Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Speaking of Architecture - AIA Grassroots

Special Guest blog by Michael Metzger, President of AIA EPA
Each year the AIA holds its Grassroots conference in Washington, DC.  This event provides us with an opportunity to speak with our representatives on Capitol Hill regarding the future of our profession.  This year, much of the discussion centered around the AIA’s “Repositioning” efforts, which will be the focus of the organization in the next few years.  Marketing strategists LaPlaca Cohen  and Pentagram presented their findings in a presentation that took a brutally honest look at the Institute and its operation.  By collecting over 31,000 points of information, the strategy team offered suggestions and a direction to move the AIA forward.  The presentation concluded in a pointed 100-second video.
The presentation and final video was very well received by all members present, addressing many of the concerns with the current state of the Institute.  We heard that we must take care to change the dialogue from one of “I” to one of “we,” both as an organization and as architects.  Simply put, as an Institute we are our members; each member has a voice and a responsibility to share our message.  The perception of the AIA being a private, members-only club must change. We must communicate our message more clearly, open our doors, and embrace the public.  As architects, we can no longer be the Howard Roarkian “great figure,” but must instead be team members working with clients to create projects with enduring value.  Whether those final products be brick-and-mortar or ideological, the architect’s role remains an important one. 

This is an exciting time within the AIA, one with the promise of change.  The future of the AIA will be defined not strictly by leadership, but by its members alongside the public.       

More about the AIA:

The AIA is a visionary member organization providing advocacy, leadership, and resources for architects to design a better world.  Based in Washington, DC, the AIA has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857. With nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA serves as the voice of the architecture profession and the resource for our members in service to society. 

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