2021 AIA CA Annual Report

We started the year with optimism and three goals:

Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA, AIA CA Executive Vice President
  1. Find ways to connect members
  2. Provide resources and to enable the practice of architecture
  3. Advocate for the profession and the built and natural environment.

While the global health crisis, natural disasters, and prolonged drought tested our collective resolve, it is important to recognize and appreciate how much we accomplished together over the last year – and to be hopeful for the year ahead.

As you review the accomplishments, it is easy to focus on the numbers of tangible benefits – from webinars about the latest tools and best practices to design inspiration – but what is really at the backbone of our efforts are all the things that happen behind the scenes you don’t necessarily see.

Having someone looking out for the profession in the halls of the Legislature and in the regulatory arena is at the heart of our work in Sacramento. I am proud of our proactive advocacy efforts in code development, climate action, and in support of professional practice. I am proud of our efforts to position members as thought leaders on a wide range of issues. And I am particularly proud of our work to make sure the profession is at the table all the others who plan, develop, build and create our communities. We are always in the process of connecting architects and policy makers to design the places we work, live, and play.

I have the pleasure and honor to have a dedicated and passionate team of staff and volunteer members, working on behalf of the profession – on advocacy, education, and communications – and together, we have made great strides of which we all can be proud.

Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2022!

Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA
AIA CA Executive Vice President

Our shared daily experience now dramatically confirms what climate scientist have known for years: severe climate disruption is accelerating beyond the most pessimistic predictions. This crisis is the direct result of human activities and must be urgently addressed by all of us, collectively and globally.

Which is why the Board of Directors officially declared a climate emergency to immediately accelerate the decarbonization of the built environment.  It enables AIA CA to boldly move to influence public policy.

AIA CA also established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion steering committee and policy. This Steering Committee was created to champion a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion to create a more diverse community within the architectural profession. Using an EDI lens as a significant layer of perspective to AIA CA’s planning, the Committee will contribute to strategic planning conversations and create a dialogue for issues important to underrepresented groups in all aspects of architectural practice. And the policy created to state will act as a major element of 2022’s operating plan.

While we continue to advocate for the environment, and grow and establish and support EDI efforts, AIA CA also made significant legislative advocacy strides. AB 1010 was authored by Assembly Member Marc Berman (D – Palo Alto). This new law requires all California architects to complete 5 hours of continuing education in Net Zero Carbon design every two years and will be in effect for the 2023 renewal cycle.  This CE will help architects understand significant changes that are expected to be included in future building codes and standards and will help position California architects as the thought leaders in Net Zero Carbon design.  AIA CA will supply courses for free to all architects renewing their licenses in 2023.

In addition, AB 830 , authored by Assembly Member Heath Flora (R – Ripon), was signed. This bill contains language to restore freedom in how some newly formed architectural firms can name themselves.  In late 2019 the California Secretary of State’s office adopted a new interpretation of existing law and began rejecting the formation of new architectural general business corporations that includes a last name of a principal and any variation of the “A” word in its title (e.g. Smith Jones Architects, Inc.).  AB 830 restores the naming freedom to newly formed architectural general business corporations. 

The Healthcare Facilities Forum and Monterey Design Conference were both held and successfully attended, especially given the virtual environment. While this was not the first time HFF was held virtually, it was a first for MDC. Both conferences inspired thought, design, and thoughtful conversations about design.

200 healthcare facilities forum attendees

Nearly 200 attendees attended HFF in two-half day conference in September to learn about the long-lasting effects of the pandemic. From telemedicine services to the new challenges such as cost impact, operations, care delivery, etc.

More than 600 registered for the first ever virtual Monterey Design Conference: On the Road

More than 600 registered for the first ever virtual Monterey Design Conference: On the Road. Presenters took us into their design spaces, offices, homes, and most provided a live Q&A with emcee Reed Kroloff. While nothing compares to sitting in Julia Morgan’s Merrill Hall, or walking down a serene stretch of Northern California beach, discussing the last keynote to present their groundbreaking design philosophies, the chat and break out rooms still held lively conversations. It was clear inspiration and hope were sparked—both desperately needed as of late.

AIA CA hosted 48 webinars and reached more than 6,600 individuals

Though they were the largest, the abovementioned were not the only virtual successes. AIA CA hosted 48 webinars and reached more than 6,600 individuals. From Climate Action features to Urban Design Townhalls, Small Firm Roundtables, and Leadership Seminars, AIA CA ran the gamut on what a member might need to ensure a thriving practice.

AIA CA cannot move the profession along without other agencies and partners who are working towards a better environment for all. It is in this vein that we are proud to boast partnerships with New Buildings Institute, William J. Worthen Foundation, and esixDevelopment to develop www.Electrifyingbuildings.org – a database of over 250 case studies of all-electric buildings. We’re crowdsourcing additions to the database and expanding detailed content on projects.

While staff works diligently to ensure the success of the architecture profession, that does not happen without the involvement of our members. We move forward in collaboration with you and for you, and value the firm, the people within the firm, and the profession itself.

Skip to content