AIA Virginia Newsletter: September 2020

Be Nicer Than You Really Are
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs everywhere about hand washing, masks, and social distancing. I would like to propose that we add another sign.
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John H. Spencer Recognized as the 2020 Noland Medalist
A lifetime of groundbreaking leadership and commitment to education anchors John Spencer’s 2020 William C. Noland Medal recognition.
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Call for Applications
Do you want to be in the 2021 class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture, or know someone who should be? Applications are now being accepted.
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Foresight 2020: The Complete Guide
Foresight 2020 is AIA Virginia’s online event platform featuring signature programming for 2020. Here’s your complete guide.
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ACE Virginia Joint Owner Forum
Join us for ACE Virginia’s interactive presentation with key decision-makers from the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS) to discuss how the industry can most effectively collaborate with the Commonwealth.
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Visions for Architecture Goes Online in 2020: Raises Money for Scholarships
We’re trying some new things – like announcing the Design Awards live – with the goal of creating a vibrant, fun celebration of the people and organization who mean so much to our profession.
Learn more>>

We’ve got exciting breaking news on the status of the new Virginia chapter.
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Call for Proposals: 20×20 @ YAFCON
Got 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell us about the incredible things you’re doing to cultivate the next generation of architects? We’re seeking presenters for a PK-style session on Oct. 30 during YAFCON 2020.
Check it out>>

General Assembly Special Session Update
AIA Virginia is watching two pieces of legislation that may impact your firm.
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Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Ambassador?
Are you a social butterfly? Are you professionally curious? Are you hoping to expand your professional network? If the answer to any (or all) of these questions is yes, consider becoming a Foresight Ambassador!
Find out how>>

Associated Thoughts
School is back in session.
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Crozet Elementary School Receives 2020 Test of Time Award
AIA Virginia honors Crozet Elementary with the Test of Time Award for achieving an enduring standard of excellence.
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Newly Licensed
Congratulations to the following member for passing their exams and gaining licensure.
See who>>

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Awarded the Architecture Medal for Virginia Service
Virginia Beach City Public Schools will be recognized for its commitment to environmental, social, and financial health in its building campaigns.
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AIA Richmond Widens Lead in the RUMBLE in the JUNGLE
The winner gets $1,000 for 2021 Architecture Week.
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Cheadle, Cushing, and Daniel Granted Honorary Membership from Virginia Architects
Judy Cheadle, Patrick Cushing, and Sam Daniel will be recognized by AIA Virginia with Honorary Membership for their sustained commitment and tireless work on behalf of the Commonwealth’s 7,000 licensed architects.
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Colley Appointed to APELSCIDLA Board
Virginia member Tim Colley has been appointed to serve by Governor Northam.
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Cox, Gordon, and Price Receive Awards for Distinguished Achievement
Al Cox, FAIA, Christopher Gordon, AIA, and Mel Price, AIA, will be recognized with the Award for Distinguished Achievement.
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Annual Meeting and Slate of Officers Announced
Join the membership of AIA Virginia on Nov. 4th for our annual meeting.
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McDermott and Parker Honored with Virginia Emerging Professional Award
Whitney McDermott, AIA, and Carrie Lee Parker, AIA, are recognized this year with the Virginia Emerging Professional Award.
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New Members
Please help us welcome these new members to the AIA as architects and associate members, transfers, and AIA Virginia Allied Members.
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Bulova and VCU Office of Planning and Design Recognized with AIA Virginia Honors
Delegate David Bulova and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Office of Planning and Design were recognized with AIA Virginia Honors in 2020.
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Meet the Fellows
Which Fellow enjoys what he does 24/7 and takes breaks doing watercolors.
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Working Towards Licensure?
Ready to take the ARE? Testing centers are open again. Get a 2-month subscription to the Amber Book for $50.
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Society’s Cage: An Interpretive Design Pavilion for the Black Lives Matter Movement
SmithGroup asks for your support of this project, and the possibility of bringing it to other locations. Additional donations will benefit the Architects Foundation’s Diversity Advancement scholarships.
Read more>>

Virtual and Augmented Reality Survey
Can you spare 5 minutes to help Virginia Tech gather data on the perceived value of Virtual and Augmented Reality within the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction Industry?
Take the survey>>

Highlights from the August Board Meeting
Read about the decisions made and items discussed at the last meeting of the AIA Virginia Board of Directors.
Read more>>


The Virginia chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (VANOMA) has secured its charter from the national NOMA organization!

Students from the state of Virginia were invited by VANOMA to participate in the national Project Pipeline event, our signature national program held over an 8 day period in a virtual format. Middle school and high school “campers” design a community based project which has drawings and a model as its deliverables. Students must then present their concept, drawings and model to the other campers and mentors using Zoom. VANOMA paid the campers’ fees thanks In part to a contribution from VIrginia AIA.

VANOMA is also communicating with our student (NOMAS) chapters at UVA, Hampton U. and VA Tech. As a show of support, members of VANOMA will participate in the convocation at UVA this fall and host Meet and Greets with the NOMAS chapters at each university. Members of the NOMAS chapters are invited to attend VANOMA virtual meetings.

Yours truly,

Kenneth Martin, Emeritus AIA, NOMAC

AIA Richmond Widens Lead in the RUMBLE in the JUNGLE

Winner gets $1,000 for 2021 Architecture Week

Like many professions, architects have interests that specifically impact our profession, practice, and our community. The legislative and regulatory environment is arguably the most important arena that impacts how we provide our professional services.  We, as architects, want to have an influential voice in this arena which allows us to control our destiny.  We can’t have an influential voice without having relationships. As such, the PAC allows us to build these necessary relationships.

The AIA Virginia PAC Award looks to celebrate the engagement and commitment of a local AIA component who supports the advancement and mission of the PAC.  The Award has historically been presented at Architecture Exchange East to the local component’s Board of Directors who will accept the award on behalf of the its respective membership.  The Award criteria is based on a point total calculation based on three areas: local component Board participation, percentage of local component’s membership who have invested in the PAC, and total amount of money invested by the members of the local component.

Below outlines point allocations:

  1. Local component Board participation
    • Did 100% of the Board of Directors invest into the AIA Virginia PAC?
      • Yes = 20 points
      • No = 0 points
  2. Percentage of local component’s members who have invested in the AIA Virginia PAC
    • Component with highest % = 40 points
    • Component with second highest % = 20 points
    • Component with third highest % = 10 points
  3. Average investment per member from the total local component membership
    • Component with highest average investment/member = 40 points
    • Component with second highest average investment/member = 30 points
    • Component with third highest average investment/member = 20 points
    • Component with fourth highest average investment/member = 10 points
    • Component with fifth highest average investment/member = 0 points

The scoring will be closed on October 23, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Invest at

Thank you to our 2020 PAC Investors:

$1,000 to $2,499
Glave & Holmes Architecture
Kenney Payne, AIA

$500 to $999
Jeremy Maloney, AIA

Ron Anderson of Nello Wall Systems
Scott Campbell, AIA
R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA
Karen Conkey, AIA
Theresa del Ninno, AIA
Rebecca Edmunds, AIA
John Glenn, AIA
Lou Wolf, AIA

JW Blanchard, AIA
Thomas Ellis, AIA
Eliza Engle, AIA
Jeanne LeFever, AIA
Beth Reader, FAIA
Sean Reilly, AIA
Robert Reis, AIA
J. Mitchell Rowland, III, AIA
Michael Spory, Assoc. AIA
Nick Vlattas, FAIA
Stephen Weisensale, AIA 

Up to $99
Anonymous (3)
Krystal Anderson, AIA
Kelly Batchelder of Nello Wall Systems
Barbara Benesh, AIA
Mayda Colon, AIA
Phoebe Crisman, AIA
Manoj Dalaya, FAIA
April Drake, AIA
Robert Easter, FAIA
Jori Erdman, AIA
Keesha Ezell
Kathy Galvin, AIA
Rhea George, Hon. AIA VA
Cathy Guske, Hon. AIA VA
Stephen Kulinski, AIA
Spencer Lepler, AIA
Andrew McKinley, AIA
Jonathan Moore, AIA
Susan Reed, AIA
Joshua Rubbelke, AIA
Maury Saunders, AIA
Charles Todd, AIA
Chris Warren, Assoc. AIA
Ed Weaver, AIA
Rob Winstead, AIA

AIA Virginia General Assembly Special Session Update

On August 18th, the Virginia General Assembly convened for a special session to revisit the recently passed biennial budget ravaged by COVID-19 and to take up legislation predominantly focused on pandemic impacts, criminal justice, and police reform. At the onset, the House met at VCU’s Siegel Center and the Senate used the Science Museum of Virginia as its meeting venue. The House chamber got off to a delayed start eventually deciding to conduct its business virtually.

The Virginia Secretary of Finance announced that the Commonwealth is faced with a $2.7 billion revenue shortfall in the two-year budget. To balance the budget, the Governor proposed cuts to one-time spending and canceling deposits into the Commonwealth’s rainy-day fund. The General Assembly is currently in the process of considering the Governor’s amendments.  The major issue we are tracking in the budget is funding for capital projects. As you may recall, during the Reconvene Session in April the Governor was given the authority to suspend or delay capital expenditures. At this time any delay in capital project spending at the state level has been based on a project by project basis. After reviewing the Governor’s amendments and discussions with the Administration, we do not see or anticipate any across the board cuts to capital spending.

AIA Virginia is monitoring the following two pieces of legislation that may impact your firm:

HB 5116Guzman – Public and private employers; required to provide eligible employees paid quarantine leave, etc.

This legislation would require employers to provide paid quarantine leave. The bill would require 80 hours of paid sick leave if an employee or family member contracted COVID or if an employee or a family member must quarantine. Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) introduced a similar bill (SB 5076) which failed to pass the Committee on Commerce and Labor with a 12-3 vote. Delegate Guzman’s bill passed the House with a 54-44 after being heavily amended several times. Based on the action in the Senate we anticipate this bill may fail, but are uncertain as to whether future amendments may increase its likelihood of success.

SB 5067Saslaw and HB 5074Sullivan – COVID-19 virus; immunity from civil claims related to transmission of or exposure to the virus.

Various legislators have introduced bills that provide immunity from civil claims related to the transmission or exposure to COVID-19 if the organization has complied with applicable local, state, and federal policies and guidance. Typically, when a number of legislators introduce similar bills, the result is one combined bill. In this case, the Senate Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Saslaw (D-Springfield) is carrying the combined bill in the Senate and Delegate Rip Sullivan (D-Arlington) is carrying the companion in the House.

SB 5106Lewis – Local land use approvals; extension of approvals to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

SB 5106 extends until at least July 1, 2022, the sunset date for various local land use approvals that were valid and outstanding as of July 1, 2020. This measure was introduced at the request of the Homebuilders Association of Virginia and is supported by many organizations who are concerned with COVID-19 slowdowns in construction projects that rely on various local land use approvals. The bill has passed the Senate and we are awaiting committee assignment in the House.

If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to Corey Clayborne, FAIA at

Associated Thoughts: School Is Back in Session

Somewhere in a dusty shoebox, a photograph exists of my first day of kindergarten. Probably fresh white socks and an oversized backpack with soccer balls emblazoned on it, with a little round face smiling that he will get to go learn phonics. I was a cute kid (if I can say so myself), and first days were always exciting–awaiting the adventures of new friends, a new teacher, a new year of learning.

I have a photo of each of my twenty first days of school, from kindergarten to college and into graduate school–not even the supposed dignity of higher education could stop that tradition–and in each one, there is that familiar glimmer of upcoming learning, of new-notebook-smell, a flickering gleam of awaiting adventure behind the classroom door.

But I imagine those photographs might look different this year. Maybe some new clothes, but more likely sweatpants and masks. Maybe at the kitchen counter, but with our laptops and webcams in the background. Maybe no studio desk or snoozing lecture hall. This is a tough year to be a design student, whether fresh to the bleary-eyed architecture buildings or returning to close out your thesis project.

For better or worse, universities are largely back in session–and we will not debate the underpinnings of those decisions here. Rather, I wonder how we address and support the realities of students, who may be learning architectural history from a dining room table, or cautiously coming into a distanced studio desk once a week for murmury feedback through a mask, or struggling to understand structural principles on your own alongside paying your tuition bill and buying only the books you really need. It’s tough to imagine.

I wish I could change this reality for you. Design education is vibrantly beautiful, a petri dish of creative energy and cheap coffee, dented egos and smudgy fingers and model magic. It is inspiring; it is gritty; it is occasionally all-consuming and brilliant. Having had the privilege of being both student and teacher, I am immensely amazed at the tenacity of students and faculty right now, fighting to keep the spirit of design education lively from kitchen tables and spare rooms, sharing the nuances and hard lessons of studio via videochats and “Can you see my screen? How ‘bout now?” What you are learning now will not be in vain, and it certainly will flavor the designs you will bring to the profession. As a discipline built on new ideas, we welcome this infusion from you, forged in the crucible of a university experience for which you never asked.

AIA Virginia, each of our regional component chapters, and every design professional I know of is here to support this fragile time for designers. From mentoring programs, internships, and financial support, to virtual networking events to whatever else we can think of, the profession of architecture–and of each of our firms and institutions–depends on the success and energy of young designers. Getting connected to AIAS at Hampton, UVA, Virginia Tech, and the WAAC opens up networks and leadership opportunities that last beyond your degree. Joining VANOMA (or NOMAS) as both BIPOC individuals and allies contributes towards confronting and eradicating white supremacy and supporting opportunities for equity in architecture. Entering (and winning) competitions serves to sharpen your design chops and is eye-catching in a portfolio. Begin drafting your resumes and start scanning your sketches for your portfolios. Read as much as you can. Write about something you are intrigued by, and submit it to a newspaper, a design publication, or a student paper. Ask for help. Consistently show up prepared and on time. These practices are always in conversation with your academic work, contributing to a rising tide of design excellence that encompasses broad skills and big ideas.

Despite it all, design students will keep designing and staying up far too late, and teachers will continue attempting to impart knowledge and resent having to give grades. In the meantime, know that the design professionals cheer you on, are here for whatever you need, and are ready to hire you. While we were students once ourselves, you will have much to teach us about adaptability, tenacity, and the benefits of human-centered design of all our built spaces.

In solidarity and action,
Michael Spory, Associate AIA

Just a Few Fun Things to Click On

Something to register for: Registration for AIA Virginia’s annual conference is up and running! Under the banner of Foresight 2020, this year’s trio of programs(ArchEX, Design Forum, and Visions for Architecture) has gone virtual, with a killer lineup, with lots of discounted options for educational, professional, and networking programs during the entire month of November. Take special note of the speaker lineup for Design Forum on Thursday, November 5–with presentations from partner Kristen Murray from Olson Kundig and David Lewis from LTL Architects, and a keynote from Steven Holl himself.

Something for Virginia emerging professionals: Join us for YAFcon 2020: The Empathic Architect, which is a week-long virtual series of engaging conversations about designing and practicing with intentionality. Join your fellow EPs the week of Oct. 26–Oct. 30 for a daily series of peer-led discussions over lunch, and presentations by purposeful — sometimes unconventional — leaders each evening. Registration is intentionally kept low-cost to make it easy to attend–it’s only ten bucks for students!

*YAFcon is an annual gathering of the Young Architect’s Forum (YAF), which promotes the professional growth and leadership development of emerging professionals, including early and mid-career architects and unlicensed professionals on both traditional and non-traditional career paths.

Someone to know at Hampton: Robert Easter is the faculty advisor for AIAS and NOMAS at Hampton, and Shahada Allah (President; and Shanice Robinson (Secretary and Immediate Past-President, are the leaders of the Hampton chapters. Wherever you might be, they would love to hear from you about getting connected to other Pirates!

Someone to know at Virginia Tech: Kevin Jones ( is the faculty advisor of AIAS at Virginia Tech, which also hosts a chapter at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), and the AIAS leader is Ben Sturkie. Also, CL Bohannon ( is the faculty advisor for NOMAS, which is leader by Aria Hill ( Hokies are everywhere!

Someone to know at UVA: Phoebe Crisman ( is the faculty advisor for AIAS at UVA. She can get you in touch with the right people. 

Some ways to take action at your school: Along with the national NOMA organization and the about-to-launch VANOMA, each of the Virginia design schools has active chapters of NOMAS. Contact leaders at UVA, HamptonVirginia Tech to learn more about diving in as a leader or ally. Some ARE testing updates from NCARB: Testing in person is (almost certainly) coming! We expect that on Monday, November 16, 2020, candidates can schedule remote-proctored appointments, while still being able to test in-person at Prometric test centers. The actual ARE content and division structure will not change–more information about exam delivery changes will be released in mid-September. NCARB expects to release updated ARE Guidelines, ARE Handbook, and a new demo exam in October. These changes will keep the exam’s rigor, while providing candidates with greater flexibility and accessibility. In summer 2021, NCARB is slated to switch to a new test administration vendor, for both in-person and remote testing. Visit NCARB’s website for details.  

Be Nicer Than You Really Are

Many years ago, our firm rented an office in a historic brick and timber frame building in downtown Winchester. In several locations there was historic graffiti, inked in cursive, inscribed on the wooden columns and beams. The most prominent piece of graffiti was one which said 1917 – Country is hell all over. All of us in the office thought that the inscription was referring to when the U.S. entered into World War I. Little did anyone know back then that, in the spring of 1918, the ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic would soon come along, eventually killing roughly 675,000 people in the U.S. and a staggering 50 million worldwide. Now, a little over a century later, we are living through another frightening and vast, worldwide pandemic, with all of its social and economic repercussions. 

Beth Reader, FAIA

Thinking back to that building and its graffiti, I remember that it was there that my co-workers and I would sometimes encourage each other to “be nicer than you really are!” When one of us would get irritated and annoyed with a client or a builder or an engineer or whomever, we’d say that catchphrase to one another, in order to prevent us from saying or emailing something curt or unkind, something not easily retracted.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs everywhere about hand washing, masks, and social distancing. I would like to propose that we add another sign, one instructing people to be nicer than they really are. All of us are struggling these days, to different degrees. Job loss, social isolation, looming evictions, underlying health issues, uncertainty about the economy, racial injustice, political discord… really, it’s overwhelming. It’s no wonder that anxiety and depression are rising among Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is just trying to cope the best they know how. 

We all recognize that architects can and should use their skills to make their communities better, by doing socially relevant work, creating architecture that inspires and uplifts, and volunteering their time and talents in a myriad of ways. In addition to their important, more long-term career citizen architect work, architects can, on a daily basis, use their design thinking to help solve big things but also small things. They can try to fix or avoid conflicts rather than always having to win an argument or a difference of opinion. Architects also need to be empathetic and kind, and give people the benefit of the doubt. We are leaders, and we should all ask how we can make things better– the projects we take, the ones we don’t, the design priorities within our work. Check in on your colleagues in the office and on young emerging professionals, who are facing a severely constricted job market. Find out if your clients or builders are stressed, and give them some help and encouragement. Instead of being nicer than you really are, try to be as kind and empathetic to people as you possibly can.

Now that we own our office building, it’s tempting to scribble some graffiti ourselves: 2020 – Country is hell all over. But then, on the other hand, maybe we should just inscribe the Elvis Costello line: 2020 –What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?”   

With best regards,

Annual Meeting and Slate of Officers Announced

Hear about vital developments with your professional society, elect officers and conduct other business at the AIA Virginia Annual Meeting of the Membership. The meeting will be held during Architecture Exchange East Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. There is no charge to attend the Membership Meeting.

Register for the annual meeting through the Foresight 2020 event portal>>

The 2020 Nominating Committee has placed the following members for nomination for 2021:

Per Section 6.04 of the Bylaws, Sean Reilly, AIA [AIA Northern Virginia] will succeed to President.

President-Elect: Robert Easter, FAIA [AIA Richmond]
Vice President of Advocacy: Kathy Galvin, AIA* [AIA Central Virginia]
Vice President of Education: Krystal Anderson, AIA* [AIA Richmond]
Secretary: Bill Hopkins, AIA [AIA Hampton Roads]

*Elected last year to fill an unexpired term (finished one year of service in 2020)

At the Last Board Meeting

AIA Virginia | 2020 Board of Directors
August 7, 2020
Zoom Virtual Meeting

Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of June 26, 2020 Meeting Minutes
  • Approval of the AIA Virginia Honors Awards as proposed by the Honors Committee
  • Approval of using donations from the 2020 Visions for Architecture to support Hampton University’s architecture program
  • Approval of the 2021 Slate of Officers for presentation at the Annual Meeting as proposed by the Nominating Committee
  • Approval of granting the President the authority to cast final votes for AIA National candidates for office at her discretion on behalf of AIA Virginia

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • PAC Update                                                                                                   
  • Membership Update
  • Amber Book Update
  • Foresight 2020 Update
  • Virginia NOMA Update                                                          
  • Emerging Leaders in Architecture Update
  • Mid-Career Stage Leadership Program Update                                           
  • Operation: Reach, Retain, and Develop Update                                          
  • AIA/ACEC Joint Virginia Disparity Study Letter                                            
  • AIA Virginia Participating in Virginia Energy Plan                                         

Members may request a copy of these written reports by emailing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA at

The next meeting of the 2020 AIA Virginia Board of Directors will take place Friday, October 9, 2020.

Newly Licensed

We understand the dedication and effort required to study for and pass the ARE. Congratulations to the following member for passing their exams and gaining licensure. This is great news that thrills all of us and we are so proud to call you architect!

Mr. Casey P. Walker, AIA (Blue Ridge)

Have you recently passed the ARE? Upgrade your membership to Architect using this AIA form. or send an email to your Member Services Director, Cathy Guske,