From the President's Desk, Relevance|

BY: Debra Gerod, FAIA

As the architectural profession responds to the novel coronavirus, we all have questions. While there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, what we know for certain is there will be impacts on our businesses, our clients, our employees and our projects.

This pandemic will transform the profession as we know it today. And while this experience may help us build our collaboration skills through the utilization of remote workplaces, we will ultimately come back together, strengthened by the experience, to advocate for the value of design to create the spaces in which we live, work, and play.  As I searched for answers to help my own firm, I was struck by what a colleague in Pennsylvania wisely said, “This is an opportunity to lead, as crises typically are. Just as we have made design contributions to address climate change, school violence and other issues, design solutions are needed in this current environment. As previous recessions resulted in outsourcing and automation, which new strategies will remain with us?  Perhaps we can contribute to enable better preparation, better testing, better scenario planning and help prevent future contagion and a flattening of the curve.  There is no substitute for the nuances and spiritual necessity of human contact, but our ability to adapt to and to adopt promising new norms moving forward will contribute to our next steps as a society.”

Fortunately, we’ve all made the wise decision to join our professional association! AIA binds the architectural community together and connects us during troubling times. As we face this unprecedented disruption to our personal and professional lives, crowd sourcing best practices and sharing information can help us all. AIA California is committed to sharing vital information and updates with the architectural profession through a variety of different platforms:

  • Supporting members and chapters – we are focusing our efforts, in coordination with local components, to keep you connected. While technology will allow many of us to work differently, it doesn’t address the relationships we have with our clients and with each other. Locally, chapters across the state are hosting virtual townhalls to listen to concerns, challenges and ideas about what the AIA in California can do for you to help weather this storm.
  • Sharing resources – we are gathering best practices from firms and curating content specific to California.
  • Connecting design professionals – AIA California will host a virtual townhall on March 30 from 12-1 pm to bring together a diverse group of firms to share their responses and address some of the specific needs identified in the local chapter townhalls – register here. And socially, we’ll keep you connected thru our various social media channels and you’ll see a variety of campaigns to encourage you to share your work, virtually #virtualAIACA.

As the impact of the coronavirus evolves, you can count on AIA CA to connect people, share resources, and provide updates.

If you have any questions or would like to share how you’re responding to this situation, please reach out to me or our EVP, Nicki Dennis Stephens.

Debra Gerod, FAIA

AIA California President

Gruen Associates

AIA California
AIA California
AIA California is dedicated to serving its members, and uniting all architecture professionals in the design of a more just, equitable and resilient future through advocacy, education and political action. It celebrates more than 75 years of service and, today, is composed of more than 11,000 members across the state.

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