Saturday, December 20, 2008

December AIA-SWO Chapter Meeting Recap

Despite record-breaking cold weather and snow in the days that proceeded it, our annual holiday party was surprisingly well attended. Thirty AIA-SWO architects, associates, and family members braved the slippery trek to the Mid-Town Arts Center to share the season’s good cheer, a varied buffet menu (Xmas pizza and sushi, anyone?), and a selection of fine wine, beer, and soft drinks.

The poor weather and road conditions between Portland and Eugene did prevent AIA Oregon Executive Vice-President Saundra Stevens, Hon. AIA, from joining us. She had looked forward to reporting about AIA Oregon’s latest activities and how the organization is working to advance our profession at the state level. Saundra now plans to attend one our monthly chapter meetings sometime early in 2009; she’s a tremendous resource for Oregon architects, and our chapter is lucky to have her experience and insight. The adverse weather also kept our evening's entertainment from joining us; the woodwind quintet's presence would have undoubtedly added to the holiday atmosphere. Regardless, those who were at the party definitely enjoyed each others’ company, sharing thoughts about 2008, and looking forward to meeting the challenges of 2009.

With an eye toward next year, we posted sign-up sheets at the party for the various AIA-SWO committees that will be active during 2009. We’re seeking volunteers to staff the following committees:

2010 Northwest & Pacific Region Conference Committee
Our chapter plays host in 2010 to the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference. The conference’s title is “An Emerald Vision,” and its focus will be how architecture and planning support and protect the natural beauty of Oregon. This is a huge undertaking, and will require the efforts of many AIA-SWO members.

Educational Seminars Committee
For 2009, we plan to produce two educational seminars with the goal of providing our members with convenient access to continuing education learning units. One of the seminars is likely to focus on the impacts of accelerating climate change upon settlement patterns and its implications for architects and urban designers. The other seminar may be more practice-oriented, but this is yet to be determined. Join this committee and help us organize these educational opportunities.

Design Awards Committee
Our chapter has not conducted the juried Design Awards program since 2005. We’re hoping to change that in 2009. This is especially important for 2010 when we host the Region Conference, because a prerequisite for receiving an AIA Region Design Award is being previously recognized for a design award at the chapter level. Members of this committee will work together to identify the jury, handle the logistics of the project evaluation process, and produce the Design Awards ceremony.

EWEB Riverfront Charrette Committee
The EWEB Riverfront Charrette Committee is working with the Eugene Water & Electric Board and the City of Eugene to conduct a workshop for the purpose of exploring possible futures for EWEB’s important riverfront property. The goal is to assist EWEB and its urban design consultants with a public process to solicit input from as broad a range of stakeholders as possible.

Willamette Crossing Charrette Committee
The Willamette Crossing Charrette Committee is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation and OBEC Engineers (designers of the bridge) to conduct a workshop for the purpose of advancing the design of a signature bridge at the crossing of I-5 and the Willamette River. It is believed that a collaboration of engineers, architects, landscape architects, and artists informed by public input and multiple focus groups would result in strong ideas and unified theme. The goal is to create a bridge which is memorable - a striking addition to the landscape and our communities. The effort should give physical presence to the theme Whilamut Passage.

AIA Fellowship Nomination Committee
It’s been too long since one of the AIA-SWO members has been recognized for his or her accomplishments by being elevated to AIA Fellowship. The Fellowship Nomination committee will seek to correct this lapse during 2009.

Monthly Programs Committee
Participation in the Programs Committee entails identifying program topics and speakers for each of the monthly AIA-SWO chapter meetings. The committee is also responsible for publicizing the meetings, and soliciting program sponsors.

People’s Choice Committee
The People’s Choice Awards program is one of AIA-SWO’s most successful ventures. If your firm has been a recipient of a People’s Choice award, consider giving back by volunteering for this committee. Help ensure that the program remains strong and continues to be a design showcase for the work of our members.

Register-Guard Insert Committee
The annual Register-Guard Insert is one of our chapter’s best opportunities to communicate to the public the role that architects play in the development of a beautiful, sustainable, and healthful community. The insert is also one our chapter’s primary generators of non-dues revenue, essential to maintaining and improving the value that AIA-SWO delivers to our members.

Residential Architecture Committee
The Congress of Residential Architecture (CORA) is an independent organization that in some AIA chapter jurisdictions operates as a chapter committee. CORA has become a major voice for the residential design community and is often relied upon by local officials and media for perspectives on residential development. One topic of interest to our local CORA committee will be the City of Eugene’s Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) program. It is the hope of the committee to assemble its recommendations for the City’s consideration.

If you are interested in participating in one of these committees, please feel free to contact me or any of the 2009 AIA-SWO board members.

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Our December AIA-SWO board meeting was the last presided over by Jody Heady, AIA as 2008 AIA-SWO president. Jody will soon be departing for a half-year sabbatical in Australia, where the weather is certainly balmier and more pleasant than the Willamette Valley has been this past week. The board presented Jody with a Certificate of Appreciation for his contributions during his tenure as president, which include initiating the planning for the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference.

Enjoy your time “Down Under” Jody! We'll expect a full report when you get back!

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This month's winner of our chapter meeting raffle prize, which is a $50.00 gift certificate courtesy of Down to Earth Home Garden & Gifts store, is our 2009 AIA-SWO secretary, Kari Turner of PIVOT Architecture. Remember, your first raffle ticket is free with your paid dinner and additional tickets are only $2 each. However, you can’t win if you don’t attend, so join us at our February 2009 meeting for your next opportunity to win!

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Our first chapter meeting of 2009 will be our annual joint event with the Willamette Valley Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). The subject of the meeting is the state of the economy and its ramifications for the design and construction industry in the coming year. Given the turmoil in the financial markets, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and the deepening recession, there is no doubt that this is a program that will be well-attended. Join us on Thursday, January 29th at the Eugene Hilton to hear from a panel of local and regional experts about whether we can look forward to a light at the end of the tunnel in 2009.

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