states Jim Baty, TCA Technical Director. “Recognizing the impact that Hugh Brooks has had on the industry when he produced the Tilt-Up Design and Construction Manual, there has been a wealth of technology and process change in the last decade. The focus of our effort on this manual was to bring to light these technological improvements and testimonies to the maturity of the professional contractors in the industry. It is a great companion to The Architecture of Tilt-Up that was released last year.”

Topics covered in the book include: planning; slabs and foundation; panel layout and forming; reinforcement; inserts and embedded items; placing and finishing of the panels; lifting, setting and bracing of the panels; connections; and finishing touches.

The Construction of Tilt-Up is available for $145 for non-members or $95 for members. For orders of 10 or more, each book is available at a reduced rate of $75. For questions or to order, contact TCA at 319-895-6911, info@tilt-up.org or purchase online from the TCA website at www.tilt-up.org/resources. The book will also be available for purchase at the TCA’s booth at this year’s World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Nevada in January.

TCA was founded in 1986 to improve the quality and acceptance of site cast Tilt-Up construction, a construction method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. For more information about the TCA, visit www.tilt-up.org.

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146 Out Of 337 Metro Areas Lost Construction Jobs Between November 2010 & 2011 As Federal Construction Investments Are Set To Drop 6.2 Percent
Houston Area and Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., Top List of Metro Areas Adding Jobs; New York City Lost the Most, While Logan, Utah-Idaho Had Largest Percentage Decline

Construction employment declined in 146 out of 337 metropolitan areas between November 2010 and November 2011, increased in 131 and stayed level in 60, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that construction employment is likely to continue declining in many areas because of a planned 6.2 percent cut in federal investments in construction and infrastructure for the 2012 fiscal year.

“There is no avoiding the pain that comes any time the single largest purchaser of construction services cuts investments by nearly 20 percent in two years,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, noting that the fiscal year 2012 federal construction budget will be 18 percent smaller than the same budget for 2010. “It will take a lot more private sector growth to offset declining federal demand.”

The largest job losses were in New York City, N.Y. (-4,900 jobs, -4 percent), followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-4,600 jobs, -5 percent); Philadelphia, Pa. (-4,500 jobs, -7 percent); St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. (-4,100 jobs, -7 percent) and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. area (-3,500 jobs, -7 percent). The Logan, Utah-Idaho area (-25 percent, -800 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Montgomery, Ala. (-21 percent, -1,400); Wilmington, N.C. (-21 percent, -1,900 jobs) and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn. (-17 percent, -1,900 jobs).

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, added more construction jobs (5,200 jobs, 3 percent) than any other metro area during the past year while Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., added the highest percentage (29 percent, 3,600 jobs). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Columbus, Ohio (3,900 jobs, 14 percent); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (3,800 jobs, 9 percent); Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. (3,500 jobs, 17 percent) and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (3,400 jobs, 3 percent).

Association officials said that the federal construction cuts, which were included in the recently-passed Omnibus Appropriations Bill, will cost taxpayers more in the long run than whatever short-term savings are being realized. They noted, for example that significant cuts for new federal building projects will force taxpayers to pay more for the delayed structures. They said that federal officials estimate the budget cuts for this year will force taxpayers to spend $500 million more for the new headquarters for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security than originally estimated.

“This is an awfully expensive way to save a few dollars in the short term,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. “These cosmetic cuts won’t help taxpayers, but they will cost construction workers their jobs and complicate long-term efforts to cut the deficit.”

View construction employment figures by state and rank. Click here for details about the federal government’s fiscal year 2012 construction budget.

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Architecture Billings Climbs into Positive Territory for First Time in Four Months
Multi-family residential and commercial sectors are most healthy

Continuing the positive momentum of a nearly three point bump in October, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reached its first positive mark since August. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 52.0, following a score of 49.4 in October. This score reflects an overall increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 65.0, up dramatically from a reading of 57.3 the previous month.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB092222

“This is a heartening development for the design and construction industry that only a few years ago accounted for nearly ten percent of overall GDP but has fallen to slightly less than six percent,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Hopefully, this uptick in billings is a sign that a recovery phase is in the works. However, given the volatility that we’ve seen nationally and internationally recently, we’ll need to see several more months of positive readings before we’ll have much confidence that the U.S. construction recession is ending..”

Key November ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: South (54.4), Midwest (50.9), Northeast (49.1), West (45.6)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.8), commercial / industrial (53.9),
  • institutional (48.9), mixed practice (41.6)
  • Project inquiries index: 65.0

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the White Paper Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending on the AIA web site.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Construction Employment Rises In Only 19 States And The District Of Columbia In November, While 24 States Shed Industry Workers During The Past 12 Months
Arizona and California Had Worst Monthly Losses; Rhode Island and New York Had Largest Monthly Gains; New Mexico and Georgia Had Worst Yearly Job Loses; Texas and North Dakota Added the Most Jobs for the Year

Construction employment rose in only 19 states and the District of Columbia in November, a weaker showing than in recent months, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. In contrast, 25 states plus D.C. added jobs on a year-over-year basis, while 24 states shed construction jobs.

“Although there have been selective improvements in private nonresidential employment, multifamily construction and even home building in a few states, public construction employment declines are negating these gains in much of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The map of gains and losses is likely to remain very checkered for several more months.”

Seasonally adjusted construction employment climbed from October to November in only 19 states plus D.C., in contrast to recent months that showed a nearly even split between states with gains and those with losses. Rhode Island had the largest one-month percentage gain (5.8 percent, 900 jobs), while New York added the largest number of construction jobs for the month (4,600 jobs, 1.8 percent). Nevada was second in both categories (5.3 percent, 2,900 jobs). Florida tied for second place in construction jobs added in November (2,900 jobs, 0.9 percent).
Of the 30 states that lost construction jobs from October to November, Arizona had the largest one-month percentage drop (-4.3 percent, -5,000 jobs), with Utah next (-4.2 percent, -2,800 jobs), followed by Kentucky (-3.9 percent, -2,500 jobs) and Vermont (-3.7 percent, -500 jobs). California lost the largest number of construction jobs for the month (-7,100 jobs, -1.2 percent), followed by Arizona, then Ohio (-4,000 jobs, -2.3 percent). Maine had no change in monthly construction employment.

North Dakota ranked first among 25 states and the District of Columbia that recorded construction employment gains from November 2010 to November 2011. The state added 18 percent (3,800 jobs). Indiana ranked second (8.1 percent, 9,300 jobs), followed by Rhode Island (6.5 percent, 1,000 jobs) and Oklahoma (6.0 percent, 4,100 jobs). Texas added the largest number of jobs (10,600, 1.8 percent), closely followed by California (10,400, 1.9 percent).

Among the 24 states that lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, New Mexico experienced the steepest decline (-13 percent, -5,900 jobs), followed by Wisconsin (-9.5 percent, -8,800 jobs), Kentucky (-8.9 percent, -6,100 jobs) and Georgia, which shed the largest number of jobs over the year (-11,500 jobs, -8.0 percent). Wisconsin had the second-highest number of job losses; Alabama was third-worst (-6,600, -7.7 percent). Nevada had no change in construction employment over the year.

Association officials said the failure of Congress to enact long-term transportation and infrastructure funding bills was holding back hiring by public-works contractors. They noted that airport projects had already been halted once and that funding for highways and transit was guaranteed only through March.

“When federal funds are assured for only a few months at a time, states and contractors are unable to start long-term projects, and employment in a state can drop as soon as a major project ends,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Construction firms—and the many businesses that depend on them—will continue to suffer until Congress does its part.”

View the state employment data by rank and by state.

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SARGENT 11 Line Lock: the Strongest Cylindrical Lock on the Market Helps Keep Healthcare Facilities Secure

Underscoring its commitment to innovative and secure products, SARGENT offers the patented 11 Line Grade 1 cylindrical lock designed to keep hospitals and healthcare facilities secure. The lock’s T-Zone construction features true interlocking between the lock body and latch and provides unparalleled strength and durability for demanding high traffic environments.

The 11 Line exceeds ANSI/BHMA A156.2 Series 4000 Grade 1 cycle test standards by a factor of 10, for greater than 10 million test cycles. The 11 Line withstands 3-1/2 times ANSI/BMHA torque force – over 3,000 in/lbs – on a locked lever.

“A hospital or healthcare facility is no place to compromise on physical security,” said Leslie Saunders, VP, Product Development ASSA ABLOY Architectural Hardware Group. “We designed the 11 Line to address environments where locks are subject to severe abuse around the clock. The interlocking design and robust construction provide the durability and reliability these facilities require.”

The design of the lock also makes it flexible: only two components need to be changed to accommodate any of its 18 functions. This results in reduced inventory parts and ease of maintenance for service personnel. Additionally, cylinder removal is simple for easy change-outs, and the 11 Line is compatible with many competitive key systems.

The SARGENT 11 Line is designed for easy installation and fits standard 161 door preps with no through bolts, making it ideally suited for retrofit applications as well as new installations. It is available in 10 architectural hardware finishes, multiple ADA lever designs and rose designs to accommodate a wide variety of aesthetic requirements.

The SARGENT 11 Line lock carries a 10-year limited warranty.

ABOUT ASSA ABLOY
ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user demands for security, safety and convenience. For more information visit http://www.assaabloy.com/en/com/.

ABOUT SARGENT
Founded in the early 1800’s, SARGENT is a market leader in locksets, cylinders, door closers, exit devices, electro-mechanical products and access control systems for new construction, renovation and replacement applications. The company's customer base includes commercial construction, institutional, and industrial markets. Included in SARGENT’s product offerings are windstorm certified locks and exit devices, hardwired and wireless access control devices, designer levers and an antimicrobial hardware coating. Visit our website for bored lock, mortise lock, exit device and key system product specifications. www.sargentlock.com

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Construction Materials Prices Inch Down In November But Continue To Outrun Year-Over-Year Building Prices, Squeezing Strapped Contractors
Construction Association Officials Urge Prompt Congressional Action on Federal Building, Infrastructure Funding to Avert Contractor Closures, Higher Prices Later for Projects

The amount contractors pay for a range of key construction materials edged down 0.1 percent in November but climbed 6.2 percent from a year earlier, outstripping the increase in contractors’ bid prices for finished buildings, according to an analysis of producer price index figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Officials with the construction association warned that the cost squeeze on contractors, combined with declining public sector investments in construction, may drive many contractors out of business.

“Price increases have moderated or even reversed direction at the moment for essential construction materials but prices are likely to increase in the next few weeks,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, federal construction funding has slowed sharply, and some may be cut off completely by next week, leaving contractors in desperate shape.”

Simonson noted that prices have diverged greatly for key construction materials in the past month. The price index for diesel fuel leaped 8.9 percent in November and 32 percent over 12 months. The index for copper and brass mill shapes, which reached record levels earlier in the year, sank 2.3 percent in November and 7.7 percent year-over-year. Steel mill products also dropped in price for the month, by 1.1 percent, but rose 13 percent from a year earlier. Similarly, the index for asphalt paving mixtures and blocks declined 0.5 percent in November but posted an 8.1 percent year-over-year gain.

“Prices are likely to be as volatile in 2012 as they were this year,” Simonson predicted. “Wallboard makers have announced they intend to raise prices 35 percent on Jan. 1, and a variety of steel products appear to be headed higher again. In contrast, diesel fuel and copper prices are poised for further slippage in the near term but could shoot back up without warning, as they did in 2008 and 2011.”

Simonson observed that price indexes for finished nonresidential buildings, which measure what contractors estimate they would charge to put up new structures, have slowly strengthened in recent months but do not match the rise in materials costs. From November 2010 to November 2011, these indexes rose 3.4 percent for new industrial buildings, 3.7 percent for offices, 3.9 percent for warehouses and 4.5 percent for schools. Despite the increased bid prices, Simonson cautioned that materials prices have increased at a faster rate.

“Contractors won’t have the same ability to increase bid levels if Congress allows billions in construction investments to lapse later this week,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “If Congress can’t work through its differences and fails to enact short and long term investment bills, many contractors are likely to shed even more jobs and may even be forced out of business because of declining demand and increasing materials costs.”

View the latest producer price index tables for construction.

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146 Out Of 337 Metro Areas Lost Construction Jobs Between October 2010 & 2011 As Federal Infrastructure Programs Remains Stalled In Washington

Houston Area and Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., Top List of Metro Areas Adding Jobs; Atlanta Area Lost the Most, While Logan, Utah, Had Largest Percentage Decline

Construction employment declined in 146 out of 337 metropolitan areas between October 2010 and October 2011, increased in 140 and stayed level in 51, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that many communities continue to lose construction jobs even as a federal program to invest in highway, transit and other infrastructure construction have been stalled in Congress for years.

“Declining federal investments in infrastructure projects, including highway and transit work, are making matters worse for construction employment in many communities,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “If it wasn’t for a slight increase in private sector demand, construction employment would be down in even more communities.”

The largest job losses were in Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-7,700 jobs, -8 percent), followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-4,000 jobs, -8 percent); New York City (-4,000 jobs, -4 percent); Philadelphia (-3,600 jobs, -5 percent) and the Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas area (-3,600 jobs, -3 percent). Logan, Utah (-24 percent, -800 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Wilmington, N.C. (-21 percent, -1,900); Redding, Calif. (-20 percent, -600 jobs) and Montgomery, Ala. (-19 percent, -1,300 jobs).

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, added more construction jobs (5,100 jobs, 3 percent) than any other metro area during the past year while Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., added the highest percentage (28 percent, 3,500 jobs). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Columbus, Ohio (4,200 jobs, 15 percent); Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. (3,600 jobs, 18 percent); Newark-Union, N.J.-Penn. (3,100 jobs, 9 percent) and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (3,000 jobs, 9 percent).

Association officials noted that investments in infrastructure, including highway and transit construction, are suffering because Congress is years late in passing a new surface transportation, aviation and water infrastructure bills. They said without that legislation, state and local officials were having a hard time planning and funding large infrastructure projects.

“Letting infrastructure programs languish at a time like this is the equivalent of fighting the economic downturn with one hand tied behind our back,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. “Investing in infrastructure won’t solve every problem facing the construction industry but it will create construction jobs while giving a needed boost to all types of businesses.”

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

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New retailer kit highlights clarity, durability of CLARVISTA shower glass by PPG
Kit shows glass samples after prolonged exposure to heat and humidity

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) has introduced a sample kit for shower glass retailers and kitchen and bath designers that demonstrates the superior clarity and durability of CLARVISTA(R) shower glass compared to conventional uncoated shower glass.

The kits show a single pane of shower glass after exposure to 1,000 continuous hours of 140 F temperatures and 95 percent relative humidity. The uncoated half of the shower glass displays extensive corrosion. The half made with Clarvista glass maintains its original clear appearance and shows no signs of corrosion.

Clarvista shower glass is made with a proprietary coating that seals the glass surface, making it more resistant to corrosion caused by heat, humidity, soap and chemicals in household cleaning products. Because of its durable coating, testing shows that, with regular maintenance, Clarvista glass looks newer longer than other shower glass products.

Clarvista glass is available with STARPHIRE® ultra-clear glass by PPG or conventional clear glass. When combined with Starphire glass, Clarvista glass produces a highly transparent shower glass, which makes it ideal for upscale homes, resorts and commercial spas.

The sample kits can be seen at Clarvista glass retailer and distributor locations. To find one near you, visit www.ppgclarvista.comor call 1-888-PPG-GLAS (774-4527). Additional information about Clarvista glass, such as downloadable product literature and a white paper with comprehensive performance testing results, also can be found at www.ppgclarvista.com.

PPG: BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE SURFACE.™

PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than does any other company. Founded in 1883, PPG has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol:PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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VJAA Receives 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award
Firm noted for research into material innovations and digital practice tools

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Directors (BOD) voted today for VJAA to receive the 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award. The Minneapolis based firm, noted for its consistently rigorous approach to research-driven form-making, will be honored at the 2012 AIA National Convention in Washington, D.C.

The AIA Architecture Firm Award, given annually, is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture firm and recognizes a practice that consistently has produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.

Get more information on VJAA here.

“We are honored to be recognized by the AIA with this important award,” said Vincent James, FAIA, principal at VJAA. “This recognition is due to talented and committed employees, ambitious clients and the strong support we receive from our local design community. With this encouragement, we will continue to build a practice that strives to innovate while creating a responsive architecture that is sensitive to its users and its place.”

Founded in 1995, VJAA has already won acclaim for the way it uses architectural research to create buildings uniquely and empirically attuned to their geography, climate, history, and culture. The firm’s three principals (Vincent James, FAIA, Jennifer Yoos, AIA, and, Nathan Knutson, AIA) have lead VJAA on a wide-ranging search for what they call the “embedded intelligence” of projects: the essential markers of place, function, materiality, and craft which lie beneath each work and serve as an armature for its development.

For a moderately sized firm in a struggling economy, spending time and money on these kinds of open-ended explorations could be a risky gambit, but VJAA has made it an explicit part of their practice. One area this research has focused on are material innovations, including technologies that combine structural and skin elements, surfaces that filter specified amounts of sound and light, and systems that temper the ambient climate. Another area of intensive research for VJAA is its use of digital practice tools, particularly emphasizing integrated design and sustainable features. With these tools, the firm’s latest projects have started their design path with a clear understanding of how they will perform in a real-world environment, and these buildings are frequently cited for their pioneering sustainability. One recent project, The Charles Hostler Student Center at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, received a 2009 COTE Top 10 award, but this isn’t the only honor VJAA has been celebrated with recently: ARCHITECT Magazine named VJAA the top award-winning firm in 2010.

“VJAA creates a place and purpose-specific architecture founded on broad societal, technological, and artistic values,” wrote Andrea Leers, FAIA, of 2007 Firm Award recipient Leers Weinzapfel Associates, in a recommendation letter. “Their work eloquently demonstrates the creative possibilities of joining environmental innovation, material exploration, and a thoughtful and economical response to site and program.”

True to their Midwestern roots, VJAA’s aesthetic is unassuming, clean, subtle, and contextual; their buildings are unfailingly polite and friendly, no matter where in the world they’re located. “In an era frequently characterized by architectural indulgence and excess, VJAA is creating architecture of refinement and restraint,” wrote Leers in her recommendation letter.

A few of VJAA’s most notable projects include:
  • The Charles Hostler Student Center in Beirut, Lebanon, which organizes a village of contextual masonry and glass student amenity buildings around a radial “street” plan designed for ideal solar orientation, thus creating shaded micro-climates in the Mediterranean climate. The facility uses a multitude of active (as well as passive) sustainability strategies like solar power, green roofs, and geothermal cooling.
  • The Type Variant House in Wisconsin, a collection of richly textured, wood-framed and copper-clad rectilinear volumes arranged on a rural site asymmetrically, which use their unique geometry to create exterior social spaces.
  • Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University in New Orleans, a student center addition and renovation that uses layers of porch-like screening and shading to encourage the circulation of daylight and natural ventilation.
  • The Minneapolis Rowing Club Building in Minneapolis, a simple building that lets light pour in from an angled top corner window, illuminating a parallel and subtly rotated series of interior roof trusses that serve as a visual metaphor for the teamwork and art of movement associated with rowing.

VJAA is the 49th AIA Architecture Firm Award recipient. Previous recipients of the AIA Firm Award include BNIM (2011), Pugh + Scarpa (2010), Kieran Timberlake (2008), Muphy/Jahn (2005), Polshek Partnership (1992), Venturi, Raunch, and Scott Brown (1985), I.M. Pei and Partners (1968), and SOM (1962).

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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American Institute of Architects Commends Obama Administration’s $4 Billion Public/Private Sector Plan to Upgrade Buildings
AIA Architects Stand Ready to Help “Better Buildings Challenge” Partners Turn Their Plans to Reality

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today expressed its support for the Obama Administration’s $4 billion public/private sector plan to upgrade buildings for energy efficiency throughout the country. The following statement may be attributed to AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA:

“The White House announcement is an important step in helping make buildings more efficient and create jobs at the same time. This Better Buildings Challenge compliments AIA’s June announcement with the Clinton Global Initiative to develop a database of Stalled Projects suitable for investor financing, as well as AIA members’ commitment to make buildings progressively more and more energy efficient toward the 2030 commitment. Thanks to these funding commitments, AIA architects are poised to design the next generation of green buildings.”

“But much more can be done to create jobs in this sector. In the coming weeks, the AIA and other members of the design and construction industry will unveil a broad-based initiative to do just that.”

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Cold Spring Granite Now Offers Limestone and Sandstone Solutions

Cold Spring Granite – the leading quarrier and fabricator of natural stone in North America, and bronze manufacturer – introduces their newest natural stone solutions: limestone and sandstone.

By adding limestone and sandstone to their product offering, Cold Spring Granite is extending the color palette available to architects, landscape architects and designers while providing them with a single source for natural stone.

“For more than a century, Cold Spring Granite has brought visions to life through granite solutions,” said Dan Rea. “The high level of control over quality, process and schedule that many have grown to expect from us for our granite offerings will carry through to our limestone and sandstone solutions.”

Kasota Valley® Limestone, quarried in Mankato, MN, offers a wide color blend. The following finishes are available for Kasota Valley® Limestone: Diamond® Smooth, Sanded, Polished, Textured and Honed.

The sandstone palette includes: Dunnville, Agra Red, Agra Brown and Rhone Mountain. Dunnville is from Downsville, Wis. Both Agra Red and Agra Brown are from Karouli, India and Rhone Mountain is from Holzkirchen, Germany.

Applications for limestone and sandstone include: interior and exterior cladding, landscaping and statuary. Known for their stunning beauty and durability, limestone and sandstone solutions have been used to transform new structures and complement existing buildings, materials and environments.

To learn more about Cold Spring Granite’s limestone and sandstone offerings, visit http://www.coldspringgranite.com/Limestone-and-sandstone.aspx.

About Cold Spring Granite
For more than 112 years, Cold Spring Granite has been the leading quarrier and fabricator of natural stone in North America, in addition to bronze manufacturing. Headquartered in Cold Spring, Minnesota, the company has more than 900 employees, owns and operates more than 30 quarries, and has five domestic fabrication locations.

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