Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Energy of Architecture

Students from around the world converge upon Denver to explore design and sustainability.

Denver, Colorado (December 5, 2008) — FORUM, the global gathering of architecture and design students, will be held in Denver beginning December 29, 2008 through January 1, 2009. This educational event, the annual convention of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), offers students the opportunity to learn about issues facing architectural education and the profession, to meet other students and professionals with common interests and to interact with today's leading architects, designers and those making a difference in the world through architecture.

Hosted by the AIAS Chapter at the University of Colorado Denver, FORUM 2008: ENERGY will explore not just issues related to sustainability and “green” design, but also the “energy” of great architecture. Denver will be their playground as students and emerging professionals are invited to join in a conversation of “unprecedented collaboration,”says organization President JW Blacnhard. “Educational leaders, product manufacturers and local design firms have teamed up to serve as catalysts for the over 600 architecture and design students who are expected to participate this year. And with all Denver has done to lead the architecture world in energy and conservation, we can think of no better city to host this event.” Evening keynote presentations, daily seminars and workshops and the Architecture College + Career Expo will be complimented by local activities and tours throughout the week, including a Firm Crawl through some of Denver’s leading studios, all leading up to the Beaux Arts Ball on New Year's Eve.

Student Chair Andrew Atchley, in conjunction with the Denver host committee and countless sponsors and supporters, has assembled some of the leading architecture and design experts to serve as thought leaders, catalysts and mentors. Andrew and his colleagues recognize the inherent challenges those in the design world face as they try to create structures that not only minimize environmental impacts but also provide form, function and sense of place. “In theory, sustainable design makes complete sense,” says Atchley. “But putting that theory into practice and allowing a design to stand the test of time—that is an entirely different challenge.”

For more information about FORUM 2008 or to learn about press or sponsorship opportunities visit or contact the AIAS office.

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About the AIAS: Headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Institute of Architecture Students was established in 1956 and is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, student-run organization. The mission of the AIAS is to promote excellence in architecture education, training and practice, foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines, enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration and organize students to combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture. With almost 7,000 subscribing members on more than 130 college and high school campuses throughout North America and several other countries, the AIAS represents the interests of and connects the 20,000-plus students studying architecture. You can learn more about the organization at

Monday, November 17, 2008

World Golf Tour

For all of us that wish we were out on the golf course, here is a golf game in High Definition just waiting to be played. Check it out! An incredible way to use Flash. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the event you are unable to find an internship in this economic slow down, will you continue along the path to licensure?

For most of the 54 jurisdictions protecting the profession of architecture there is a three step process to become a licensed architect. A professional NAAB-accredited degree, completion of the NCARB Intern Development Program, and the successful completion of the Architectural Registration Examination are the minimum requirements for licensure. This process is a rigorous one to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the American public. However, the process may be too rigorous.

As the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Board work to improve the experience for architectural interns through mentorship, the current economic slowdown may present a devastating unintended consequence on the future of the profession—a shortage of qualified licensed architects.

With the current challenge of successfully moving intern architects through the process of IDP, as firms slow down with the quantity of work there will be less opportunity for architectural interns to gain experience required to complete the intern development program. This will require interns to find creative methods in which they are successful pursuing their goal to obtain licensure and may discourage some intern architects from completing the process.

Fortunately each of the steps are now attainable independently from each other with the recent adoption of the concurrent timing, which allows intern architects the ability to begin the examination portion in more than 25 jurisdictions.

ARE Eligibility by Jurisdiction – 

This will allow some architectural interns the opportunity to take the exams if they are unable to document hours due to unemployment or employment in an alternative field. However, once the exam is passed, what will become of the intern architect who never completes the development program? Large organizations in business, finance, and manufacturing are attracted to the recent graduates from design studio education for the problem solving skills that are developed in that environment. If talented individuals leave the profession, there will be a severe gap in qualified architects in the coming decades. This combined with the population cycle of the baby boomers headed to retirement will challenge firms to develop new, innovative ways, to attract and retain the talent that is currently pursing licensure.

For individuals pursing a license in architecture, at this time it is important to stay informed of the process and be familiar with the situation that will help them attain their goals. As for the profession, it will be important to have the support of the licensed architects for the process to be reasonable and attainable for architectural interns. Through mentorship and communication this profession can survive this recession to be ready to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public when wheels begin to turn.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Why should you join an association like the American Institute of Architecture Students?

I am preparing to head out to the Fall Midwest Quad Conference of the AIAS in Kansas City, Missouri to join more than 315 students of architecture for a weekend of touring, learning, and comradere. The highest regestration for a quad conference in recent history and well above the individual totals of the other three conferences at locations around the northern hemisphere, including 180 registered for the Northeast Quad Conference in Toronto, Ontario. Both of these conferences held simultaneously account for over 500 chapter members gathering around architecture. Are you one of them?

This year over 700 students made the decision to take one weekend of their busy school semester to travel and particpate in a conference hosted by a peer. This represents more than 10% of the total membership of AIAS the previous year. As the leadership welcomes this spectacular turnout, the real cause for the participation is difficult to identify. Historically the conferences are where the membership find some of the greatest value in their benefits. FORUM holds the most exciting time for students as they celebrate the New Year in a different city each event. Are those then the benefits that convince members to join?

One of the many questions asked of the AIAS president in their travels is, what benefits are there for joining the AIAS? This question starts the dialog between two people to narrow down the individual benefits attractive to the inquirer, however I would argue the question that should be asked is, what am I missing by not being a part of the AIAS?

When phrased in this manner, the future member shifts from being an individual to being a part of the whole. As the GenYers demonstrate, it is with the group an individual finds his or her power. No longer is the person dependent on meeting their own needs but recognizes the group will help them attain their goal. What then does the group offer to the individual they cannot find on their own?

A voice. The group offers the opportunity to be heard. Not as the last generation did, through protests and rallys, but subtly, quietly, as the individual. It is this voice and the ideas behind it that are strenghthened in the group. It starts small, a simple thought shared between two individuals, yet grows as people are introduced to the idea. From this genesis the idea and the individual are strengthened and the group supports the member.

And so it starts with the individual, yet becomes not about the individual, instead takes the group to propel the individual forward and ultimately the group is elevated through the members. This is a very powerful understanding for anyone who desires to make a difference. Recognizing it no longer becomes who you know, it has always been about who knows you. Who do you allow to meet you, get to know you, introduce your ideas, understand your strengths, and share you passions. Maybe those are the benefits the 300+ members gathering in Kansas City have recognized as important enough to join the organization and spend the weekend together.

As I land in Kansas City I am looking forward to meeting and introducing myself to all of the new individuals who are interested and excited about architecture. This raises the question that is asked repeatedly, why should I join an organization? How do I justify the dues? In this economic climate can you risk not taking the opportunity to be in the organization? Now more than ever, it is imparative to have others speaking about you. With the group comes recognition and strength, a reassurance that you belong, and that your ideas matter. Simply stated the greatest member benefit in joining is, you.

Air travel is amazing

I have spent a lot of time on airplanes this year and having moved away from Atlanta I catch myself every time I fly through with my final destination being somewhere other than Hartsfield-Jackson that I am one of those that has made Atlanta what it is known for, passangers. All those temporary residents whose tax revnues from purchases are necessary for the lifeblood of Atlanta. Each one promised they will only be here for a brief stay, hopeful the system does not fail them and strand them indefinately. Well here we go, off again. This time Atlanta did not let me down, 4 minutes left and it is an ontime departure.

Friday, October 31, 2008