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  Repositioning Architects and the AIA
This comprehensive initiative is your best chance to share insights and opinions that will keep the profession relevant in the 21st century. Look for a survey coming your way next week!


  Communicating Our Purpose
by Jeff Potter, FAIA

     Our profession’s history of acceptance in the public eye has relied predominantly on our product, and rarely on our proposition. However, I believe the AIA has the obligation to speak for practice, for the architect.
     As economics, technology, and the environment have changed, would you not agree that the public’s understanding of us has become outdated and inadequate? The public may see us as form-givers, but they don’t know how we do it or even what “it” means. Many of you have heard me use the phrase, “The public thinks design is a noun - we know design is a verb.”
     I believe now is the time to examine, as a 155 year-old professional organization, WHAT should we be saying, and WHO should we be saying it to?
     Definitively answering those questions is the goal of a year-long repositioning initiative we are announcing today. The initiative developed out of a broad consensus among members that architects are at a threshold that demands increased awareness of our place in society and a new way to present ourselves to the world.
     Over the next 12 months, we’ll explore the perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, needs, and value of “the Architect,” and we need your input to inform the discussion. In fact, we’ve already created an AIA KnowledgeNet discussion forum about this initiative so you can share your thoughts. You can read about the “how” of this endeavor in the adjacent column by AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA.
     If we do this right, the public will better understand our abilities as we move away from the building skin – that we can deliver more productive environments to commerce and health and that design thinking is valuable and our society will benefit from it.
     Architecture in transformation needs a coherent, consistent voice if it is to remain relevant, not just in the future, but now. I invite you to join this important journey to embrace our 21st century purpose.

The Process of Purpose
by Robert Ivy, FAIA

     Hardly a day passes without someone asking me, “What are we doing to share the value of architects and architecture?” In 2012, the AIA is taking a major step toward realizing that goal. And you can be a part of our progress.
     Despite entering a new century, for decades we have presented ourselves much like previous generations of architects. Consequently, we find ourselves inhabiting our predecessors’ vision of the AIA. This year, we are inaugurating a program that will change that perception dramatically.
     Our initiative, called “Repositioning the Institute,” will begin with discussions at the individual AIA component level and filter through the organization to AIA National. To help us on this journey, we have employed two pre-eminent companies, the international design and branding powerhouse Pentagram and LaPlaca Cohen, a strategic marketing firm employed by major cultural organizations. They have already begun to collect information. The project will unfold in five phases. The first phase is research, which began at Grassroots. Our initial findings will be shared with you at the AIA Convention.
     More than a branding exercise, this effort will let us emerge in 2013 with a clearer perception of who we are as a profession--and as a professional organization. The goal will be a greatly enhanced communication platform, clarifying what architects do, and thus building understanding and appreciation of our vital roles. Ultimately, this initiative will help us to hear each other better, talk more effectively with each other across generations, and finally, communicate with our collaborators and with the public audiences we serve.
     To help us, you will receive a survey soon that is being sent to the entire membership. Help us share the value of architecture for a world that wants to know.





Mark Cavagnero, FAIA: Growing Big Ideas

Patience and deep community involvement are how architects make sure clients’ questions, concerns and anxieties eventually turn into architecture.

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Commercial Buildings Earn Top Praise from AIA Kansas City

AIA Kansas City’s most recent design awards show off the deep diversity of commercial architecture: an adaptively re-used bank, a hybrid academic/commercial office space, a historic building housing a plumbing supplier, and more.

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What’s “Fair Use” in the Copyright World?

Do you know your basic rights and obligations under copyright law?

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Candidates for AIA National Office Address Emerging Professionals’ Questions

AIA leaders running for three elective offices answered questions about the evolving and vital role of emerging professionals in architecture and the future of the profession.

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Andre Kikoski Architect, PLLC; The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum

2012 recipient of an AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture.

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April 2012
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Mar./Apr. 2012
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2011 special issues:

2012 Awards Special (Dec. 9)  |  Emerging Professionals (Nov. 18)  |  Frank Lloyd Wright (Sept. 23)  |  AIA 2011 National Convention (May 13)

Most viewed content from the last issue:

Another Month of Revenue Growth at Architecture Firms

Glass is Signature Material of Boston Society of Architects 2011 Design Awards

IgCC: A New Baseline for Green Design


The Architects of Healing: Helping Show a Way Forward

A special convention ceremony on May 19 will honor the designers that rebuilt Ground Zero, the Pentagon, the United 93 crash site in Pennsylvania, and the nation’s confidence in the wake of 9/11.

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Go to the 2012 AIA Convention Website >

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News and Resources
Career Center | Featured Jobs |
Navigating the Economy
RFP: Connecticut State Capitol
RFQ: Alameda County, Calif., Architecture and Engineering Services
Competition: The Nathaniel A. Owings Award
Competition: New Delhi Horizontal Farm



Advocacy: Following in the Footsteps of Thomas Jefferson—Two Citizen Architects Run for Congress
AIA KnowledgeNet: What a Comedian Can Teach an Architect, Audiocasts of Modern American Innovators, Share Your Stories: Transitioning to BIM
AIA Contract Documents Release Date Pushed Back
DOE Building Energy Consumption Survey Back on Track After Decade of Delay
From the Center for Integrated Practice: Survey Reveals Design Quality Increases with Collaborative Delivery Methods
Design Connects to Diversity: Check Out these Diversity Events at the 2012 AIA Convention in May
AIA Dallas Latinos in Architecture Selected as Recipient of Diversity Recognition Program
Seven Declare Candidacy for AIA Elected Offices

Institute for Market Transformation: Building Energy Monitoring and Rating Creates Jobs
Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA, Comes to National Building Museum for May 1 Spotlight on Design Lecture

USA Today:
America’s romance with sprawl may be over
Washington Post:
Finalists emerge in competition to redesign neglected sites on the National Mall
Wall Street Journal:
Baghdad: The Land of Broken Promises

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