Volume 15, No. 7 - August 9, 2021
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Beyer Blinder Belle
Planet Word, by Beyer Blinder Belle (more info)

In This Issue

DA21 Winners Revealed 8/19

2021 Loudoun Awards Announced

AIA Compensation Report

ABI Continues Its Rise

Notes, Awards + Opportunities

Featured Project: Planet Word


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

 This issue of BLAST is sponsored by ClientPay

 Design Award Winners to be Announced on August 19

The Design Awards Committee will announce the winning projects on Thursday, August 19. The virtual presentation will be posted on our Chapter's YouTube channel beginning at 7:00p. All are welcome to join us, no registration needed. Also, a preview of all the submitted projects will be released one week in advance of the awards program, on August 12 at 7:00p. Then you can watch a video of juror comments the day after the celebration, on August 20. All videos will be available on our YouTube channel.

2021 Signatures of Loudoun Design Excellence Awards Announced

The Loudoun County Design Cabinet, a volunteer group of architects, engineers, planners, and designers dedicated to supporting quality design in Loudoun County, presented the 2021 Signatures of Loudoun design awards in a ceremony on June 29. The Signatures program, now in its 17th year, recognizes businesses and community organizations that choose superior design standards in building, renovating, or expanding a project. Each year, the community is invited to submit nominations in eight categories, which are voted on by the cabinet. Additional information and images are available here.

Winning firms included Samaha Associates, P.C., Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C., W.A. Brown & Associates, PC and New Leaf Collaborative.

AIA Compensation Report

 Newly updated for 2021! This is the industry's most comprehensive report on salary and compensation trends and the only one used by the Department of Labor. It includes data for 44 firm positions in 31 states, 33 metro areas, and 18 cities, plus it includes a free salary calculator. You'll get a look at where the market is headed, as well as information on workplace culture and employee benefits, perks, and incentives that firms are offering to attract and retain top talent. In addition to the complete national report, there is a separate metro area report and nine regional reports to understand your value and make good decisions for your career or your business. The South Atlantic regional report covers Virginia, Maryland, and the District. Details are available here.

Architecture Billings Index - Robust Growth Continues

Architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services in June according to the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI). The score for June remained at an elevated level of 57.1 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new design contracts score also remained positive at 58.9, but was not quite as strong as the 63.2 reading in May. New project inquiries logged another near-record high score at 71.8, compared to 69.2 in May.

"With the current pace of billings growth near the highest levels ever seen in the history of the index, we're expecting a sharp upturn in nonresidential building activity later this year and into 2022," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. "However, as is often the case when market conditions make a sudden reversal, concerns are growing about architecture firms not being able to find enough workers to meet the higher workloads. Nearly six in 10 firms report that they are having problems filling open architectural staff positions."

Key ABI highlights for June include:
  • Regional averages: Midwest (62.0); West (59.7); South (57.3); Northeast (53.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (61.0); multi-family residential (57.9); institutional (57.3); mixed practice (56.4)
  • Project inquiries index: 71.8
  • Design contracts index: 58.9
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers. Visit AIA's website for more ABI information.

CAE Film Series Begins in the Fall

Our Committee on Architecture for Education is beginning a new series on September 9. This session will begin with an abbreviated viewing of a video, The Whole Child: Health and Wellness, followed by a panel discussion on wellness rated topics from architect-led research collaborations with public health and childhood obesity researchers, to implementation of the WELL Health-Safety Rating to bring back in-person learning with confidence. We will be partnering with AIA Virginia, Cannon Design, and the International WELL Building Institute for this conversation. Please watch for details soon on our calendar: https://aianova.org/event.php?eventID=2321

 AIA Virginia Prize Exhibit Extended through August

The 2021 AIA Virginia Student Prize Exhibition, organized by AIA Virginia and AIA Northern Virginia, is on display in the Torpedo Factory’s New Project Studio through August 31. This year's competition was inspired by the Equal Justice Initiative's Community Remembrance Project and challenged students to design a pillar installation for the City of Alexandria's Market Square. Conducted simultaneously at Hampton University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, the competition engaged students at all of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia.

Learn more about this annual challenge

The New Project Studio is located in Studio 9 on the First Floor of the Art Center, located at 105 N. Union Street in Alexandria. Details are available here.

Watergate at Landmark's Youth Committee Looking for Volunteers to Help at Box City Event

The Watergate Youth Committee has reached out to the chapter for help with their upcoming Box City event on August 28 from 4:00-8:00p, outside on their terrace. You may remember that our chapter has hosted Box City events at the Torpedo Factory. Children of all ages can become architects for the day, and cooperatively create their own cardboard box buildings and city, all while learning about the practical processes of building and urban development. They can request a permit, go shopping at the hardware store, meet the building inspector and work with architects and the city planner. The Youth Committee is looking for volunteers with experience in architecture, urban planning, construction, and craft to help the kids during the event.

Our Schools Connections Committee will be organizing volunteers, so if you are available to help, please email the chapter at aianova@aianova.org. The group is also looking for guidance on where they might be able to get donations of building materials. If you can suggest a source, please contact Zohreh Khoshnamak at khoshnamak@gmail.com. Thank you!

Quick Notes...  

NCARB releases national pass rates ...   by demographics; reference NACRB by the Numbers [info] ... AIAU is offering certificate programs ... areas including Materials, Resilience & Adaptation, Business Foundations, and more [info] ...   Capital Area CRAN (Custom Residential Architect's Network) ...  is looking for AIA Northern Virginia members interested in joining the tri-chapter committee. Contact Janet Bloomberg, FAIA ... [contact] ...   The AIA Film Challenge ... entries are due by August 16, with public voting from August 30 through October 3 [info] ...  

Awards and Opportunities

 AIA Honors Currently Open for Submission:
Due July 27 – Architecture Firm Award
Due July 27 – Gold Medal
Due August 5 – Innovation Awards
Due August 5 – Interior Architecture
Due August 5 – Justice Facilities Review
Due August 5 – Regional & Urban Design
Due September 5 – Regional & Urban Design
Due September 14 – AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Architectural Education
Due September 14 – AIA Associates Award
Due September 14 – AIA Award for Excellence in Public Architecture
Due September 14 – Collaborative Achievement
Due September 14 – Edward C. Kemper Award
Due September 14 – Honorary Membership
Due September 14 – Whitney M. Young Jr. Award
Due September 14 – Young Architect Award
Due October 5 – Fellowship
Due October 5 – Honorary Fellowship

Due August 27Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship Submission

AIA EVP/CEO Search to recruit a successor to EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA – To confidentially submit application materials or nominate someone to serve as AIA's next CEO, view guidelines at AIA's website.
Design News
Job Board

As a benefit to our members, we maintain a Job Board of local postings. Pay us a visit for postings from: Moseley Architects; LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects; O’Brien & Keane; MW Architects; George Mason University, Department of Capital Strategy and Planning; MTFA Architecture; MODE4 Architecture, Landis Architects/Builders, Project 308 Design, PLLC, AIA Northern Virginia, and Little Diversified Architectural Consulting.

AIA Northern Virginia Chapter members may post entries free of charge as a benefit of membership. Non-members are billed at a rate of $75 for each entry. We also maintain a resume library and share resumes with firms that are hiring. So please send us your resume to us at aianova@aianova.org.

Featured Project

Planet Word
Beyer Blinder Belle
Washington, DC

 Within the historic Franklin School lives Planet Word, the world's first voice-activated museum of language. Mere blocks from the White House, the landmark recently underwent a comprehensive transformation.

First opened in 1869 as the flagship of a public education network, the Franklin School was designed by Adolf Cluss, who shared his design around the world. Its inventive air circulation systems and classroom design supported a progressive curriculum that incorporated gardening in the adjacent Franklin Square. In 1880, the building was the site of another innovation when Alexander Graham Bell sent the first wireless communication from the Franklin School.

Critical to the building's rebirth was honoring its past. To retain the integrity of the cast iron stairs, the team embraced a performance-based approach to building codes. Visitors can appreciate the stairs’ historic detailing and their open, airy design as they move between floors on the original encaustic tile treads. Conversion of the attic into a revenue-generating event space both increased programmable area and expanded opportunities to observe original craftsmanship. The Great Hall historically featured fresco secco walls, finished with a trompe l'oeil detail that mimicked light streaming in from the hall’s windows, a detail extended to the new event space above.

Opened in October 2020, Planet Word draws enthusiastic visitors of all ages, eager to try the interactive experiences that bring language to life. Visitors marvel at how this high-tech, 21st-century, voice-activated museum fits so easily into the rehabilitated 150-year-old space. The building itself adds to the experience, as language has been incorporated into its restroom tiles, the lobby's terrazzo, and the Speaking Willow sculpture in the new, accessible entrance courtyard.

Photography © Joseph Romeo, courtesy Beyer Blinder Belle



12 | AIA Northern Virginia Design Awards - Preview of Projects
     7:00p. [info]

19 | AIA Conference on Architecture 2021 [info]

19 | CAE Meeting (Committee on Architecture in Education)
     12:00p. [info]

19 | AIA Northern Virginia Design Awards Celebration
     7:00p. [info]

20 | AIA Northern Virginia Design Awards – Juror Comments [info]

27 | Design Awards Committee Meeting
     12:30p. [info]

30 | WIA Committee Meeting
     6:00p. [info]

Upcoming Dates to Note:
  September 9 - The Whole Child: Policy, Program, and the Built Environment for Healthy Schools
  September 17 - Interschool Design Competition
  September 22 - Committee Chairs Planning Meeting

Combined Virginia / West Virginia Event Calendar
Now you can find all the webinars and architecture events in the region in one place. AIA chapters across Virginia and West Virginia are contributing to a combined calendar on the Inform Magazine site.

AIA Northern Virginia Calendar  |  AIA|DC Calendar  |  AIA Potomac Valley Calendar  |  AIA Virginia Calendar  |  Branch Museum Calendar

For additional information on any of these events, please contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org. The Chapter House is located at 1101 Duke Street, Alexandria 22314.