• Architecture Billings Index rebounds, but still negative. The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) rebounded almost three points in June, after dropping two points the previous month. However, this is the fifth straight month that the index has remained below 50, indicating that billings are not increasing.
• $200,000 prize to Korean architect Kyu Sung Woo. Architect Kyu Sung Woo has been awarded $200,000 as the winner of the 2008 Ho-Am Prize in the Arts, which recognizes Koreans who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of culture and the arts through their creative efforts. He is the first architect to receive this award, which is often considered to be the Korean equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Woo has completed projects in the U.S., including the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kan.
• A/E firms' profits drop amid slowing economy. After record highs last year, ZweigWhite's 2008 Financial Performance Survey of Architecture, Engineering, Planning & Environmental Consulting Firms shows that profits among architecture and engineering firms have decreased. Median pre-tax, pre-bonus profit margin on net service revenue fell from 14% last year to 11.1% this year, ending a three-year increase.
• Stadiums' true benefit to communities questioned. Sports stadium promoters may tout the economic benefits a stadium can bring to a city, but there's plenty of data indicating that publicly financed stadiums are a waste of taxpayer money. Much of the employment created by the stadiums is low-wage concession work, and only a small part of the tax base truly benefits from a stadium, according to a Wall Street Journal report. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB121625362443460331
• LEED green building rating system picks outside certifiers. Third-party certification bodies for the LEED 2009 Green Building Rating System have been named by the USGBC: ABS Quality Evaluations, BSI Management Systems America, Bureau Veritas North America, DNV Certification, Intertek, KEMA-Registered Quality, Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance, NSF-International Strategis Registrar, and Underwriters Laboratories-DQS. The updated technical rating system will debut next year as LEED 2009.