The AIACC believes that as a consequence of external budgetary pressures and as a result of its limited role as overseer in the development of K-12 schools, the Division of the State Architect (DSA) has never been in greater danger of either having its current functions diminished or the office as we know it completely eliminated.
Many, if not most of us, have taken for granted the role of the State Architect and have assumed that the person in that position was serving as a trusted advisor to the Governor and the Legislature on all things related to the design and construction industry. This may have been true in the past but it is certainly not the current situation, and we fear the dialogue may be absolved further.
As much as we believe in the importance and need for an architectural voice within state government, we also recognize the power of design to transform and the value of design to deal with our state’s current challenges. Design has the inherent ability to solve problems that are not only physical but also social and economic. Without direct internal access to government decision makers we cannot bring the transformations taking place in our practices to the greater community. Transformations such as new delivery methods that are more efficient and cost effective, designs that go beyond sustainable, and post occupancy evaluation tools that inform future designs regarding both building and human performance to name a few.
In response to these concerns, the Council has brought together our profession’s thought leaders to help research and inform the future of the DSA. This has culminated in the following whitepaper: Maximizing California’s Resources: Recommendations for a Stronger Design and Construction Industry. This paper presents a “comprehensive vision” with specific recommendations toward building a stronger DSA, and furthering the role and relevancy of our State Architect in California government. The whitepaper offers some important suggestions that if considered and implemented could make a marked difference in the quality and cost effectiveness of planning, design, and construction services for future state funded and supported projects – and in many ways the future of the profession itself.
Do you agree with this vision?
Consolidation of the State’s construction related functions under the Division of the State Architect as a single agency responsible for policy and planning of the built environment, oversight of the design and construction industry, and leadership in environmental sustainability.
We hope that this will be the beginning of a dialogue and not the end of an era; please feel free participate by soliciting your comments below.