From the President's Desk, Relevance|

Ben Kasdan

A good friend and colleague who very recently earned their architectural license asked me if I knew about any opportunities for Young Architects to get involved in the AIA … my answer was a resounding YES!  In fact, there are more opportunities available for Young Architects, and Emerging Professionals in general, than a standard AIA Member.

Many members, let alone non-members throughout the profession, do not realize that their AIA membership is actually a three-tiered membership.  That is, an individual member is simultaneously a member of their local chapter, their state chapter, and the national chapter.  (Technically there is another tier of the Regional level, too, but since California is a single-state region that structure does not really affect Californians, so let’s ignore that one for now.)  Therefore, there are opportunities to volunteer at three different levels — local, state, and national.  Since each volunteer committee, board, task force, etc. is organized around creating a diverse representation of the overall membership, each small group is attempting to have perspectives from all types of firms, locations, specialties, gender, cultural background, urbanity or rurality, and level of experience.  Often, there are roles saved specifically for Young Architects and other types of Emerging Professionals (i.e., Associate AIA Members and Architecture Students).

For example, AIA California’s Board of Directors includes the Council of Advisors of the Academy for Emerging Professionals (AEP), which is a representative group of Emerging Professional leaders from across the state that focus on the path to licensure, mentorship, advocacy, and leadership on behalf of the next generation of architects and leaders in California and throughout the profession.  Right now, the AEP has two open awards programs worth considering:

  1. 2019 AEP Awards:
  • To advance local and regional excellence, AIA California’s Academy for Emerging Professionals (AEP) developed an awards program to recognize and celebrate those who contribute to assisting Emerging Professionals and their colleagues in pursuing their personal and professional goals. These individuals embody the importance of Emerging Professional AIA members and their contribution to the current environment and the future of architecture.
  • Awards are given for:
    • Firm Mentorship
    • Local Chapters
    • Associates Award
    • Student Leaders
    • Educators
    • Young Architects
  • Submission Deadline: September 2, 2019 by 11:59pm Pacific Time
  1. Emerging Professionals Design Competition:
  • AIA California has partnered with Sprung Structures to host an Emerging Professionals Design Competition. Each year, this competition challenges California’s emerging professionals to solve real-world scenarios that continue to affect California. The 2019 Emerging Professionals Design Competition will address earthquakes and housing.
  • The prize is complimentary registration and lodging for the 2019 Monterey Design Conference
  • Registration Deadline has passed, but if you already registered…
  • Submission Deadline: August 5, 2019

To be honest though, as much as the profession needs Young Architects and Aspiring Architects in volunteer service, the profession needs them in practice even more!  Many have written and spoken about the architecture being at a pivotal point right now; so the profession needs to be reinvigorated and re-inspired by the idealism of those that just joined the profession.  We need passionate architecture students barreling into their summer internships and first jobs with passion and drive to literally make the world a better place!  Whether joining architecture firms or paving new paths in non-traditional practice, we have a lot of important issues to solve with design thinking, we need their creativity now.

The Young Architects and Aspiring Architects already in the profession need to hold onto that same idealism.  Many of them are already doing so, making meaningful impacts in the built environment, in advocacy, in academia, and it is awesome… keep going!

AIA California
AIA California
Celebrating over 75 years of service, the AIA California actively promotes the value of design and advocates for the architectural profession. AIA CA is an association of 11,000 dedicated and passionate members who share a commitment to design excellence and livability in California’s natural and built environments.

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