Design + Advocacy + Sustainability – Why You Should Get Involved!
By Brian Sehnert, AIA, LEED BD+C
AIACV Vice President
Design remains the key focus of our organization, and who else looks after the concerns of building designers & architects but the AIA? This is a particularly active year with the Chapter’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, Design Awards and 6th Annual Experience Architecture public outreach event. Committees are meeting to plan educational, creative and fun (!) activities for our members and our community of interested allied and public members that follow our profession. We invite you to join these committees and add your input to help create the most successful events possible. The AIA’s consistent involvement in these activities keep the talent of our local members front and center in the community.
This brings us to advocacy, which the Chapter has taken a more active role in. Each year we expand our efforts a little bit more, because our Board of Directors believes that as designers and problem solvers, we have something to offer our community. And, with each step we gain a little more confidence, because the community welcomes our advice and counsel. With the improving economy and stimulus of Golden 1 Arena, new development of our downtown, the railyards, the riverfront, and state building construction is being discussed again. Mayor Steinberg’s political agenda is compatible with the Chapter’s: meeting the needs for residences and business in the central city, homelessness, workforce housing, riverfront development, activating our streets, to name a few. The next several years appear to be ones where the Chapter can be of even more service to our region’s community. The Chapter will continue to let you know how you can be a part of this, whether it is participating in design charrettes, sitting on local boards and commissions, or representing architects as members of allied professional organizations. But honestly, it starts with your interest and involvement in the Chapter. Come sit with us and these opportunities will become apparent, and you can further develop both your personal and professional life through participation.
What’s the difference between existence and a meaningful existence? My response is that for a meaningful existence, one must be around long enough to influence people and change. That is one definition of sustainability. Our Chapter has been around since 1942, 75 years. We’ve been flexible, organic, changing with the times, and our opportunity to influence is growing. There is some discussion on a national level about whether the United States should isolate and protect itself or continue to reach out–but no one can deny that what we “little people” do at home is where the action emanates from. With that in mind, our own Susan Rainier, AIA has reactivated our AIACV Committee on the Environment (COTE) to keep the issue of sustainable building and resources front and center. Already this committee has explored building resiliency and sustainability with environmental design; identified relevant building tours and educational seminars and conferences; and is exploring the path to Net Zero Energy, as State specified requirements lead us down this path. If you would like to participate, COTE meets on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. Also, there is a newly formed LEED Version 4 Study Group, which meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month.
Please visit our website www.aiacv.org and consider all the large and small opportunities that YOU can be involved in. As architects, we have the responsibility and the privilege to become better practitioners throughout our career, and to create new, challenging and unique work. The Chapter offers you resources that allow you to do just that.