abusive architecture job posting of the week
April 20, 2009, 7:21 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Economy, Work Life
The economy is bad, and there are lots of architects out of work, but no need for this level of abuse.

“We are looking for interns unafraid to question the basic premises of architecture and to operate far beyond its boundaries, in territories more familiar to history, philosophy, economics, and religion. AUDC is a radical architecture practice….Please see our Web site and our book, Blue Monday, for more about us. Please do not apply if you have not looked at these…AUDC principals will be in the office three to five days a week, but interns are expected to be self-starters…. AUDC is a radical architecture practice that is a labor of love, not a for-profit….We regret that all internships in 2009 are unpaid, … .Please bring your own computers and software (e.g. CS4, CAD, Office). … PCs are acceptable…..We look to fill three positions, one centered on video, one on graphics, and one on research. Application to be submitted as a single PDF (8MB maximum) document including:
Cover letter
Letters of recommendation”

Good grief, letters of recommendation for an unpaid internship where you are expected to provide your own computer and thousands of dollars of software??

Architect as Secretary of HUD
December 15, 2008, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Architecture, North America, Politics, Urban Design

Shaun Donovan, armed with degrees in architecture and public policy from Harvard’s GSD and Kennedy School, is Obama’s nominee for HUD. In 2004 he foresaw the subprime crisis, which means he is a sharper cookie than 99.99% of Wall Street.

New York HPD bio

New York Times profile

Interview with Gwendolyn Wright in the Architects’ Newspaper

And an interview with the Observer.

Obama’s audacious public works
December 15, 2008, 8:02 pm
Filed under: Design, Economy, North America, Politics, Transportation

In the Boston Globe, Bob Campbell comments on Barack Obama’s proposed public works program: “The audacity of hope for better public works.”

In his radio announcement, Obama mentioned roads and bridges, sewer systems, schools, mass transit, electrical grids, dams and other public utilities, windmills and solar panels, and expanded access to the Internet.

Nothing in there specifically about architecture.

“What recession?” Green Architects Say
November 14, 2008, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Design, Economy, Green

Matt Chaban writes about the one bright spot in the design economy in the Architect’s Newspaper.

McDonald’s, WalMart, Subway, Oh My!
November 9, 2008, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Design, Economy, Green, North America

retailers go green, big time.

Housing Lenders Fear Bigger Wave of Loan Defaults
August 4, 2008, 8:25 am
Filed under: Economy, North America

More bad news on the housing / economy front from the New York Times.

Be prepared
July 30, 2008, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Economy

Architectural billing is still down, although there was a slight uptick in the architectural billing index for June (but this just means the decline slowed, rather than an increase in work).

Rising construction costs
July 30, 2008, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Economy, North America

What to do about it, from the Observer:

As the economy sours, ever-rising construction costs seem to be an in-vogue subject: Last night, the New York Building Congress released a report on the topic; the

Manhattan Institute put out recommendations for controlling cost escalations earlier this month; and, on Monday, the Bloomberg administration announced a set of initiatives to lower costs of city projects.

The basic problem–costs have been going up at least 10 percent annually for the past few years–doesn’t seem to have any easy solutions, as the reports (both of which involved consultation with the same firm, Urbanomics) recommended a broad array of changes that could lower costs to varying degrees.

“only an idiot would have said no”
July 30, 2008, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Asia, Politics

Jacques Herzog on choosing to build in China:

Only an idiot — and not a person who thinks in moral terms would have turned down this opportunity — would have said no. I know that there are architects who now claim that they would never have even considered building in China. This is both a naïve and arrogant position, one that reflects a lack of knowledge of and respect for the incredible cultural achievements this country has continuously provided over the last 5,000 years and still provides today.

July 23, 2008, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Economy

After Strong Growth in 2007, Nonresidential Construction Activity Is Projected to Flatten Out
A weakening economy in 2008 is expected to stall the current nonresidential construction expansion

by Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA
Chief Economist

Summary: Emerging weakness in the broader national economy has dampened the mood of the leading nonresidential construction forecasters. The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is now projecting a modest 0.7 percent inflation-adjusted increase in nonresidential construction activity this coming year, with a modest 1.3 percent decline in the commercial categories, but a reasonably healthy 4.2 percent gain in institutional facilities. Our forecast panel does not expect improvement as we move into 2009; the consensus is for a small decline of 0.9 percent in nonresidential activity for next year. Again, the commercial sectors are expected to fare worse than the institutional categories.

National economic slowdown underway
This past year turned out very positive for the nonresidential construction sector. Spending on the construction of nonresidential buildings increased by an estimated 18 percent (before inflation adjustments), according to U.S. Commerce data covering activity through November 2007. This growth almost offset a comparable percentage decline in residential activity. Nonresidential spending was particularly strong for lodging facilities (up more than 60 percent), public safety and transportation (each up more than 20 percent), and offices, communication facilities, and amusement and recreation facilities (each up close to 20 percent).