Time for Change: Repositioning Architects and the AIA

16 Apr

The economy has been rough.  Tensions have built between architects, owners, contractors, consultants, etc. Much of the public has limited understanding of what we do, and the architecture profession is going through some turmoil right now. There are even segments of our industry that feel that architects aren’t needed. Many architects and building professionals are ready for something to change and are looking for an avenue to make that happen.


The AIA has announced a year-long initiative titled “Repositioning the Institute” aimed at discovering how to truly move the architecture profession forward. Many people believe that the public definition of the architect and the profession is outdated and inadequate, and Jeff Potter, FAIA, puts it rather beautifully:  “The public thinks design is a noun – we know design is a verb.”

The initiative will be aimed at figuring out what the definition of the profession encompasses, what we should be saying to people, and who we should be saying these things to. Robert Ivy, the CEO of the AIA, has pointed out that “we find ourselves inhabiting our predecessors’ vision of the AIA. This year, we are inaugurating a program that will change that perception dramatically.” The AIA will work hard “over the next 12 months, [to] explore the perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, needs, and value of ‘the Architect’.”

Check out the announcement (PLEASE read it!): http://info.aia.org/aiarchitect/

Additionally, they need our help to inform the discussion. There has been a great online discussion forum started on the AIA KnowledgeNet, and I encourage EVERYONE to go on occasionally and check it out.  Additionally, the AIA (as you’ll read in the link above) is getting ready to send out a survey to get initial input.  When it comes out, follow the Nike slogan…DO IT!

This may sound like a cheesy plea, but PLEASE get involved with this.  I am frustrated with certain aspects of our profession, and I know you are too. However, I am really excited to see how we can move forward…and to see where we’re going.


They are looking for all people to help with this…AIA members, associate members, non-members, students, interns, etc. If you would like periodic updates on this because you don’t have access through the AIA, feel free to contact me (ryan@toastingdesign.com) and I will be happy to send you articles I see, discussions I read, or surveys I can forward.  Additionally, I will do my best to add updates on our blog for you to follow and links in which you can participate.

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