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Dispatch from AIA Conference on Architecture 2018

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on August 3, 2018

Quintin Kittle, AIA, Emily Dritz, Michelle Fanzo, Mike Gwin, AIA, and Ken Doyno, AIA enjoying some downtime at A’18. in New York City.

This past June, architects from all over the world gathered in New York City for A’18, AIA’s Conference on Architecture.  Local members in attendance remarked that New York City was the perfect place to set the stage for this year’s theme: Blueprint for Better Cities.

AIA Pittsburgh President Mike Gwin, AIA had the unique experience this year in that he attended a lot of conversations with architects running for office at AIA National (see the winners here) and through those candidate conversations what became clear were several main themes and elevated priorities for the AIA:

  • Relevancy: How can architects be more relevant to society and how can we contribute to building more resilient cities and places.  How can architects’ work benefit the physical environment?
  • Diversity and Inclusion: This year marked the 50th anniversary of Whitney Young Jr.’s speech to the AIA calling on architects to be more engaged in Civil Rights and how architects can be a key role in shaping a better built environment for all.  Diversity and inclusion in both architects’ work product and the profession continues to be a top priority.  How can architects be making a positive change in their own cities?
  • Innovation: It will be critical for architects’ success to look at innovative practices of how to improve flexibility and create healthier workplaces for all employees.  This will help attract and retain greater and more diverse talent and contribute to firms’ success and longevity.  Building resiliency in the workplace will help architects better weather market trends.
  • Outreach: More engagement with schools of architecture which will build a stronger pipeline of leadership leading in turn to more diversity within the profession.  At the same time, more engagement with retiring members will provide an overarching engagement between the past and future.   Additionally, building on the momentum from Grassroots 2018, how can architects be part of upstream conversations on public policy and city planning to have the broadest impact.

The bottom line:  A Blueprint for better firms

“Architecture firms can and will succeed by contributing to the resiliency of the cities in which they practice and by providing flexibility to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”  – AIA Pittsburgh President Mike Gwin, AIA

As a parting message, Gwin emphasized the dynamic energy that can be accessed by attending AIA’s Conference on Architecture and encourages all members to attend in the future if they are able.  A’19 will be taking place in Las Vegas and you can apply to speak right here.

Photo by Michelle Fanzo

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