Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture Names New Chairman

Andrew Seamans, AIA was named Chairman of the Board at Friday’s Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture meeting.

Andrew is the principal and owner of D5 Architecture in Norman. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Architecture and is a State of Oklahoma Licensed Architect. Andrew has worked on a wide range of projects in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area over the last 10 years. He has been involved in public libraries, business office renovations, restaurants, retail, public school facilities, medical buildings and condominium developments.

Status Update on the Efforts to Save Stage Center

It has been a year and a half since the AIA Board published a position paper on the future of Stage Center sparked by an article in the Oklahoman by Steve Lackmeyer and concerned callers to the AIACOC office from members and others. An ad hoc group of architects and other interested parties created a Facebook page called “Save the Stage Center”. Postings on the Facebook page have most recently included renderings of schematic ideas for saving stage center and maximizing site density with new square footage for corporate office use. In fact, the Facebook page was intended to be an opportunity for other designers to upload their ideas to create an overwhelming resource to potential re-developers. There is a lot of room for more ideas on the page. Regular postings also help to keep the spirit of saving the building alive. John Johanson, the architect of the building then known as Mummers Theater passed away on Friday, October 26, 2012.

The need to preserve this world renown piece of architecture and signature composition of the Modern Movement is even more palatable. The next opportunity to show support for the building will be on January 17 at the meeting of the State Historic Preservation Review Committee where they will consider a National Register of Historic Places nomination sponsored by Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. Those interested in showing their support are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will begin at 1:30 pm in the board room at the Oklahoma History Center. The full nomination and meeting agenda can be veiwed by going to http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/hprc.htm?full .

If you have questions or would like to send a letter of support, please contact the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office at 521-6249 or by mail to 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.


Catherine Montgomery, AIA
Preservation and Design Studio

Construction jobs forecast looks good for 2013

Dayton Business Journal
Date: Wednesday, December 26, 2012, 7:25am EST

The nation’s construction industry is expected to post job gains in the coming year, with a solid improvement seen in the housing market in the second half of 2012 that may provide the industry a foundation to build upon going into next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports that Zillow Inc. predicts a 4.1 percent increase in year-over-year prices when the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index is released this week.

That could indicate that construction jobs will increase soon.

The Dayton region lost 700 construction jobs in the past year as of October, according to a report from the Associated General Contractors of America. Dayton had 11,100 construction jobs as of October, down 6 percent from the 11,800 in October of 2011. That ranks the region No. 275 in the country for percentage change.

However, the moderate recovery that the construction industry has seen nationwide is expected to continue in 2013, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The ABC predicts that nonresidential construction spending will expand 5.2 percent in 2013.

Arn Henderson, FAIA to be Honored

The 2013 Oklahoma Humanities Awards event, sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council, will be held at the Oklahoma History Center on the evening of Thursday, March 28th at 6:30 pm and will offer delicious food, great camaraderie, and heartfelt sentiments as we acknowledge educators, volunteers, projects, contributors, and community leaders and their efforts to improve lives and create strong communities through the humanities disciplines.

We are axcited to announce that one of our own, Arn Henderson, FAIA will be honored.

Arn Henderson, FAIA, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, will receive OHC's highest honor, the Oklahoma Humanities Award, for his dedication to the humanities through his study of architecture as it relates to Oklahoma’s past, present, and future. Mr. Henderson is the author and co-author of numerous works including Architecture in Oklahoma: Landmark and Vernacular (1978), The Physical Legacy: Buildings of Oklahoma County 1889-1931 (1980) and currently at press, Bruce Goff: Architecture of Discipline in Freedom (2012). His expertise and dedication helped in the preservation of Guthrie’s commercial district.

Reservations can be made at www.okhumanities.org. AIA Central Oklahoma would like to put together a table to support Arn at this events. Tickets are $85 per person. If you plan to attend and would like to sit at our table, please email Melissa at mel@aiacoc.org.

Demand for Architects Builds Momentum

Billings for Design Jobs Rise for Fourth Straight Month, Reflecting Improving Housing Market and Institutional Demand.

The Wall Street Journal
December 19, 2012

There are few professionals more hopeful for a bright future this holiday season than architects, who are finally starting to see business conditions improve.

Billings at architecture firms have been depressed for the past four years, another victim of the real-estate and housing downturn. But in recent months, that has started to change.

The Architecture Billings Index, which is scheduled for release Wednesday, rose to 53.2 in November. That is the fourth consecutive monthly gain, up two points from a year ago and the highest reading since November 2007, according to the American Institute for Architects, which compiles the index. A reading above 50 indicates that billings are increasing.

A rise in architecture billings can have broad economic repercussions. The pickup means firms will need to hire new design teams, helping to reverse the slide in working architects, whose numbers declined to 153,000 in 2011 from 214,000 in 2007. Rising billings also are viewed as a gauge of future construction activity because real-estate developers tend to break ground on new projects nine to 12 months after they hire design firms. Construction generates large numbers of jobs for engineers, contractors and tradesmen.

Kermit Baker, the AIA’s chief economist, said much of the rise in billings reflects improvements in the housing market. “Construction Economics 101 would say...when you build homes, you need stores, you need schools, you need health-care facilities, so it triggers this broader, supportive activity around it.” In October, home builders started new-home construction at an annual rate of 894,000 units, the highest level in four years.

Architects also are seeing a significant rise in business from the public-sector and from nonprofit organizations, including medical centers and colleges. Architecture firms getting the most business these days cater to institutions rather than to private companies developing speculative office buildings, which in the past has been considered some of the priciest and more-prestigious work.

Many speculative projects that entered the planning stage during the boom years, like Fifth + Columbia, a proposed 43-story office tower in downtown Seattle, remain stuck on the drawing boards. Bob Frasca, a partner in Portland’s Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP, which designed the project, says he hasn’t heard from its developer in three years.

Legat Architects, a 48-year-old Chicago firm, specializes in building transit projects and college and university facilities. The firm is currently working on a commission for Joliet Junior College, which involved about $150 million in classroom buildings, a campus center and research space.

“I think higher education has probably been the most-active market in the last year or two,” said Alan Bombick, a principal with Legat. Mr. Bombick says inquiries and billings are up this year, and the firm is currently building a hotel that is part of large mixed-use development being coordinated by the University of Chicago.

Firms that do business with architects report that conditions are improving, as well. Last year, A. Zahner Co., a Kansas City-based metal fabricator and engineering firm whose clients include top architecture firms such as Zaha Hadid Architects and Herzog & de Meuron, was laying off employees and cutting work shifts.

But this year, the firm is going into 2013 with a $15 million backlog of work. That is smaller than the $20 million to $25 million backlog that is typical in a good year but is a big improvement over last year, said Gary Davis, Zahner’s head of marketing. He predicts that billings will rise 10% between 2012 and 2013.

“There’s an optimistic view toward design again, and it’s not just the big firms,” Mr. Davis said. “People are calling about design questions again, rather than just calling to ask, ‘Do you have a cheaper way of doing this?'”

Neil Denari, a 55-year-old Los Angeles architect, gained international prominence after designing his first free-standing building, HL23, a 14-story condominium building along the High Line, an elevated park in Manhattan that was widely celebrated by the design community. Still, Mr. Denari had to lay off 12 of the 15 employees between 2007 and 2010, as billings fell 75%.

Now, with commissions on the rise, Mr. Denari has staffed back up to 10 employees and has four new commissions, including an office building in Los Angeles and a mixed-use harbor-front project in Taipei, Taiwan. He says he has entered a competition to design a research institute in Cleveland.

“We’re going to be putting more energy into pursuing educational projects, because that’s where a lot of the work is,” Mr. Denari added.

Write to Robbie Whelan at robbie.whelan@wsj.com

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) online collection includes images of measured drawings, photographs and written histories for various regions of the country.

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections are among the largest and most heavily used in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. Since 2000, documentation from the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) has been added to the holdings. The collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies including examples as diverse as the Pueblo of Acoma, houses, windmills, one-room schools, the Golden Gate Bridge, and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Administered since 1933 through cooperative agreements with the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the private sector, ongoing programs of the National Park Service have recorded America’s built environment in multiformat surveys comprising more than 556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites dating from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century.

This online presentation of the HABS/HAER collections includes digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs, color transparencies, photo captions, data pages including written histories, and supplemental materials. Since the National Park Service’s HABS, HAER, and HALS programs create new documentation each year, digital images will continue to be added to the online collections.

Find more information on the collection by cutting and pasting this link to your browser: http://www.cr.nps.gov/hdp/coll.htm

Thinking about architecture…..

As I ran across our efforts to Save Stage Center, I began to think about the Architecture we have lost or those buildings we are in danger of losing like Stage Center.

What are your favorite pieces of Oklahoma Architecture? Past and Present. Let us know by posting here or post a photo to our facebook page (Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture) and tell us why you’re drawn to it.

Are you following us on Facebook?

We would like to encourage those interested in the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture to follow us on Faceboook. Search Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture.

Also, our friends at The American Institute of Architects, would like to invite you to follow them on Instagram. aiacoc

They will be posting the 2012 Design Award Winners, featuring a project of the month and more.

Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture Board Positions

The Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture (OCFA) has two openings on their Board of Trustees and is taking letters of nomination for those interested in serving.

The mission of the OCFA is to promote excellence in our physical environment by educating our community to recognize it, design professionals to provide it, and by doing projects that demonstrate it. Additional information on the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture can be found at www.okcarchitecture.com.

Members of the Board of Trustees serve 3 year terms. If you are interested in serving on the OCFA Board of Trustees, please send a Letter of Nomination to:

Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture
Board of Trustees
3535 N. Classen Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

In your letter of nomination, please tell us about yourself and how you think you can be an asset in furthering the mission of the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture.

Nomination letters are due by Friday, January 4, 2013.

Please note: You do not have to be an architect to serve on the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture, you just have to have a passion for Architecture and the ability to commit time and energy to the activities of the OCFA.

Apologize for the lack of posts and responses to your comments

Thank you for visiting our new site! I just wanted to apologize for the delay in posting and responding to any comments made on our previous posts. I am new to word press so I’m in the process of watching the training videos….things got a little busy around the office, you all know how that is, and I haven’t been back on in a while. My new years resolution is to try to post at least once a week.

Thank you for your interest in our organization. We are young but adding new exciting things all the time.


Melissa Hunt, Executive Director


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