I am honored this year, to be the new Chancellor of the AIA College of Fellows. This position is daunting, when you think of all of the esteemed people who have been Chancellor in the past. I have been privileged to serve under a few while on the EXCOM, such as Norman Koonce, Ron Skaggs, William Stanley, and of course last year’s Chancellor, Albert Rubeling, Jr. all of whom were great leaders and have inspired me on my goals for the coming year.
This year promises to be an exciting one for the College, and our EXCOM has several initiatives to concentrate on. Our past Chancellor, Albert Rubeling, Jr., set the stage for the College to re-examine the things we do as part of the AIA re-branding efforts. With consultation from our marketing agency, imre, we have re-worked our overall mission and vision, and have a new newsletter with more articles that are relevant to what the College is doing to benefit and advance the profession as a whole, wrapped up in a fresh, modern new look.
I will take the lead this year, with support from our new EXCOM, to increase our focus on funding, formulate a clear direction on our Latrobe Prize, and take our mentoring efforts, that are currently offered to young architects, to the next level.
We are looking to collaborate with the Canadian College of Fellows, the Australian College of Fellows, and the International Union of Architects (UIA) to bring about a global initiative to mentoring future and young architects.
Funding remains a key challenge if we are to keep and expand our programs to help young architects, local chapters, and all of our members, therefore, I have put together a task committee to study effective ways of funding the efforts supported by the College and I hope to have a full plan in swing by the AIA National Convention in May.
We will continue to look at our re-messaging efforts as AIA National defines their re-branding guidelines and parameters, to ensure that the College is moving forward and to be of increasing value to all of our members. I have no doubt that our new EXCOM is up to the challenge of making the College as meaningful as possible. Not only to our members, but to AIA National, young architects and the profession, as a whole. Please feel free to contact me directly on anything that you may be concerned about related to the College.
I am thrilled about the activities the College has planned for the 2016 annual AIA Convention in May, which will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. I look forward to many of you joining us for the fun, collegiality and business of the College activities that will be taking place that week.
John Sorrenti, FAIA
The first meeting of the 2016 College of Fellows EXCOM was held in San Francisco in March. On the arrival night, the team had a cocktail reception in honor of the newly elevated Fellows. Approximately 40 current Fellows came out to meet the EXCOM and recognize the newly elevated Fellows.
The second day was all business for the EXCOM, as they reviewed the finances of the College, the Latrobe Prize, the new Capital Campaign (an enhanced funding plan/program) and planned for upcoming mentoring initiatives, in addition to managing the regular business responsibilities of the College. Overall, it was a very productive two days for the EXCOM, with a variety of discussion topics centered around propelling the College forward over the next year and beyond.
Citizens walk around cities every day, too caught up in the chaos of their daily lives to notice the beauty that surrounds them. The mission of the “Speak Up Columbus!” campaign was to educate the public on the local architecture of Columbus, encouraging them to be curious and ask questions.
AIA Columbus launched “Speak Up Columbus!” as an extension of the AIA National “#ILookUp” advertising campaign, executed at the local-level. The original “#ILookUp” campaign was established to create public awareness of the importance of the architecture profession, and to challenge the public to “look up”, be curious and engage with their surroundings. The “Speak Up Columbus!” campaign takes the original campaign one step further by encouraging the public to not only “look up”, but also “speak up” and share what they see.
“Architects look to the past, present and future when designing, hoping that you will stop and look up. Before design ever begins, architect’s look up to see precisely what is not there in order to envision what it could be.”
The Emerging Professionals team at AIA Columbus selected four buildings in their city and partnered with the architects of each to gather some contextual information on the building design. The architects of each of these four buildings then surveyed the public to get their initial thoughts and perceptions of the building design.
As an added twist, in order to stimulate a candid, authentic interaction, the interviewee did not know that they were speaking to the architect of the building. By having the architect interview and engage with the public directly, it ultimately revealed how the architect does more than contribute to the building’s design and allowed them the opportunity to educate the public on the building’s overall purpose. The video highlights the interactions between these architects and the public.
We interviewed the Executive Director of AIA Columbus, Gwen Berlekamp, CAE, as well as Programming and Communications Coordinator, Jordan Iseler, to learn more about the “Speak Up Columbus!” campaign.
1. Q: What was the ultimate goal of the campaign?
A: The ultimate goal of the campaign was to raise public awareness of the profession of architecture; specifically highlighting and focusing on the great work local architects are developing and producing. We also wanted to create a corresponding social media component, as part of this campaign, in order to allow the public to engage with the output of the project; the video. We wanted to show how each of the buildings featured in the video interact with the community, in an authentic way, by portraying how they sit on the street and how the public perceives the design presence of each.
2. Q: How did you select the four buildings/architects to be featured for this project?
A: We started by analyzing buildings of prominence in Columbus that captured the diversity of style, practice, audience and use. Each of the four buildings selected were past award-winning design projects.
3. Q: What are some key learnings that you’ve drawn from the campaign?
A: The most surprising thing we’ve uncovered is that the public is very curious about the built environment. The public was more appreciative of the building’s presence once they knew more about the design background, inspiration and purpose. This campaign allowed the public to get in touch with their surroundings, and explore the architecture they pass by every day through a completely new lens.
4. Q: How do you think this campaign benefits the overall profession of architecture?
A: This campaign portrays the value of architecture and local architects, while educating the public. By educating the public on the inspiration behind a specific design space, it evokes a sense of appreciation by providing the opportunity to address unknowns, curiosity and any misconceptions. Furthermore, it creates an understanding of the ways in which architects contribute to the community and how they better the overall environment through well-designed, sophisticated spaces that adapt to the challenges of today (i.e. energy efficiency).
5. Q: Can you talk a little bit about the process of working with the AIA College of Fellows to be selected for the grant?
A: This was not the first Emerging Professionals Component Grant that we’ve received from the AIA College of Fellows. Each time the application comes through, we push the committees to step outside of the box of everyday work and push the envelope with what can be achieved. We believe that is the purpose of these grants; to push the limit and try new things. The chapter couldn’t have achieved the level of execution and production for this campaign without the support of the funds provided by the AIA College of Fellows.
As architects we have pride in the beauty of the buildings we create. To show your support for efforts like this, click here to donate.
Have you ever wondered what a typical day looks like for the AIA College of Fellows Chancellor? Do you ever wish you could sit down with him to learn about his journey? Well, here’s your chance! Take an exclusive look at the new 2016 Chancellor, John Sorrenti, and learn how he balances the position (while also managing his work outside of the College) and what he feels his role and responsibility is to the profession of architecture.
Like many of us, John knew he wanted to be an architect at an early age; for him it was the age of five. While he may not have exactly verbalized this career choice at a young age, as a kid he enjoyed playing with blocks and manifesting his own designs. This passion never faded, and as he grew older he became fascinated with how buildings worked and the things that could be created.
John’s journey to becoming Chancellor has been long, but incredible; filled with hard work, dedication and a constant passion for doing more. He has worked on a number of projects that have contributed to the overall advancement of the profession.
—1975: Became a member of the AIA as an associate architect
—1980: Became a licensed architect
—1980-1981: Started the local Long Island chapter office
—1991: Helped to form the guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.)
—1996: Became a Fellow
—2012: Joined the AIA College of Fellows Executive Committee (EXCOM)
—2016: Named Chancellor of the AIA College of Fellows
As you know, in order to achieve Fellowship, an architect needs to do something noteworthy and extraordinary that transforms the profession and falls within one of the five nomination categories. John’s notable contribution was in the Public Service category. In 1980-1981, he started the local Long Island chapter office and grew the membership total from 200 to over 400 members. He also started a second chapter on the east end of Long Island. In 1991, he helped to form the guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.).
John joined the AIA College of Fellows Executive Committee in the summer of 2012. Prior to joining the EXCOM, he served as the Regional Representative of New York for four years, and became the National Chair for AIA College of Fellows Regional Representatives, following the retirement of Paul H. Barkley, FAIA. During his time as the National Chair for AIA College of Fellows Regional Representatives, John attended EXCOM meetings. It was during this time that Ron Skaggs, FAIA, encouraged John to apply to be part of the EXCOM; he applied in 2012 and was selected.
Outside of his COF responsibilities, John runs his architecture firm, JRS Architect, P.C., which is made up of about 25 people in two locations – Mineola, NY (Long Island) and Princeton, NJ.
A typical day for John
As Chancellor, John’s two main areas of focus for the College are to begin to execute enhanced fundraising plans and to take the next step to further improving mentoring and mentorship programs.
To learn how you can give back to the profession and support the efforts funded by the College, click here to donate.
Dear Fellows and colleagues,
Welcome to 2016 and a new year for the Regional Representatives. I want to first, thank the Executive Committee for appointing me as the Chair and for extending me their confidence in my leadership of this esteemed group of the College. Secondly, I and on behalf of all of us, thank Gary Desmond, FAIA for his leadership over the past three years. Gary worked hard and raised the presence and awareness of this program both within and outside of the College and Institute.
As we all know, we each serve a three year term representing our respective regions/states. In addition, every year approximately one third of us either begin, end or are in the second year of our term. Therefore, it is always good to start a year with a “refresher course” to reconfirm the common goals and share ideas. Recently, we conducted two teleconference calls attended by a majority of the RR’s which was an introduction both for me as our new chair as well as for many of us. In addition to reconfirming our goals, we shared ideas and initiatives that some are pursuing. We also confirmed that we all should feel free to advance our activities as we each feel most comfortable and what would work best for you and within your region. The phrase I like to use….” What may or may not work in New York….may in Texas, California or wherever”. Our goals are common. We’re a unique group of professionals that have achieved recognition for our efforts. We each are no doubt proud of our accomplishments. We have accepted this role representing our respective regions to continue with advancing the presence of the Institute and the values of our profession by making a difference in the lives of others. Enjoy your means and methods of achieving your goals and please share your achievements (as well as those that may not have been successful) with all of us.
Communicate with one another as often as you wish. By working together we will make a difference.
I am hopeful we have the opportunity to all meet in Philadelphia in mid- May. Until then, good health and success.
John P. Sullivan, FAIA
Chair, College of Fellows
Think you know all there is to know about the history of the COF, the College’s mission and today’s Fellows? Think again! We challenge you to learn something new about our organization in every issue!
The term has actually taken several meanings over the years, from a proposed extension of the membership of the AIA to include “Fellow” members made up of ancillary professionals such as painters, masons and other craftsman; to a period of self-appointed “Fellow” status in the AIA based on length of service (as was the case with Richard Upjohn, pictured above.)
The concept of Fellowship as we now know it, the elevation of a member of the AIA, was first introduced in 1895, over 50 years before the College of Fellows was formally established.
Ralph T. Walker was the College’s first Chancellor. He, along with the other members of the College’s first executive committee, were selected to uphold the earliest mission of the COF, as defined by the AIA Board of Directors:
The purpose of the College is to stimulate and express the opinions and advice of honored and experienced members of the Profession… The duty of the College is to consider and report to the Board of Directors, at such times and manner as it may determine, any question or matter referred to it by the Board, or any matter of general interest to the Profession. The College shall provide a committee of induction to assist the president at any annual meeting or convention to induct newly elected Fellows, and to participate in their being presented to the Convention.
Where does your state rank?
1. California (519)
2. New York (304)
3. Texas (294)
4. Illinois (170)
5. Massachusetts (160)
6. Washington (134)
7. Florida (121)
8. District of Columbia (96)
9. Virginia (93)
10. North Carolina (82)
As many of you know, the AIA National Convention is rapidly approaching. This year the event will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on May 19-21. Recently, the AIA College of Fellows selected their new class of Fellows for 2016. This new class will officially be inducted and recognized during the investiture ceremony at the Convention.
We connected with the AIA College of Fellows Jury Chair, Diane Georgopulos, FAIA, to learn more about the new Fellows, how and why they were selected.
This year’s class
149 inductees and eight honorary Fellows will be inducted this year, the largest group to date, and the number of applications has been increasing year-over-year. As with many submissions in years past, this year’s class has demonstrated their creative solutions to sustainability challenges and resilience in the 21st century. As Diane noted, “It is impossible to review a portfolio that doesn’t cover topics related to energy conservation, sustainable approaches to urban design, and resiliency to catastrophic weather events. We definitely see a trend in the awareness of environmental context.”
In order to be eligible to be nominated for Fellowship, a candidate must be a member in good standing and must have completed 10 cumulative years as an AIA architect member prior to the nomination deadline.
When considering a candidate, the jury likes to see a portfolio of work that is signed by a variety of clients and colleagues, as this sheds light on the candidate’s experiences and accomplishments and shows how they took a problem and uncovered a solution.
The role of the jury
There are a total of seven members of the jury. Currently, these members include, Diane Georgopulos, FAIA; Steve Crane, FAIA; Marleen Kay Davis, FAIA; Mary Katherine Lanzillotta, FAIA; David Messersmith, FAIA; Karen V. Nichols, FAIA; Donald T. Yoshino. Each member of the jury serves for a total of three years. The secretary of the AIA nominated Diane as Jury Chair in 2016, and the AIA Board of Directors approved this nomination. This is her final year serving as a jury member.
As the Jury Chair, Diane is responsible for speaking to each of the seven-jury members to inform them of the process and expectations for each panel discussion held during the selection process, which analyzes and critiques each of the potential candidates’ portfolio submission.
During Fellowship selection, each jury member is assigned 30-35 potential candidates and is responsible for presenting the essential features of the candidate to the rest of the jury. This presentation focuses on the key highlights and strengths of each candidate, as it relates to the candidates category of focus.
To meet and welcome the new class of Fellows, please join us at the Convention in Philadelphia.
The College of Fellows calendar for this year’s annual AIA National Convention is jam-packed with fun and exciting events! A brief overview of the College of Fellows activity schedule is below.
Wednesday, May 18th:
Thursday, May 19th:
Friday, May 20th:
Saturday, May 21st:
The full schedule for the 2016 AIA National Convention can be viewed here.