ATLAIANTA 2015: Reflections on the 2015 AIA National Convention
by Pamela Tang
We came by the thousands to Atlanta to celebrate, to connect, to recharge, and to be inspired. We were not disappointed.
Equity by Design, EQxD, was a huge success at the Convention. It is a timely topic with broad support. Having AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, at the helm was instrumental in its success. As many of you know, Elizabeth demonstrated interest and support for AIASF's Missing 32% Committee from the beginning, attending our third symposium in October 2014 as President Elect of AIA National.
With Elizabeth's guidance Rosa Sheng was able to put the Equity in Architecture resolution as the FIRST item to be voted on at the AIA annual meeting and it won by a landslide. I will let Rosa update the community because she is our Chairwoman and has all the statistics and reports (see article above). The media is also covering this topic because it is poignant not just to women but to men as well. See video posted at the AIA's ArchitectMagazine.com. Equal numbers of women and men attended the workshops and spoke up about the need to have creative solutions to an old problem. It is a cultural shift that we can now openly talk about because of EQxD.
With our 42nd President, Bill Clinton, gracing the podium as our first presidential keynote speaker, and with our 2015 AIA Gold Medal and 2015 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion medalists, Moshe Safdie and Peter Eisenman, ATLAIANTA 2015 set the pace for meaningful discourse and action that will transform the profession of Architecture into one befitting its members and the communities we serve.
With her inimitable style and energy, AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, kicked off the convention with the theme "IMPACT". Uniting the audience with the common goal of advancing architecture's visibility and position in the world, she demonstrated how design excellence provides tangible value that positively impacts society at all levels. With the support of the AIA, architects can reaffirm the value of creativity, collaboration, and design by innovating the way we present ourselves.
Richter showcased the AIA's promotional video, #ilookup, to raise public awareness of the importance of architecture in society. As part of the AIA Repositioning Initiative started in 2013, this is the first phase of the AIA Public Awareness campaign to bring about meaningful change to remake and advance the profession of architecture and the AIA. Through diverse stories about their architects, the Convention emphasized the importance of every project, irrespective of size or prominence, in defining our collective achievements as a profession. As the 2015 AIA award projects confirmed, neither size nor program garner an advantage. Instead, recognition is bestowed on projects that demonstrate design excellence through integrated project teams and user collaboration.
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