Volume 2, No. 15 - December 5, 2008
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

susan woodward architects, pc
The Flynn/Harless Residence, by susan woodward architects, pc (more info)
The Economy Issue

AIA Knowledge Communities

Upcoming Design Awards

Architecture Billings Index

Practice: RFPs + DesignDC

Featured Project: Flynn/Harless


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Discover AIA Knowledge Communities
Now is the easiest time to join one, or several, of the 20 AIA Knowledge Communities (KC) as you renew your AIA membership. Simply select the KCs you wish to join on your invoice. There is no charge for joining. KCs are one of the many benefits of membership.

From hot topics such as energy efficiency and universal design, to professional conferences and networking opportunities, KCs provide you with information, connections, and resources you need, when you need them most. You can choose from a diverse selection of practice and design based groups and participate as little or as much as you like. It's a great way to keep informed and stay connected to the issues that interest you and impact your career.

Associate AIA members, who join a KC today through December 10, will be entered in the AIA Associate Member Knowledge Communities Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three grand prizes:
  • Knowledge Community Scholarship of up to $1000 to attend any 2009 KC conference.
  • ARE Study Guide - complete exam study guide and prep package.
  • Sony PlayStation® 3 with Dual Shock Controller, Blue-Ray Disc Remote and Planet Earth.
  • Six other lucky winners will be awarded a new iPod® Nano.
To participate in the sweepstakes, you must be an Associate AIA member and sign up to be a member of a KC here or already be a member of a Knowledge Community to be eligible to win.

AIA Knowledge Communities: Your interests, your passions, your peers. For more information, please visit www.aia.org/nav_kc.

Additionally, Knowledge Communities offer the opportunity for AIA members to earn CES creaits from home through webinars. December alone offers eight opportunities to complete your requirements for 2008. Topics include:

Design Award Opportunities
This is the time of year when AIA Knowledge Communities send out requests for members to submit projects for design award programs recognizing a variety of building types from residential design to libraries.

Considering the current economic climate, these programs are an important opportunity for AIA members to focus attention on their work. Please consider submitting your projects.

Review the Latest Data from the AIA Architecture Billings Index

As news reports remind us daily, the economy continues a downward spiral and, as to be expected, design and construction activities have slowed.

The AIA Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded its ninth straight monthly decline in October, the steepest decline in the 13 years since the AIA began to track business trends. The index for new project inquiries also showed a record drop in October. Likely, signs of a recovery will be evident first by an increase in inquiries, so at present, business conditions are not showing signs of improvement. You can view complete information on the Index here.

As we reported in the last issue of BLAST, the AIA website feature, Navigating the Economy, continues to provide information and resources to help members through these difficult times. Recent highlights include:

DesignDC '09 : Architects Leading Change - Call for Presentations
In a time of environmental distress and economic turmoil, architects can make a difference - and make history. DesignDC 2009 will highlight the architect as leader: inspiring us to rethink and redesign our built environment for a safe, stable and sustainable future.

If you are interested in presenting at the annual architecture and design conference, July 14 - 16, 2009, complete the Call for Presentations Proposal Form available at http://www.aiadesigndc.org/. Proposals are due December 31, 2008. Please fax completed Proposal Form to Sarah Smith at (202) 667-4327 or email at ssmith@aiadc.com. Your proposal will be reviewed by the Education Committee and you will be contacted in January 2009. Thank you for your interest in DesignDC 2009!

A Free Service to Improve Responses to Your Requests for Proposals
As part of our ongoing effort to support architects in a challenging economic climate, the AIA invites you to post your requests for proposals (RFPs) and requests for quotations (RFQs) at no cost on the AIA website.

Regardless of the building type or the services you seek, you'll likely find the expertise and experience you require among our more than 85,000 AIA members.

By posting your RFP or RFQ, you can increase the number and quality of responses for architectural services. We will showcase RFPs and RFQs on the AIA website and widely promote them to our members using a robust set of communications channels - including www.aia.org and AIArchitect.

To submit your request, review How to Submit a Request at www.aia.org/prac_submit_rfp. Send submissions via e-mail to aiamarketing@aia.org as a .pdf document. The AIA will post it to the new AIA RFP Showcase.

Featured Project

The Flynn/Harless Residence
susan woodward architects, pc
Photos by Katherine G. Stifel, AIA

Our objectives were to capture a beautiful view and open the interiors to extend the perception of the space beyond those set by the traditional boundaries of walls and ceiling planes.

The existing house has a very small 500 sf floor plate, common to this era of three-story brick boxes in Northern Virginia. Its small, 1940’s windows framed but did not capture views of woods and stream beyond. The house had remained essentially unaltered from the time it was built. Therefore, it was a compact, blank slate limited only by the very modest budget available to accomplish the clients’ program full of dreams. That, and the need to respect the stream resource protection area, confined work to the interior spaces and the rear facade.

The architectural moves were limited and specific to the goal of opening the compact volume. The primary effort was to replace much of the rear wall with floor-to-ceiling glass from basement to roof so that one could inhabit the stacked inside/outside edge. Only three interior walls were removed and the ceiling space was raised in the master bedroom. Dark walls were contrasted against stark white; dark walls receding and diminishing the contrast with the exterior. Pushing and pulling the edges of cabinets and walls that would otherwise define those edges blurred the line between one space and the next. Wall and ceilings were curved and angled to direct flow and to impact the way one measures oneself within a space.

The clients had collected a few pieces of authentic mid-century modern furniture, art and artifacts over time. One of the first design meetings occurred while sitting on their Charles and Ray Eames compact sofa, cups of coffee set on the Eileen Grey round glass side table. An original 1940’s aluminum Navy chair was found in the house and carefully restored by the clients. The design aesthetic was intended to clearly compliment and give a home to these pieces and those the clients wish to acquire in the future. It was a marriage of two very different styles of the same era – a mid-century house to mid-century modern furniture to create a home that both functions and brings simple, uncomplicated delight.

December 8 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30-6:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 S Patrick Street, Alexandria. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

December 10 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series : The Evolution of Glass + High Performance Coatings
Noon-1:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. The presentation will start with a brief overview of the means used to manufacture flat glass, culminating with the float glass process. Following this will be an overview of the use of glass as a means of achieving solar control including the use of high performance coatings, which has expanded the use of glass in architecture. A summary of the trends in the use of coatings will be presented along with a simulated building model, which calculates the return on investment to be expected through the use of various glass types. Next, a variety of buildings will be shown and the rationale for the glass and coating use will be discussed. Finally, common issues and tradeoffs facing glass specifiers will be reviewed. Presented by Heather Choate with Guardian Industries. 1 AIA/CES HSW LU. Free, but registration is required. Please e-mail your registration request to reservations@aianova.org.

December 16 - Virginia Society AIA Seminar : 2006 IBC Accessibility and Usability
8:30a-4:00p, at PSA-Dewberry, 8401 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax. Provides requirements for construction of accessible structures in compliance with the IBC and the referenced standard, ICC/ANSI A117.1-2003. Introduces the topics of plan review and inspection for construction allowing the physically challenged, the visually impaired and the hearing impaired to use buildings of all types. Discusses the primary objective of the 2006 IBC, which is to meet or exceed, to the maximum extent possible, the requirements of the ADAAG and the FHAG. 6.0 LUs (HSW). $170 AIA members; $200 non-members. Download the registration form, get more information, or register online through Virginia Society AIA.

December 31 - Presentation Proposals for DesignDC 2009 Due
See the announcement above for information.