Allied Members are not Architects, but are professionals in related fields, who collaborate with and support Architects in the creation of the built environment.

What Inspires Your Passion for Architecture?

By KAnderson
In May 20, 2015
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by Genevieve Vargas, AIA, LEED AP ID+C
Board Director

With the 2015 AIA National Convention just wrapping up, I’ve been thinking about 2004, when I traveled to Chicago to attend my first AIA Convention. It was my first trip to Chicago, and a trip I will never forget. The energy around an AIA Convention is invigorating and add to that the architecture in Chicago and it was an amazing trip. I highly recommend attending a convention if you ever get a chance.

I knew I wanted to see as much architecture as I could so I focused my time on the tours. On one walking tour I attended took us through the Gold Coast area and included a stop at the Charnley-Persky house by Frank Lloyd Wright. The intricate woodwork detail inside the house was remarkable. On another walking tour we walked the campus of the University of Chicago, going through new construction and old historic buildings. We ended that tour at the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Frederick C. Robie House. The Robie House has always been one of my favorites and top on my list for things I had to see and it did not disappoint.
One evening, I attended the Women in Architecture dinner at The Signature Room at the 95th. The posted picture is taken from the sidewalk before I walked in the building. For those who aren’t aware of The Signature Room, it is on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center. The views of the city were breathing taking even with the rain clouds and fog rolling in. When I selected to attend this dinner, I didn’t realize what an amazing evening I was in for.

The room quickly filled up and there were probably 200 to 300 women in the room, all with some tie to architecture. I was inspired and in awe of the incredible women I met that evening. So many valuable experiences, about their projects, their career paths, I wanted to soak up as much as I could. The evening events continued with a presentation by architect and author Susan Susanka, FAIA. Susanka was a delightful presenter with a wealth of knowledge that she was eager to share.
On my last day in Chicago I took a cruise along the Michigan River that was tailored towards the architecture and the skyscrapers the flank the river. What a great way to see the windy city.
When I returned to California I had a new found passion for architecture and a desire to get involved. My trip to Chicago is what eventually lead me to the AIA Central Valley Board.

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