JULY 2011

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! 

Join us in Philadelphia on October 9-11 for Design in Action 2011, a joint conference of AAO, A+DEN, and the Association for Community Design (ACD). Come together for a celebration of our most ingenious partnerships and emergent approaches in public engagement, youth education, and community design.

Learn more about conference highlights, workshops, tours, and travel details here.

REGISTER NOW for the early bird rate!



  Common Space in Alaska

 

 We're headed to Alaska in a few weeks for the annual AAO Members' retreat, and are getting excited about the work of our host, the Alaska Design Forum (ADF). In their latest project, Common Space, ADF engaged artists/designers to work with five distinct communities. Candy Chang's Looking for Love Again drew attention to Fairbank's tallest building, which has been abandoned for the last decade, by draping huge four-story banners over it and making a street wall of chalkboards to collect residents' stories from the past and hopes for the future.

Check out the Fast Company article on Candy Chang's ADF project.



  Crossing the Creative Divide

 

Recently, creativity has been in the spotlight, with stories stressing its importance in building a future workforce of innovative and successful problem-solvers. But as Mark Basskinger points out, our education system, with its focus on test scores, is actually "creating a creativity deficit." In "Crossing the Creative Divide: Three Intrinsic Attributes of Creativity" he emphasizes the need for practicing expansive thinking and offers three techniques: build shared understanding, ask "what if," and have the courage to fail beautifully. Although this is written from the perspective of the UX (user experience) field, the lessons are just as relevant to other design fields, including architecture.



  Opportunities

 

Vote now for Architect Barbie's Dream House Design!
The opportunity you've been waiting for: help decide which architect's design will become Architect Barbie's new home. Voting ends August 1.

Grant Opportunity: Community Arts Journalism Challenge
NEA and the Knight Foundation competition offers up to $100,000 for new models of local arts journalism in the digital era. Apply by August 18.

Call for Nominations: AIA 2012 Honor Awards
Let's continue the tradition of AAO members being honored for the Collaborative Achievement Award. Nominate your peers by October 14.

Call for Exhibits: Successful Designs for Healthy Inclusive Communities
Exhibition to be on display at the May 2012 Making Cities Livable Conference. Apply by October 1.


  Architecture Festivals Around the World
 

This month, we've come across a number of architecture festivals that provide a glimpse into how things are done outside of the US. As the organizers of the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival put it, events like this seek to invigorate public discussion and participation towards shaping the direction and development of the city. And what is the best way to achieve this? For the Little Tokyo Design Week, which celebrates Japanese influences on this Los Angeles neighborhood, organizers took a novel approach and set up 15 shipping container "galleries" in public places replete with mini exhibitions. In Victoria, the State of Design Festival offered a wide array of programs- from familiar (Pecha Kucha and Open House) to new twists on classics (an app-led neighborhood cycling tour and an aural walking tour or "sound  walk"). And then there's the "Pop-up Pirate Radio Tower" which we're assuming is truly one of a kind.



  QR Codes + the Built Environment

Is your organization using QR (Quick Response) codes? They're free and easy to generate. Viewers scan the barcode with a smartphone app, and are instantly directed to a webpage of your choosing. As QR codes gain traction, we've seen a number of interesting applications:

In South Korea, virtual stores are inserting themselves into everyday places. QR code posters in subway stations take users directly to the online check out for the products they scan (which are then delivered).

In an example that many of us can identify with, the Richmond Children's Museum  has begun using QR codes in their exhibitions to link to bonus videos because AV display equipment wasn't in the budget.

And, just for fun, check out architecture critic Lynn Becker's thoughts on how buildings with giant QR codes covering the facades fit into the age-old tradition of symbolism in architecture.


 

Job Openings


Chicago Architecture Foundation, V.P. of Learning Initiatives; Manager of Teen Initiatives

Guggenheim Museum, Exhibition Designer (9 month assignment)

Harbourfront Centre, Dir. of the Power Plant Gallery

National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dir. of Membership Development

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, V.P. of Development and Communications

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, President and CEO



  Pin-Up Architecture Gallery

The media of architects -- the built environment -- cannot typically be displayed within the confines of a gallery. So, how can architecture exhibitions address the fact that the artifacts on display are mere representations (drawings, models, photographs) of the object itself? Earlier this year, Fleur Watson and Martyn Hook founded Pin-Up, Australia's only dedicated architecture gallery, with the aim of exploring new ways in which architecture can be presented and represented. Journalist Robert Bevan takes us through the the history of architecture exhibitions, starting with MoMA's 1948 Mies van der Rohe show and ending at Pin-Up, and muses about the best way for engaging public interest in architecture, in his article "Pin-Up, the Model of an Architectural Space."



  National Architecture Policies

All of us share the common goal of promoting the value of architecture and design. But how do we know whether we've made any real progress? One visible measure of impact is how much our country's leaders support quality design. In the article "In Design We Trust" Cathy Lang Ho argues that the US should articulate a position on the value of design, and catch up to various European governments that already overtly support architecture through government agencies, national policies, federally-funded initiatives, and investment and oversight of public buildings. Mark Robbins is working on a joint NEA / GSA initiative with the goal of proving "how the strength of our design disciplines can work towards making all the other parts of our culture better, more efficient, and more successful."



  July Exhibitions Roundup

 

This month, we've gathered a list of our members' new exhibitions and also threw in a few other architecture/design exhibitions that caught our attention.

In New City Landscape (pictured at left), AAO member Harbourfront Centre takes on the meaning of nature in an urban context, and explores the possibilities of landscape design. The projects of four artists/designers address Toronto parkettes, the city as forest, the technological landscape, and an ecotopian vision of the future.

Click here to see the list of July exhibitions that we've compiled.


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