AIA Grassroots 2017 – A Leadership Conference – Washington D.C.
Conference Recap by Mark Barone, AIA – 2017 AIA WJ President
The 2017 Grassroots conference is attended annually by the leaders of AIA National, State and Local Components and offers the opportunity to learn about how the Institute operates and its agenda for the coming year. Attendees also meet and discuss programming ideas with AIA leaders from Components across the country at a number of networking sessions and interactive seminars. This year, I was fortunate to attend as the representative from AIA West Jersey. New Jersey as a whole was well represented with members from each of the state’s six sections in attendance. Not only did we attend, but AIA NJ and WJ Emerging Professionals hosted a seminar on “Building an Emerging Professionals Network” at this national conference.
Wednesday, the delegation from New Jersey met for its Regional Meeting and heard reports from Bruce Turner, AIA, the New Jersey Regional Representative on the AIA National Strategic Council and AIA New Jersey President, Ben Lee, AIA.
Thursday kicked off a full day of presentations, briefly summarized below:
Design Impact Matters: Architects Shape Lives, Opportunities and Challenges for the Profession.
Carl Elefante, FAIA, AIA First Vice President, challenged architects to position ourselves and the profession for success by addressing two mandates. First, to proactively plan for growth to accommodate the anticipated population boom from 7 to 10 billion people in the lifetimes of today’s practicing architects. Second, to substantially reduce or even eliminate human causes of climate change resultant from the building sector.
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlement Program & Peter Calthorpe, Architect, Urban Designer and Urban Planner.
Dr. Joan Clos spoke to conference attendees via video about the recently held Habitat III Conference, held every 20 years, where member nations engage in discussions regarding housing and sustainable urban development.
Peter Calthorpe shared highlights from 30+ years of work that reflect global trends towards New Urbanism planning principles. Mr. Calthorpe emphasized towns and cities with a diverse users and uses, streets focused on the pedestrian scale that promote human interactions, and built to be environmentally sustainable.
Archi-Talks: Rapid Fire TED-style Talks on Key 21st Century Issues
Conference attendees were treated to four consecutive talks on key issues for cities in the century ahead. The four presentations were: Walkable Cities, by Jeff Speck; Heritage Cities, by Jean Carroon, FAIA; Resilient Cities, by Michael Berkowitz; and 21st Century Cities, by Thomas Dellessio. After the talks members selected one of four break-out sessions on each topic to attend for further discussion and analysis. The discussions were facilitated by members of the Strategic Council, and attendees’ responses will be complied and reported out to membership later this year.
Members received information regarding a number of grants available to components and the Component Excellence Awards were announced. One particular program was organized by AIA Phoenix, entitled Arizona Kids Build, where K-8 students learned about the process of architectural design over the course of several weeks by designing and building a model of their our shade shelter guiding by AIA Architect members.
Leadership Workshops 1 & 2
After lunch, attendees selected two leadership development workshops. I was fortunate to attend “Building an Inspiring & Sustainable Practice through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” and “How to Talk about Architecture with Clients & the Public”. The first seminar was led by Dr. Shirley Davis, who discussed characteristics of winning cultures and tips for effective leadership. Happy, engaged employees exhibit increased productivity and lower stress. One memorable quote from the session, “If you are a leader and nobody’s following you, you aren’t leading, you are just taking a walk”. In the second session, AIA communications staff presented the new AIA Message Book, a document produced from the work of the AIA National Public Outreach Committee. The book offers guidance for speaking to clients and public in a way that advocates the value of architects and the profession to the public. I suggest downloading a copy for yourself here: AIA Message Book
Welcome Reception – AIA National Headquarters
In the evening, conference attendees enjoyed some light fare and cocktails while touring AIA National Headquarters. We met face to face with AIA staff, networked with colleagues and viewed an exhibit featuring designs by emerging professionals.
On Friday, the conference continued with members attending seminars, keynote speeches and presentations as summarized below:
Peer Group Networking Breakfast
Over breakfast conference attendees network with another leaders from similarly sized components. I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing our local initiatives with leaders from Tampa Bay, Long Beach Austin and Spokane.
Leadership Workshop 3
My final seminar, “Building an Emerging Professional Network”, was not only attended by AIA NJ and AIA WJ members, it was presented by us. AIA NJ Emerging Professional Community (EPiC) and AIA California’s Academy for Emerging Professionals (AEP) presented each organization’s structure, successes and failures to a packed room of component leaders. Jessica O’Donnell, AIA WJ Secretary, and AIA NJ EPiC Chair was a featured presenter.
Concluding Session: Keynote, Town Hall and Candidates for National Office
In the final general session, ARCHITECT magazine editor, Ned Cramer moderated a panel discussion with the candidates for national office: 2018-2020 At-large Director (one to be elected) Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA and Daniel S. Hart, FAIA, and 2018-2019 Treasurer Patrick Panetta, AIA.
During the Town Hall, questions submitted from members prior to the conference, as well as inquiries from the members in attendance were addressed by Institute Leaders: Thomas Vonier, FAIA, AIA President, Carl Elefante, FAIA, AIA First Vice President, Heather Koury, Hon. AIA, CACE President, Robert Ivy, FAIA, AIA Chief Exectuive Officer, and Jason Winters, AIA, Moderator Strategic Council.
Mayor Catherine Pugh of Baltimore gave the final keynote address, calling on architects to get involved in city planning and team up with elected officials to use their unique problem solving skills to improve communities. Mayor Pugh discussed her work with AIA Batlimore to realize the Baltimore Design School, a new community school offering students an education in architectural, fashion and product design while providing public meeting spaces for the surrounding community.
If you have made it this far, you may be a good candidate for leadership in the local component. I encourage you to start small and ask your local AIA component leaders to help organize a meeting, or take RSVPs. Then jump in on a Committee, or take on another leadership role in an area you are passionate about. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin developing your leadership skills today. Maybe it will be you that gets to represent AIA West Jersey at Grassroots in the years to come!
Mark Barone, AIA – 2017 President
On Friday February 24th, the AIA-West Jersey Emerging Professionals Community (EPiC) observed “Tech Month”, by taking a guided tour of NextFab, a local co-working facility and “maker-space” that provides technology training, production equipment and automated fabrication expertise to start-ups and creatives. The event was well attended, and included representatives of AIA-WJ, Philadelphia Emerging Architects (PEA) and the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (PhilaNOMA). We were also joined by the project architect of the facility Jackie Gusic, AIA of Inhabit Architecture & Design, who provided insight into the background and design of the project, an adaptive reuse of a warehouse located among the building supply stores on Washington Avenue in South Philadelphia.
Eric Kaplan, Business Development Manager of NextFab, directed our tour and demonstrated the architectural applications of their digital automated production equipment. The metal and wood shops located on the main level featured some of the largest pieces of machinery, including water-jet and plasma cutters for metalwork, and two CNC mills for composites and wood-based materials. The advantages of 3D scanning for reproductions of architectural artifacts and sculptural objects were evident from the CNC milled prototypes that Mr. Kaplan presented. Afterwards, we toured the upper level which included the 3D printing and laser-cutting studio, where we had the chance to observe a 3D printer in action, creating a prototype of an architectural extrusion.
After the tour, the group headed to nearby Los Camaradas restaurant to enjoy some Mexican cuisine and discuss upcoming events and opportunities for professional development. By the end of the night a lucky participant was awarded a door prize custom laser-etched by NextFab, a plywood medallion emblazoned with the “I AM EPiC” logo. Thank you to all who participated to make this event a success!
The CANstruction Pennsauken 2017 Awards Reception was held this past Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at the Rutgers University Camden Campus. A panel of judges — including local architects, dietitians, community activists and representatives from the Food Bank of South Jersey — voted on categories including Most Cans, Structural Ingenuity, Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, and Best Original Design. In addition to these categories, there was a sixth award that was judged solely by the Food Bank of South Jersey representatives titled, Food Bank Favorite.
AIA West Jersey sponsored team, Kitchen and Associates, took home the “Food Bank Favorite” trophy for their “CANbell’s Soup” CANstructure. Measuring in at over 6 feet tall, 4 feet in diameter, and containing a total of over 1,700 cans, the design resonated with Food Bank representatives for its ties to Campbell’s Soup in Camden and being such a well-loved food by so many people. Although simple in shape, the detailing of the “Campbell’s” lettering was applauded.
AIA West Jersey seeks to sponsor this event on an annual basis. This year’s event resulted in 13,461 cans of food donated to the Food Bank of South Jersey. If you or your firm are interested in potential sponsorship of your team, or if you would like to organize a AIA West Jersey team in 2018, please contact us at: email@example.com.
For additional information about the Food Bank of South Jersey, please visit their website: http://foodbanksj.org/
On January 19th, AIA West Jersey and Graphisoft, producers of ARCHICAD, hosted a BIM, Wine & Cheese Inaugural Event at the Markeim Arts Center in Haddonfield, NJ.
GRAPHISOFT BIM Specialist, Zoltan Toth, demonstrated ArchiCAD and BIMx softwares, offered best practices, and discussed BIM Return-on-Investment. Attendees learned something new whether already a ArchiCAD user or just considering the move to BIM.
The event featured a sampling of Hungarian wines from Palinkerie Winery. Hungarian wine is quickly becoming popular—it’s both a novelty on this side of the Atlantic yet also the product of a rich, 1,000-year-old winemaking tradition. Wines were enjoyed with a selection of cheeses and other victuals.
For the inaugural event, we were honored to have AIA New Jersey 2017 President, Ben Lee, AIA, in attendance to swear in the members of the 2017 AIA WJ Board.
On top of all this, attendees were able to network and take in the Exquisite Corpse exhibit on display at the Markeim Art Center. The Exquisite Corpse is an artistic collage of head, torso and legs, where each component is created by a separate artist. No one knows how it will turn out until the works are assembled. Markeim members and guest artists have produced nearly a 100 works currently on display.
Please join AIA West Jersey for our next event, a tour of maker-space NextFab in South Philadelphia on February 24, 2017, and Save the Date for our Building Tour at the Pinelands Preservation Alliance on March 25th, 2017.
As the holiday season comes to a close, we look to 2017 and the year ahead. AIA West Jersey will be introducing new members to the executive committee, and planning the year’s programming. In fact, a number of events are already in the works.
Wine and Cheese Tasting / Inaugural:
To kick the year off, AIA WJ will host a wine and cheese tasting event on January 19th co-sponsored by Graphisoft, producers of ARCHICAD one of the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) software applications used by architects, designers and engineers. This event will feature a presentation of vineyard projects designed in ARCHICAD while attendees sample wines and chesses presented by a guest sommelier. AIA New Jersey 2017 President, Ben Lee, AIA, will be in attendance to swear in the members of the 2017 AIA WJ Board. Please check your inbox in early January for registration information. Attendance will be limited, so RSVP early to save your place.
Emerging Professionals Tour:
AIA West Jersey invites our EPs, as well as the general membership, to join us for a tour of NextFab, a collaborative makerspace with digital and traditional fabrication tools, 3D printers, CNC machines, classes, events, and professional consulting services. The tour is tentatively scheduled for February 23rd, at NextFab’s Washington Avenue facility in South Philadelphia. Mark your calendars, and get a taste of the facility at: www.nextfab.com
Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) Historic Louden Barn Tour:
If you joined us in September for the joint AIA West and South Jersey Dinner Meeting, you’ve already heard about the renovation of the historic Louden Barn (built 1932) on the Bishop Farmstead at PPA Headquarters in Southampton, NJ. On March 25th, AIA West and South Jersey will offer a tour of the completed barn project, hosted by PPA staff and the project architect, engineer, geothermal consultant. This tour will include access to the expansive hayloft, a space not typically open to the public.
This and many more events are available to AIA Members and guests in 2017. We look forward to sharing the experiences with you.
AIA West Jersey strives to bring quality programming and value to its membership, and believes that the organization is YOUR AIA. Please reach out to us with constructive criticism and feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year,
Mark Barone, AIA
Incoming President 2017
It is that time of year, the online voting page for the 2016 AIA West Jersey Photography Competition is now open. Please, click the link below and vote for your favorite!
Voting is open to the public. Please share the link with colleagues, friends and family. Voting ends the Monday after Thanksgiving, November 28th.
Votes will determine the 3 prize winning photographs, the cover image, and 12 “monthly” images that will be printed in the 2017 AIA-WJ Calendar.
PRIZES: Each year three cash prizes are awarded for Overall Best Entry, Best Color, and Best Black & White, as follows:
Best Overall Entry – $ 250 prize
Best Color – $ 150 prize
Best Black & White – $ 150 prize
Attendees were treated to a hands-on presentation by Renee Chaykin, LC, Northeast Regional Manager for Designplan. The presentation including demonstration of new and best-selling light fixtures available for both residential and commercial use. In addition to the lighting product displays, participants engaged in a thoughtful question and answer session.
The discussion continued on the bowling lanes, as the Emerging Professionals and hosts rolled well into the evening in friendly, but spirited, competition.
AIA West Jersey thanks our hosts Designplan Lighting Inc. and Illuminations Inc. for supporting the component and this event. If you are interested in learning more about Designplan or Illuminations, and their products and services please utilize the contact information below.
Designplan Lighting, Inc.
Renee Chaykin, LC
Northeast Regional Manager
On September 27, 2016, Emerging Professionals from AIA West Jersey and Central Jersey Components gathered at the Taproom & Grille in Haddon Township, NJ for a seminar featuring Personal Financial Planning Basics for Emerging Professionals. Attendees learned about Budgeting, Insurance Protection, Retirement/401k Planning, College Planning and Investing for yourself and your business.
The seminar was presided over by Jason Gabrieli, CFP of HFM Investment Advisers, an emerging professional in the financial planning industry. The presentation featured excellent discussion among the participants.
Light fare and cocktails were available during the networking portion of the event.
For additional information about Emerging Professional events in the West Jersey Component and across New Jersey, please visit the AIA NJ Emerging Professionals Community website: http://epic-aia-nj.weebly.com/
October is Emerging Professionals Month. The following article was submitted by AIA West Jersey Member and Emerging Professional, Jeffrey Brummer, AIA, and recounts his experience as a design professional volunteer with Community Design Collaborative and the AEC Cares Project Philadelphia Project at the AIA National Convention 2016.
Imagine that you had $300,000 worth of building materials and 150 willing volunteers. Could you transform a public recreation center that has been underfunded for decades? The answer to that question seems pretty easy, but how about completing the renovation in 10 hours? That was the challenge posed to me and six other design professionals who volunteer with the Community Design Collaborative in February of this year. What an amazing and challenging opportunity for our team, not only to create a good design, but also to help seek out the many building materials needed for the project through donations. AEC Cares provided us with this incredible opportunity.
AEC Cares is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 2011 and has completed a transformative project each year since then, such as: renovating five homes that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, restoring a building for transitional housing and job training, updating a school for underprivileged youth, and renewing a crisis shelter for homeless youth. The annual projects are selected based on the location of the AIA national convention, and the day of service for the project is performed the day before the opening of the convention. Since the convention was in Philadelphia this year, we were given the opportunity to participate in the AEC Cares Project-Philadelphia.
The project selected for this year was the renovation of the Athletic Recreation Center in the Sharswood neighborhood, which has a long history of providing afterschool and summer programs to hundreds of children since 1911. The Community Design Collaborative volunteer team’s role for this project was twofold: to create a design that can be implemented by a volunteer workforce in one day and to only use materials that can be donated or found locally. The design team consisted of veteran volunteers from the Community Design Collaborative, who have provided countless pro-bono design service hours or non-profit clients throughout the Philadelphia area.
Our team held the kickoff meeting at the building site in early February and quickly assessed the building. We selected five rooms to become the focus of our design intervention: the main entrance hall, the art room, the auditorium, the kitchen and costume room. Once we had our design areas defined, we held weekly meetings to define the scope of work and clarified the extent of our design intervention. We quickly developed a schematic design to present to the Athletic Recreation Center staff and community, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (who own and manage the center), and AEC Cares staff. We immediately needed a firm understanding of how much time and effort would be required in preparation for the build day to make our design a reality. Not only would we have to take the lead in procuring much of the material used in the renovation, but we also had to present our design clearly so the volunteers could quickly understand our drawings to complete the design on schedule. Once the schematic design was reviewed and approved, our team started defining what preparation work would be completed in advance by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s skilled trades staff and volunteer contractors. Tasks such as vinyl floor demolition and installation, demolition and installation of light fixtures, and any demolition/preparation work above 12′ high were completed prior to the build day.
Volunteers from the neighborhood were also an important part of the preparation phase of the project as they cleaned out years of stored items and clutter to empty out the work areas. The housecleaning was also an important step in creating excitement throughout the center for the big changes that were to come. Once the preparation work was complete and many of the donated materials were secured, our team had a clear idea of what parts of the project design needed to be altered. Luckily our design only needed minor changes as the build day was quickly approaching. Final coordination was completed with multiple fabricators and materials were being delivered to the center; everything was in place for the 150 volunteers to do the work.
The build day on May 18th, 2016 was a great success and we were able to complete most of the work as a team. It was quite a sight to see so many people working in one building at one time. It was great to work with talented volunteers from all over the country. Volunteers recruited by AEC Cares represented many design related firms and corporations from all over the United States. The upgrades to the Athletic Recreation Center were dramatic and the children loved their new building. The renovated spaces would support the numerous programs at the center.
Now that a few months have passed since the build day and my crazy schedule has slowed to a normal pace, I’ve had some time to reflect on this project. I learned that people are more generous with donating their time and materials for a good cause than originally thought. We couldn’t have completed such a dramatic transformation without the support of so many generous donors and volunteers. Another lesson that I learned during the project was to have a flexible design. Our design team benefited from having a flexible design that could be altered as the project progressed, without losing the main intention of the renovation. In the end, we were able to meet the challenge, and in the process, create a legacy project that will benefit the Sharswood neighborhood for years to come.
Jeffrey Brummer, AIA, LEED AP has been a volunteer at the Community Design Collaborative since 2003 and has participated in many design grant projects throughout the Philadelphia region. Please visit www.cdesignc.org for additional information about the Community Design Collaborative or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.