Weekly Roundup for the Week of July 2

Transformation of vacant Wal-Mart. Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle converted an abandoned Wal-Mart in McAllen, Texas, into a functional and contemporary library. The firm, which was recently named winner of the International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Interior Design Competition, installed a strip of laser-cut wood into the ceiling plane to visually divide the library, placing the computer lab on the left and meeting rooms on the right. The designers also used several hanging graphic elements to help break up the space visually.

Via Inhabitat

Architecture and Affordable Care Act. HOK healthcare experts share their thoughts on how the Supreme Court’s ruling on ACA will affect healthcare architecture and opportunities to bring value to clients.

“When we think of health care architecture, we are looking at a tool in the larger social context of healthcare delivery. When delivery of care is inefficient and expensive, with insufficiently good outcomes, or doesn’t cover all citizens, we are looking at problems that we as architects can help solve.” -- Chuck Siconolfi, a senior principal and director of healthcare innovations, planning and design at HOK

Via HOK Life

Race to be green. Mayor Vincent Grey of Washingon, D.C., has initiated an ambitious new plancalled SustainableDC, that seeks to make the nation’s capital No.1 in sustainability in a generation.

Seven bills are being considered by the City Council, which include boosting energy efficiency, spurring renewable energy production, promoting electrical vehicles, protecting rivers, promoting urban agriculture and reducing toxic exposure among children.

Via The Dirt

Permanent play street in Queens. Jackson Heights residents and City Council Member Daniel Dromm won a hard-fought battle to close 78th Street to traffic for two summer months. Now, 78th Street is being turned over to the community and is on track to receive a bottom-up redesign that will make the new space more than just asphalt.

The Department of Transportation has two designs underway. One is to enable the street closure to function year-round while letting parents at the adjacent Garden School drive and drop off their children on 78th. The second is a longer-term vision of how the street can be remade as a space that works for people, integrated with Travers Park on one side and the Garden School park on the other.

Via Streets Blog

Weekly Roundup for Week of June 25

ImageTop earning architecture firms. Architectural Record has released its 2012 “Top 250 Architecture Firms” list, which ranks U.S. companies based on architectural review from the previous year.

Gensler  – a global architecture company working on more than 3,000 projects every year – ranked No. 1, reaching $764 million in revenue. Gensler replaces AECOM, who had a record at $445 million last year. Gensler’s impressive 632-meter Shanghai tower is one of the projects that proves the firm is capable of an extensive creative and architectural outlook.

List of top 10 architecture firms

1. Gensler  

2. AECOM Technology Corp.

3. Perkins+Will 


5. HDR Architecture Inc.

6. Jacobs

7. HOK 

8. URS Corp.

9. HKS Inc.

10. Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP

Via Freshome

Botanical Capital of the World. Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre are modeling their $545 million, 54-hectare Gardens by the Bay project after Singapore’s national flower the orchid.

With this massive project, which was built on reclaimed, restored land, Singapore aims to become the “botanical capital of the world.” Many elements, including 225,000 plants and new themed gardens that "showcase the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry" are part of the project.

Via The Dirt

London’s Cable Car Opens. An air tram cable car system that opened this week in London provides commuters and visitors a new mode of travel across the Thames.

Sponsored by Emirates Airlines, the UK's first urban cable car system has the capacity to transport 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction, which is equivalent to 50 buses in the same time frame. The Emirates Air Line project was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and provides spectacular views of the London skyline at 90 meters in the air as it efficiently connects visitors traveling from the city's Olympic venues to existing public transit lines.

Via Inhabitat

Golden Lion Winner. Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

“Secured by his isolated location, he exudes worldly wisdom. Experimenting with forms of extreme geometry he manages to produce buildings of great rigor. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he seems to speak to all of us. While his work exudes the security of judgment, it is clearly intensified through cautious reflection. While we are dazzled by the lightness of his buildings, we feel the seriousness of their substance.” -- Biennale Board Director Paolo Baratta and Director David Chipperfield

Via Architects Newspaper Blog



AEC Blog Post Roundup for Week of June 18

Community project. The HMC Designing Futures Foundation board recently approved a grant to fund the restoration of the Micheltorena Steps in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. The steps are a main pathway to Micheltorena School for children in the neighborhood, and are unsafe and in disrepair.

Scott Plante of the LA Studio, who proposed the project, lives near the school, uses the steps and is committed to improving the quality of life in Silver Lake. He went to the Silver Lake Urban Design Committee with a design proposal to provide light steps and underpasses throughout Silver Lake. Recognizing the safety issues with children and the adjacent school, the Micheltorena Steps were selected as a prototype for repairing and relighting similar steps throughout the neighborhood.

 Via HMC Architects Blog

Written by Adrienne Luce, Designing Futures Foundation Executive Director

LEEDing the Way. This week Portland International Jetport became the second commercial terminal in the United States to achieve LEED Gold certification. Gensler on Cities interviewed project manager Jim Stanislaski to find out what’s next in the field of sustainable aviation design.

It’s important to note that while the LEED program has done a great job of transforming the marketplace and generating public awareness for the importance of sustainable design, these certifications are not the finish line. To solve the current energy crisis we need to look beyond LEED. We need to start thinking about how to achieve net zero energy and net-zero water airport terminals. On paper that may seem daunting, but we aren’t that far off from making it a reality. – Jim Stanislaski

 Via Gensler on Cities

Written by Leah Ray

Enabling mobility. Steelcase's Jan Johnson blogs how mobility in the workplace means many things to different people.

“Mobility requires much more than a real estate strategy du jour to save space: It can and should be one of the ways we enable worker choice and control.”

Via Metropolis POV

Interview with BIM expert. Chirag Mistry has been at HOK for eight years and is one of HOK’s leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) experts, focusing primarily on lab and research facility design and development in HOK’s Science + Technology practice.

In this Q&A interview, Mistry talks about the biggest advantage for project teams designing lab and research facilities using BIM, his most favorite and most challenging aspects of being a BIM expert and what the future holds for BIM.

Via HOK Life

Architecture Blog Post Roundup for Week of June 11

Modern masterpieces. Talkitect looks at five of the greatest modern buildings in the world. The following very different architectural masterpieces, all with a unique story, are explored.

- The Eden Project, UK, by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners - Sydney Opera House, Australia, by Jørn Utzon - Church of Light, Osaka, Japan, by Tadao Ando - Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA, by Frank Lloyd-Wright - Kammermusiksaal, Berlin, Germany, by Hans Scharoun and Edgar Wisniewski

Written by Francesca (who writes for McCormick Architecture)

Reclaiming the streets. At least 2,000 residents of Brussels, Belgium, had a picnic in the streets, taking a unique approaching to rethinking their Streets as Places last weekend.

The picnic, which blocked traffic for several hours, was kick-started by Philippe Van Parijs, a philosophy professor connected to the universities of Louvain-La-Neuve and Oxford. He recently published an opinion piece on the need of more public space for pedestrians and cyclists in several local media outlets.

Via Polis, Written by Laurent Vermeersch

Parks and pavilions. The Dirt blogs about the new issue of Architype Review which focuses on parks, the spaces designed to explored on foot, and pavilions, the spots from which visitors can take a moment to sit and enjoy the landscape.

“Pavilions are an important part of getting people outside. Landscape architects place these shelters to entice people to walk to them, and they are often sited to afford wonderful views to the landscape beyond. Pavilions provide a place to rest along the way, as well as shade to shield us from too much exposure to the sun. They are designed to be accessible, so that all ages and abilities can enjoy a wonderful outdoor setting.” -- Susan Hatchell, ASLA President, FASLA

Interview with Greg Lynn. Lynn, a Studio Professor at UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and owner of Greg Lynn Form, works among multiple fields and has partnered with companies such as BMW, Boeing, Disney and Imaginary Forces. He recently delivered the 2012 Sally Walsh Lecture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

“I think that most of the built environment is a backdrop to daily life and I am all for that. I want people to feel comfortable and I want them to have an affection for being in, on, or around anything I design. In order to have an affection for something it has to be noticed. I find vernacular design a little creepy and obsequious. I prefer a direct greeting over a stalker.” – Greg Form

Via Offcite, Written by: Scott Cartwright and Jenny Lynn Weitz Amare-Cartwight

Architects and Blogging. A panel at last month’s AIA Convention offered a behind the scenes look at a few architects who blog. Panelist Bob Borson writes the Life of an Architect blog and shared his presentation slides and notes with his readers.

“Have I been successful? Depends on how you define success. If you define it as whether or not people have been coming to my site, I’d have to say the answer is yes … but that’s only if that’s your goal – which it wasn’t for me. I was simply trying to learn something new, and in the process, discovered that there is more than one way to communicate with people.”

Weekly Roundup for Week of June 4

Endangered sites. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

NTHP has produced the annual list for 25 years, drawing attention to more than 230 sites—including buildings, landscapes, and entire communities—that risk destruction or significant damage. The 2012 sites are:

- Bridges of Yosemite Valley, California - Ellis Island hospital complex; New York Harbor, New York and New Jersey - Historic U.S. post office buildings - Joe Frazier’s Gym; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Malcolm X — Ella Little-Collins House; Boston, Massachusetts - Princeton Battlefield; Princeton, New Jersey - Sweet Auburn Historic District; Atlanta, Georgia - Terminal Island; Port of Los Angeles, California - Texas courthouses - Elkhorn Ranch; Billings County, North Dakota - Village of Zoar, Ohio

Via Architectural Record

Related: Preservation Nation and The Cultural Landscape Foundation


Design venture. A team of 6th grade entrepreneurs / venture capitalists have formed a strategic alliance with Lake | Flato to work on the design of some major new civic architecture that is being called a "game changer" for the AEC industry.

The projects on the drawing boards were conceived and masterminded by the 6th graders with design consulting services performed by Lake | Flato. The projects include a rotating restaurant up in a tree with toboggan slides and ice skating rink, a subterranean river walk with a medieval weapons gallery, a mobile cooking school and cupcake shop made of train cars, and a chocolate mining facility and associated defensive fortifications on Ganymede (7th moon of Jupiter).

Via: The Dogrun


Buckminster Fuller Winner. The Buckminster Fuller Institute, which annually awards a $100,000 prize to support the ongoing development and implementation of a strategy that has a significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing issues, has announced a winner for the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

“The Living Building Challenge” seeks to lead the charge toward a holistic standard that could yield an entirely new level of integration between building systems, transportation, technology, natural resources, and community. If widely adopted, this approach would significantly enhance the level of broad-based social collaboration throughout the design and building process and beyond, dramatically reducing the destructiveness of current construction, boost the livability, health, and resilience of communities.

Via Arch Daily

Related: "Bucky" via TraceSF


A Canopy as Social Cathedral. Architecture review on an angular glass canopy designed by Preston Scott Cohen that covers 11,000 square feet of North End Way, a pedestrian alley in Battery Park City.

Part of what makes this a notable public space is the quality of construction: the granite sidewalk, the lighting, the stainless-steel and glass storefronts, the street furniture. Goldman Sachs, whose headquarters at 200 West Street backs onto North End Way, owns and developed the arcade, which is zoned for public use. But it’s the canopy, which Goldman also commissioned, that formally elevates what is really just a gap between two buildings into something almost as inspired as the nave of a great Gothic cathedral. – Michael Kimmelman

Via New York Times


Weekly Roundup for Week of May 29

Movie Museum. Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali have been tapped to design the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures which will be located in the May Company building, part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “Renzo’s track record of creating iconic cultural landmarks combined with Zoltan’s success in transforming historically-significant buildings is a perfect marriage for a museum that celebrates the history and the future of the movies," said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO.

Via Hollywood Reporter

Africa’s Tallest Tower. @126 have released designs for a 110-storey structure in Tshwane, South Africa, which will be the tallest building in Africa.

Scheduled for completion in 2018, the project has been met with mixed reaction from locals. The mixed-use facility is planned to include residential units, office space, retail facilities, and hotel and conference spaces, however its close proximity to existing commercial venues is something of a concern. Businesses around the area are going through an economic slump and will not be able to handle the influx a project of this nature would bring.

Via World Architecture News

Gleaming new train station. The Chicago Transit Authority’s $38-million modern new Morgan "L" station on Chicago's Near West Side opened this week.

The dazzling station, with its spectral stair towers and glass-sheathed transfer bridge, has sparked debate on whether the money spent on the station would have been put to better use fixing the CTA’s creaking rails and slow zones.

Via Chicago Tribune

Pop-up hotels a trend. More and more “pop-up” or temporary hotels are growing as a business trend for hospitality companies.

These temporary hotels allow developers to check out locations, experiment with design ideas and test out the market for guests without a huge financial commitment. Some hospitality companies are even making new business bets on the pop-up approach.

Via SmartPlanet

Weekly Roundup for Week of May 21

Happy 75th Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge. Learn about the festival highlights on Sunday, May 27, and check out a photo essay chronicling the bridge’s history. The bridge's management is planning a celebration on Sunday that includes music, art shows, lectures, a new book and a new visitor center. But one thing won't happen: Nobody gets to cross the bridge on foot on the big day.

Via PBS Chinese Architect wins Pritzker Prize. Wang Shu is the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of the most prestigious honors in architecture. He was praised by the Pritzker jury for work that blends traditional Chinese elements with modern lines and attention to the environment.

The award has a symbolic second winner – Hyatt Hotels. The $100,000 prize is sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation, a separate entity from the business, Hyatt Hotels, which has no role in picking the winner. The company's link to promoting Chinese culture abroad may give the Hyatt name a boost with status-conscious government officials and some of the public.

Via Washington Post


Six Firms Compete for Urban Future Award. Architects participating in Audi's Urban Future Initiative are considering what "mobility" might look like in cities in 2030.

The 2012 firms were selected for their track records of researching the urban environment and their relationships to one of six metropolitan areas: CRIT (Mumbai); Höweler + Yoon Architecture (the Boston-Washington corridor); NODE Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta); Superpool (Istanbul) and Urban Think Tank (São Paulo); and Junya Ishigami + Associates (Tokyo).

Via Architects Newspaper

A City Rises, Along With Its Hopes. New York Times architecture critic visits Medellín, Colombia, to see the ambitious and photogenic buildings that have gone up, but also to find what remains undone.

Medellín has lately become a medical and business center with a population of 3.5 million and a budding tourist industry, its civic pride buoyed by the new public buildings and squares, and exemplified by an efficient and improbably immaculate metro and cable car system. Linking rich with poor neighborhoods, spurring private development, the metro, notwithstanding shrieks elsewhere in Colombia over its questionable construction cost, is for residents of Medellín a shared symbol of democratic renewal. –Michael Kimmelman

Via New York Times

Weekly Roundup for Week of May 14


China’s TV Headquarters Complete. The futuristic building — with two leaning towers linked with a 90-degree twist at the top — has attracted much controversy since the day its design debuted a decade ago.

The 54-story, 772-foot headquarters for China Central Television has two leg-like structures that lean toward each other, meeting in mid-air with a right-angled deck-like connecting body that hangs 528 feet above the ground. Its bold design has drawn praise and detractions and earned the nickname of "big boxer shorts" from local residents.

Via Architectural Record

HOK to Design Medical School. Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) has been selected to design the $375 million University at Buffalo (UB) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on its downtown campus in New York.

Located at the center of the region’s emerging bio-sciences corridor, this new transit-orientated medical school development will anchor a lively, urban mixed-use district on campus and bring 1,200 students, faculty and staff downtown.

NY Tech Sector Booming. A report released by the Center for an Urban Future has positioned New York City as the fastest growing tech sector in the country, outpacing Boston to become second to Silicon Valley.

The study indicates a remarkable turnaround for a city that was considered a second-rate tech center half a decade ago. Today, New York boasts thousands of tech startups across the five boroughs, drawing investment from venture capital firms across the globe and bringing high-paying jobs to the city—not to mention some of the best and brightest minds.

Via ArchDaily.com

Changes to Eisenhower Memorial Design. Architect Frank Gehry publicly unveiled changes to the contentious design for the Eisenhower Memorial this week at a session in Washington.

Gehry made the adjustments following complaints by members of the Eisenhower family that the design put too much emphasis on the former president's upbringing in Kansas and not enough on his accomplishments as a military and political leader.

Via Los Angeles Times

Redesign of Modernist Landscape in Minneapolis. Peavey Plaza – one of the country’s most significant modernist landscapes located in downtown Minneapolis – will soon be demolished. Originally designed by M. Paul Friedberg, the two-acre public space consisting of a terraced amphitheater-like space, fountains and reflecting pools was heralded as an “urban oasis” when it was unveiled in 1975 but in recent years, the plaza has fallen into disrepair.

Much controversy surrounds the redesign. Preservationists are urging the City Council to save Peavey Plaza by making ADA and other upgrades. Donors to the project, and the Minnesota Orchestra – which owns 25 percent of the project – support new construction over rehabilitation. The city’s public works department is set to appeal the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission’s recent denial of a demolition permit. If the permit is approved, the issue will be voted on by the City Council on May 25.

Via New York Times

Weekly Roundup for Week of May 7

2012 AIA Convention. The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) National Convention and Design Exhibition will be held May 17-19 at the Walter E. Washington Center in Washington, D.C. This year’s convention theme “Design Connects” celebrates the uniqueness of design as the synthesis of theory and practice, the relationship of the built and natural environments, and the aspiration of architecture to serve the broader goals of humanity.” Highlights of the convention include keynote presentations given by a recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes and an architect who currently serves as a Cabinet Secretary. There will also be a special tribute honoring six architects involved in the rebuilding and memorials following September 11.

Related: If you have attended #AIAchat on Twitter in the past, be sure to check out the TweetUps while you are at the convention and connect with your Twitter contacts in person:

  • Thursday, May 17, 5:30–6:30 p.m. Emerging Professionals Lounge, Washington Convention Center
  • Friday, May 18, 3–4 p.m. AIA Town Hall, Washington Convention Center

Andrew Hawkins (@HawkinsArch), a friend of both the #AIAchat and the #AECSM chat, will be presenting Twitter best practices – don’t miss it!

If you haven’t registered, you can still RSVP via Twitter using the hashtag #aia2012.

(Walter Communications is disappointed to be missing the AIA Convention this year.)

Welcome Transparency. A New York Times architecture review says that Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new visitor center features high-contrast oppositions between growing and built.

A lot can go wrong when you try to conceal a building, or even part of one. People are clever; throwing some plants on a roof is unlikely to fool us. But Weiss/Manfredi, perhaps aware of the peril, shaped its roof with care. Even now — when the grasses and flowering bulbs are just beginning to grow in — the new construction, seen from various points in the garden, succeeds in deleting itself from the composition just enough. – Philip Nobel

Fort Mason Contest. Twenty renowned firms from four continents have been invited to participate in a design competition seeking “creative and practical design concepts” on thirteen acres of prime waterfront real estate at the historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

Local invitees include Hood Studio (Oakland), EHDD Architecture  (SF), Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (SF), CMG Landscape Architecture  (SF) and SWA Group (SF) who may compete with big firms such as James Corner Field Operations, SANAA, Studio Gang Architects and BIG.

Via Arch Daily

Prestigious Arts Prize. Spanish avant-garde architect Rafael Moneo, known for the use of light in his building designs to create diaphanous spaces, was named as this year's recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.

The jury hailed the universal quality of Moneo's work, saying it enriches urban spaces "with an architecture that is serene and meticulous" adding that Moneo is an acclaimed master who combines aesthetics with functionality, "especially in the airy interiors that act as impeccable settings for great works of culture and the spirit."

Via Fox News Latino

Weekly Roundup for Week of April 30

2012 National Design Winners. The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt has announced winners of the 13th annual National Design Awards, a program established to promote excellence and innovation in design. 2012 National Design Award recipients:

Via ArtDaily


 Lackluster Expo Line. Los Angeles Times’ architecture review says Los Angeles’ Expo Line is a mix of architectural goals that never fully meshes into one unifying concept.

 “The stations seemingly want to disappear into the cityscape and at the same time assert a Big Metaphorical Idea about what public transit means for Los Angeles. And in trying to do both, of course, they do neither.” - Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic

Via LA Times


Straying from Convention. Despite declining attendance and revenue, many cities are expanding convention centers or building new ones.

Dozens of cities have been building new centers or enlarging old ones. In the last year alone, Indianapolis and Philadelphia have opened sprawling new centers, while plans for such facilities are being floated in Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston.

Via Architectural Record


BIG Wins in Seoul. Bjarke Ingels Group’s hash-shaped residential block will contribute to the developing skyline of Seoul and become a recognizable marker of the new cultural and commercial center of the city.

“The Cross # Towers constitute a three-dimensional urban community of interlocking horizontal and vertical towers. Three public bridges connect two slender towers at different levels - underground, at the street and in the sky. Catering to the demands and desires of different residents, age groups and cultures the bridges are landscaped and equipped for a variety of activities traditionally restricted to the ground. ” -Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Via WorldArchitectureNews


“Invaluable” Guide for A/E. In the ArchNewsNow book review of “Social Media in Action”, Architecture Critic George Calys describes the book as “invaluable for practitioners who realize that social media is not a passing phenomenon and can play a part in their business.”

Via ArchNewsNow

Weekly Roundup for the Week of April 23

State of the Union. Six shortlisted teams unveil vision boards for LA's Union Station. Architecture teams developed concepts for the 42-acre area, presenting “vision boards” containing conceptual renderings—with no specified limitations— for the neighborhood as it might look in the year 2050.

Shortlisted teams:

  1. EE&K a Perkins Eastman Company/UNStudio
  2. Gruen Associates/Grimshaw Architects
  3. IBI Group/Foster+Partners
  4. Moore Ruble Yudell Architect and Planners/Ten Aquitectos/West 8
  5. NBBJ/ingenhoven Architects/SWA Group
  6. Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)/ Parsons Transportation Group

Via Architects Newspaper

New eZine. World-Architects.com has launched an eMagazine that features a broad spectrum of architectural culture and trends.

The eMagazine articles include Insight, which highlights interviews with clients and discussions with academics and curators, news headlines, Building Review, Film and Product Spotlight.

Via A Daily Dose of Architecture


Flood of Funding. Residents of Houston passed a ground-breaking measure to fund a water and wastewater infrastructure with a pay-as-you-go plan.

This innovative funding tool for a large-scale drainage project is virtually unprecedented, and is a monumental step for Houstonians that offers a roadmap for other cities.

Via estormwater.com

related links: http://swagroup.com

Space Exploration. AECOM’s NASA Sustainability Base at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, may be one of the most forward-thinking building projects in existence.

The LEED Platinum facility blends highly technological green design with innovations originally devised for use in space exploration to form a working office that also showcases the intelligent technology developed by NASA.

 Via WorldArchitectureNews.com



Weekly Roundup for Week of April 16

Image Design Competition for LA Bridge. Engineers and architects from across the globe are invited to submit designs to replace the Sixth Street Bridge across the Los Angeles River east of downtown.

Engineers believe the 80-year-old bridge has a 70 percent chance of collapsing in the next 50 years and a very good chance of falling during a major earthquake. “The Sixth Street Bridge design competition will make sure the new bridge reflects our city’s spirit and style,” L. A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says.

Architects Aid Tsunami Efforts. A new community center that serves to help with tsunami rehabilitation and support program has been completed in Thalalla Mathra, Sri Lanka.

The community center was built in a Buddhist temple’s land as a token of gratitude to the Chief Monk of the temple who helped the tsunami-affected village by providing food, accommodation and sanitary facilities during the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami.

Architecture Billings Show Slight Uptick. The commercial sector continues to lead the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), which has remained in positive territory for the fifth consecutive month.

The American Institute of Architects' Architecture Billings Index has shown a slight increase in so-called billings for the past five months. The billings index is viewed as an early indicator for future development work, given that developers need designs before they build.

After the Architecture Meltdown. With the heyday of architecture long gone, what do architects do after the recession?

‘So what needs to change? Our conception of what Architecture is. We need to accept that Architecture isn’t just designing – but building, creating, doing. We need to train architects who are the agents of their own creative process, who can make their visions come to life, not 50 years down the road, but now. Today.’

Weekly Roundup for Week of April 9

I spent two days this week immersed in ideas with progressive firms and professionals who are investing in research + development for their work and testing how new technology can shift their practice. I'm still buzzing with new thoughts and eager to build on the connections I made. Stay tuned next week for what I took away from KA Connect. Architecture and Design Film Festival. The second annual Architecture and Design Film Festival brings 30-plus features, short films and events to the Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

ADFF 2012 includes Pruitt-Igoe Myth, a documentary about Pruitt-Igoe, a St. Louis housing project that became a symbol of modernism’s and public housing’s perceived failures. In the Eames documentary, architect and painter James Franco narrates Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey’s look at Charles and Ray Eames, the king and queen of midcentury modernism.

Eating in Nature. Bamboo Wing restaurant in Vietnam exemplifies the merits of steel-free design.

World Architecture News highlights a slideshow of images that showcase a breath-taking restaurant and event venue by Vo Trong Nghia Co., Ltd at Flamingo Dai Lai Resort in Vinh Phuc province, Vietnam. Constructed entirely using bamboo as a structural and finishing material, the rustic interior is the perfect backdrop for romantic dinners, celebratory drinks and events such as weddings or official ceremonies.

Interview with Frank Gehry.  The 83-year-old architect talks to the Wall Street Journal about his 12-story Opus Hong Kong, the most expensive piece of residential real estate ever built in the city.

“It’s an honor to be called to do a building, especially on a site like this, on the Peak in Hong Kong. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I accepted it that way, and I wanted it to be special. I didn’t want it to be a sore thumb, because you can see it from Central. So I didn’t paint it red.” –Frank Gehry

related: Bloomberg Businessweek

Design Competition. Designs by finalists in competitions aimed at re-imaging three sections of the National Mall are on display and open for public comment. Which is your favorite?

According to Architectural Record, the 12 schemes are available for viewing April 9-15 at the Smithsonian Castle, the National Museum of American History. The concepts seek to restore and improve Constitution Gardens at the Mall’s west end; the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater, near the center; and Union Square at the east end, near the Capitol. Some aspects call for the construction and/or renovation of structures.

Friday Features: Weekly Roundup for the Week of April 2

We are starting a new series where we highlight some of our favorite news and online finds for the week. Please share!

Social Media Buzz: Mashable presents 9 key ways to add LinkedIn to your company’s website.

LinkedIn is not only the most useful social network for recruiting, but it’s also 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter. This article shows you how to make it easier for your website visitors to share information with their links, stay connected with your company and to get to know you better as well.

Rising Waters: The Washington Post writes about Architects exploring the design of floating homes as sea levels continue to rise in coastal cities.

“Climate change will require a radical shift within design practice from the solid-state view of landscape urbanism to the more dynamic, liquid-state view of waterscape urbanism.” - Danai Thaitakoo, landscape architect

related: Waterstudio.nl

100 Years Contest: AIA Florida celebrates its 100-year anniversary by finding out the public’s favorite Florida architecture.

Vote for your favorite building among 100 candidates.

related: AIA Florida

Reuse Renaissance: Downtown Los Angeles' retro-chic makeovers show how retail and restaurants can transform a neighborhood. By @Gluck in the Architect's Newspaper

"With an abundance of largely intact historical buildings, architects and designers have paid homage to the past by restoring or re-creating many of classic features while adding a modern sensibility."

related: Kelly Architects, Killefer Flammang Architects, SO/DA

Urban Debate: The New York Times asks, Should Los Angeles New Yorkify? A panel of urban designers, Angelenos and writers weigh in on the topic. By @RoomForDebate

"Millennials are embracing the urban lifestyle by the tens of thousands, especially along the Red Line subway between downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood (two neighborhoods that are every bit as urban as most of Manhattan and, in fact, often stand in for Manhattan in the movies)." - Bill Fulton, Smart Growth America

Sustainability Education: Eco-Structure features an architect’s story how he took parent participation to a new level by hosting a series of sustainability workshops at his son’s school.

"I have taught undergraduate and graduate students in many parts of the world, but few occasions have been as rewarding as this one for elementary school students. The children were excited to learn about ways in which they can protect the planet and build a better future." - Pablo La Roche, HMC Architects

related: HMC Architects, HMC ArchLab