Year in Review

AIA Pittsburgh 2018

By Maya Henry, COLUMNS Editor Posted on January 25, 2019

     Design Pittsburgh 2018

2018 was a year of rethinking AIA Pittsburgh’s direction and how best to support the membership at a time of demographic shifts and technology innovation. Under new staff and board leadership, a strategic planning process in early 2018 led the organization to emphasize ‘collaboration and connectivity’ as cross-cutting themes in its work for the year.


Here are just some of the highlights of what happened at the local AIA level in 2018:
  • Membership rose to its highest in the last ten years, with 604 architect, associate and emeritus members in the Chapter as of December 31.
  • New staff members Kira Kellner and Marissa Dello Russo came on board with new ideas for programs and activities.
  • Build Pittsburgh attracted well over 400 attendees and included three post-event building tours, highlighting projects discussed during the conference.
  • Design Pittsburgh was held in a new venue, Nova Place, and welcomed close to 500 architects and industry professionals. Design project boards were hung in the space for a month, allowing visitors and employees in the building to view the exhibit.
  • The Sustainability + Resilience Award was established as one of the Design Awards, and Rebecca Kiernan, City of Pittsburgh Senior Resilience Officer; Aurora Sherrard, Sustainability Director at University of Pittsburgh, and Vivian Loftness, FAIA were engaged to both jury the award and help vision how resilience can play a larger role in both AIA and our city.
  •                             Sustainability + Resilience Honor Award winner Forest Hills
                                              Municipal Building by Pfaffmann + Associates
  • Media coverage was strong for Design Pittsburgh and included the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, NEXT Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Magazine. The Post-Gazette ran a feature story on the adaptive reuse of Nova Place, quoting a number of AIA architects from a variety of firms.
  • On behalf of AIA Pittsburgh, Board President Mike Gwin, AIA published a Letter to the Editor in the Post-Gazette raising awareness of the importance of valuing our region’s architecture.
  • Acting on the principle of collaboration, AIA Pittsburgh developed or strengthened relationships with partners in 2018, including: staff of the Department of City Planning, Public Art, and Permits and Licensing as well as the Architecture Learning Network, Carnegie Mellon University, Construction Junction, Doors Open Pittsburgh, Master Builders Association, National Association of Minority Architects, University of Pittsburgh Architecture Program, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
  • The Chapter sought to develop new roles and opportunities for its members. One such example is Amanda Markovic, AIA, a graduate of the AIA Foundation for Architecture’s Leadership Institute, became AIA Pittsburgh’s Blueprint for Better Champion (B4B). B4B is AIA National’s campaign to engage architects in civic leadership. She attended B4B training in Madison, Wisconsin and is now leading a project, with a number of others, on how the built environment affects human wellbeing. AIA Pittsburgh was chosen to receive a small grant from AIA National to further this project.
  • The Chapter also received a grant for architectural learning workshops for middle school age students from AIA National. The Chapter partnered with NOMA’s Project Pipeline (link) to implement the grant.
  • AIA Pittsburgh strengthened its partnership with AIA Pennsylvania and hosted three local events focused on advocacy and legislative issues in the spring when the AIA PA Executive Director, Steve Swarney, and PA President, Scott Compton, AIA, came to town. AIA Pittsburgh also partnered with AIA PA in the fall to offer a two-day Cued into Codes seminar to update members on state-wide IBC code changes.
  • As a sponsor for Doors Open Pittsburgh (DOP), the Chapter contributed information on the DOP website about the architect of each of the 49 buildings on the tour. The AIA Pittsburgh logo appeared on each web page and in 25,000 programs, 20,000 of which were distributed inside Pittsburgh City Paper.
  • The Young Architects Forum (YAF) provided architecture-related information and fun activities to the public in Market Square during Doors Open – just one of the group’s many successful events for the year.
  • The Outreach Committee was established to learn more about our members, discuss trends affecting the profession, and develop activities to strengthen a sense of community.
  • The Chapter initiated a summer intern program this past year and benefitted greatly from its two interns, Ashley Nowicki from Syracuse University and Blanche Tarabrella from the University of Pittsburgh Architecture program.
  • Staff completed AIA accreditation for the Chapter in December, a lengthy process that occurs every three years.
  • The Chapter also hosted the AIA Pittsburgh Foundation for Architecture‘s Leadership Institute and is engaging in strategic planning to help grow the foundation in 2019.

AIA Pittsburgh encourages members to share their ideas and views on how to make the Chapter even more supportive of the changing environment in which architects learn and work. Please send your comments to info@aiapgh.org.



Comment Policy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *