Mid-summer – and mid-year – seems to suddenly be upon us, and we continue to see the indicators of a strong market for architectural services as we enjoy the pleasure of seeing the immense volume of work under construction. Along those lines, with construction recently completed, June saw the first gathering of the AIA Virginia Board of Directors in the new AIA Virginia Headquarters for lunch and strategic planning exercise. Many thanks to all that have been a part of this successful transition.

For those who called into the Virtual Membership Meeting in June, the PAC Opt-In Initiative was presented to the membership. For those unable to call in, the PAC Opt-In Initiative will enable AIA Virginia to form and strengthen relationships with key lawmakers who debate and pass bills that affect the built environment and our profession. To ensure the Opt-In Initiative is clearly communicated and understood, AIA Virginia leadership is meeting with each of the local component Board of Directors for feedback as we consider using a portion of dues to support our PAC.

Indicated in the past as a favorite service through member surveys, the Firm Directory – in electronic format – has been issued! No small accomplishment, in this updated format, the Directory is an agile, living platform, allowing for edits, immediate new listings, and unparalleled flexibility. Congratulations to the AIA Virginia staff for their initiative and innovation!

Acclaimed practitioner and award-winning designer Ann Beha, FAIA will serve as Jury Chair for the 2019 AIA Virginia Design Awards. Ann has assembled a stellar jury – Rodrigo Abela, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, Sara Caples AIA, LEED, James Elmasry, AIA, LEED AP, and Anthony Pangaro – bringing an urbane yet diversified perspective to the program. Ann will appear at Architecture Exchange East in November to present the projects recognized, and to share jury deliberation comments.

A’19, the national conference in Las Vegas in early June lived up to all the promise of its billing. The curious spectacle that is Las Vegas (for some of us…), was complemented by substance and authentic promise. Two ‘sustainability’ themes emerged. We saw practical applications of building performance research, and ingenious strategies to reduce our footprint, with evidence that our buildings can achieve ‘net zero’ and even give back by generating energy. We saw the promise of a cleaner, healthier, and more balanced environment.

And, we also saw the promise of sustainability through the lens of society and the profession. On many fronts led by young practitioners, the case was made that diversity, equity, and social justice are essential considerations, not only for society in general but for the AIA and the practice of architecture. Roman Mars, host and creator of 99% Invisible conducted a series of live, on-stage keynote interviews with contemporary “disrupters” – Reshma Saujani (leader of Girls Who Code), Karen Braitmayer, FAIA (barrier-free design), and Keller Rinaudo (bringing medical supplies via drones to hard-to-reach places) among others – and the message was clear: as architects we have the opportunity to positively reinforce, bring, and design change. An opportunity that we’re fortunate to have.

Best to all, and thank you for your ongoing support of AIA Virginia.

Rob V. Reis, AIA, LEED AP
2019 President
AIA Virginia