Architects Action Day 2019

Members advocate in Harrisburg

By AIA Pittsburgh Posted on June 14, 2019

Quintin Kittle, AIA of qkArchitecture (and AIA Pittsburgh Advocacy Committee Co-chair) and Rebecca Lowe, AIA of Desmone Architects in front of the PA State Capitol. AIA Pittsburgh members caravaned to Harrisburg to ADVOCATE for architecture, EDUCATE Pennsylvania state legislators and PARTICIPATE to make architects’ voices heard. 

On Tuesday, June 11th architects from across the state, led by AIA Pennsylvania, united in Harrisburg for Architects Action Day 2019.  AIA Pittsburgh members participated in this advocacy day where they met with senators and State Representatives from their respective districts to speak directly about issues critical to advancing the profession of architecture throughout the state.

40 AIA PA members and staff comprised 9 groups that advocated in Harrisburg for Architect’s Action Day. The groups held 60 scheduled meetings and dropped materials off to all 253 legislative offices. This advocacy work is important because it frames the issues for elected officials through the lens of our profession.  When hearing this perspective directly from their constituents, elected officials can make better-informed choices when voting for or against bills or measures.

This was the primary reason Prerana Paliwal, Assoc. AIA of Desmone Architects, applied for a grant from the AIA Pittsburgh Foundation to attend this year’s Architects Action Day.  “One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to go to Harrisburg was because of the desire to stay engaged in the broader purpose of architecture and actively participate in dialogues that have the power to impact human lives,” said Paliwal.  “I found the conversations with the AIA members from all across the state and the legislators so enriching.  I really appreciate all the hard work put in to represent and advocate for our profession.”

Chip Desmone, AIA, Tom Frank, AIA, and Prerana Paliwal, Assoc. AIA from Desmone Architects met with Representative Anita Kulik and Representative Chris Rabb.

Members advocated for three bills related to the extension of State Historic Preservation Tax Credits, State funding of K12 school construction, and supporting high-performance building legislation.

“Advocacy is critical to the success of architects and their clients,” says AIA PA President Chip Desmone, AIA.  “Architects are trained and licensed to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”  These bills quite literally put architects to work, says Desmone.  Some of the issues, particularly related to high-performance buildings, don’t have the longevity, as, say, the historic preservation tax credits do, making it even more important to meet with legislators in-person and put a face to the issue.

Quintin Kittle, AIA, Rebecca Lowe, AIA and Michelle Fanzo meeting with Senator Lindsay Williams in Harrisburg

Historic Preservation

The Pennsylvania General Assembly established the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Tax Credit in 2012. This vital tax credit is set to sunset in 2020 without legislative action. Two relevant bills support the continuation and expansion of the tax credits that will foster private sector rehabilitation of historic buildings.

Historic preservation incentives are a long-term investment in the state’s economy, heritage, and community fabric. The initial investment pays for itself over time through increased tax collection from properties that would otherwise remain undeveloped.

Studies have consistently shown that secondary effects can include increased business investment in redeveloped areas, decreased crime, and a better quality of life for citizens in the surrounding areas

Relevant Legislation:
Bill number SB 541
Full Legislation click here

Bill Number HB 1173
Full Legislation click here

School Construction

Architects are the school entity’s advocates and the school construction and PlanCon experts. The state needs to remain involved in funding K12 construction and architects are in the best position to lead that discussion. Architects are holistic builders and planners professionally trained to design resilience, functionality, safety, humanity, and value into every stage of the school construction process.

Members advocated for SB700 which would implement the recommendations of the PlanCon Advisory Committee and emphasize the unique role architects have in school construction from building safe and secure schools to optimizing school construction funds.

Bill Number SB 700
Full legislation click here

High-Performance Buildings

Nearly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced by buildings. While we’ve made great strides to improve the energy efficiency of the building sector, too many existing buildings remain inefficient.

High-Performance Buildings generate energy savings and optimize the performance and health of occupants, workers, students, and teachers.  These buildings are job and economic multipliers in an industry that serves as a keystone to job creation, economic stimulus, and community rejuvenation.

Relevant Legislation
Bill number SB232
Full Legislation click here

Bill number HB193
Full legislation click here

AIA Pittsburgh will be hosting Stephen Swarney, AIA PA Executive Director and Amal Marouki, AIA PA Director of Legislative Affairs, for an Issues & Advocacy Breakfast on July 10th from 8:30-10am at the AIA Pittsburgh office. This event is FREE for members but you must RSVP here.
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