Architecture + Holiday Shopping

Did you know that many AAO members have great shops? 'Tis the season for well-designed gifts! There's everything from incredible books, unique home goods, and beautiful jewelry, to fun educational toys. Check out these last-minute holiday gift ideas from AAO members:
AIA Philadelphia, AIA Store, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Columbus Area Visitors Center, Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, Harbourfront Centre, National Building Museum.

And for an interesting look behind-the-scenes of an architecture store, read "The Man Behind the Best Museum Shop in Washington," an interview with Michael Higdon, shop manager at the National Building Museum.

  Member Highlights


On the holiday theme, the Architecture Center Houston recently hosted a Gingerbread Build-Off, where local architects built edible miniatures of existing buildings. A tried and true format, the Houston event attracted 3,000 spectators and garnered much local media attention.
Watch "Iconic Houston Designs...In Gingerbread" on ABC news.

A recent AIA NY program "Freedom of Assembly: Public Space Today" caught our eye, not only because broad interest in dissecting the Occupy Movement, but because of how it was captured with USTREAM; precisely the sort of topical content visitors might want to access instantly and satisfy their curiosities.
See the webpage and watch the video from "Freedom of Assembly."

  The Best Architecture of 2011

Here's our roundup of the "best of 2011." Find out how your programming compares to the critic's picks.

Jonathan Glancey, The Guardian
Christopher Hawthorne, LA Times
Blair Kamin, The Chicago Tribune 
Rowan Moore, The Guardian
Philip Kennicott, Washington Post 
Note: Congrats to the staff at AAO Member organization, the National Building Museum, as its "Unbuilt Washington" exhibit made it into the Washington Post's top 10 list of 2011 art and architecture!

And what will we see on the 2012 lists? Here are the top ten emerging firms according to Architecture Record's Design Vanguard.



AIA Seattle / The Next Fifty
Urban Intervention Competition (deadline: January 27)

Design Corps
SEED (Social, Economic, Environmental, Design) Awards for Excellence in Public Design (deadline: January 16) 

Healthy Cities Conference
Working Together to Achieve Livable Cities - call for abstracts
(deadline: March 2)

National Endowment for the Arts
Our Town Grants (deadline: March 1)

Salvadori Center
Curriculum Development RFP (deadline: December 31)

  Architecture on the Radio


We're pleased to report that 99% Invisible was recently featured on NPR's Radiolab and has seen a huge jump in audience numbers. The radio show, launched by AAO Member AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design and KALW and produced by Roman Mars (who you may have seen present at AAO's 2011 Design in Action conference in Philadelphia), focuses on how good ideas shape the built environment. Re-read our 2010 interview with Roman Mars and Margie O'Driscoll to learn how the project came to be. Here's an update from Roman:

Since the Radiolab piece, we've been #2 in the country on iTunes (behind This American Life and in front of Fresh Air) with about 40,000 downloads a day (up from an average of 1,400). Mentions on USA Today, Design Observer, The Onion AV Club, and an insane amount of activity on Twitter.

 Listen to Radiolab Presents: 99% Invisible.

  Legos: Encouraging Free Play for Girls

The philosophy of Legos is one that most design educators espouse: that imaginative, independent play is conducive to learning, and that hands-on building helps develop spatial and creative problem solving skills. Up to this point, Legos have been marketed primarily to boys, however, the company is no longer ignoring the other half of the planet. After four years of intense R&D (think teams of anthropologists embedded in families) they've discovered ways to appeal to girls. Because girls tend to involve storytelling while building and project themselves onto the figurine, the plastic jug head man had to be revamped, and "Lego Friends" was born. This thorough article gives a fascinating look at the market research, business perspective, user studies, and educational motives behind this toy.

Read the Bloomberg Businessweek cover story "Lego is for Girls."



American Architectural Foundation
Communications Coordinator

Chicago Architecture Foundation
Director of Individual Giving
Director of Foundation & Government Relations

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Associate Editor

Next American City
Associate Editor

Salvadori Center
Education Director

  3-D Printer Inspires High School Students


How do you get kids excited about architecture and engineering? Centennial High School had a simple, if not inexpensive, idea: let them play with cutting-edge technology. The school in Tennessee recently acquired a 3-D printer, thanks to the generosity of its local PTO, after years of requests from the School's drafting, CAD, architecture,and engineering teacher, Tim Sawyer. Already, it has drawn students in, excited by the endless possibilities of the things they can create - and the joys of instant results. The printer changes the way that they understand spatial relationships and offers an unforgettable experience, one that Sawyer hopes will inspire lifelong respect for architecture and engineering.

 Read "High Tech Printer Draws Students to Engineering."

  Social Media Resources

In this Forbes article, six experts voice their opinions on whether press releases should be posted to social media sites. The verdict? Make sure it's big news if you're posting to Facebook, and take the time to personalize and abbreviate your message. Include links and multimedia, and start a conversation around the news.
Should You Post Press Releases in Social Media?

Did you know you can integrate your YouTube channel with your Facebook page? Learn more about tools that plug in to Facebook for streamlined communications. Discover new ways to display pdf documents, create contact forms, and schedule posts that include photos or videos.
Top Ten Facebook Apps for Fan Engagement and Building Community

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