Dear Members, Partners and Friends,
We are feeling a lot of good energy and possibility around 2023 from our southwestern Pennsylvania members, and as an organization with new leadership at the National level. We want to share with you AIA Pittsburgh’s highlights from 2022, which has set the stage for our planning of 2023 and beyond.
The year started with continuing COVID concerns, causing event disruptions and a decision to extend our strategic plan one more year, rather than try to plan extensively in a time of uncertainty. 2023 will now be our year to take stock of the changes a pandemic has brought to the profession and the workplace, and to look forward with a new three-year plan.
Our major events – Build Pittsburgh and Design Pittsburgh – were held in-person. While attendance was not back to 2019 levels, nor were the number of design award submissions, there was a robust turnout for both, and a palpable sense of community. At the same time, Zoom fatigue and people’s heavy workloads was very much felt, in some ways making this the toughest of the three pandemic-related years.
That said, we continued to seek ways of building relationships and collaborating. We were quite successful with the introduction of Architecture Week (14 partners), the reintroduction of PechaKucha Night, the AIA-MBA Owners Roundtable, the AIA-GBA Mass Timber series, the AIA-ULI event, “Built by Women: How would women design cities differently?,” and support of the reception for the Daniel Libeskind presentation at CMU, among other events.
Internally, out biggest project was a much-needed website redesign. The new website went live in November and we will continue to add material and features in 2023. We now have an easy to find Calendar of Events, an easier to use job board, a better way to search decades of news and blog stories, and a super fun “Back in the Day” digital archive of COLUMNS magazine from 1987-2011. Each AIA Committee now has its own page, so check out what issues and topics are being worked on and take action on issues you care about – join a committee in 2023! You can follow the growth of the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation (PAF) on its new web page, and view PAF’s exciting new logo.
In order to have the Find An Architect function on the website work, we do need firms to fill out their areas of expertise so they are searchable. If you have not done this already, contact Brigid and she can help you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter highlights of 2022 include:
- AIA members: 596
- Allied Member: 38
We saw a 65 percent increase in Allied Members in 2022 – mainly due to proactive outreach and a more efficient way of managing these local memberships for allied professionals.
You asked for it: In an effort to respond to members’ stated interests from the 2022 member survey (design advocacy, equity in architecture and sustainability), we:
- Introduced Architecture Week, which garnered significant media attention.
- Chose Katie Swenson of MASS Design (Firm of the Year) as our Build Pittsburgh keynote speaker, held EDI-related sessions among the education offerings, and the EDI Community worked with an EDI consultant to develop presentations.
- Held a number of sustainability-related sessions at Build Pittsburgh and COTE held four seminars on Mass Timber in partnership with GBA.
- Advocacy Committee: Held monthly meetings with the Deputy Mayor and other senior officials; held quarterly meetings with the Department of Permits, Licensing and Inspections. Outcomes: reinstitution of Plan Reviews + feedback on new PLI features; Mayoral Proclamation + ceremony for Pittsburgh Architecture Week.
- AIA-MBA Joint Committee: Published three Best Practices Guide White Papers on Design Assist, Building Envelope, and “Pre-Con versus Free-Con: Expectations for Preconstruction Services in GMP Projects”; facilitated a popular Owner’s Roundtable in November focused on “Strategies to Manage Todays Supply Chain”.
- Blueprint for Better: Presented to Pitt Summer Architecture Camp and City officials.
- Committee on the Environment: Held four Mass Timber seminars with GBA; presented expertise to Deputy Mayor.
- Design + Research Committee: Conducted Joint Research Brainstorming and How-To Sessions at monthly meetings and presented a series of Research Presentations on industry developments.
- EDI Community: EDI Community members began work on firm outreach, introduced diversity conversations to firm leadership at the AIA PA Small Firm Exchange, and contracted an HR consultant to facilitate EDI conversations.
- Education Committee: Identified Build Pittsburgh education topic areas, selected presenters and keynote speaker, and helped craft course abstracts and descriptions.
- Healthcare Committee: Organized building tour of WVU Medicine Women and Children’s Hospital; supports three sub-committees: Knowledge, Emerging Professionals, Collaboration.
- YAF: YAF held 39 events, including YAFapalooza, ARE support, building tours, Young Architects Studio Competition, mentorship events and learning with PALM and the AIA Fellows, outreach and support to architecture students / AIAS.
After three years of reacting to many external forces, we ended the year with a concerted effort to look ahead, way ahead. The Board held a Strategic Foresight Workshop in December, exploring scenarios for the future of the architecture profession in 2035. The top two issues that surfaced were climate change and the impact of technology / AI on the field. These and other identified issues will feed into our planning for the years ahead so we not only deliver services on what is happening today, but also on preparing our members for tomorrow.
Looking forward to 2023,