Volume 3, No. 7 - July 7, 2009
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Hughes Group Architects
Shepherd University Wellness Center, by Hughes Group Architects (more info)
In This Issue

Finding Federal Opportunities

ABI Update

In Practice...

Featured Project: Shepherd
  University Wellness Center


Featured Sponsor: K3

Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Can Stimulus Projects Help You?

Funds from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are now being released, with billions available for construction projects, renovations and sustainability upgrades. Federal, state and local agencies are planning projects now. Here are a few links to help you begin to explore the possibilities.

Federal Business Opportunities (FBO)
Federal agencies, including the General Services Administration, Housing and Urban Development, Departments of Defense, Interior, Transportation, Energy, Veterans Affairs and Education, Environmental Protection Agency and the Smithsonian Institution, are using the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website to advertise all their Recovery projects. This is the single point of entry to search, monitor and retrieve announcements for all Federal agencies. There were 2352 listings as of July 3. Visit http://www.fbo.gov.

This site provides basic information on the ARRA, including overall objectives of the plan, public benefits, types of programs included, specific program plans outlining the distribution of funds, agency reports and measures of performance. Visit http://www.recovery.gov.

Through this site, Governor Kaine requested suggestions from citizens for possible projects for the state stimulus funds and received more than 9,000 proposals by the March deadline. These suggestions are now being reviewed and evaluated by the Cabinet Secretaries of the executive agencies. Detailed information on the selected projects will be posted here. This site also offers information on the key economic indicators for Virginia. Visit http://www.stimulus.virginia.gov/kei.cfm.

Small Business Administration
Economic Recovery information available here includes small business loans, training programs and government contracting opportunities. Visit http://sba.gov.

The Stimulus Package and Your Business Plan - A Podcast
Consider how stimulus funds may help develop opportunities for you with this podcast available on the AIA's Navigating the Economy website.

ABI Indicates a Stall for Architecture Firms

You probably don’t need to be told this, but the most recent Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates economic recovery for architecture firms has stalled, with the May ABI rating (42.9) nearly identical to that in April (42.8). This score indicates an overall decline in demand for design services, while any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. The new projects inquiry score was 55.2, the third straight month with a score in the mid-50's. Reporting in the June 26th issue of AIArchitect, AIA's Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, explains that while inquiries are up this does not necessarily translate into new work since the competitive market is compelling more firms to bid on the same project.

Regionally, firms in the Northeast show improvement with a score of 48.3, with the Midwest at 41.5, the South at 41.3 and the West at 39.4, little improvement in these areas is indicated. As far as practice sectors, multi-family residential (45.5) and commercial/industrial firms (43.1) show progress, while institutional (38.0) has stalled.

In the article, Kermit reports, "Construction payrolls declined 59,000 in May. Employment at architecture firms was down 2,000 in April (the most recent month available) bringing losses to almost 22,000 from April 2008, and 31,000 from their high in July 2008. Through April, architecture firms have therefore reduced their payrolls by almost 14 percent. In contrast, throughout the broader economy payrolls have declined only 4.3 percent since the recession began at the end of 2007." Trying to provide some encouraging news, Kermit shares that the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index has risen and housing starts increased 17 percent in May.

To read Kermit's complete article in AIArchitect, click here. There is also an Economic Update Video, based on the June ABI and presented by Kermit, available here.

The ABI is derived from a monthly "Work-on-the-Boards" survey produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group and sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Based on a comparison of data, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. To learn more, visit the ABI website.

In Practice...
Make Sure Your Firm Is Included in the 2010 Metro Directory
Members were recently mailed a Firm Profile Form for the 2010 Metro Directory of Architecture & Design Firms. Please complete the form and return it to Dawson Publications by August 3.

Only firms submitting the profile will be included in the directory.

One person from each firm must complete the form and return it to Dawson Publications. You must submit a new form each year even if your information remains the same. If you have any questions, please e-mail aianova@aianova.org.

Featured Project

Shepherd University Wellness Center
Hughes Group Architects
Shepherdstown, WV

The Shepherd University Wellness Center is an independent, multi-functional facility designed as an addition to the Butcher Athletic Center. The entire building is organized around the entry rotunda from which each program element is visible.

Three key program elements provide a well-balanced recreation program: a fitness zone, a new pool and a multi-functional gymnasium. The fitness zone is located on the second level with visual access to all amenities in the building as well as the campus beyond, resulting in a strong sense of place. A three lane track, which is accessed from this fitness zone, circumnavigates the entire facility.

The gymnasium is designed to accommodate a wide variety of recreation programs like basketball, volleyball and badminton. The gym is also designed to provide open space for large social functions like career days and dances. Two multipurpose meeting rooms are equipped for wellness classes.

The swimming pool is designed to offer recreation, competition and instructional aquatic programs. The Center's locker rooms, which include unique changing areas, offer a more private atmosphere than traditional locker room layouts.

The exterior forms, materials and details are designed to create a compelling architectural experience which fully respects the existing structure and campus. The interiors are filled with natural materials, colorful tiles and sports graphics which contribute to a memorable recreation experience.

photos by Eliel Alfon

July 10 - ARE Prep Series: Schematic Design
10:00a-2:00p, at AECOM Design, 3101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 900, Arlington 22201. Organized by the Chapter's Young Architects Forum. For additional information, visit the Chapter ARE Website or contact the Chapter at aianova@aianova.org or (703) 549-9747.

July 13 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30-6:00p, at Hughes Group Architects, 22630 Davis Drive, Suite 175, Sterling, Virginia 20164. Followed by a tour of the firm. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

July 13 - Hughes Group Architects Office Tour
6:00p, 22630 Davis Drive, Suite 175, Sterling, Virginia 20164. Tour the firm and learn about their recent projects. For information on the firm, visit their website. Tour follows the AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting. 1 AIA/CES LU. Tour is free and registration is not necessary. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

July 14-16 - DesignDC 2009: Architects Leading Change
At the Walter Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. It is not too late to register for this three-day conference and exhibition. DesignDC is co-sponsored by the three metro area AIA Chapters, Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Potomac Valley. Registration for the full conference is $395 for members, $250 for a one-day pass or $195 for a half-day pass. For complete information on sessions, tours and registration, click here.

July 15 - Women in Architecture Happy Hour
This Happy Hour will be held in Alexandria. If you would like to receive information please email WIA at wia@aianova.org.

August 19 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series
11:00a-1:15p, at HITT Contracting, Inc., 2704 Dorr Avenue, Fairfax 22031. Two presentations: Maximizing the Efficiency and Performance of the Thermal Envelope, presented by Chris Parmele with The Dow Chemical Company-Dow Building Solutions, provides information on creating a high performance thermal envelope for residential construction. Then Sustainability from an Engineering Perspective, presented by GPI / Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., will discuss sustainable design including ventilation and indoor air quality, energy performance and construction management. For complete information, visit the event page. 2 AIA/CES HSW LUs. Free. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required by emailing reservations@aianova.org.

Featured Sponsor

K3 Construction Group
11307 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, Virginia 20190
Bronze Sponsor

K3 Construction Group Building New Headquarters for Audio Video Systems
Facility Will Use Latest In Building and "Green" Technologies

Located on a 7.5 acre parcel just south of Dulles International Airport, the new four-story building is a $15 million, 72,000 square foot facility that is expected to be completed this year. The new headquarters for Audio Video Systems, Inc. (AVS), a leading systems integration firm, Barthelson Plaza will be a LEED® certified Green Building and will use the latest technologies available to minimize environmental impact and increase energy conservation.

Designed by Architecture, Inc., the building’s green design saves energy through the use of a variety of materials, building techniques and recycling methods. K3 was selected as the general contractor for their experience in high technology buildings. The facility will have more than 12,000 square feet of warehouse and integration space, and a state-of-the-art gigabit Ethernet Cisco network to support video, data and voice over IP. It has offices for more than 150 technical and administrative staff, a cafeteria and conference room facilities.

For more information about K3 Construction, please visit www.k3cg.com or call (703) 736-1007.

For additional information about Audio Video Systems, visit www.avsinc.net or call (703) 263-1002.