I don’t think I’ve ever met an architect who did not value advocacy. As soon as one leaves the relative safety of academia and steps into the rough and tumble of the business and art of architecture, BOOM! The complexities, contradictions and obstacles that impact our ability to use the power of design to shape a better world become apparent. Sometime painfully so!
Most architects however would prefer to leave the advocacy to others, so they can focus on … no surprise … architecture.
A little over two years ago, I joined the relatively modest cadre of those working on behalf of the 11,000 members of AIA CA to try to influence – in positive and productive ways – the landscape of code, regulation, policy along with their numerous stakeholders, agencies and authorities. This is a thicket indeed, one so dense as to make even plotting a course a challenge. Movement is slow, and surprises and disconnects many. Sigh. It seems frustration and ‘dead ends’ are as common as verdant fields in this landscape.
Looking back on these last few years, I note some patterns that connect architectural design with advocacy for architectural practice. Neither is linear. Neither can be easily explained, and neither is very predictable. For both, there is clearly a relationship between passion, effort and results as without those in abundance, progress is unlikely; but even with them in good measure … results that are satisfactory can still be elusive.
In this context, ‘sweet surprises’ are hard to not celebrate.
A document and workshop just announced on the California Building Standards website has left me with a big smile and warm heart. This includes a draft Charter for a new entity: The CalGreen Carbon Reduction Collaborative. On a close read, this new entity a manifestation of the ‘reboot of CalGreen’ that AIA CA has been advocating!
From my own personal perspective, I see a trail that started the AIA CA code change petition to amend CalGreen for ZeroCode inclusion; continuing through that long and twisting journey to recent AIA CA advocacy with key state agencies and other stakeholders for a shift in CalGreen leadership; and culminating in the well-attended workshop AIA CA hosted with participation from all the key state entities along with a range of public and private stakeholders on January 27th.
Hats off to the great many who have contributed to this major move forward … certainly the breadcrumbs go further back and wider than what’s in my minds’ eye … and now looking forward to seeing how this unfolds!
Michael F. Malinowski FAIA
Consultant AIA California
President Applied Architecture Inc
President, Streamline Institute, Inc 501c3
ICC Existing Building Code Committee 2018-2023
AIA California President 2016
AIA National Director 2012-2014