April 17, 2007
by: Murrye Bernard Assoc. AIA LEED AP

In this issue:
· New Mexico Ends Censorship of Interior Designers
· NYC Building Code Changes
· NCARB Surveys Architects for IDP and ARE
· Calling Associates! Post Picture, Win iPod Shuffle
· Students’ Structural Reality — in Marshmallow

New Mexico Ends Censorship of Interior Designers

New Mexico eliminated an unconstitutional restriction on the free speech of interior designers by amending legislation that prohibited designers from truthfully advertising their services. Senate Bill 535, signed by Governor Richardson on April 3, responded to a federal lawsuit brought on by the Institute for Justice in September 2006. Two NM-based interior designers were forbidden from accurately advertising their services because they did not hold a “free speech license” from the NM Interior Design Board.

The challenged law allowed anyone to work as an interior designer, but made it a crime for people not licensed by the board to use the terms “interior design,” and “interior designer.” The new legislation permits anyone who practices interior design to use the terms, and creates a new category called “licensed interior designer” for those who meet the credentials.

According to the Institute for Justice:

‘Title’ laws like New Mexico’s, which prevent people who lawfully perform interior design work from using that term to describe what they do, are the result of relentless lobbying campaigns by a small faction within the interior design community, as the Institute for Justice demonstrated in its study prepared by Director of Strategic Research Dick Carpenter, ‘Designing Cartels: How Industry Insiders Cut Out Competition.’ This small faction of industry insiders, unwilling to compete on a level playing field in a free market, pursues government overregulation in a naked attempt to demote their competitors to mere ‘decorators’ or ‘consultants’ by preventing them from using the term ‘interior designer’ without a license.

NYC Building Code Changes

The NYC Model Code Program is an effort undertaken by the NYC Department of Buildings to streamline and modernize the city’s building and electrical codes. Under the program, national model codes promulgated by leading technical organizations are reviewed. Working with local industry, labor, and real estate representatives, the model codes most appropriate for NYC are amended for use in the city and adopted as Local Law by the city council. After adoption, the Model Code Program and its Technical Committees review the codes every three years to ensure they remain up-to-date. The new code, drafted with the help of more than 400 industry figures — including architects, real estate developers, engineers, government officials, and union representatives — will be presented to the City Council later this month.

A recent article in the NY Sun (“Building Code Changes Could Increase Costs,” by Grace Rauh, 04.04.07) claims that these changes could end up increasing NYC’s already soaring construction costs.

NCARB Surveys Architects for IDP and ARE

Beginning April 9, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certificate holders and American Institute of Architects (AIA) members may receive an e-mail invitation to participate in the 2007 Practice Analysis Survey. NCARB plans to collect data describing knowledge and skills necessary to practice architecture independently while safeguarding public health, safety, and welfare. The last study published in 2001 spurred the ongoing evolution of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Participation in this year’s survey will provide information for reviewing and updating the Intern Development Program (IDP) as well as the ARE.

Prometric, NCARB’s test development and psychometric consultant, will administer the survey. The results are anticipated to be distributed in early 2008. Those who do not receive the survey but would like to participate should contact Malia Stroble. Only registered architects may complete the survey and will need to provide proof of valid licensure in order to participate. The survey takes about 40 minutes to complete, according to one Chapter member who has done it.

Calling Associates! Post Picture, Win iPod Shuffle

New Associate members of the AIA out-number new AIA members five to one. To celebrate the future of the profession, the National Associates Committee (NAC) will display images of Associate members for the exhibition, AIA175, at the 2007 AIA National Convention in San Antonio.

Associates should post their images on the Flickr site and answer the following question: Who/What/Where will you be in 25 years when the AIA celebrates 175 years? The NAC will give away an iPod Shuffle to a randomly selected member on April 23. To post a picture, create a Flickr account and join the group, AIA175. Upload a 300-dpi image, enter name with all appropriate titles, and include a response to the question.

Students’ Structural Reality — in Marshmallow
By Tim Hayduk, School Program Manager, Center for Architecture Foundation

Gravity-defying structures

Results from the skyscraper design challenge.

Maggie Jacobstein

Students from the United Nations International School (UNIS) visited the Center for Architecture on April 5 to learn about skyscrapers and try their hand at building their own gravity-defying structures. The six-to-eight-year-old students have firsthand experience with skyscrapers — they live in them, visit their folks who work in them, and trek to observation decks. Visiting and appreciating tall buildings is one thing, but trying to build a structure that withstands the forces exerted by Center for Architecture Foundation’s Director Erin McCluskey is a tall order. McCluskey ran a strength test on a few of the models to see how well they stood up.

The skyscraper design challenge asked students to imagine a structure and bring their ideas into a 3-dimensional reality. Using straws, toothpicks, dowels, glue, tape, and even marshmallows as connectors, students experimented with a variety of shapes. Stacked frames tended to fall over until the students discovered the idea of cross bracing. Triangulated structural systems emerged to become tall buildings, castles, and other structures. Although McCluskey was careful not to push the designs to failure, the real test was whether the projects would sustain the bus ride back to school in one piece.


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