Daily digest: Lauren Bostic Hill named the executive director of AIA Baltimore, construction hiring surges, and more

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Daily digest: Lauren Bostic Hill named the executive director of AIA Baltimore, construction hiring surges, and more

Construction hiring was way up in February, but experts warn the trend might not hold across all of 2022 (Joe Holland/Unsplash)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another end of the week roundup of the news stories you need to know. In a bit of housekeeping, AN is now searching for a new web editor; interested parties can apply here.

The AIA Baltimore names Lauren Bostic Hill its new executive director

The Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects has selected its next executive director. Effective March 14, Lauren Bostic Hill will lead the organization as well as act as executive director for the Baltimore Architecture Foundation while also providing management services for the Maryland Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Hill previously worked at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for more than four years.

“I am honored to join AIA Baltimore, BAF, and Maryland ASLA as Executive Director,” said Hill in the chapter’s announcement on March 1. “As the organizations celebrate significant anniversaries and milestones, it is the perfect time to create synergies between them. Baltimore has a rich history of engaged architecture and design professionals, and I return to this community with a renewed perspective on the profession. I am excited to work with members to support the needs of the architectural community and elevate the presence of the Center for Architecture and Design. The Center is well poised to serve as a space to engage the public. I look forward to creating new opportunities for professional growth and promoting the organizations as stewards of the built environment in the greater Baltimore community.”

Construction employment surged in February

Despite an optimistic, but trepidatious Architecture Billings Index report for January 2022 indicating that demand might tail off, construction hiring in February saw employment nearly reach pre-pandemic numbers according to the latest report from industry group Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). In February, 60,000 net construction jobs were added, bringing total countrywide employment up to 7,613,000. Still, ABC cautioned about taking that as a definitive sign of a trend and pointed out that federal construction spending would dip lower in 2022, while oil prices and material costs are set to rise even further.

Tosin Oshinowo will curate the 2023 Sharjah Architecture Triennial

Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo will curate the second edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial in 2023, with plans to focus on sustainability in the built environment and infrastructure. Oshinowo co-curated the Lagos Biennial in 2019 and is reportedly taking an approach to the triennial informed by architecture from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia to find design solutions that will help alleviate scarcity.

The second edition of the biennale had originally been scheduled for 2022 but was rescheduled as COVID cases once again took off in 2021. No date for the 2023 festival has been announced yet.

H/t to Dezeen

The AIA announces grants for climate research projects

The AIA’s Upjohn Research Initiative, which hands out grants for research projects that help further professional knowledge, has awarded five such grants to teams looking to pursue climate change adaptation and mitigation work. The five winning projects range from 3D printing mycelium to improving bicycle frameworks, demonstrating how tackling climate change will require a broad focus on every facet of the built environment. They are as follows:

  • Architects and Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs): The Role of the Profession in the Emerging Field of GEBs
  • From Waste to Biodegradable Structures with Local Fungi Species
  • The Future of Green Infrastructure: Measuring and Designing the Built Environment for Pedestrian and Bicycle Activities in Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Priority Green for Community Benefit: A Framework for Tailoring Entitlement Benefits to Neighborhood-specific Priorities Around Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation, and Equity
  • Synergies between Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings, Microgrids, and Direct Current

Amsterdam’s Hermitage outpost cuts ties with the St. Petersburg branch

Continuing the rash of architecture firms, artists, and institutions cutting ties with Russia over the unprompted military invasion of Ukraine, the Amsterdam offshoot of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has reportedly gone independent. After the war in Ukraine made it untenable to continue the relationship, the Amsterdam Hermitage Art Museum, which has shown work around the Dutch city since 2004 and moved into its permanent home in 2009, announced that it would be ceasing its collaboration but was open to repairing the relationship if conditions improve. There is also no word what the invasion and freezing of relations with Russia will mean for Toyo Ito’s Hermitage Barcelona proposal, which was already facing stiff opposition from local residents.

H/t to ARTnews