Los Angeles

Watts Are You Doing?

This summer marks the third anniversary of the Watts House Project (WHP), a collaborative neighborhood redevelopment scheme across the street from Simon Rodia’s iconic Watts Towers in Los Angeles. To date, four properties have been renovated through a joint effort by local artists, families, and landscape designers led by four city firms: Hughes Umbanhowar Architects, Escher GuneWardena Architecture, SW-SH Architecture, and Stephen Slaughter, AIA. Founded by artist Rick Lowe, and in the spirit of his earlier Project Row Houses (a wildly successful Houston initiative that has transformed 40 properties since 1993), WHP hopes to keep “neighbors” at the center of neighborhood revitalization.

Learn more at wattshouseproject.org

Dunmore, Pa.HomecomingFew know that Jane Jacobs, the indefatigable New Yorker (Greenwich Villager, please) and Torontonian was actually born in Pennsylvania. AIA Northeastern Pennsylvania hopes to change that. This past April, its members unveiled a plaque honoring Jacobs—activist, urbane critic, and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities—in front of her childhood home at 1712 Monroe Avenue in Dunmore. Like her contemporary Andrew Warhola, Jr. (Andy Warhol, please; New York-via-Pittsburgh), she left Pennsylvania at an early age and never looked back. Now, at least, we can look back—in the form of a bronze plaque eight blocks from her birthplace in neighboring Scranton.Learn more at aianepa.org.

Blacksburg, VA.

The Envelope, Please

Designing Practice, a soup-to-nuts course offered at Virginia Tech on professional practice, took home the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards $25,000 grand prize this year. Taught by Keith Zawistowski, Assoc. AIA, and Marie Zawistowski, principals at OnSite Architecture, the curriculum included risk management, licensure, and ethics. Through lectures by area architects, firm visits, and research, the Zawistowskis (the School of Architecture+Design’s first professors of practice) helped make the academy-to-practice transition not just clearer, but more palatable. Since 2001, NCARB has awarded $555,000 to NAAB-accredited programs that explore the practice/academy relationship.

Learn more at ncarb.org.

New Orleans

Virtual Reality

Missed a session at the 2011 AIA National Convention in New Orleans? Virtual Convention is now open on your computer, iPad, or mobile device—and has more than 20 recorded sessions that are free (or priced for continuing education credits). Twenty-five courses from the Miami and San Francisco conventions are also available to view.

Learn more at aia.org/virtualconvention.