So far 2016 has proven to be a busy year! At the Inaugural in December I outlined several things that were important for the College to begin working on over this year. To-date we have made strides on several of them.
As many of you may have already noticed, we have a new format for our newsletter. We hope this format is more visually pleasing and easy to navigate. We will continue to evolve this new layout over the remainder of the year with the help of our Secretary Ed Vance, FAIA.
During last year’s AIA Convention in Atlanta, I had asked some of our past Chancellors including, James Lawler, FAIA, Sylvester Damianos, FAIA, Robert Odermatt, FAIA, and James Tittle, FAIA, to help the EXCOM re-think the Latrobe prize and how we can make it more relevant, not only to our own members, but to all architects. I am grateful to these four gentlemen for doing such a fine and thorough job. They gave us a report of about 18 pages, which delineated what needed to be done to make the Latrobe a more focused product that would have greater value to the average practitioner.
In the same vein of getting expert help on various initiatives, I had asked John Klai, FAIA, of Las Vegas and Alex Klatskin, FAIA, of New York to look into a Capital Campaign for the College that would also tie in our legacy program. John and Alex did a wonderful job in defining various new levels of giving to the College with benefits to the supporter. It is so important to recognize and give back when possible to those who help the College’s mission succeed.
As many know, mentorship is a key component to the College. I am pleased to say that we have started, along with the Canadian College of Fellows, a global mentorship initiative program to mentor young and old architects from around the world. At a meeting with the RAIC in Nanaimo Canada in mid-June, both the AIA/COF and the FRAIC are working together to set a framework for this global initiative. This will take time to roll out but once it does, it will have a great impact on the Emerging Professionals as well as many other architects, to obtain the information that they need to effectively practice in this world economy.
John R. Sorrenti, FAIA
The 2016 AIA National Convention was held in Philadelphia from May 19-21. The College was fortunate to have been able to secure special venues for each of our events throughout Convention week. The week started off with a Pre-Convention meeting with the Executive Committee of the College at the Union League club followed by dinner. The Union League Club was redesigned by the architectural firm BLT and was completed last year. Below are highlights of some of the individual events that took place at this year’s Convention.
2016 AIA College of Fellows Invitational and Chancellor’s Cup Open
For the second time in our College’s golf tournament history, we offered two special events.
The 2016 Chancellor’s Invitational was played at the “bucket list” experience of Merion on Tuesday, May 17, of Convention Week. Charles Dagit, FAIA, of Philadelphia was the “host Fellow” and invited nine players along with two other club members to fundraise for the College. While the 18-hole experience was played in rain, a first in 20 years, the players remarked at dinner that they didn’t notice being wet all day due to the amazing memorable golf experience of Merion. After golf and before an exquisite 19th hole and dinner, our host provided a guided tour with the Club Archivist of the Merion Museum and Archive (see photo) with priceless golf memorabilia that one could physically touch. Our field raised close to $4,000 that day.
The next day, our 20th Annual Chancellor’s Cup Open was played on the morning of Wednesday, May 18, at the White Manor Country Club in rural Radnor, PA. Our field of 85 golfers from all over the world enjoyed a beautiful, challenging golf course in what felt like “late November” weather.
Due to the efforts of our dedicated volunteers, and the effective direction/leadership of our tournament planners, we raised a total of $41,500, the fourth largest fundraising level in our 20-year history. Our College of Fellows golf events have raised over $531,000 for the benefit of the College’s initiatives.
2015 Latrobe Prize Highlight from Convention
On Thursday May 19, Hadley and Peter Arnold of the Arid Lands Institute along with Rowan Roderick-Jones of Arup and John Haymaker, AREA Researcher for Perkins + Will, gave a progress report on its “Drylands Resilience Initiative”: Digital Tools for Sustainable Urban Design in Arid and Semi-Arid Urban Centers”.
The Latrobe Prize, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for a two-year program of research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. The $100,000 award is enabling the Arid Lands Institute (ALI) and its cross-disciplinary partners to further develop and test a proprietary digital design tool, known as “Hazel,” that eventually will enable arid communities anywhere to design and build the infrastructure needed to capture, retain and distribute storm water runoff. The technology builds on previous public and private sector funded research to maximize low-carbon localized water supply; shape water-smart urban planning, zoning and building policy; identify key sites for public and private investment; develop pilot projects that are scalable and replicable; build water-conversant design professions and support water-sensitive design education.
The presentation made by the team provided a comprehensive understanding of how climate change impacts affect urban water infrastructures and demonstrated new way of identifying new water supply opportunities for the design profession. They also provided a clear understanding of the importance of carefully evaluating the energy impacts of siting neighborhood scale storm water capture projects and provided the audience with the ability to discuss techniques of storm water capture to others.
This year’s Investiture was held at the Irvine Auditorium on the Campus of the University of Pennsylvania. This was a truly great venue for the Investiture; highlighted by the fact that Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown completed the courtyard restoration, done in the year 2000. This year, Denise walked across the stage at the Irvine Auditorium to receive her honorary Fellowship. What a special moment indeed. This ceremony elevated 158 new Fellows to the College in view of 1,200 people at a spectacular space designed by Horace Trumbauer in 1932, the preferred architect for many of the wealthy class in that era.
2+2 Achieving Great Design Program
Again this year, the 2+2 Achieving Great Design program turned out to be a great success. The program was held on Saturday morning with good attendance. The program format includes two Young Architect recipients selected in December and two members of the College of Fellows known for good design. The program is scheduled for 60 minutes with each speaker having 15 minutes to present. It seems almost impossible for an architect to limit talking about their work for 15 minutes; however, this year’s group did an outstanding job. We have some really talented people as Young Architects, as well as outstanding representation from the College. This year’s speakers included:
In summary, it was a very interesting program. All speakers had great work. It is energizing to see the work of the Young Architects and the exciting direction their careers are taking. It is also exciting to revisit the day-to-day learning experiences young architects are engaging in to get their careers on track and moving forward. Furthermore, the members of the College of Fellows presented outstanding award-winning work; the members of the College also face some of the same challenges faced by the young architects. There is a shared quest to do good work, engage clients and provide design that enhances and preserves the environment. The program allows the sharing of ideas and, most importantly, the sharing of a forum to present and discuss design. The focus is that design is a core value and vision and that architecture and careers at all levels share a common goal and ambition.
COF Annual Business Meeting
On Saturday May 21, the College of Fellows convened its annual business meeting and lunch at the Union League in Philadelphia. The meeting was jam-packed with a number of different speakers and updates. The meeting ran, as follows:
COF Convocation Dinner
On Saturday May 21, the College of Fellows Convocation Dinner was held at the Marriott Marquis Grand Ballroom in Philadelphia to celebrate the 2016 Class of New Honorary Fellows with a cocktail hour preceding the event. Chancellor John Sorrenti, FAIA presided and opened the festivities by welcoming the new class and their guests. He also introduced the College of Fellows Executive Committee including the newly elected Bursar for 2017, Peter Kuttner, FAIA.
2015 Chancellor Albert Rubeling, FAIA took the stage giving an inspiring invocation followed by Chancellor Sorrenti introducing 2016 AIA President Russell Davidson, FAIA who added his remarks and congratulations to the new class of fellows on behalf of the National Component.
Chancellor Sorrenti then announced this year’s Leslie N. Boney, Jr. Spirit of Fellowship Award recipient who was none other than our very own Senior Vice President, Terri Stewart, Hon. AIA who accepted the award to a standing ovation.
It’s been said that change is the only constant, and in the profession of architecture that is no different. Recently, we had the chance to speak with Ned Kirschbaum, FAIA, to learn about the ways in which technology has evolved in the profession, and how he and his firm have embraced and incorporated the most forward-thinking technology into their work. Ned is currently the Principal and Director of Technical Design at Fentress Architects, where he is responsible for directing and overseeing the full range of professional services related to the technical side of his firm’s practice. More specifically, he is involved in:
Ned began his career in the late 1970’s, when design and document production were still being produced by hand. Therefore, in the early stages of his career, Ned used pin-bar overlay drafting, which is a shortcut technique that reduces the amount of time spent in drafting documentation. Keeping up with the latest software trends, Ned and his firm were early adopters of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM), both of which have revolutionized practice with increased precision, speed, coordination and visualization.
Ned explained how there is certainly a generational gap in the workplace due to the evolution of technology. The adoption and use of digital design tools, digital documentation tools, instant messaging, mobile devices, product research on the web, and even social media collaboration is much more prevalent in younger architects. With that said, some older architects are resistant to their use or they are simply content with using the same tools they perfected in their early practice. However, since these are the design and delivery tools of today and the future, Fentress Architects sees a great reverse-mentoring or mutual-mentoring opportunity, as it relates to closing this generational gap and lessening the resistance. The firm pairs more experienced senior designers and technical architects with more technology savvy younger designers. The younger designers are more facile in manipulating the digital tools and feel more empowered in the design process by collaborating with senior staff in this way and both generations benefit enormously.
Embracing the Evolution
In the office, Ned is known as the champion of designing high-performance building envelopes. He discussed how one of the biggest areas of evolution in architecture design and practice has been related to sustainable design and energy efficiency. He expanded on these topics by sharing how, in the late 1970’s, building envelopes were leaky and insulation levels were very low. Today, his firm aspires to reduce energy consumption in every way possible including designing highly insulated and tight facades, and employing day lighting, renewables, and efficient mechanical systems. Ned and his team are currently working with a client on a net-zero office building.
Work at Fentress Architects
Fentress Architects developed a series of eight tenets they call the “Touchstones of Design™”, which aim to join the two principles of Art and Engineering, as it relates to their approach to developing and producing public architecture. These tenets guide every project the firm engages in, and inspires collaboration and innovation that creates an output that goes above and beyond, connecting the design space with people in mind.
Some project examples Ned and his team have developed that embrace and incorporate new technology in the architecture space, include:
As Ned stated, “Technology supports the increasing speed of delivery demanded and expected today. Additionally, it supports remote collaboration and integrated design, and provides better visualization tools for clients and designers.” Overall, technology is critical to the profession of architecture, and the way architects do business everyday. Technological advancements over time have revolutionized the profession and the capabilities and resources available to architects.
Tony Costello, FAIA, has dedicated his life to giving back to the profession of architecture and serving his fellow man. He uses his commitment and passion for the profession to support underdeveloped areas in Haiti through his pro bono work, in conjunction with the efforts of his local parish, the St. Francis of Assisi/Ball State Newman Parish located in Muncie, Indiana.
We had the chance to interview Tony to learn more about the award-winning projects that have resulted from his pro bono work with his firm, Costello + Associates, and that have been produced by his students in the course Socially-Responsible Planning and Design in The Third World/Haiti, which he teaches annually at Ball State University.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Latrobe Prize for architectural research. To celebrate this milestone, we’ve followed up with the inaugural winners, Stephen Kieran, FAIA, and James Timberlake, FAIA, partners of the award-winning firm KieranTimberlake, to ask how the Latrobe Prize impacted their practice and if any of the predictions they made 15 years ago have come true.
The goal of Kieran and Timberlake’s research was to gain insight on what the architectural profession could learn from other industries in order to improve its own products and practices, which seemed stuck in the nineteenth century. When they submitted their proposal in 2001, productivity in the architectural industry was on a decades-long decline. Having grown up in families with ties to the automobile industry, they saw how cars evolved, how they increased in quality, improved on price point, and performed better over time. With that in mind, they asked “why can’t this happen in architecture?”
They further observed that airplanes, automobiles, and ships were relatively the same scale as buildings, and in some cases even larger and more complex, but were constructed better, faster, and cheaper than buildings. Kieran and Timberlake set out to uncover the specific processes and technologies that allowed the aerospace, automobile, and ship building industries to flourish. Their research proposal caught the attention of the Latrobe Prize jury as a profoundly different concept that delved into new areas of opportunity for the profession as a whole.
Through their research, Kieran and Timberlake identified a range of technologies and processes that could increase productivity and quality within the architectural profession, including the use of parametric modeling, integrated teams, and mass-customization. They also used the Latrobe Prize grant, which was $50,000 in 2001, as a catalyst to invest more in research in their office. They assembled a research team, which included a material scientist, and produced several outputs from their findings. They published Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies are Poised to Transform Building Construction, a provocative book that has sold more than 25,000 copies and has been translated into Chinese and Korean. They also worked with McGraw Hill to initiate an Innovation Conference that is still held annually. Additionally, they developed and exhibited SmartWrap™, a mass-customizable, thin-film building envelope material at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2003.
Today, KieranTimberlake continues to turn profits back into research and is one of few firms to integrate a 15-person transdisciplinary research team into its practice. Many of the predictions they made in Refabricating Architecture have come to pass, including a rise in off-site construction, more cross-disciplinary collaboration within the profession, pervasive use of building information modeling, and more fully integrated project delivery methods.
Remarking on the impact the Latrobe Prize had on the firm, Timberlake says, “Without research, there is no way to progress. In comparison to other industries, architects are small players, and as a result it is difficult for them to come by research cultures that match other professions. Programs like the Latrobe Prize are critical to the advancement of architecture because they provide a means for architects to further invest in the profession and make new discoveries.”
To donate to the Latrobe Prize or another initiative supported by the College of Fellows, visit our Donation Page.
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!
This includes every Fellow and Honorary Fellow to be named as such, dating back to 1857 before the College was even established. In fact, only 5,607 of these Fellows have been a part of the formal College of Fellows.
This number includes the 149 Fellows and 8 Honorary Fellows elevated at this year’s Investiture in May. So far, 1889 was the year where we saw the most new Fellows (305), due to the consolidation of the Western Association of Architects into the AIA during the same year.
The COF pin that each of you wears today was debuted at the 1987 Investiture. It features the same design as the AIA pin, the gold eagle emblem, mounted on a maroon octagonal background.
The significance of the pin’s shape is likely symbolic of the Octagon House and it’s place in AIA history. The Octagon was designed in 1798-1800 by William Thornton, the first architect of the U.S. Capitol. It served as a temporary home for James and Dolley Madison when the British burned the White House during the War of 1812, and is the location where Madison ratified the Treaty of Ghent to end the war.
The Octagon was purchased by the AIA in 1902 and served as AIA’s Headquarters until 1969 when the AIA Foundation re-opened it as The Octagon House Museum. It remains adjacent to the AIA Headquarters today.
Your Fellows pin can be worn at your discretion, however your medal is meant to be a more formal adornment and should be worn without the pin as a general rule.
Fellows and Honorary Fellows should wear their medal around the neck, and only at official AIA award meetings and social events (i.e. Investiture, Convocation and Fellows Receptions), at meetings of other professional societies and/or with formal regalia at academic ceremonies.
How do you embrace our fellosophy? If you have a photo that captures what “a passion for doing more” means to you, please share it with us and we will consider featuring it in an upcoming issue. Any submissions can be sent directly to email@example.com.