Talk About It
A Report from AIA National Convention
Zaida Basora, FAIA and I had the privilege of representing the chapter at the AIA Convention in Atlanta last week.
There were many highpoints coming out of the convention. I could share with you details on Bill Clinton's keynote address, Moshe Safdie's Gold Medal acceptance speech, Ed Mazria's comments upon receipt of the Kemper Award, stories from the Fellows' Investiture Ceremony or AIA’s new #ilookup PR initiative released during convention – An Architects Story: Chris Downey; I will however share several governance and policy initiatives with you coming out of the Annual Business meeting:
- First, our very own Ms. Jennifer Workman, AIA was elected to represent the Institute as an At-Large Director. She will be serving on the national AIA Board of Directors for a three year term. We are very proud of Jennifer and offer her our chapter’s full support as she fulfills her term. This is a momentous occasion for our chapter as Jennifer will represent our chapter and the Texas region with great passion and diplomacy.
- Secondly, Resolution 15-1 – Equity in Architecture passed. This is a study to be undertaken by the institute to investigate what can be done to promote further diversity and gender parity amongst our membership, our firm leadership, and AIA (chapter, state and national) leadership. This is a call to action to have the face of the AIA look more like that of the general population. Coming from this study will be best-practice resources and a greater awareness for the value of celebrating the Institute’s diversity, be it race, age or gender.
- Thirdly, Resolution 15-2 – Graduated Membership Dues passed. This resolution directs the Board of Directors to further study a three year stepped dues waiver for existing AIA Associate members renewing as full AIA members upon licensure. The Board will spend the next year studying the impact and practicality of the stepped dues initiative and we should expect that some form of this resolution will be brought to a vote next year at the Philadelphia convention (2016). If it passes there, newly licensed members in 2017 will have some much-needed relief from full dues via a stepped dues phased-in program.
I am very proud of Jennifer’s elevation to At-Large Director and for the two resolutions passed during the business session. AIA continues to grow in stature, influence and diversity the next generation of AIA leaders step into their new roles it is critical that there is parity and equitability in the decisions we make as an organization, the initiatives we commit to and to the traditions we hold dear.
Here's what some of our members had to say about this year's convention:
Attending the national convention has become a can’t miss event for me. Reconnecting with terrific friends, being able to surround myself with like-minded individuals with similar goals, and getting exposed to evolving trends and technologies has become a great way to recharge my creative batteries.
— Bob Borson, AIA
While the opening keynote by our iconic 42nd president Bill Clinton was magnetic, our AIA National president's chat with him was even more interesting. She raised this question: When 60% of architecture school students are women, why there are only 30% practicing women architects? AIA leadership is definitely well represented by two women presidents back-to-back.
Several years ago, I was sitting in the audience of a TxA convention when AIA president Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, then a Young Architect Award winner, told her story of growing up in densely populated Hong Kong. She spoke of how she took 10 years off to be with her children and was able to return to the profession and flourish because she always stayed in touch with peers. She does not know this, but her talk on that day had an impact on my career.
— Mahbuba Khan, AIA
I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend my first AIA National Convention. This opportunity allowed me to connect with our peers and professionals all over the nation and world, and empowered us to get involved in the organization and work together to make a difference.
— Eduardo Castaneda, Assoc. AIA
I saw firsthand how important it was to not leave the annual business meeting early. A resolution regarding dues structure generated a lot of back and forth discussion and, after a vote, it was tabled for next year’s convention. At the end of the session a motion was made to bring the resolution back up for discussion. Though many people had left the meeting early, there was still a quorum and the resolution was voted on and passed.
— Jennifer Workman, AIA
As a sustainability guy, my favorite quote of the convention was gold medal recipient Moshe Safdie saying “Glass towers in the desert are no more meant to be than igloos in the tropics.” That statement fed right into Ed Mazria receiving the Kemper Award, as well as the Wizard Show program, where my co-presenter worded it this way “Not even the dumbest of the three little pigs built his house entirely out of glass.”
The fellows investiture was fantastic and I enjoyed being with my family and the other Dallas colleagues who were elevated this year. I especially enjoyed being escorted by fellow Aggies and awarded the medal by a fellow Texan, Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. The Ebenezer Baptist Church choir performance of “Oh Happy Day” during the processional was icing on the cake.
— Kirk Teske, AIA