ASID Eye on Design
July 2, 2009

Business Conditions at Architecture Firms Largely Unchanged in May
from AIA
The path toward recovery in design activity has stalled recently. After a significant moderation in the downturn in design billings in March, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has failed to show any further hopeful signs in April or May. The ABI score from May was 42.9, barely moving the needle from the 42.8 score in April. Since any score below 50 reflects an overall decline in billings, the May reading indicates that business conditions at architecture firms are still deteriorating, and that there was no significant movement toward recovery during the month. More

International Green Construction Code (IGCC) Now in the Works
from Architectural Record
Code officials could see a new universal regulatory framework to guide the design and construction of green commercial buildings by the end of next year. The American Institute of Architects, along with the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), recently announced their intent to create an International Green Construction Code (IGCC). The new code aims to cover all aspects of sustainability in the built environment, from roofing to ventilation strategies, drawing from existing codes and standards to create one universal code. The code will apply to new construction and renovations. More

Chicago’s Sears Tower Goes Green
from The New York Times
The Sears Tower, that bronze-black monument that forms the 110-story peak of the skyline here and stands as the tallest office building in the Western Hemisphere, will soon have another unique feature: wind turbines sprouting from its recessed rooftops high in the sky. More

A77 Architects Fashion Home from Demolition Materials
from Inhabitat
Argentinean architects Gustavo Dieguez and Lucas Gilardi of Estudio a77 transformed an existing 1950s house on a small lot in an upscale neighborhood of Buenos Aires into an innovative eco-friendly dwelling. Constructed from recycled and reclaimed materials, this "demolition house" turns trash into a treasured abode. Using approximately 50 meters of recycled highway guard rails from the General Paz (a highway surrounding Buenos Aires) and 300 meters of discarded metal profiles, wood, iron doors and windows found in scrap yards, Dieguez and Gilardi rework demolition materials into fully functioning structural elements. More

Study Explains the Financial Value of Green Commercial Buildings
from Building Design & Construction
A new study of office buildings in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, BC by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, the Vancouver Valuation Accord and Cushman & Wakefield identifies how high-performance green features and systems can increase the value of commercial buildings. The report outlines how value was achieved and how sustainable attributes impact costs, savings, investment income, and capital value. It is a tool to help bridge the gap in understanding between the green building and financial communities. More

New Outdoor Fabrics Are as Tough as They Are Fashion-forward
from The Seattle Times
"People are coming in and buying outdoor fabrics to upholster their indoor couches," says Darlene Patterson of Terris Draheim, a Seattle Design Center showroom specializing in garden furniture and fabrics. New outdoor fabrics are so soft, pretty and comfortable you'd never guess they're bulletproof, resisting stains, mildew, fading — even the onslaught of kids, cats and dogs. No wonder these fabrics are crossing the threshold to enliven and soften our interior spaces as well as our gardens. More

Buildings Seeking LEED® Certification to Provide Performance Data
from Interiors & Sources
“Today there is all too often a disconnect, or performance gap, between the energy modeling done during the design phase and what actually happens during daily operation after the building is constructed,” says Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). “We’re convinced that ongoing monitoring and reporting of data is the single best way to drive higher building performance because it will bring to light external issues such as occupant behavior or unanticipated building usage patterns, all key factors that influence performance.” More

Herman Miller Posts Dismal Q4 Earnings
from Fast Company
As a sign, perhaps, of how design is faring in the recession economy, furniture giant Herman Miller announced its fourth quarter results. They were rough. Sales fell by 38 percent, to $320 million, while profits came in at a meager $7.2 million—down 82 percent from least year's $39.5 million. That put earnings at 20 cents per share—which actually beat analyst's estimates of 18 cents. Total figures for 2009: $1.63 billion in sales--almost 20 percent lower than in 2008--and $68 million in profits. Last year, profits stood at $152.3 million. More