Mr. Malinowski Goes to Washington

in: Industry News / 0 Comments

members in the news-580

“Wood is being rediscovered; wood is being reinvented.”
–Michael F. Malinowski, AIA


Michael F. Malinowski, AIA

Sometimes there is more than one way to think through a predicament; more than one solution to be considered. For example, the public often views timber as a precious resource in danger of disappearing. But what if this isn’t the case? What if sustainable harvested would was a medium and therefore a way to increase the employment rate? What if building with wood actually reduced greenhouse gas emissions?

These quandaries were discussed at the White House Rural Council Workshop, Building with Wood: Jobs and the Environment, presented on Mar. 18. Among the presenters invited was California’s own Michael Malinowski, AIA.

According to a press release distributed by the US Forest Service, the idea is to “support sustainable forestry and buffer reduce [sic] greenhouse gas emissions.”

To this effect, The Agriculture Department (USDA) announced a $1 million program to promote wood as a sustainable material in order to boost rural economies. In addition, another $1 million is being used to set up a design competition. The intent is to “demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction,” according to a USDA press release.

Malinowski, President of Applied Architecture, Inc., presented on the use of timber in architecture. His platform revolved around the narrative of a situation where his switching to wood on a project received very positive results. His account included video and slides, one of which powerfully and simply read: “Wood is being Re-discovered; Wood is being Reinvented.” Malinowski was also able to provide evidence via surveys of innovations regarding wood use that are currently transpiring. “It happened I was one of the three invited jurors for the Canadian Wood Design Awards program – juried in Ottawa, Canada this last December – so I had a ready access to an amazing breadth of work and the firms who are at the leading edge of this innovation in design and application.”

Malinowski received solid feedback on his presentation, as well as an announcement from the AIA Grassroots podium announcing that a member presented to the White House Rural Council. (Even though the event didn’t technically transpire at the White House. Snow prevented the original date and place. As Malinowski said, “It turned out the government was shut down on Monday due to a snow storm; the event was moved to Tuesday at the USDA headquarters on the National Mall – not quite as heady as the original location – but still an event where there were two senior people from the white house speaking, followed with an address by the Secretary of Agriculture.”)

If the mission of this symposium is to consider wood as a sustainable resource and for it to be more widely adopted, no one better to speak than an architect with the research and the experience to back it up. It is from these sorts of presentations which not only the profession learns, but the public as well.

Additional Resources:


School Design Excellence

in: Awards / 1 Comment

2014 Leroy Greene On Feb. 25 in Sacramento, Calif., CASH (The Coalition for Adequate School Housing), in partnership with AIACC, announced the recipients of the 2014 Leroy F. Green Design + Planning Awards. Selected by a distinguished panel of jurors, representing educators and design professionals, these awards recognized new, modernized, and specialty facility projects throughout California.


Award of Excellence
Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan
Irvine Unified School District
Irvine Unified School District
LPA, Inc.


Award of Excellence

Paramount High School
Paramount Unified School District
LPA, Inc.

Mills High School Theater & Gymnasium Complex
San Mateo Union High School District
Quattrocchi Kwok Architects LLP

Award of Honor

Arroyo Viejo Child Development Center
Oakland Unified School District
Dougherty + Dougherty Architects, LLP

Award of Merit

Placer County Office of Education
Seavey Center
Placer County Office of Education
Williams + Paddon Architects


Award of Excellence
Hillcrest High School
Alvord Unified School District
HMC Architects

Pioneer School
Delano Union School District
HMC Architects

La Escuelita Elementary School + District Programs (KDOL Studio/ District IT Center/Community Health Center)
Oakland Unified School District
MVE Institutional, Inc.

Award of Honor
Richard N. Slawson
Southeast Educational Center
Los Angeles Unified School District

Granite Hills High School
Grossmont Union High School District
Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke


Award of Honor
Fremont High School Expansion
Los Angeles Unified School District
LPA, Inc.

The AIACC congratulates each of these recipients on successful projects as they provide school districts with a glimpse of how a well-designed facility can enhance the learning environments for California’s public school students. The AIACC believes good design in public school facilities enhances the learning, development, and behavior of the students and positively affects educational outcomes.


Chapters: Possibilities at Risk

in: Important Issues / 2 Comments


The previous issue of Notes from the Second Floor began the conversation of “One AIA.” This issue continues the discussion and focuses on the AIA chapters, and the challenges facing chapter executive directors. If working better together is an expected outcome of the Repositioning Initiative, there should be no higher priority than the need to improve the health and welfare of our chapters, and the working conditions facing many of our component executives.


Paul W. Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA

A cursory examination of the AIA’s chapter boundaries across America is not unlike reviewing political reapportionment. Chapter boundaries seem to wander aimlessly around cities and towns, geographical and topical formations, in search of new ZIP Codes to incorporate. Occasionally, chapters will quarrel when boundaries conflict as cities and townships expand into previously undeveloped landscapes. Unfortunately, once new AIA chapters are created and chapter boundaries constructed, they seem to be irrevocable as the decisions are seldom revisited.

Created with an enhanced desire for increased local focus and control, newly formed chapters had an abundance of volunteers willing to step into leadership positions. However, for many chapters, times have changed. Now, faced with declining or negligible membership growth, many chapters have recycled their leadership to the point of exhaustion. Additionally, declining resources have reduced staff hours, or resulted in staff being laid off entirely. Understandably, these challenges have severe negative consequences on the component’s ability to deliver member services. The difference between what the members expect and what they actually receive is having a significant chilling effect on membership retention and recruitment.

While the skills and competencies of component executives very, they all share a passion for architecture and advancing the value of design within the communities they serve. Unfortunately, many component executives toil many more hours than they are compensated, work without benefit of a position description, seldom experience an annual review of performance, salary or compensation, nor do they receive any employment benefits such as health insurance or retirement. Given the difficulty of increasing dues, local chapters frequently look to raising non-dues revenue to partially or fully compensate the component executive. As members fail to renew their membership due to lack of services, component executives will likely find their hours reduced or even eliminated. Understandably, survival becomes a priority over member services. Regrettably, this sense of estrangement and isolation fuels negativity and erodes collaboration and harmony.

How can we achieve a unified AIA when our chapters are struggling to find a new generation of leaders, experiencing declining membership, while also grappling with increased state and federal corporate regulations and responsibilities? Considering increased competition among chapters, an overstressed dues structure, and a marketplace increasingly complicated by changes in technology and project delivery, how do we resource our component executives to meet the challenges faced at the local level?

The Repositioning Initiative provides a unique opportunity to address both problems. We need to review the alignment of AIA chapters, the services they provide, and the commitment of AIA to make good the promise to local components that they will be the “touch stone for member satisfaction.” Furthermore, we should not be content until we provide a culture of innovation and support for our chapters and our component executives. We should do all we can to provide them the tools and resources they need, and to strengthen the value of AIA membership at the local level. We need to be sensitive to the problems of local chapters. After all, they are chartered by the AIA and the AIA brand should clearly communicate the importance that chapters contribute to the member/value equation. The failure of any component to deliver on member services should not be an option, since the failure of any one affects us all.

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Our conversation regarding the concept of one AIA and component realignment continues in the next issue. Please take the time and opportunity to participate. Your thoughts are appreciated.



Changes to the Architects Practice Act for 2014

in: Gov’t Affairs / 0 Comments

Both licensees and candidates for licensure should be aware of some significant, and some not so significant (but none the less important) changes to the Architects Practice Act.

And regardless of your area of practice and to what extent you practice, all licensees should have knowledge of the California Architects Board’s statutes and regulations, as well as be familiar with and understand their provisions.

Provided below for your information are the most recent changes to the Architects Practice Act relevant to the practice of architecture and the licensure process, as of January 1, 2014. Additionally, be aware that throughout the year regulations may be changed, whereas new statutes typically become effective on January 1 of the year following their passage unless they have an urgency clause.

Of particular interest to the profession are the following recently added or amended section(s) of the Business and Professions Code and California Code of Regulations:

Business and Professions Code Sections Added or Amended

§ 30 Federal Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number Required of Licensee
§ 31 Noncompliance with Support Orders or Judgments-Effect on Registration and Licensing of Businesses
§ 114.3 Waiver of Fees and Requirements for Licensees Called to Active Duty
§ 115.5 Expedited Licensure for Spouses of Active Duty Members
§ 125.9 System for Issuance of Citation to a Licensee
§ 143.5 Provision Prohibited in Settlement Agreements; Adoption of Regulations; Exemptions
§ 149 Advertising in Telephone Directory Without License-Agency Citation
§ 5536.4 Instruments of Service-Consent
§ 5550.5 Social Security Number Exemption

California Code of Regulations Sections Amended

§ 103 Delegation of Certain Functions
§ 109 Filing of Applications
§ 117 Experience Evaluation
§ 121 Form of Examinations; Reciprocity

Link to the Architects Practice Act.


Your License May Not Be Enough

in: Conferences / 0 Comments

There was a time when having an architect’s license alone was enough to complete just about any building type. Add a smattering of consultants (structural, electrical, and mechanical), and you had a project team.

My how times have changed. Today construction projects have every imaginable type of consultant—from finance bond consultants to commissioning agents and everything in between. Ah, the good ole days. But lamenting on the past, and ruminating over how this came to be will only help us today if we’ve learned something from it. Ask yourself: how many entities were on your last project duplicating the services you, as an architect, were capable of performing—and what did you do about it besides share your fee?

And now another mouth comes to trough: the Certified Access Specialist (CASp). Only this time things are different; this time you can be the consultant, you can be the CASp. In fact, you can be the CASp and the architect and keep the fee for yourself.

There are other advantages to this opportunity: being a CASp is a standalone service you can provide or, it can be an additional service you can provide your clients. Additionally, you may be able to lower your professional liability insurance by having a CASp on staff to review your CD’s (Construction Documents, duh) for access compliance.

For those architects wishing to become CASp certified, there are three upcoming opportunities.

Registration is now open through the Division of the State Architect (DSA) for the CASp examination. The scheduled dates for 2014 are Mar. 12, Jun. 25 and Oct. 8. For more information, click here.

CASp was created by the Legislature in order to create a body of individuals who would have demonstrated expertise within the accessibility laws and regulations. According to the DSA website, “The program is designed to meet the public’s need for experienced, trained, and tested individuals who can render opinions as to the compliance of buildings and sites with the State of California codes and regulations and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or accessibility.”

What it Does:
This certification is an opportunity and architects need to seriously consider taking it. “We as architects have given up pieces of the practice, and this is a chance to turn that around and encompass the built environment,” said Widom.

Who Benefits:
Everyone. The builder/owner/client receives expertise in order to navigate through the sometimes tenuous path of building-code-regulation. The architect benefits because they obtain a further expertise and specialization, can be sought out by individuals, or become an on-site expert within their firm. “From a business development standpoint, this can only expand and open doors for the architect who is certified,” said Widom. And the public-at-large benefits because buildings are safer and code-compliant.

Who is Eligible:
California licensed architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, and structural engineers are encouraged to register. Examination dates for 2014 are Mar. 12, Jun. 25 and Oct. 8. For more information, click here.


How Does AB 630 Help Architects?

in: Government Affairs / 0 Comments


New AIACC-Sponsored Law Fights the Unauthorized Use of Plans and Strengthens Rights of California Architects

Prepared by the Law Firm of Collins, Collins, Muir + Stewart, LLP

If someone builds off an architect’s plans without their consent, it can be called copyright infringement, “unauthorized use of instruments of service,” or breach of contract. But behind those dry euphemisms, it is really just one thing: theft. Theft of an architect’s time, effort, and unique work of creation, and a more subtle kind of theft, that of an architect’s security from claims. A developer that cuts corners and fails to pay for plans obviously does not run a tight ship, and if (or when) something goes wrong, the innocent architect can wind up in a lawsuit.

Fortunately, a new California law, California Business and Professions Code section 5536.4, is in effect. The law has two components: 1) a requirement of written consent to use an architect’s instruments of services; and 2) clear authority to withhold the instruments of services if the architect’s client does not pay or otherwise breaches the contract. The law is short and straightforward:

(a) No person may use an architect’s instruments of service, as those professional services are described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 5500.1, without the consent of the architect in a written contract, written agreement, or written license specifically authorizing that use.
(b) An architect shall not unreasonably withhold consent to use his or her instruments of service from a person for whom the architect provided the services. An architect may reasonably withhold consent to use the instruments of service for cause, including, but not limited to, lack of full payment for services provided or failure to fulfill the conditions of a written contract.

The new law incorporates California Business & Professions Code Section 5500.1, which provides a broad list of professional services: planning, schematic and preliminary studies, designs, working drawings, and specifications (§5500.1 (b)(2)). Now, California law requires the architect’s written authorization if anyone wants to make use of these services.

It took the work of many parties, including the American Institute of Architects,California Council (AIACC) which sponsored the enacting legislation, AB 630 (Holden D – Pasadena), to secure passage of the new law. Architect Ric. Abramson, AIA, principal of WorkPlays Studio architecture initiated the effort in a white paper addressing the problem and then advocated tirelessly to change the flawed status quo. Abramson spoke with us about the genesis of the change:

The culture and economy has changed so much in the last decade, with land and development rights becoming fully commoditized. After the crash, foreclosures, flipping, and even court receivers in bankruptcy were claiming ownership of instruments of service, and trying to eliminate or marginalize the architect, and there was no clear way to make sure the spirit and intent of the documents were carried out. Architects found themselves shut out of projects, but still facing potential liability, since it was their stamp and seal on the documents. As architects, we want our work built, but we also have a responsibility see that the standard of care is met and intent of the documents is carried out, as well as to the neighborhood stakeholders, the built environment, and to meet new commitments to green building standards. With the law [§5536.4], hopefully future use of the architect’s instruments will involve written consent – which careful architects will not give without a license, waiver, and indemnification, if they are not involved in construction.

In an age of commoditized plans and entitled parcels, this law is a welcome development. Here is an example of a use of the new law: An owner retains an architect to prepare plans for a project. After completing the plans, but before construction begins, the owner sells the land intended for the project and provides the buyer with a copy of the architect’s stamped plans. This new law can help the architect obtain concessions from the buyer, such as compensation, a release, or indemnity protection if the buyer proceeds with construction, because the buyer must obtain the architect’s written consent to build from the architect’s plans.

Will this law stop unscrupulous developers from trying to steal architects work? Sadly, no. But it will give architects working in California additional leverage when a project starts to go south. Written consent is now required and the architect can withhold consent due to lack of payment. If a developer argues that they can use the architect’s work without their consent or further involvement in a project, this section is the architect’s rebuttal, even if the architectural contract is silent on the issue. An arguably grey area is now more black and white in California.

Prior to this law, California and federal law offered few protections for an architect’s instruments of service. For example, under California’s Health & Safety Code § 19851(a), a public entity should not provide copies of building plans without the written consent of the architect who signed the original plans. But if the architect’s client already has the plans (or the public entity fails to do its job), that Health & Safety Code won’t do any good. Federal law also provides avenues of protection in the form of copyright. However, despite the value of this intellectual property, few architects take the time (about 30 minutes) or the money ($35) to register their plans with the United States Copyright Office. Furthermore, even when a developer concedes the architect has a copyright, the parties can argue over the use of that right. The new law helps fill this gap.

California Business and Professions Code section 5536.4 is the newest tool available to architects providing services in California to help them protect their work from theft. We encourage architects to use it in conjunction with copyright, a well-drafted contract, and optimal business practices that will collectively safeguard their work. If you have any questions on how to integrate this new law or any other California Business and Professions Code section 5536.4 is the newest tool available to architects providing services in California to help them protect their work from theft. We encourage architects to use it in conjunction with copyright, a well-drafted contract, and optimal business practices that will collectively safeguard their work.

If you have any questions on how to integrate this new law or any other tools into your practice, please contact our Oakland, South Pasadena, Orange or San Diego offices to discuss the matter further.


David E. Barker, Esq.
Ryan J. Kohler, Esq.


Northern California
1999 Harrison St., Suite 1700
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 844-5100
Orange County
750 The City Dr. Suite 400
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 823-4100

San Diego
2173 Salk Ave. Suite 250
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 274-2110

Los Angeles
1100 El Centro St.
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Nothing contained within this article should be considered legal advice. Anyone who reads this article should always consult with an attorney before acting on anything contained in this or any other article on legal matters, as facts and circumstances will vary from case to case.


M-Rad Weighs in on Small Firm Success

in: Scope of Practice / 0 Comments

Matthew Rosenberg grew up in a place with few structural landmarks and a seemingly infinite horizon—not the sort of description one matches with the childhood ambition of becoming architect. And yet that was his dream.

Matthew Rosenberg

Matthew Rosenberg

Rosenberg, Founding Principle of Los Angeles-based firm M-Rad Architecture + Design, took this landscape (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), his grandmother’s sense of style (a 40-year collection of magazine Architectural Digest), and combined it with a desire to create a healthy and happy urban condition. This amalgamation resulted in an international career taking him around the globe. The firm now resides in southern California where it has been for the past two years.

M-Rad aims to, among other things, provide solutions to universal problems, and to enhance daily routines and social exchanges. It is in this spirit of combining and enhancing that Rosenberg answers the following questions with some serious thought about the future of the profession, and the role small firms play.

What made you want to be an architect?
Being born and raised in the agricultural epicenter of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, I came from a place where the horizon was endless and the buildings were scarce. It was a place I wanted to both preserve and invigorate with urbanity. During my childhood I was greatly influenced by my grandmother who had a penchant for design and fashion. To this day, I still cherish her collection of Architectural Digest magazines spanning over 40 years.

I have always wanted to impact culture in a way that enhances and promotes a healthier and happier urban condition. Buildings and spaces are the two underlying elements that every culture has in common. It’s the only thing I could ever remember wanting to do for the rest of my life.

My work and research today stems from both of these affections.
M-Rad 1

What do the best firms do to be successful?
Architecture is a business first and foremost. Without understanding all of the elements that go into creating a successful business, it is very difficult to build a viable architectural practice. We need to look at the way the business of architecture has succeeded and failed in the past. Then draw from the successes and test those elements against today’s market, trends, cultures, etc. Successful firms are constantly looking for new ways to build and innovate the business model of architecture.

How do best firms create a model for others?
The idea of transparency is leaps behind in architecture. Creating a sustainable transparent model in architecture is going to take both accredited firms and young studios like ourselves to reveal the trials, tribulations, and successes of what it takes to build a practice. It will allow the field of architecture as a whole to excel as a secure and lucrative business.

These days businesses are started (and failed at) every minute. I think we need to look more to the tech world and how its transparent values draw an enormous wealth of energy, innovation, and funding. It is my hope that this will allow us to deliver even greater value to the community and its investors while promoting lucrative probability for architects.

The most successful firms will look at many industries and absorb elements that could both grow the practice of architecture but also allow firms to build upon the successes of their allies and competitors. The firms we will be looking to in the future will be transparent practices that will work with interdisciplinary leaders to work towards a more comprehensive model for architecture. Practices will be more open to join forces and offer each other and their apprentices clear methods in how to achieve success in architecture.

What defines a great practice?
A great practice balances evolution and revolution, aesthetics and design, and business. Architecture must first develop a foundation by embedding the core elements of business. Without a secure and sustainable business, we are simply promoting the idea that the industry should remain in a state of struggle. Design and innovation are becoming a more viable and valued asset to practices today (the tech industry is in large part to thank) which allows great practices to present those elements as an added value to the investor. I think young practices have a lot to bring to the table when it comes to interacting and engaging with the culture and the community that it is serving. They are getting better at connecting to everybody and anybody.

There are a few practices today that are building great architecture brands through new modes of social media, storytelling, interdisciplinary business development teams, and strategic partnerships. It is apparent that we must market more than the iconic architect now, and instead build a brand that can offer much more than a building. I think this is the future of architecture and one that will define many great practices in the decades to come.M-Rad2

What was the defining point which inspired you to jump off and begin your own firm?
In 2010 I moved to China to work for MAD. After about 8 months I was recruited by a developer to lead a team in the investigation of pre-fabricated sustainable homes that we would manufacture in China. I was given an office and a taste of what it would be like to run my own studio. I moved back to North America in 2012. I could spend my time looking for employment or spend my time looking for my own clients. It was a critical and absolute moment for my career.

What do you think is the single biggest issue impacting the profession in the future?
I’ve always found it peculiar that architecture is driven and controlled by developers and city officials. M-Rad desires to seek out opportunities to engage the community and revitalize urban conditions. We do this by sourcing and targeting land and building development opportunities before the developer engages the architect. We bring the project to them. Architects should consider engaging the developer and leveraging our understanding of the built environment to instigate the projects that actually need to be developed for the community. It is our job to understand where improvements can take place or where development could bring value both to the community and the investor. My hope is that one day architects will drive the development sector and in doing so will create a lasting bond between the communities, their investors, and their architects.


One AIA: Indispensable Yet Illusive

in: Notes From the 2nd Floor / 0 Comments


Success of AIA’s Repositioning Initiative depends on each one of us taking ownership of the mandate for change. Everyone must view our role as leaders differently, and commit to action that empowers our Components and members to embrace their role in helping remake the profession and AIA.

This expectation, a quote from the consultant’s report to the AIA Board of Directors, revisits the concept of “One AIA,” and clearly stresses collaboration among all AIA components as foundational to Repositioning.


Paul W. Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA

All of us, at the national, state, and local level, know we need to work better together if Repositioning is to have any chance of success. Trust is an issue, and for many years the AIA has struggled, with mixed results, to strengthen the relationship between the National Office and the State and Local Components. We know all too well that the absence of harmony and a lack of mutual respect will foster anger and conflict, exacerbating the challenge of supporting and working together. Clearly, the search for a “One AIA,” a “Seamless AIA, “ or a “Unified AIA” cannot and will not be achieved until several organizational and attitudinal problems are addressed. Accordingly, the next several issues of Notes from the Second-Floor focus on these obstacles: A dues structure under stress; the never-ending search for non-dues income; organizational structure and alignment; the challenges of being a component executive; and, the capacity and capabilities of components.

A Dues Structure under Stress: The dues structure is terribly strained. Dues are perceived high in relation to benefits, and membership in the organization is expensive. The independent nature of the components allows each to establish dues without serious consideration of the total cost of membership across all three levels. Chapters are often the last component to increase dues, frequently after the Institute and state components have done so. As a consequence, in order to maintain programs, state and local components increasingly look to sponsorships and/or vendors for non-dues revenue.

Understandably, the cost of maintaining AIA’s mandated three-tier membership structure is frequently cited as the principal reason that dues are so high. Moreover, in comparison to other professions, the dues are more. Yet such comparisons seldom consider the adverse consequences of disconnecting the three-tier structure, nor the broad variety of programming in response to members’ interests. However, in light of shifting generational values and perspectives, the cost of AIA membership needs to be examined and alternate ways to resource needed programs, and activities should be prioritized.

Never-Ending Search for Non-Dues Income: The search for non-dues income frequently has several adverse impacts on the components:

  • It generates strong competition among the components. State and large urban components, with larger constituencies, are frequently more attractive to vendors. This often results in local components only being attractive to local vendors whose resources are limited. As vendors and manufacturers focus on the larger components in search of the proverbial bang for their buck, an environment of increased competition, tension, and uncertainty is fostered among the components. (Not, to mention vendors receiving multiple requests from several components competing for their contributions.)
  • Frequently, component executives spend an inordinate amount of time recruiting volunteers to raise money, or personally contacting vendors for commitments, fulfilling vendor benefits, and keeping vendors happy. Consequently, instead of delivering member services and engaging the community, executives are understandably preoccupied with raising non-dues income simply to pay their salaries and/or keep the office open.
  • At times, the day-to-day existence of components, especially the smaller ones, is one of desperation, anxiety, and feeling unappreciated and overlooked. Living hand- to-mouth, the constant search for new revenues can have a chilling effect on recruiting new members and chapter officers. Architects are not easily persuaded to serve on boards when the priority is raising money. Consequently, a growing number of smaller components have vacant leadership positions with a subsequent lack of member involvement in chapter activities.
  • Clearly, we are all in this together. We must find ways to leverage the powers of trust, collaboration and faith if the desire is to strengthen and build AIA as indispensable to the practice of architecture.

    In the words of George D. Herron (1862-1925)

    “What happens to one of us sooner or later happens to all; we have always been inescapably involved in a common destiny.”

    Our conversation on the concept of One AIA continues in the next issue. Please take the time and opportunity to participate. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.



2013 Annual Report

in: AIACC / 0 Comments


Every year the AIACC composes and makes available an annual report to present at the initial Board of Directors meeting. We are now making it available to members and to the public to view and read at your convenience. It is also recommended you join with us in the celebration of some rather large accomplishments of 2013, and know, that while we are proud and gratified with outcomes reached and goals met, mostly we are busy making sure 2014’s report boasts just as much—even more. Happy reading.

Comments and suggestions are always appreciated, so utilize the platform below. As for direct questions, contact Shannon Calder by email, scalder@aiacc.org, or phone, (916) 367-3404.


Emerging Professionals

in: AIACC / 3 Comments


Inconvenient Truths

Empowering emerging professionals for practice and prosperity is one of the cornerstones of the AIA’s Repositioning Initiative (video proof of this: AIA posted a summary). While it is a common refrain within many component long-range and strategic plans, the concept is much easier said than successfully implemented.


Paul W. Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA

Most conversations regarding emerging professionals quickly focus on the declining numbers of interns taking the Architects Registration Examination (ARE), and the discouraging number of interns completing the journey to licensure. We have long been alarmed by the symptoms, but we have been slow to identify and respond to the foundational reasons for the problem—Is it because the licensing of architects has become obsolete as a consequence of an overly burdensome path to licensure? A consequence of the retreating culture of mentoring once so common within the profession? Have the architects of tomorrow embraced the broader definition of architecture and service to society, rather than the more “traditional” and narrow view of licensure, and public health, safety, and welfare?

Unfortunately, it is the widespread opinion of many young people that an architectural license is a destination not worthy of the journey unless you own a firm and/or sign instruments of service. Why we have allowed this unfortunate and patently incorrect misconception to permeate our culture is a disservice to young people. Instead, licensure is a portal on the other side of which unfolds a multitude of career opportunities, including that of “architecture.” The license validates one’s professional skills and competencies, and the capacity to execute professional judgment in designing the fragile interface between mankind and the natural environment. It is a valued credential representing the public’s health, safety, and welfare. A credential that is sought by many, achieved by few, and greatly respected by society.

How can we inspire young people to envision the future, and what can we do to help prepare them for the challenges of an ever-changing marketplace, and a profession in transition? Historically, we think that involving young people in leadership and governance opportunities will accelerate progress towards these goals. Consequently, most AIA components have dedicated leadership positions for emerging professionals, and a few, including the AIACC, provide resource conferences, symposiums and continuing education opportunities for emerging professionals. I don’t think leadership positions by themselves will get us where we need to be. Instead, we need to meaningfully include young professionals and their perspectives in all of our committees, taskforces, conferences and conventions. More importantly, we should recognize and leverage the changing skills and competencies that young people bring to the workforce, especially their knowledge and experience with technology, and how technology can be used in design and construction.

AIA Pasadena Leadership Training

AIA Pasadena Leadership Training

Over the last couple of weeks I have been visiting California chapters conducting “Leadership Training.” Attendees have included volunteers serving on chapter boards and committees, and many are members of the Young Architects Forum (YAF), having been licensed less than 10 years. While they may be “newcomers to leadership,” I am overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and optimism for the future. They have read media stories concerning low compensation, unemployment, and the challenges of a depressed economy. However, they share a voracious appetite for leadership, and a desire to serve and make a difference for their profession and their communities. As we struggle to successfully find ways to empower the architects of tomorrow, I am increasingly convinced that they have already arrived, and they live and work among us.

What began as a journey to enhance volunteer leadership, resulted in a more personal adventure, an adventure that renewed my spirit, and strengthened my resolve for advancing the value of design, and the role of the architect.

In the words of Antony Jay, from Management and Machiavelli: An Inquiry into The Politics of Corporate Life:

“Men grow to the stature to which they are stretched when they are young.”

What are your thoughts regarding empowering emerging professionals? What does this mean to you, and how do we make this happen within AIA’s culture?

Or, perhaps generational change cannot be that seamless. Instead, maybe it is simply a normal and expected consequence of time. What do you think?