May 11, 2007
Gore to AIA: Architects Needed More Than Ever

Former Vice President of the United States the Honorable Al Gore took center stage at the AIA National Convention May 5 in San Antonio with a message for architects everywhere. “You have the greatest opportunity in the history of your profession,” he said, to address “moral imperatives disguised as problems.” He filled the next 50 minutes defining a global crisis and yet assuring the assembly to take heart, because, as problem solvers and leaders in society, “now is your moment.”

Malecha Elected 2009 President
Arsenault, Manus Elected 2008 VPs; Munger will serve as treasurer
Delegates to the AIA National Convention in San Antonio May 4 elected Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, to serve as the 2008 AIA first vice president/president-elect and 2009 Institute president. Peter J. Arsenault, AIA, and Clark Manus, FAIA, were elected to a two-year vice presidential term beginning in December 2007. Hal P. Munger, FAIA, who ran unopposed, was declared the AIA’s 2006–2007 treasurer.

Delegates Vote to Expand the Scope of AIA Membership Categories
Resolution passes for a coalition in support of sustainable practices
After an introduction on the morning of May 5 to the newly elected officers of the AIA—2009 President Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA; Vice Presidents Peter J. Arsenault, AIA, and Clark Manus, FAIA; and Treasurer Hal P. Munger, FAIA—the delegates to the AIA National Convention in San Antonio voted affirmatively on three Bylaws Amendments and a Resolution advocating professional collaboration as the path to a sustainable future for society.

Stewart Issues Call to Action for 2030 Carbon Emissions Targets
Provision to reduce the carbon footprint of federal buildings

AIA President RK Stewart, FAIA, issued a call to action from the AIA national convention floor May 4 for AIA members to contact their U.S. senators to support legislation that would reduce the amount of energy used in new and significantly renovated federal buildings. The measure would require an immediate 50 percent reduction, with further reductions every five years until all new and renovated federal buildings are carbon neutral by 2030.

Green is the Word: AIA Kicks off National Convention

AIA Executive Vice President/CEO Chris McEntee and President RK Stewart, FAIA, welcomed a crowd of 2,700 to the kickoff session of the “greenest AIA convention ever” in San Antonio on May 3. The presence of 21 former AIA presidents served as a living reminder that—as the architects explore “Growing Beyond Green” and prepare for a sustainable future—they also are celebrating a rich history during this, the Institute’s 150th anniversary. San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger welcomed attendees to the seventh-largest U.S. city, and Stewart set the tone for the rest of the convention: “How we respond will not only speak to the sustainability of our profession, it will speak loudly to the sustainability of the planet itself.”

Keynoter David Suzuki Issues “The Nature Challenge”
Norbert W. Young Jr., FAIA, former American Architectural Foundation Board of Regents chair and current McGraw-Hill Construction president, drew the privilege of introducing Thursday’s keynote speaker. “Dr. David Suzuki has inspired millions to recognize the importance of the natural world,” he said. He quoted Suzuki: “Nature is our home. And just as we take care of our house, we also must take care of nature. But nature takes care of us, too. Nature cleans our air and water, makes the soil that grows our food and provides the resources to make all our material goods. Unfortunately, with six billion of us now living under one roof, we are gradually eroding the services nature provides—even though we depend on them for our quality of life and our future.”

Awards Presentations Inaugurate Friday’s Theme Session
Friday’s session began with a number of prestigious awards:

  • R. Randall Vosbeck, FAIA, received the Edward C. Kemper Award for significant contribution to the profession through service to the AIA
  • The National Organization of Minority Architects received the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award for the contributions of an architect or organization that exemplifies the profession’s responsibility to be a role model of and an engaged advocate for a more just and inclusive society
  • Jay Lance Brown, FAIA, received the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education, which recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to architecture education for at least 10 years.

This session also offered posthumous tribute to this year’s Gold Medal recipient, Edward Larrabee Barnes, as well as an update from the American Architectural Foundation.

Panel Offers Living Systems Approach to Design
“The current scale and the types of human activity are producing impacts that are exceeding biological production and assimilative capabilities of the planet,” declared moderator Ray Cole, professor and director of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. “We are harming the planet’s ability to sustain life.” Cole served as moderator for the Friday theme session panel of South African architect Chrisna du Plessis and American architect William Reed, AIA. Cole set the panel agenda to address how human and natural systems can co-evolve in a positive and enriching manner—as well as the new realities–new expectations, new requirements, and new responsibilities—that architects face.

Convention Closes with Presidential Medals and Heartfelt Thanks
Plus, some execs get the boot(s)

Opening the grand finale session of the convention on Saturday afternoon, AIA President RK Stewart, FAIA, introduced the standing-room-only audience to former Vice President of the United States the Honorable Albert Gore. “I anticipate that before we leave this hall, we will be inspired to redouble our efforts to work for a better future for our children and their children,” Stewart said.

AIA College of Fellows Inducts 2007 Class

At a ceremony that captured the beauty of the shrine of the Alamo, the AIA College of Fellows inducted 76 U.S. architects and nine foreign designers into its ranks. During a ritual brimming with optimism and confidence about the future of the profession, AIA President RK Stewart, FAIA, and College of Fellows Chancellor Frank Lucas, FAIA, challenged the recipients of the AIA’s highest individual membership honor to ensure that design excellence and environmental sensibility are passed to succeeding generations.

Fiesta! San Antonio
From the big green eagle to the longhorn steer, Host Chapter Party is all Texas and AIA warm welcome

More than 2,000 AIA convention-goers celebrated Friday evening, May 4, at the AIA San Antonio Host Chapter Party at the La Villita Historic Arts Village on the River Walk. Architects and guests enjoyed Texas-style food, music, and dancing at the lively event, capped by a breathtaking fireworks display in honor of the AIA150 anniversary.

Members Connect with Federal Agencies at Expo2007
Spending more than $3 billion a year on design and construction services, the U.S. government is a dependable, rewarding, and challenging client that firms large and small can tap for design work. The Federal Agency Connection (FAC) at the AIA 2007 National Convention and Design Exposition in San Antonio offered one-on-one information sessions and other seminars on federal procurement. During one education session, Suman Sorg, FAIA, and Larry Speck, FAIA, offered architects their experience in federal procurement with the U.S. General Services Administration and State Department. Both speakers stressed that firm size and scope need not be impediments to securing government commissions.

AIA 150 Champions Recognized
George Miller, FAIA, chair of AIA 150 Oversight Committee, and Tony Costello, FAIA, chair of the Blueprint for America Committee, on May 5 at the AIA National Convention, honored the AIA150 Champions who have volunteered their time and $9.2 million in financial support to work with local officials and citizens to support AIA 150 initiatives.

The Economy • Small Business • Energy

The Economy: Improvement is ever-so gradual.
Small Business: SBA 7(a) loans are coming back.
Energy: Oil woes will bolster alternative-energy investment.

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Welcome to the News Zone
This is where you will find the latest happenings in the Institute, the profession, and the wider world of building design and construction. The News Zone also carries commentary from AIA elected representatives as well as major new commissions, completions, and openings.