November 17, 2006
Letters to the Editor

Summary: This week, some members expressed support for Al Gore speaking at the AIA national convention, to be held in San Antonio, May 3–5. Here’s what they said (minus a personal remark or two).

I just finished reading a number of negative Letters to the Editor of AIArchitect regarding the decision to invite Al Gore as one of the keynote speakers at the San Antonio Convention.

I just wanted each of you to know that I think it is fabulous that Al Gore is speaking, his message will be so appropriate and so valuable to the membership, as AIA takes a leading role in sustainability and the very serious environmental issues.

I am so looking forward to hearing his message, as is my wife, Linda, who usually goes sightseeing all during the convention. Linda will definitely be in the audience to hear Gore’s message. I am confident that many, many members and their spouses will attend the convention specifically to hear Al Gore. It was a great decision to invite him.

I can only imagine what a different position our country would be in today, both at home and around the world, if Al Gore had rightfully become president. Oh well.

See y’all in San Antonio !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS: The new format for AIArchitect is GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

—Doug Ashe, AIA
Richard Upjohn Fellow
ABW Architects
Alexandria, La

I agree with the choice of Al Gore to speak at the convention. He has dedicated his life to service and especially to causes that uplift and assist people. He championed the information highway and invented the politics of competency. The attacks on Gore in your letters are the kind of ad hominem irrationality that we need to move beyond.

—Ethan Anthony, AIA

I am just hoping to balance the negative comments you have received regarding Al Gore. Why can’t the AIA present a provocative speaker, it does not imply official endorsement of their views. Maybe that point should be made clear. Truthfully, I would much rather hear someone interesting and intelligent rather than some football coach, CEO, or management consultant talk about the latest motivational tools or “seven quick steps to working with Generation Z,” with a wink and a nod to their book on sale in the lobby. What do they have to do with architecture or the environment? Are we strong enough to professionally and respectfully discuss controversial ideas or should we just stick our head in the sand? Individuals who cannot even listen to an opposing viewpoint on the off chance that they might learn something contrary to their preconceived ideas aren’t good representatives of the architecture profession as exceptional problem-solvers anyway.

—David Altenhofen, AIA
Hillier Architecture, Philadelphia

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