Now Entering Russ's World
The American Institute of Architects, or AIA, consists of United States architects. They support the profession of architecture, and work to improve the current public image. Their programs include community redevelopment, government advocacy, education and public outreach. Robert Ivy is the current CEO of the AIA, with Thomas V. Vonier serving as the President. The organization owns the Octagon House, originally built in Washington, D.C. in 1800.
Thirteen architects came together in 1857 in New York City to create the AIA, with Richard Upjohn as the first President. Sixteen additional architects received invitations to join the group in February of 1857. The AIA was incredibly important as there were no architecture schools or licensing laws at this time. In March of 1857, the bylaws and constitution of the AIA were drafted using the name of the New York Society of Architects. The name was changed to the American Institute of Architects in April of 1857. More architects were invited to join the AIA during the 1860’s, and by the 1880’s numerous chapters had formed in various cities.
During the 1960’s, there was a design competition, so an architect could be selected for the new Washington headquarters for the AIA. Mitchell Giurgola was the winner, but the United States Commission of Fine Arts would not approve his design concept. Once the commission had been resigned by the firm, the TAC, or The Architects Collaborative was commissioned for the design. Howard Elkus and Norman Fletcher were responsible for the design which received approval in 1970. It was 1973 when the building was actually completed. In 2007, the 150th anniversary of the AIA was celebrated, and the building named the American Center for Architecture.
The AIA consists of 90,000 associated professionals and architects, with five different membership levels. The architect members have been licensed by a United States authority to practice architecture. The associate members work with an architect’s supervision as they are not licensed. The international associates have a license, but are unable to practice within the United States. The emeritus members have been a member of the AIA for a minimum of fifteen successive years, are unable to work or are incapacitated, and are at least 65 years old. The allied memberships include engineers, planners, landscape architects, design and building related businesses, research firms, product manufacturers and publishers. The allied membership is in partnership with both the American Architectural Foundation and the AIA.