Mixed Plate Hawaii, by Kaoru Lovett, Graham Hart, and Ronald Ribao has won the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Look Up Film Challenge People’s Choice Award. As part of the AIA’s multi-year public awareness campaign, the Look Up Film Challenge People’s Choice Award allowed the public to vote for their favorite film that was selected by a jury comprised of architects and media professionals. The finalists eligible for the People’s Choice Award were announced last month at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

“It’s easy to see why Mixed Plate Hawaii has captured the People’s Choice Award,” said 2015 AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. “The film speaks to all generations, from every background. It’s inspiring and truly makes people want to look up and celebrate the beauty of life’s diversity.”

The film looks at how Hawaii’s diverse cultural heritage has proffered a diverse built environment over time, or, as Lovett says, “life in four dimensions.” Mixed Plate Hawaii was recognized with Third Prize for the overall Film Challenge and received special recognition in the Diversity & Inclusion category. Mixed Plate Hawaii along with all the videos selected by the jury can still be viewed at ilookup.org.

“When we made this film it was really just about the thoughts that were going through our heads, we are happy, honored, and relieved to find out that so many others feel the same way or appreciate what we have done,” said Graham Hart.

“Mixed Plate Hawaii wouldn’t have done so well had it not been for the influence of the larger community. To see the impact that the greater public can have on something that we worked on is truly humbling,” said Kaoru Lovett. “The entire experience has left us eager to further explore the relationship between cinema and architecture.”

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit http://www.aia.org.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced the launch of nine new contract documents. These include a new owner/consultant agreement with two accompanying scope of service exhibits for land surveying and geotechnical engineering, as well as six new administrative forms for use on design-build projects.

“We are constantly collaborating with industry stakeholders and practitioners to identify growing contract needs,” said Kenneth Cobleigh, Managing Director & Counsel, AIA Contract Documents. “Our customers expressed a need for a standard form of agreement owners could use to engage necessary consultants and leverage their expertise; the new C103 document addresses that need. These additions also cap off our design-build family of documents, which are preferred by the industry at large for commercial design-build projects.”

The C103™–2015, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Consultant without a Predefined Scope of Consultant’s Services establishes expectations between an owner and consultant on a project. This agreement contains basic business terms related to copyrights and licenses, claims and disputes, termination or suspension, and compensation.

The accompanying scope of services exhibits include:

• C201™-2015, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Land Survey: This exhibit establishes the duties and responsibilities of a surveyor who is hired as a consultant by a property owner, and allows the parties to select between a boundary, topographic, or ALTA/ACSM survey.

• C202™-2015, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Geotechnical Engineering Services: This exhibit establishes the duties and responsibilities of a geotechnical engineer who is hired as a consultant by a property owner. It separates the geotechnical engineer’s services into four phases: explorations and testing, preparation of a geotechnical report, design services, and construction services.

Both documents are scope of services exhibits intended to be attached to AIA Document C103-2015. They may not be used as stand-alone agreements. The AIA worked with both land surveying and geotechnical engineering experts to define the parameters of these documents.

“We were pleased that the AIA sought our input on technical content during the development of C201™-2015, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Land Survey,” said Curt Sumner, LS, Executive Director of the National Society of Professional Surveyors. “We believe this document is an important addition to the AIA library of contract documents.”

The AIA has also added six new design-build forms to complete the Design-Build family of documents, which has quickly become one of the most popular document families in the AIA portfolio. The six new documents include:

• G741™-2015, Change Order for a Design-Build Project

• G742C™-2015, Application and Certificate for Payment for a Design-Build Project, Contractor Variation

• G742S™-2015, Application and Certificate for Payment for a Design-Build Project, Subcontractor Variation

• G743C™-2015, Continuation Sheet for a Design-Build Project, Contractor Variation

• G743S™-2015, Continuation Sheet for a Design-Build Project, Subcontractor Variation

• G745™-2015, Change Directive for a Design-Build Project

The new documents are currently available through the latest version of the AIA Contract Documents desktop software, as well as individually through AIA Documents-on-Demand® and AIA Documents-on-Demand® Plus.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit http://www.aia.org.

Some schools have banned junk food. Some have added longer gym classes, new nutrition classes, or even required standing desks. But childhood obesity rates are still about three times higher than they were in 1980. Now schools are adding another tool to the fight for fitter kids: Architecture.

A 1950s-era elementary school in rural Buckingham, Virginia was redesigned to help kids lose weight. The architects worked directly with public health researchers to change a long list of details based on current research, from designing a kitchen with dedicated storage space for local, seasonal fruit, to placing healthy meals at kids’-eye level in the checkout line. In a teaching kitchen, third-graders can learn to make healthy meals from the foods they grow in the school garden.

“We all know statistics about the childhood obesity epidemic, and we all know that despite our best efforts working very intensely at the individual level—or even at the population level—we haven’t made as much of an inroad as we really want to,” says Matt Trowbridge, an associate professor at the University of Virginia, who helped create the design guidelines.

The design of a school itself might matter as much as something like a gym class. “The environments in which we live affect not just our behaviors, but our lifelong attitudes about things like healthy eating and active lifestyles,” he says. “It’s also clear that it’s so much better to help prevent children from becoming obese than to try to help adults lose weight. So that makes school environments incredibly important.”

Combing through all of the available studies on school design and healthy eating, they came up with a list of dozens of design strategies architects can use. At the Virginia elementary school, one of the keys was making the commercial kitchen visible from the dining room, so students could watch as their lunch is made. Nearby, the teaching kitchen gives them a kid-safe way to learn how to make their own food, and a food lab was designed for food-related science experiments.

Some of the design guidelines are more subtle, like placing salad bars near checkout stations, or deliberately adding space in a kitchen for preparing fresh food (and eliminating deep fryers). Beyond the healthy eating interventions, the school was also designed to keep kids more active, with features like inviting stairways, walking paths, and furniture that flexes as students sit, so they aren’t completely still.

Since the school was built in 2013, the architects have continued to use the healthy eating design guidelines in other school projects. The guidelines are also free for other designers to use. A redesign can have a major impact; Sorensen points out that most school buildings are at least 50 years old, with “kitchens and cafeterias that have hardly been touched since the idea of school lunch came about in the 1930s.”

“We can’t just change what’s on the menu and expect to see the changes we hope to find in children,” Sorensen says. The key, she says, is for architects to work with multi-disciplinary teams, since a single group or solution on its own likely can’t make enough of a change in health.

The school gardens also offer community space for growing food, so whole families can start eating healthier. “We are dealing with entire communities, rural-to-urban, that are struggling with healthy food access and food deserts,” says Dina Sorensen, project designer from VMDO, the architecture firm that redesigned the elementary school. “How can those communities impart the value and importance of healthy food at school in the context of their own need to re-build healthy food infrastructure?” The Buckingham project, she says, shows a school truly becoming a community asset and a teaching tool.

Since the school was built in 2013, the architects have continued to use the healthy eating design guidelines in other school projects. The guidelines are also free for other designers to use. A redesign can have a major impact; Sorensen points out that most school buildings are at least 50 years old, with “kitchens and cafeterias that have hardly been touched since the idea of school lunch came about in the 1930s.”

“We can’t just change what’s on the menu and expect to see the changes we hope to find in children,” Sorensen says. The key, she says, is for architects to work with multi-disciplinary teams, since a single group or solution on its own likely can’t make enough of a change in health.

It’s an idea that’s quickly spreading. The American Institute of Architects now has a “design and health” leadership group with a team of experts from a range of fields. And similar collaborations are starting to happen for other social issues.

“Architects are expert at designing buildings, not studying people and their behaviors or the impact architecture has on a whole spectrum of human and ecological systems,” says Sorensen. “But we can collaborate and cross-pollinate with those who do, and marvel at the results of a new architecture for the sustainable future.” –

Candidate has experience in the architectural profession than spans more than 10 years, encompassing healthcare, hospitality, and hi-tech/R&D projects. Broad range of responsibilities that include but are not limited to client/design review, board presentations, city and planning department submittals, and medical planning to construction administration. Licensed architect in California. LEED AP. Base salary at $90K.

For more information on this candidate, please contact Frank Rivelli at frivelli@gcaintl.com, or 978-582-3256 ext. 23.

We at GCA International would like to wish all of our families and friends, clients and colleagues a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day. For many this week officially marks the start of the holiday season, which traditionally marks a period of increased challenges for those firms looking to hire top-talent professionals, especially in the engineering and architecture industries. Even some job seekers tend to slow down their search this time of year, caught up what can be the hectic hustle and bustle of the holidays. Firms that take a proactive approach to actively recruit new hires early on in the holiday season always benefit in the new year.

Enjoy Turkey Day, everyone! Best wishes from all of us here at GCA International!

With Thanksgiving this Thursday, many people have their minds on turkey, travels, family and football. A short workweek leading up to a big holiday can mean a slowdown in workflow. What can be done about this? First, you don’t have to crack the whip on employees excited for festive free time; in fact, that kind of excitement can have a positive impact on the workplace. Rather, firms and managers can offer seasonal incentives during short work weeks such as this one. Set up a points system based on certain objectives for employees to make the workweek not only an exciting short-stretch to time off, but also a fun competition where coworkers can compete in a friendly way. Offer prizes such as a frozen turkey or a holiday ham, tickets to a holiday concert or performance, simple ski passes to local resorts, or even something as simple as scented seasonal candles. Be creative. Ask for employee feedback. Even if such an incentive is set up a day before the break, it can mean a big difference in employee focus, morale, and output.

Could be the next vending machine at GCA.  Check it out at YouTube.