Inspiration, Information, and Selfies with Gensler

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Summary of the AEP Summit

It is oftentimes mentioned that age is just a number, and this is oftentimes true.
Age is just a number and inspiration is just inspiration.
Proof of the above statements can be witnessed on days such as Jun. 25, when 44 members of the AIACC Academy of Emerging Professionals gathered at Gensler, San Francisco, to listen to M. Arthur Gensler, FAIA deliver a keynote speech about what he’s learned in his 50 years in the architecture business.

Ideas, inspiration, questions and queries answered all unencumbered by the ticks marked off of the personal calendar. All came away with new thoughts and a better understanding of the architect’s purpose on the continuum of contributing to humanity. Gensler, founder of the world’s largest architectural firm, had great advice to give the audience. Simple yet wise quips such as, “Don’t hire great people and not trust them.”

Much was learned; much wisdom gained. Throw in some comedic yet true statements followed by seemingly nonsensical statements which made perfect sense, such as the preference of popsicles to large barn doors, and you have the making of a morning filled with motivation and genuine laughter. (If you were not there, don’t worry. Read the twitter feed and all shall make more sense: #AEPSummit.) And to think, this was only the beginning.

Director of Examinations, for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), Jared Zurn, was also on hand to clarify and enlighten the path to licensure and the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) which launches Jun. 29, with an ARE 5.0 roll-out date of Nov. 1.


Questions were fired after his presentation, transforming what was to be a one hour lecture along with Q & A into a nearly 2-hour production.

The day ended with an exclusive tour of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Expansion by Snøhetta’s Jon McNeal.

If you haven’t yet attended an AIACC AEP Summit, consider waiting patiently for next year’s event to be announced and then marking your calendar. That is, if you want to be inspired, have a little fun, and receive an inside scoop on a major architectural project to which only few are privy.

Plus, there’s also a chance you’d be forever remembered in a selfie photo with an important game-changer.


Shannon Calder

Shannon Calder, a Sacramento-based writer, joined the AIACC in 2013. She is the author of, “Jack and Abigail Make a Compass,” a novel about people, birds, and orchids. She spends her days both on and off hours, looking for connection, which is a good hobby to have when linking the value of design to public perception.

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