Volume 3, No. 1 - January 30, 2009
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Model for Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir, by HDR (more info)
In This Issue

Remake America

Chapter Open House

ARE Calendar Finalized

New Alexandria Zoning

Practice: AIA Website

Featured Project: Community Hospital


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

President Obama's Call to Remake America
by Debbie Burns

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth."
-From Barack Obama's inauguration speech
It was certainly very exciting to be in the Washington, DC area last week with all the exhilaration generated by the inauguration of President Barack Obama. During his inauguration speech, President Obama called on all of us to take action to transform America. On Saturday, he elaborated further during his first weekly address explaining some specific elements of his economic stimulus package, including a weatherization program to make 2.5 million homes and three-fourths of federal buildings more energy efficient and plans to renovate 10,000 schools. The President and Congress are working rapidly to develop the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, estimated to cost $825 billion, hoping to sign it into law before the end of February.

With a focus on creating jobs, improving the country’s infrastructure, developing plans for long-term economic growth and creating alternative sources of energy, architects are in a position to help. But to have some input into the plan, now is the time to act. There is an opportunity to advocate for building better, to improve both the environment and the economy.

To help architects be effective advocates and play an active role in guiding President Obama and Congress, the AIA recently developed Rebuild & Renew, a comprehensive plan for restoring our economy and greening our communities. The initiatives supported by the plan include:
  • Funding the modernization and rehabilitation of our nation's schools
  • Increasing incentives for green commercial, residential and government building construction
  • Providing funding for ready-to-go transit and mixed-use development projects
  • Preserving America's historic buildings by financing projects already in the pipeline
AIA leaders from chapters all over the country are coming to Washington February 4-7 for the annual Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference and will visit lawmakers to bring the message of Rebuild & Renew to Capitol Hill. They will talk from personal experience about the economy and how it affects architects and urge Members of Congress to support the solutions proposed by the AIA plan. Collectively, they will also educate Congress about several other key issues that affect the build environment and the practice of architecture, including transportation policies, federal design contracts and access to affordable health care. To learn more about these issues, visit www.aia.org/advocacyday2009.

Your direct action is also needed. In the spirit of Inauguration Day, make a commitment to be involved and to contribute to building sustainable, livable communities. Here are four easy steps to help you get started:
  1. Learn more about Rebuild & Renew.
  2. Contact your members of Congress to urge them to support these initiatives. You can easily do this by visiting the AIA website here. Log in using your AIA member log-in information. Your e-mail address acts as the username and the default password is your last name.
  3. Are there specific projects in your neighborhood or state (such as green developments, mixed-use communities and transit facilities) that are ready to start but are being held up by the economic crunch? Send information about them to govaffs@aia.org.
  4. Record a video message to President Obama to invite him to harness the power of architects to green our communities and our economy. (Remember, both Barack Obama and Joe Biden considered architecture as a career.) For information on how to record a message, visit here. To view messages already recorded, visit www.youtube.com/aianational.
It's that simple. And so important. Please take action today to help rebuild and renew America.

6th Annual Canstruction® Call for Entries

Over the last five years, AIA Northern Virginia's Canstruction® has become the single largest food drive benefiting the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Now, more than ever, the donation we collectively make to AFAC is critically important. While economic uncertainly has touched all of our firms and many of our good friends, there are others in our communities who are struggling even more. They are people we can help.

Enter your team today to lend what help we can to those who need it most.

Canstruction® 2009 will begin in late March. For additional information and to register your team, contact the Chapter House at (703) 549-9747 or aianova@aianova.org by February 13.

One Can make a difference.

Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Annual Open House
Tuesday, February 24, 6:00-8:00p
The AIA Northern Virginia Chapter House
205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria

Enjoy Hurricanes, jazz & New Orleans treats.
The Open House is free and reservations are not necessary.

View the online listing for additional information.

ARE Prep Courses Begin March 4

The Young Architects Forum has scheduled the 2009 ARE Prep Courses, focusing on the transition to the new 4.0 format. The series will begin with a roundtable discussion about the exams and the study sessions and will feature a representative from NCARB and architects who recently passed the exam. The sessions will begin in March and finish in July.

Once again, Professor David Thaddeus, AIA will conduct his popular Structural Systems Workshop from April 17-19. The registration form is now available for download here.

The schedule of seminars is as follows:

  • March 4, 6:30p-8:30p - Roundtable Discussion + Introduction
  • March 7, 10:00a-2:00p - Construction Documents + Services I: Legal
  • March 21, 10:00a-2:00p - Construction Documents + Services II: Practice
  • April 4, 10:00a-2:00p - Building Design + Construction
  • April 17-19 - Structural Systems
  • May 2, 10:00a-2:00p - Building Systems I
  • May 16, 10:00a-2:00p - Building Systems II
  • June 6, 10:00a-2:00p - Programming Planning + Practice
  • June 20, 10:00a-2:00p - Site Planning + Design
  • July 11, 10:00a-2:00p - Schematic Design
The Roundtable and Saturday morning seminars will be held at AECOM Design, 3101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 900, Arlington 22201. The Roundtable is free and cost for the Saturday morning seminars is $40 for members; $50 for non-members per seminar. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

The Structural Systems Workshop will be held at Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus and has a separate registration form.

For additional information, visit the Chapter website's ARE Page, where you can download the ARE Prep Registration Form.

The Chapter House also has resource materials available, including Kaplan Study Guides and ArchiFlash Cards.

Alexandria Changes Zoning Ordinance
On December 13, 2008, the Alexandria City Council adopted changes to the city's zoning ordinance to permit some small businesses to operate in the city with approval of an Administrative Special Use Permit (SUP). The changes will simplify the process for businesses to obtain zoning approval for building uses such as small commercial schools, childcare centers and small restaurants in certain locations. Previously, these uses were subject to review and approval through a formal hearing process and required the submission of a Special Use Permit request. Under the new regulations, some of these uses can now be approved as either permitted or administrative uses, rather than requiring a Special Use Permit.

An Administrative SUP will require an applicant to submit information to the Department of Planning and Zoning about the requested use. The department has prepared a checklist and worksheets to assist applicants in understanding and providing necessary information. These documents are available for review here and feedback is welcome. Please submit comments or questions to richard.josephson@alexandriva.gov by February 13.

In Practice...
Visit AIA.org on Monday
The AIA is launching a new website on February 2. The concept of the new site is to make it easier to find what you need. It offers streamlined navigation, reliable search capability and a repository of tools and resources, featuring member to member contributions, to help you with your practice and career development. This is the beginning of an evolutionary growth for the new site, which will become more and more robust as new features and functionality are unveiled throughout the year. Check it out at www.aia.org.

Free Ads for Job Openings
To help members during these difficult economic times, we will provide free classified ad space in AIA Northern Virginia News for firms who wish to advertise job openings. This offer is good throughout 2009. Ads are limited to 100 words and should be submitted to aianova@aianova.org by the 20th of the month before publication. So the deadline for the March/April issue is February 20.

As always, the Chapter also provides an online Job Board which offers free job postings for members. You can easily list openings by completing the online form. The Chapter House also maintains a folder of resumes for people seeking employment. To add a resume or view the ones on file, please contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org or (703) 549-9747.

Corrections + Omissions
The Featured Project for last year's Issue 14, the Carlyle Westin Hotel, lacks credits for photos taken by Eric Taylor, Associate AIA of Eric Taylor, Assoc. AIA Photography.

The Featured Project for Issue 15 improperly lists the firm of record as "susan woodward architects, pc" when it should read "susan woodward notkins architects, pc."

The editors of BLAST apologize for the oversights. All efforts are made to verify and review information prior to publication.

Featured Project

Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir
Ft. Belvoir, VA

As the indefinite closing of Walter Reed Medical Center approaches, so does the completion of the new 1.27 million SF, $649 million, Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir. Together with the new National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, this world-class facility will provide medical services to the current patient load at Walter Reed as well as to the military community in the National Capital area.

HDR began providing full A/E services in October 2006, when the Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with the US Health Facility Planning Agency (HFPA), the Tri Care Management Agency (TMA) and the Medical Facilities Center of Expertise, selected HDR to design the new hospital and clinics. The project is incorporated into a large Indefinite Quantity Contract with the Corps of Engineers held by the Joint Venture of HDR/Dewberry.

This premier military community hospital will have 120 inpatient beds, 536,000 SF of clinical space and support a full range of behavioral health services. It will be the first DoD hospital to incorporate "evidence based design," creating a positive healing environment for both the patients and staff, and will pursue LEED® Silver Certification upon its completion in 2011.

The Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir project team is dedicated to the successful outcome of this project. As Dionysios Anninos, Colonel, U.S. Army, Commanding and James N. Thomasson, P.E., Deputy District Engineer for Project Management wrote in a letter of commendation to HDR, "This project is vitally important to the needs of our military and their families. Few projects are as critically important or as high profile as this one."

February 9 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30-6:00p, at HDR, Inc., 1101 King Street, Suite 400, Alexandria 22314. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org or (703) 549-9747.

February 9 - HDR, Inc. Firm Tour
6:00p, at HDR, Inc., 1101 King Street, Suite 400, Alexandria 22314. Tour the firm and learn about their business practices and recent projects. Tour follows the AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting. For additional information on the firm, visit HDR's website and see the Featured Project in this issue of BLAST. 1 AIA/CES LU. Tour is free and registration is not necessary. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

February 18 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series - Two Seminars
11:00a-1:15p, at LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 16, Reston 20190.

First Presentation: Business Planning You Can Actually Use (11:00a-Noon). Attendees will learn the steps to develop a strategic business plan for a business of any size. The steps taught in the class will include how to create action steps (some call this an operating plan) for actual execution in the business. This process develops a plan that can really be used, as opposed to one that just exists on paper in a drawer. Presented by Lynda Hess with Alpha Business Coaching. 1 AIA/CES LU.

Second Presentation: Marketing Your Firm for Growth (12:15p-1:15p). Professional services firms face unique challenges in how they differentiate themselves from their competition. This class will discuss approaches to uniquely differentiate your firm and market your firm for growth. Whether your firm has a dedicated marketing budget or very limited resources, this class will cover tactics you can put to work immediately. Presented by Sylvia Montgomery with Hinge Incorporated. 1 AIA/CES LU.

Lunch provided. Registration is required by emailing reservations@aianova.org.

February 24 - AIA Northern Virginia Open House
6:00-8:00p, at the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Annual Open House. Enjoy Hurricanes, jazz and New Orleans treats. The Open House is free and reservations are not necessary. Street parking is available. The Chapter House is also accessible by Metro, using the King Street Station. You can walk down King Street to Patrick, about an 8-block walk, or hop on the free King Street Trolley which runs, about every 15 minutes, down King Street connecting the Metro station to the waterfront.

February 25 - Inform Award Entries Due
Details are available at www.virginiaarchitecture.org.