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professional associations

With Green Building Certification, LEED Is No Longer the Only Game in Town

Just when everyone was starting to finally become so used to the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED certification that it’s nearly reached the point of ubiquity, up pops a new system that is going to try and provide an alternative. Launched this past fall and starting to make waves is the Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities, or SERF certification for sure. Crain’s Detroit reports that the program was founded as an alternative to LEED, which founder Joe Maguire says has grown too expensive and time-consuming (you’ll recall that there have been questions about the program’s real world benefits as well). How much quicker and less expensive is SERF? Here’s a bit:

“Our timeline is four to six weeks,” he said. “They take two years. We’re approaching this from the perspective of the property owner and investor. How can the process be more efficient, more accessible?”

Among the differences, he said, is that the application can be filled out by the architect who designed the building rather than LEED’s requirement of hiring another architect to fill out the paperwork. A streamlined application process cuts down on the time it takes consultants — paid by the hour — to complete the work.

So far, the USGBC seems okay with the competition, telling Crain’s that they are okay with other certifications popping up, as anything to promote green building is a positive. Also, it’s fairly easy to say you aren’t too concerned when you have more than a billion square feet under your belt and a certification like SERF has 32 buildings in total to their name.

Update: The USGBC dropped us a line, letting us know about an error: “The quote from Joe Maguire says that LEED Certification takes two years, however, the timeline actually only ranges from 5-15 weeks but depends on the project and their submittals, as well as if the project has make any appeals on LEED credits.”

AIGA Launches ‘Design Envy’ Blog

“For designers, by designers.” That’s the premise and promise of Design Envy, a new blog from AIGA and Adobe that showcases envy-inducing creative work. “We developed Design Envy to expand the range of voices contributing to design discussions, and to heighten the level of visual inspiration provided by unexpected choices,” said AIGA executive director Richard Grefé in a statement issued today. Each week, a new AIGA-appointed guest curator will post five new examples to inspire and inform. Visitors are invited to vote on their favorites and help select the entries that will become a special collection in the prestigious AIGA Design Archives.

AIGA Welcomes Fresh Crop of National Directors, Launches (Re)designAwards

Fresh Start Sukie’s “A New Leaf” notebook, made from 100% recycled paper.

As you prepare to raise a sparkler and savor a grilled slab of protein in celebration of America’s 235th birthday, we offer two last, mildly patriotic morsels of news from AIGA. First up is the slate of five design minds that today joined the organization’s 15-member national board of directors: president Doug Powell (Schwartz Powell), Andrew Blauvelt (Walker Art Center), Drew Davies (Oxide Design), Susana Rodríguez de Tembleque (SYPartners), and Nathan Shedroff (California College of the Arts). Elected by members, the new directors will serve three-year terms leading up to AIGA’s centennial in 2014.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles chapter of AIGA has launched the 2011 (Re)designAwards, a design competition that “showcases the importance and innovation of sustainable and socially responsible work created by design professionals, students, educators, and businesses and organizations from around the world.” Enter your sustainable design achievement in one of two categories—social responsibility or environmental sustainability—by July 22 to be judged by the likes of Eric Benson, Rachel Martin, Naomi Pearson, Tim McNeil, and Brian Dougherty. Click here for all of the details.

Royal Institute of British Architects Battles Criticism After Hosting 9/11 Conspiracists


Staying in the UK for a bit longer after that last post, the Royal Institute of British Architects is continuing to clean some egg of its face this week after an incident that happened to drag Zaha Hadid‘s name into it, something we’re sure the architect is not at all pleased about. Building Design reports that the RIBA hosted a lecture last week by a group called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. You may have heard about the group before if you read architecture news at all, or happen to receive press releases about their work as we inexplicably do. Essentially, it’s a “9/11 was an inside job” group, led by American architect Richard Gage, who believes the World Trade Center towers could not have been felled by two mere airliners and therefore clearly the whole thing must have been set up by some vast, smoke filled room government conspiracy. BD reports that Gage and his companions were invited to talk about all of this at the RIBA by Craig Phillip Kiner, “an associate at Zaha Hadid Architects,” who later said his involvement with the group was “a personal matter” and was in no way related to Hadid. But now that the news is out and the RIBA is struggling to distance itself from hosting the event, we’re wondering how long Kiner will continue to be associated with his employer. According to BD’s report, roughly 230 people attended the event, wherein Gage, who makes a point to include that he is a member of the American Institute of Architects, much to their reported chagrin, asked in his speech:

Architects and engineers have willfully ignored the message that we’ve been speaking about for five years. When is the RIBA going to take this seriously?

If you’d like to spend the rest of the day on this subject, we recommend you Google “9/11 RIBA” and enjoy reading the rancor from both sides.

Daniel Libeskind Receives AIANY Medal of Honor

Among the items on the agenda at Tuesday’s (144th!) annual meeting of the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter was bestowing its medal of honor on Daniel Libeskind. The architect and designer received the organization’s highest tribute in recognition of his achievement in developing the World Trade Center master plan, among other projects worldwide. A statement issued by AIANY described Libeskind’s buildings as “address[ing] the cultural context of their communities while inspiring new understanding of the importance of design to go beyond the expected.” Previous medal of honor recipients include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Toshiko Mori, and David Childs. Among the other honorees on Tuesday evening were builder Frank J. Sciame, Jr., who received the award of merit, and Lisa Phillips and the New Museum, which received a special citation from AIANY.

Pictured above, Daniel Libeskind with AIANY president Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo and AIANY executive director Rick Bell (Photo: Center for Architecture/Sam Lahoz)

Tim O’Kennedy Resigns as D&AD’s CEO, to be Replaced by Tim Lindsay


Hot off the heels of last week’s annual award show, the D&AD has announced a major change within its leadership. Just over two years after taking the position, Tim O’Kennedy has decided to resign as CEO, passing the torch over to Tim Lindsay, who joined the D&AD just this last September, coming on as a member of the organization’s Executive Committee. The official switch will happen sometime in August, with it all made official and formal at the D&AD President’s Dinner in late September. Presumably at that time, there will be some joke at that event about how the D&AD only wants to be led by people named Tim. Here’s a bit from the two Tims:

Tim O’Kennedy said: “Some years back, I made a deal with my other half: if the right career opportunity presented itself to her, I would take a back seat, look after the kids, and let her get on with it. That day has come: I’m proud of and happy for her, of course, but I do feel great regret about leaving D&AD at what seems like the beginning of a golden period for us. I think Tim’s exactly the right guy to continue the drive to better places. I also hope to be able to stay involved in some way, as my time at D&AD has completely underscored my belief in what we do around here.”

Tim Lindsay said: “I feel extremely fortunate to be chosen by D&AD as its next CEO, particularly as Tim O’Kennedy and his team have done so much great work over the last couple of years. It’s a dream job, in a wonderful organisation.”

AIGA San Francisco Seeks Great Work That Does Good

The San Francisco chapter of AIGA is out to celebrate the efforts of designers and organizations who aim to positively impact our society with Cause/Affect. Open to designers and design students around the world, the biennial competition seeks design work created over the past two years that promotes or supports social good and actively engages in enriching our lives. (If the work contributes directly to the profit of a commercial organization, don’t bother entering it.) An all-star juryRob Duncan (Dowling | Duncan), Karin Hibma (Cronan Design), Adam Reineck (IDEO), and Jason Schulte (Office)—will select the winners, and online voting planned for this fall will decide the People’s Choice Award. Entries must be received by June 24.

American Institute of Architects Elects 2013 Officers

Per usual, the American Institute of Architects has already elected their officers for well off into the future, more than a year away. The results of the election for their representatives through 2013, held at the organization’s annual convention which was in New Orleans this year, have been announced. Already the current vice-president of the AIA, Mickey Jacob will serve as its next president for 2012 through 2013 (we believe that’s the first time in AIA history that there’s been this sort of immediate succession, so the guy must be a favorite), with Russel Davidson and Debra Kunce coming on as Vice Presidents for that same period, and Gabriel Durand-Hollis as the organization’s treasurer. Here’s a bit about the new top man in charge:

Jacob, managing principal at Urban Studio Architects, a seven-person firm in Tampa, has more than 25 years of AIA participation holding numerous leadership positions with AIA Tampa Bay, AIA Florida, and AIA National. Following his term as president of AIA Florida in 2004-2005, he served as the 2007-2009 AIA Florida/Caribbean Regional Director on the AIA National Board of Directors. In 2009, he was elected to a two-year term as an AIA vice president.

Jacob also has been active in government advocacy, including serving as chair of the Florida Architects Political Action Committee, of ArchiPAC, and of the AIA Board Advocacy Committee. Participating in the development of several advocacy initiatives, including as a cofounder of the AIA Breakfast of Champions program, Jacob has helped raise the awareness of the importance of political engagement, and is a vocal advocate to position AIA members to attain leadership positions.

Confidence in Design Economy Remains High, AIGA Survey Finds

As thousands of design school graduates accept their diplomas, stopping briefly to scrutinize the font choices before returning them to their leatherette holders, they will meet a “design economy” that is on the upswing. Today AIGA released a quarterly update of its Design Leaders Confidence Index, and while down from the all-time high recorded in January, the 300 design leaders surveyed remain optimistic about the general economy, the design business, and the prospects for both. According to AIGA, the majority of respondents were confident the state of the economy as a whole—and of the design economy in particular—would be moderately better in the next six months. Fewer than nine percent of design leaders surveyed felt that the design economy was worse today than six months ago, and fewer than six percent felt that conditions would be worse six months in the future. Meanwhile, as design firms find themselves juggling more projects with smaller budgets, hiring is still pretty slow. Nearly two out of five design leaders surveyed by AIGA felt the chances of hiring additional staff were better than in January, while 13 percent thought they were worse. Half of corporate CEOs reported plans to hire additional staff in the next six months, so recent grads, keep an eye on the job board.

AIA Works in Architect Barbie into Annual Conference, Launches ‘Dream House’ Design Competition

Earlier this year, you might recall, that after years of failed attempts, Architect Barbie finally became a reality, as Mattel decided to give the famous doll her long-awaited degree in architecture for the product’s annual “I Can Be” series. How much did this decision please the American Institute of Architects? Well, beyond being hired on as consultants for Architect Barbie, they even went so far as to include her in two separate events within their annual national convention, which was held this past weekend in New Orleans. One, entitled simply “Barbie I Can Be…Architect,” which perhaps isn’t the finest grammatical structure (up next for Barbe: English major), invited the Barbie target audience, girls 7 to 9 years old, to come to attend a 45-minute workshop with a practicing female architect. Not only would they be introduced to the profession with a quick primer on the job, but they walked out with a complimentary Architect Barbie just for showing up. For the second event, the AIA has asked its members to design Barbie’s new Dream House. Barbie herself has laid out the ground rules of the competition on the AIA’s site, demanding things like that the “living and dining areas…are open and connected allowing for mingling and easy entertaining from one room to the other” and that the “kitchen should be functional and fabulous with top-of-the-line appliances.” We also loved the first sentence of the contest’s introduction: “Two important things to know: Barbie loves to PLAY and have FUN.” Duly noted. If you’re an AIA member and would like to participate, here are all the details. You have until today to put you name in and then until June 27th to submit your final Dream House designs. Later this summer, the AIA will open the competition up to public voting and a winner will be announced on August 2nd.