Daily digest: Obama to speak at AIA Conference on Architecture 2022, the Portland Museum of Art launches expansion competition, and more

Late Edition

Daily digest: Obama to speak at AIA Conference on Architecture 2022, the Portland Museum of Art launches expansion competition, and more

The Frank Lloyd Wright Racine Collection by Steelcase (Courtesy of Steelcase)

Happy Thursday and welcome to a late-in-the-day roundup of notable news items. Below are a few need-to know stories as we head into the first weekend of June…

Portland Museum of Art calls on architects to submit qualifications for expansion project

The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in Maine has announced an international design competition calling on architects and design teams to submit qualifications for a 60,000-square-foot expansion of the museum’s current footprint, which comprises several historic buildings in downtown Portland. Over the last decade the cultural institution has seen record attendance and is looking to double the size of its campus to house new collections, exhibitions event and performance venues, and office space, as well as a rooftop restaurant and sculpture garden.

“We are excited to invite experts from around the world to internalize the goals of The PMA Blueprint and turn them into physical spaces that bring them to life,” said Mark Bessire, the Judy and Leonard Lauder Director of the Portland Museum of Art. ”This is no easy task, as our communities have made their expectations clear for open and innovative spaces that enable a flexible range of programs, exhibitions, and art. Beyond that, architects must understand the unique characteristics of Portland and of Maine, while displaying enthusiasm and reverence for this project’s long-term impact.”

The competition will be carried out in two phases with the winning team and design proposal unveiled in December 2022 and plans to open its doors to the public in 2026.

Steelcase and Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation team up on office furniture collection

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based office furniture heavyweight Steelcase and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have teamed up to launch the Frank Lloyd Wright Racine Collection. Using the Foundation’s archives and Wright’s seminal design principles, the series will include chairs, desks, textiles, and wallcoverings, all of which reinterpret Wright’s vision with updates for modern comfort. Steelcase has a longstanding working relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright that began in 1939 when the company fabricated original designs for the SC Johnson Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin.

“The Foundation is delighted to work alongside Steelcase in carrying Wright’s legacy forward,” said Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “While people know Wright for his work in architecture, his passion for creating equitable, inspiring work environments was visionary. We are proud to partner with an organization like Steelcase that shares these values with the Foundation, helping to inspire designers, managers, and associates through Wright’s ideas, which have only become more relevant over time.”

The collection will be on show at NeoCon in Chicago June 13–15.

Barack Obama will take the stage at the 2022 AIA Conference

Former U.S. President Barack Obama is slated to speak in a moderated conversation during the closing session of the 2022 AIA Conference on Architecture. The event will take place in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center on June 24. This is not the first time an Obama has made an appearance on the AIA stage; in 2017, Michelle Obama spoke on equality and diversity in the design industry at the event.

Other scheduled headlining speakers include AIA EVP/CEO Lakisha Ann Woods in conversation with Madame Architect founder Julia Gamolina, and Jeanne Gang, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Renée Cheng and Jeanne Gang in conversation with photographer and architecture critic Lee Bay. A full list of speakers can be found here.

The 2022 AIA Conference will span four days running from June 22 to 25.

ASLA Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program awards 10 women in inaugural class

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Fund heralded the first class of its Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program. The program, launched in February 2022, supports women of color practicing landscape architecture, providing mentoring and assistance with navigating the licensure process. It derives from the ASLA’s 2020 Racial Equity Action Plan.

The inaugural class comprises 10 women who identify as African American, Latin, Asian, and Native Hawai‘ian, the “most statistically underrepresented” groups in the landscape architecture field. They hail from across the United States, including Hawaii, California, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, and Florida.

Each woman will receive a scholarship of up to $3,500 to cover costs of the Landscape Architectural Registration Exam (LARE), along with exam preparation courses, resources, and mentoring from a licensed landscape architect.

a sign for buc-ee's road stop
(courtesy Buc-ee’s)

Colorado is about to be beaver-slapped with a gigantic Buc-ee’s

Leaders at Buc-ee’s are breaking ground next week on a store that’s set to be tied for the Texas-based rest stop chain’s largest location.

The Johnstown, Colorado center at 5201 Nugget Road will be Buc-ee’s’ first store in the state. Like other Buc-ee’s, it will be heavily beaver-themed, and serve food favorites “including Texas barbecque, homemade fudge, kolaches, Beaver nuggets, jerky and fresh pastries.” Patrons driving between Denver and Fort Collins will get to enjoy the “world’s cleanest bathrooms,” as well.

With 115 fueling stations and 74,000 square feet of interior space, the Johnstown store will be the same size as a location under construction in Sevierville, Tennessee. When the latter is complete, it will take the crown as the world’s largest travel center. (For motor vehicles, at least. Airports apparently don’t count.)  The groundbreaking is set for June 7, 2022.

H/t to GlobeNewswire