Sunday, March 8, 2009

President’s Message – March 2009

When the AIA-SWO Board of Directors drew up plans for 2009 last December, we knew that we were setting an ambitious agenda for chapter activities. Well, three months on and I’m pleased to report that we’re well on our way to fulfilling a number of our objectives. These include:
  • Moving forward aggressively with planning for the 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference
  • Resurrecting the juried Design Awards program for the first time since 2005 (we will solicit entries this summer for jury review in September)
  • Expanding ties with the University of Oregon’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (including co-producing last month’s Reverse Crit)
  • Working in partnership with AIA Oregon to advocate vociferously for the adoption of high performance building legislation (see item below)
  • Seeking feedback from Associate members and other interns on how the AIA-SWO can better address their concerns
  • Generating a predictable stream of non-dues revenue
  • Organizing an educational seminar to be offered in early June
  • Assisting our local public agencies by producing design workshops that advance meaningful and creative solutions to specific design problems.

On this last front, AIA-SWO recently assisted ODOT by organizing and facilitating a successful pair of workshops intended to ensure that the proposed new I-5 Willamette River Bridge will be as notable a span as possible. The knock against so many similar charrettes we have produced in the past is that the results too often gather dust on a shelf. This will not be the case for the I-5 bridge project, as ODOT is committed to integrating many of the concepts generated by the charrette. Look for more information about the results of the “Whilamut Passage” workshops in the near future, as well as news about two additional charrettes we have in the works.

The fact that I’m able to list such achievements is due in no small part to the efforts of our board, as well as AIA-SWO members who have volunteered their time on our active committees. They are also attributable to the cajoling, encouragement, and cheerleading of our executive director, Don Kahle, without whom these accomplishments would not be possible.

The AIA Oregon Economic Resource Center
Each of us has been affected by our nation's current economic downturn. Whether it is construction projects that have been scaled back or put on hold due to the tightening credit market, or the need for firms to make staff reductions, many of us have had to make very difficult decisions as we watch the horizon for signs of a recovery. In difficult times, it is critical that our profession continue to innovate and capitalize on new and existing opportunities while pulling together and looking out for one another. AIA Oregon has developed a web portal designed to facilitate access to a wide range of resources for all architects throughout Oregon during the recession, including links to post your resume and search employment listings, and to keep architects connected to their design communities. My hope is to soon have a direct link available from the AIA-SWO website; in the meantime, here is the AIA Oregon Economic Resource Center URL:

Leadership by Design – April 23, 2009
AIA Oregon has proposed High Performance Building legislation that would require certain state buildings to meet Department of Energy adopted green building design standards and to be certified at the highest standard a 20-year life cycle cost analysis merits. Leadership by Design is a half-day event in Salem to promote this legislation and maintain Oregon as a leader in sustainable, high-performance buildings. AIA Oregon is organizing everything including bus transportation for us from Eugene to Salem, lunch, coaching, and talking points for meeting with legislators. Online registration to participate in the event will soon be available on the AIA Oregon website at the following link:

Please join your fellow AIA-Southwestern architects, interns, and students in Salem on April 23rd for this important advocacy effort.

AIA 2009 National Convention and Design Exposition
This year’s AIA National Convention, taking place April 30 – May 2 in San Francisco, is rapidly approaching. If you haven’t already considered attending the convention, the following are some of the compelling reasons to do so:

  • The Economy and You
    The AIA is addressing how the recession is affecting members’ careers and practices by offering a number of sessions at the convention developed around what actions to take in an economic downturn.

  • Sustainable Design Learning Units
    As of January 1, 2009, all AIA members are required to fulfill four CES learning units in sustainable design. The AIA Convention offers more than 70 workshops, seminars, and tours that focus on sustainability, allowing attendees to choose from a wide range of topics to target their interests and stay competitive in this essential design area.

  • New AIA Members Pay $0 for the Convention
    What a Deal! Convention registration is FREE for all first-time architect, associate, and international associate members who join the AIA between May 18, 2008, and May 2, 2009. This welcoming gesture goes a long way to help new members to begin networking with colleagues and industry leaders all in one location.

For additional information regarding the 2009 AIA Convention, check out AIA’s convention website at:

I hope to see many of my AIA-SWO colleagues in San Francisco!

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