Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (photo by Matt Kozlowski, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
This past week, April 12-18, was National Architecture Week. Occurring each April, National Architecture Week is the American Institute of Architects' annual effort to increase public awareness on the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities and to elevate the public’s appreciation of design. At the national level most of this effort is online, composed of pinboards on Pinterest, Twitter chats, and the Architecture is Awesome contest on Instagram. The intent is to showcase the work of architects and encourage architecture fans to share their thoughts.
April also happens to be the birth month of Thomas Jefferson, the nation's only president/architect (and it’s my birth month too!).
How did I observe National Architecture Week? Well, I dolefully prepared and filed my tax returns (paying hefty tax due sums to the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue). My wife and I buried our beloved cat, Gracie, who passed away following a lengthy illness. I managed to miss what I’m sure was a fascinating panel discussion about the legacy of Pietro Belluschi organized by the University of Oregon’s Department of Architecture and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Oh yeah, I also spent way too much time at the office, working toward a deadline of increasing urgency.
Personally speaking, National Architecture Week was a bust. Nevertheless, here during its waning hours, I feel compelled to acknowledge its observance. As an architect, it’s meaningful to me. I sincerely believe the reasons for the annual celebration are praiseworthy. For 2015, the week’s focus was upon architecture as a source of reinvention, recognizing the architect’s profound ability to impact an industry through design, a community through a building’s purpose, and the beauty of architecture itself through restoration and historic preservation.
More than a self-serving Hallmark holiday, National Architecture Week is an opportunity every year to remind ourselves and the communities we serve why architecture is important and why good design matters.