The Indicator: AIA2012 and the Pastoral Ideal

Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865, oil on canvas, via Wikipedia

In the haze of Los Angeles it was impossible to feel the sunshine of optimism that emanated from the 2012 Convention in Washington DC.

I should have been there because, as you have probably noticed, I could use a dose of that sunshine. I have not been able to conjure any feelings of optimism since 2008.

It’s not that I am morally or ethically opposed to optimism. I just require valid evidence for having it. Perhaps I am simply one of those unhappy individuals who tend to view optimism with suspicion. In the face of real problems, mere optimism somehow seems too simplistic.

Video: Gehry Residence, 2012 AIA Twenty-five Year Award Recipient

The AIA sat down with famed architect Frank Gehry - recipient of the 2012 Twenty-five Year Award - to discuss his eccentric home that has enormously influenced both theory and practice over the last 25 to 35 years. In the late 1970s, Frank Gehry transformed an existing Dutch colonial home in a quiet Southern neighborhood into a controversial symbol of deconstructivism by surrounding it with an unconventional new addition. As the AIA describes, “The exposed structure, chaotic fusion of disparate materials, and aggressive juxtaposition of old and new communicate a sense of real-time formal evolution and conflict, as if the building were dynamically, violently creating itself with found objects.”

Towards the end of the video, Gehry advises students to “learn to be yourself and be curious about what is going on around you and respond to it.”

Learn more about the Gehry Residence here on ArchDaily!

via AIA National

AIA 2012: Architects of Healing

Architects of Healing ©

After three days of inspirational keynote sessions, informative seminars, exclusive tours, invaluable networking opportunities and an impressive expo, the American Institute of Architects concluded the with a special tribute to the architects responsible for the post-9/11 memorials and rebuilding efforts. These “Architects of Healing” tirelessly worked together to transform the darkness of grief brought on by the 9/11 attacks into the triumph of hope in the wounded areas of Shanksville, Pennsylvania; the Pentagon; and the World Trade Center site. 

AIA2012: An Optimistic Future

HUD Secretary © ArchDaily

President Jeff Potter welcomed everyone this morning by restating his promise that the 2012 convention would inspire all who attend. With a consistent theme focusing on the architects commitment to service, President Potter welcomed Shaun Donovan – the 15th United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – as today’s keynote speaker. However, before Secretary Donovan took the stage, the 2012 Vice President and 2013 President-elect Mickey Jacob invited the crowd to come, stay and explore the mile-high city of Denver for the 2013 National Convention.

AIA 2012: Opening Discussions

© ArchDaily

Thousands of architects crammed into the grand ballroom of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this morning to kick-off the 2012 National Convention hosted by the American Institute of Architects. Invigorating speeches, led by President Jeff Potter, urged architects to re-envision the profession and question the role of today’s architect. Although the economic downturn has caused many hardships, it presents a unique opportunity for architects to reshape the profession.

Infographic: The AIA History

Today,  over 17,000 architects and designers, contractors and project managers, magazines and bloggers (including us) will converge on the Capital for the American Institute of Architects’ () 144th National Convention, Design ConnectsSo let’s take a moment to reflect on this Association’s long history, intertwined with our nation’s history, and look at how it’s evolved to become both a vital resource for working/emerging architects and the voice of the architecture profession today.

Looking Back, Moving Forward: What the 2012 National Convention says about Architecture Today

© Megan Jett

According to its Web Site, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) aims to be two things for the architecture profession: a resource and a voice.

There’s no doubt that as a resource, the AIA plays its part well. But what does it mean to be a “voice”? Can an association speak for a profession? And, if so, what is it saying?

Today, over 17,000 architects and designers, contractors and project managers, magazines and bloggers (including us) will converge on the Capital for the AIA’s 144th National Convention, Design Connects. Over the course of three days, connections will be made, conversations had, and three keynote speakers present.

If the AIA represents how we conceptualize and communicate architecture, then let’s take a closer look at those speakers who will be its living mouthpieces: a famed historian, a member of the Obama administration, and the architects who participated in the 9/11 Memorials. The past, the present, the future. Taken together, they tell a story – of where we’ve been, yes, but, more importantly, where we’re going.

AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition

Via

One week from today, ArchDaily will be joining you at the AIA 2012 National Convention! Knowledge, inspiration and connection are the three primary reasons architects are attending this year’s convention. In just three days (May 17-19), you can fulfill your annual Learning Units with nearly 200 education sessions, gain insight on the latest products and technologies at the Design Expo, and expand your professional network with the opportunity of meeting thousands of architects from around the country. Also, with AIA DC as your host, you will have the opportunity to explore the highlights of our nation’s capitol with a number of exclusive tours.

Continue after the break to learn more!

AIA Oppose Effort to Repeal Energy Reduction Law for Federal Buildings

Last week, the American Institute of Architects () released a press release stating their opposition to a House proposal to eliminate Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. Basically, Section 433 is designed to free federal buildings from consuming fossil fuel-generated energy by 2030. Not surprisingly, the proposal is backed by the American Gas Association and the Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC), which includes members such as Chevron, Ameresco, Honeywell, and many more alike. However, as reported by Martin C. Pedersen on MetropolisMag.com, the surprising  fact is that some of the FPCC members are participating in the 2030 challenge and many are considered prominent in the field of energy efficiency.

Continue reading after the break for AIA EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy’s response.

Pro Bono Work in Exchange for Loan Relief?

Just as NPR reported yesterday that the Nation’s student loan debt has exceeded one trillion dollars, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Institute of Architecture Students () called for Congress to pass legislation that will allow architecture school graduates loan debt assistance through pro bono work. This news comes as both President Obama this past weekend and likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney yesterday urged Congress to head off a scheduled increase in student loan interest rates this July.

Continue reading for more.

AIA Selects the 2012 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

University of Minnesota Duluth – Bagley Classroom Building / © Paul Crosby

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions. Now in its 16th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is one of the profession’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence.

The highlighted projects are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They have made a positive contribution to their communities, improved comfort for building occupants and reduced environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

All the projects will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition, next month in Washington, D.C. Continue after the break to review the top ten green projects.

International Green Construction Code Announced with Widespread Support

Courtesy of International Green Construction Code

Late last month the AIA announced that it is in support of the International Green Construction Code (lgCC) which will be a guide and model that helps architects and builders design buildings that conserve energy and move to a sustainable design strategy. The is part of a long list of supporters which include ASHRAE, the US Green Building Council and the Illuminating Engineering Society. For architecture and engineering, this is a step in the right direction. This provides designers with a tool that makes responsible design less cryptic by offering solutions for energy saving strategies.

More on this after the break.

Celebrate National Architecture Week with the AIA

Via the American Institute of Architects

From April 8th through the 14th, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will be hosting National Architecture Week in an effort to increase public awareness on the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities and to elevate the public’s appreciation of design. With a theme of “Design Connects”, the AIA encourages you to join in an online national conversation. Continue reading to learn more on how you can participate.

The Multiplier Effect: How Design (and the Internet) Connects Us

Stop right there. Before I begin this post with a cliché dictionary definition, I direct you to what’s usually overlooked in these openings: the part of speech.

verb (used with object)

Without reading the definition, we know. Design is the act that connects the human being to the object outside him: the way in which intentions, thoughts, concepts take form.

On a basic level, design connects human beings through the shared experience of said object – be it functional or purely aesthetic. But it’s not just the object which connects us – it’s the idea that inspired it. On another level, and perhaps at its purest, design connects by inaugurating us into a collaborative spirit of innovation.

The AIA’s latest Design Conference, Design Connects, has invited bloggers to reflect how design connects us in a way that will build a better future. We at ArchDaily, biased as we may be, think we have the answer (it’s in the invitation): the Bloggers.

To read how design and the Internet connect us to thousands of elementary school kids, the sci-fi dsytopias of a NASA scientist, and a poverty-defying advocate looking to change the world  - all in 24 hours – keep reading after the break.  

David Assael and David Basulto, founders of ArchDaily, at Postopolis in Los Angeles, California © Courtesy of the Storefront Gallery

AIA and Architecture for Humanity launches Disaster Plan Grant Program

Helping Haiti © NY Daily News

With the realization that disasters are an unavoidable reality, Architecture for Humanity and the American Institute of Architects () have launched ArchitectsRebuild.org in an effort to eliminate “that first awkward and uncoordinated period when people, eager to put their talents into response and recovery, can’t find the means.”

As we announced last month, the two organizations formed a strategic partnership to better coordinate advocacy, education and training that will allow architects to become more involved in helping communities prepare, respond and rebuild after a disaster, known as the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Program. As promised, they have now completed the first task on their agenda, establishing a Disaster Plan Grant Program. Continue reading to learn more.

Young Architects Forum Summit20

Courtesy of

Coming up in March, the AIA Grassroots Conference will be featuring the Young Architects Forum (YAF), a knowledge community of AIA composed of architects licensed less than 10 years, who will be holding ‘Summit20′ at the District Architecture Center in Washington, D.C. during the conference on March 6-7. This is to commemorate YAF’s 20 year anniversary and to identify the top ten issues affecting young architects today. They will also be discussing immediate and long term action plans that AIA-YAF can take addressing the specific needs of young architects. The two day summit with panel discussions and open dialogue among approximately 50 young architect leaders from the nation will conclude with an outcomes presentation at the conference. For more information, please visit here.

AIA Seattle: Tour of Architects

BC & J Architecture © Martin Bydalek

The upcoming Tour of Architects in the Puget Sound region of Washington State sponsored by AIA Seattle will take place from March 17-25. Four separate tours will take place over the two weekends, with architects on site to meet with tour guests in addition to conducting tours. The projects featured on the tour are primarily residential, encompassing a wide variety of styles ranging from modern, universally design urban lofts, to remodeled min-century ramblers. Some of the other typologies featured include a memorial project dedicated to the memory of Japanese Americans interned during WWII, an equestrian facility and an award winning Fire Station.

The tickets are priced at $20 per tour, $35 for a weekend pass, and $50 for both weekends.Visit the official site for more information here. See more photos of some of the featured projects after the break.

The AIA announces new Partnership to further Disaster Relief and Rebuilding Efforts

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and have announced their new strategic partnership to coordinate advocacy, education and training that will allow architects to become more involved in helping communities prepare, respond and rebuild after a disaster. The new partnership will build upon the well-established, volunteer-led disaster response programs of each organization, allowing for more resources, programs and education to reach out to a larger group of members, professionals and the public.

“Too many communities struggle after a disaster with issues related to the ongoing safety and viability of their built environment,” said Robert Ivy, FAIA, EVP/Chief Executive Officer of the AIA. “This partnership with Architecture for Humanity will help architects everywhere acquire the tools, training, and leadership skill to make meaningful contributions when their community needs them most.”

“We are excited to work with the AIA and its members to help communities rebuild lives and livelihoods,” said Kate Stohr, Co-Founder of Architecture for Humanity. “Architects are needed most when disaster strikes. Too often disaster response fails to fully address the long-term reconstruction needs of communities. By training architects to work with communities, we can help speed the transition from emergency response to long-term recovery.”

First on the agenda for the new partnership will be the development of a grant program that will be offered to local components and chapters. The grants will help fund members to work with local government agencies on planning, training and other critical initiatives that will better prepare communities for disasters.

Reference: AIA, Architecture for Humanity