AIA Virginia Newsletter: May 2024

From the President’s Desk
Happy May! As the blossoms yield to breezes and the forest canopy emerges, first fruits appear on the vines, and fish abound in rivers and the bay, I’m grateful for the cycles, seasons, and abundance of our Virginia mountains, valleys, and coastal areas.
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Virtual Meetings of the Roundtables
Meet with your colleagues and share your thoughts on the issues of today. Free. Registration required. 1.5 LUs pending.
Join us June 13th for the Firm Size Roundtables Register>>
and June 27th for the Career Stage Roundtables Register>>

Design Forum Reflections
The places we gather shape us. Just over a month ago, over two hundred of us grabbed our fancier clothes, empty notebooks, and perhaps a design-y friend or two and raced to Richmond’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) for AIA Virginia’s bi-annual Design Forum.
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PAC Award Competition Launches for 2024
The AIA Virginia PAC is one of the sharpest tools in our advocacy toolkit. The AIA Virginia PAC Award celebrates the engagement and commitment of a local AIA component that supports the advancement and mission of the PAC. Make your donation today and your chapter could win $1,000!
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Meet the 2024 ELA Class
We asked members of the ELA class of 2024 the same five questions. Get to know them better by seeing their inspiring answers.
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Design Awards Jury Chair
AIA Virginia is pleased to announce that Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, Principal and Design Leader at Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects in San Francisco, California will chair the 2024 AIA Virginia Design Awards Jury.
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The COTE Corner
VA COTE is amplifying resources and sharing the great sustainable work by AIA Virginia members. More>>

Meet the 2024 Honors Committee
Remember to nominate your colleagues, organizations, firms, and projects for an award in AIA Virginia’s 2024 Honors Awards program.
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Knowledge Community Grants
AIA Virginia is awarding one, $1,000 grant to a knowledge community making an impact throughout the Commonwealth. Apply before May 31, 2024.
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Welcome These New Members
We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined AIA Virginia.
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From the Small Firm Exchange
Read the latest All Call Summary from the AIA Small Firm Exchange.
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The 2024 Women’s Leadership Summit Call for Proposals is Open
AIA invites you to submit a proposal for a WLS session, hosted this year in Chicago, October 8–10. This year’s theme explores building resilience and how the lens of intersectionality can help us uncover the skills needed for impactful change. The Call for Proposals opens May 6 and closes June 14.
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Amber Book
Are you ready to get licensed? AIA Virginia offers associate members a 60-day subscription to the Amber Book for only $99.
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Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities
AIA Virginia events calendar: https://www.aiava.org/events/
Check out the statewide events calendar here: https://inform-magazine.com/events/

Meet the 2024 ELA Class

AIA Virginia’s award-winning Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program was developed in 2009 to jump-start the careers of young professionals. Conceived of and lead by a passionate steering committee of successful architects (ALL past ELA alumni!), the program was designed to share the things they wished they had learned in architecture school.

Each of the seven day-long sessions focuses on developing essential skills like community engagement, collaboration, firm creation, financial management, advocacy, public service, and much more. The remaining monthly sessions are dedicated to their class project from a region around the commonwealth.

Want to be a member of this elite group of leaders? The application for the 2025 class will be available in August. Contact Cathy Guske for information on how to nominate an emerging leader or with any questions about the program.

We asked members of the ELA class of 2024 the same five questions. Get to know them better by seeing their inspiring answers.

KJ Ammon, Assoc. AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
Growing up in New England, I’ve had a lot of exposure to the Boston City Hall, and I have disliked it since a young age. The building is an example of 1960s brutalist architecture which comes off as overbearing and aggressive due to its concrete material, large cantilevers, and lack of nature within the plaza.

What is the last book you read?  
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
I’ve been interested in architecture from a young age. What started as an obsession with HGTV has turned into spending my days creating and designing. I love to build with my hands and explore how objects and the built environment impact our lives every day.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
My favorite activity to relax is to get outside and read a good book.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
My advice to any designer is to lean into your passions, the field of architecture can require long hours and lots of work so it’s important to remember the aspects that inspired you to become a designer in the first place.

Philip Baxter, Assoc. AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
What evoked a very strong reaction from me recently was the April ELA session regarding Community Engagement. Bruce Wardell’s story and his three-year journey of building trust and shifting the power in the hands of the residents of Southwood. It changed the way I viewed how impactful community engagement could be.

What is the last book you read?  
Missing Middle Housing by Daniel Parolek

How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
I rediscovered my passion for architecture in the ELA program by being exposed to so many different pieces of architecture and truly redefined what architecture could be to me.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
My favorite thing to relax is a good story.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
As architects we’re charged with health, safety, and welfare in city planning, so, people first always. Always give back. Architecture is a form of activism and education.

Zack Britton, Assoc. AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
I have long had a fascination with the role an architect can play into the design of a cemetery. This led me to revisit the Belvedere Gardens Mausoleum In Salem a few years back. I love the interplay between the site and the structure. 

What is the last book you read?
The Soul of a Tree
by George Nakashima

How did you discover your passion for architecture?
In a way, it was something that was passed down from my dad. He studied architecture in college so from a young age I was introduced to books of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, drafting tables, and construction sites (in a OSHA approved manner). When it came time to start considering career paths the decision felt like an easy one.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I can easily spend hours woodworking just testing different techniques and joinery. 

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Sometimes this job gets overwhelming. Do not allow yourself to be paralyzed from the fear of making mistakes. Just keep trying to learn and progress.

Danielle Corbin, Assoc. AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
When I visited La Basílica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, I knew that no building had ever evoked such a strong emotional response within me.  The use of light, sculpture and color were overwhelming, whether you are present during the cool greens and blues of the morning or the fiery oranges and reds of the evening, representing the passion of Christ. I visited with my mother, who had seen the Basilica before there was an interior.  We hope to return once it is finally complete after over 150 years of construction.

What is the last book you read?
I just finished reading The Forest of Vanishing Stars, a historical fiction about the Jews who escaped to the forest as a refuge from the Holocaust.  I love the genre of historical fiction because it gives us empathy for those who lived through the horrors of the past, and reminds us so we do not repeat history. 

How did you discover your passion for architecture?      
I discovered my passion for architecture through my love of drawing, painting and fine art. I chose to attend the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture because of their classical approach and focus on hand-drawing and hand drafting. I spent a summer of my undergraduate studies in Rome plein-air sketching and watercoloring, a practice that I continue to this day.  

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
This may sound counter-intuitive, but my favorite thing to do to relax is to go on a run, preferably on the beach. Running is what allows me to de-stress and refocus, and it gives me an overwhelming sense of peace.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
My advice for aspiring architects is to take advantage of the resources available to learn during your architectural education. During my undergraduate experience, I went to Europe four separate times through grants both within and outside the University. My travels to Scotland, Italy, Spain and London were eye-opening and formed the way I view the world as an aspiring architect. Never underestimate the time and energy that the most accomplished professionals will give to students who desire to learn. The incredible people that I met during my travels were so generous with their time; all I had to do was ask. 

Miguel Gereda, Assoc. AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
I was reading a magazine recently and saw imagery of Studio Gang’s Populus Hotel in Denver, CO. The window details and facade have a bone like appearance. It’s a very provocative building, but I am intrigued by how it comes together. 

What is the last book you read?
Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
From a very young age, I got obsessed with looking at building plans that I would see in free home books in the grocery store. One day I asked my grandmother, who are the people that draw those? The rest is history. 

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Be outside! Hiking, walking, or just enjoying the sun–whatever it is this brings me tranquility. 

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Push yourself to ask more questions and remember that you will make mistakes–just learn from them!

Noor Hadi, Assoc. AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
Recently, I had to the opportunity to travel to Peshawar, Pakistan where my ancestral roots lie. I visited this beautiful cemetery where my Nani and Nano (grandmothers) are buried.  The location of the cemetery is along a busy road, however once inside the area, the noise of the city evaporates. The terraced landscape, granite-stoned graves, orchard-like greenery, and small mausoleums throughout the cemetery nodded the Mughal and Islamic architecture.  Walking through this space, I appreciated how it could hold space for loss and grief, as well as serenity, history, and memories.

What is the last book you read?
Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

How did you discover your passion for architecture? Growing up always like to design and make things with my hands from chairs to longboards, but I could never put a name to my curiosity. The summer before my first year as an undeclared major, I enrolled in a few architecture classes to acclimate how life on campus would be . Taking those classes and being in an environment of the technical and creative, empowered me to pursue this field.

    What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
    Sitting outside and drinking a hot cup of chai, listening to nature.

    What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
    “You’ll never find reasonable people on the top of a mountain” – Jim Basset. Be curious, ask questions and, be open to talk to different people from other disciplines.  There isn’t a “right” way to do architecture, the best a person can do is keep learning and use that knowledge to propel them forward in whatever way they would like.

    Ananth Jayaraj (AJ), Assoc. AIA

    What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
    The Vessel at Hudson Yards hasn’t left my mind, it feels like a tenuous step in contemporary architectural practice. Perhaps we may be returning to our tradition as a species in building monuments which bring a sense of grandeur, a physical presence that defies our impermanence and daily cynicisms. On the other hand, the stairs that show how far the city has come does not allow all its denizens access to its greatest heights, but it’s a sad for me to think that we wont see another “great pyramid of Giza” built in our lifetimes. The view from said heights are great, but to be the last is a disturbing thought. It seems “Vessel” will continue to embody these thoughts, as great works do.

    What is the last book you read?
    Color and Light by James Gurney (A treasure for understanding, well, color and light!)

      How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
      Coming from Dubai does tinge my answer with the flavor of an inescapable destiny, being surrounded by skyscrapers and such, but realizing how the spaces that surround us shape who we were, are and will be was the beginning of this wonderful journey.

      What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
      I’ve always loved to sketch, it serves as a visual diary to me.

      What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
      Explore your passions and remember what you like. My favorite experiences in this discipline weren’t when I played to win, but when I played for the love of the game. I hope you share my sentiment!

          Tony Lin, Assoc. AIA

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          Glenstone, in Maryland. One of the most tranquil experiences that so finely integrates nature with art.

          What is the last book you read?
          Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act: A Way of Being

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?
          A big influence on me was my older brother, who is an architect and professor. Early on in my life, he told me that architecture was the study of the human condition. I kept his words in mind, and it has helped me to see architecture as artifacts shaped by our communities, cultures, and environments. Furthermore, architecture has been a gateway to seeing “design” as something that is so intrinsically connected to everything else.

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          Listening to music and going for walks at sunset.

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          Open your mind, take inspiration from everything, and the path is made by walking.

          Brynn McClatchy, AIAS

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          I just returned from a semester abroad in Europe and often reflect on my experience in the Sala Beckett Theater by Flores & Prats in Barcelona! The work done by the firm was a conversation with the memories and past uses of the building, a collection of its history. I left with a greater appreciation of architecture as a conversation between a building’s past, present, and future, but also a conversation between a building and the individual observations made by all who experience it.

          What is the last book you read?
          After visiting the Sala Beckett theater I mentioned above, I just finished Archives-Universum 01 on Flores & Prats.

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?    
          I discovered my passion for architecture once I got to college, but my passion for design started back in fourth grade. I decided then that I wanted to become a set designer, and when choosing a major for college, I found that architecture allowed me to explore storytelling and crafting experiences in the same way. Currently, my passion is also driven by my love for model making, hand drawing, and the traveling I have done while at the School of Architecture at Virginia Tech.

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          Cooking! I enjoy the process from planning to shopping to making to eating to cleaning up.

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          Your precedents are your best friends. Study them, learn from them, implement them, and don’t forget them!

          Shukrullo Mirvaydullaev, Assoc. AIA

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          Well, many amazing buildings have been created in the past or recently around the world. However, I think architecture is not just about buildings; it is about creating interesting spaces within a limited budget and enhancing the quality of the environment.
          Nevertheless, all buildings and spaces evoke reactions and influence people, especially architects. The list of buildings that come to my mind is below and, in my opinion, they are very impressive and have a positive impact on the urban environment.
          For instance;
          Cultural Center Eemhuis by Neutelings Riedijk Architects in Amersfoort, Netherlands
          The National Aquarium in Baltimore by Peter Chermayeff
          Library Delft University of Technology by Mecanoo in Delft, Netherlands
          Little Island in NYC by Thomas Heatherwick Studio
          High-Line Park in NYC by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
          Midtown Center in Washington DC by SHoP Architects
          The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. by Edward Durell Stone and the three-pavilion expansion to the center by Steven Holl Architects
          FDR Memorial Park in Washington DC by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.

          What is the last book you read?
          I’m reading the Vernacular Architecture of Northern Tajikistan by V.L. Voronina. For me, it is very interesting to rethink the vernacular architecture into the modern aspects or contexts.

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?
          I discovered my passion for architecture during my time at Art College in Tajikistan. We had a project to “create an entrance to the college,” which profoundly changed my life. Working on that project, I realized my deep interest in designing spaces and structures. I knew then, at the age of 16, that I wanted to pursue a career in architecture. Since that day, I’ve only looked forward.

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          Walking in nature, spending time with parents and family, reading architectural articles, being alone with my thoughts about architecture, and drawing my thoughts. These are some of the activities I enjoy.

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          Just trust yourself and hard work on it. Try to build connections. We all learn and make mistakes, I think it is okay.

          Niki Pardakhti, Assoc. AIA

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          I recently visited Robie House. There are a lot of things I like about Robie house, but what resonated with me the most is the architect’s attention to the design and construction details. Wright not only designed the building but also every furniture in the house, believing that “it is quite impossible to consider the building one thing and its furnishings another. … They are all mere structural details of its character and completeness.”. You can also see traces of Wright’s design in construction details. From the color of the mortars that is selected in a pattern to the roof drainage system that blends with the design of the house, are all testaments of the architect’s impeccable attention to detail.

          What is the last book you read?
          Missing middle housing.

          How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
          An Architect’s ability to create a physical space initiating from a concept led me to this field. I was a biology major in college and had never thought about Architecture as my major until I visited a friend in Architecture school. I enjoyed the studio’s creative environment, and being a spatial thinker, seeing all the school projects my friends were working on was very exciting to me, so I decided to pursue an architecture degree.   

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax? Read, paint. 

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          Work on your soft skills as well as technical skills. As you grow in your career, it becomes even more important to communicate and work effectively with your clients and teammates. 

          Amari Ross, AIAS

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          Dscape Cafe in South Korea by DENOVA Architects. The building evoked a positive reaction with the placement of windows, openings, and even the wall color; it feels like a cafe I’d go to daydream.

          What is the last book you read?
          Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?      
          I always drew floor plans of my dream home when I was younger. I didn’t think of Architecture until I watched Netflix’s Most Extraordinary Homes which gave me a deeper understanding of the design process. 

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          Throwing ceramics on a pottery wheel, reading, or gaming depending on the day.

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          It’s you vs you in your college career. Leave yourself room to grow and adapt within college while giving yourself grace. Reward yourself often and enjoy hobbies outside of architecture.

          Emily Savoca, AIA

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          Yad Vashem, Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. I don’t think I can adequately put into words how emotional and surreal of an experience it was to visit this place. I traveled with my husband (whose family is Jewish) and 30 other individuals, about half of whom are also Jewish; many with families who have personal connections to the Holocaust. By the time we arrived at Yad Vashem, we had spent over a week together with our tour guide, a native Israeli. Her first-hand stories and knowledge, combined with the exhibits and the museum’s architecture, made this more moving than any other Holocaust museum or site I’d been to before. There are moments of relief and light throughout the museum that attempt to break up the dark, tense, and challenging exhibits. Once you reach the museum’s end and you exit out onto the terrace, an open-air gallery looks out to the city and the building frames your view of a valley of trees.

          What is the last book you read?
          I recently finished Michelle Obama’s Becoming
          I am currently reading Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming as part of my office sustainability council’s book club.

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?
          For as long as I can remember, I’ve had strong interests in the arts and technical drawing. I was initially planning on going to college for engineering until my grandfather suggested I look into architecture. Even though he was not an architect himself, he had always had a passion for learning about buildings, architecture, and design. The more I researched the practice and profession, the more I felt it would be a good fit. I love how architecture is not only about the built environment, but also art, history, science, technical expertise, community, society, and so much more. I am also passionate about lifelong learning and love that, as an architect, I am able to learn something new every single day. 

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          Yoga, traveling, or spending time outside and near the water. A combination of all three would be ideal!

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          First, give yourself plenty of time in the profession to discover what aspects of architecture you are truly passionate about. It is a diverse field with seemingly endless opportunities.
          Second, never be afraid to advocate for yourself; your wellbeing, the types of projects you want to work on, and what direction you want to take your career.

          Irem Sezer, Assoc. AIA

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
          Central Control Building, Bilgin Architects… Recently, I came across comments and discussions regarding the solar power plant architectural design competition and, of course, the first-place winner, Bilgin Architects. Designing in the middle of nowhere is one of the most challenging situations an architect finds themselves in, but the team managed to create reciprocal dialogues between the earth-sky-ground zero trio and the identity of the building, its function, its oasis, and how it represents itself.

          What is the last book you read?
          Forget Foucault by Jean Baudrillard

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?
          After starting architecture school!

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          Anything connects me to the sea… Including road trips that lead to the sea!

          What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
          Learning how to ask ‘good’ questions and having the ability to ‘question’ are much more important than they may seem!

          Jessica Somgynari, AIA

          What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently?
          The Bethlehem Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania evoked both strong positive and negative reactions from me. I enjoy traveling to various industrial sites around the U.S. with my husband to learn more about the history of America’s workforce. I attempt to capture the energy that used to bring these places to life through sketching them. So many of these places that were essential to the rise of America as it is today are in the process of decay. It caused conflicting feelings in me to behold the towering blast furnaces as I read about the dangerous and often life-threatening processes workers encountered every day, encapsulating the metal behemoths in my art. It bothered me how this site was a hub of boisterous camaraderie, then one day in November 1995, the roaring furnaces went completely quiet, and for the last time, Bethlehem Steel workers filed through the plant, not knowing if they’d ever see their coworkers again. While it is a beautiful site, I was frustrated that the site does not seem to be actively preserved, and the docent was unfortunately unable to indicate if any efforts to “arrest decay” were in the works. Overall, I would return to this site, but I hope these buildings are preserved in a more meaningful way in the future.

          What is the last book you read?
          The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. If you are interested in the surreal, action-packed world of the Welcome to NightVale podcast, this book provides an insightful look into one of the most prevalent but underrated characters’ lives, and how she came to be the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home. A swashbuckling adventure with love, betrayal, and revenge, this is a great novel if you like twists, because it is definitely NOT what you’d expect. Beautifully written – Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have built an incredible universe with NightVale.

          How did you discover your passion for architecture?
          I loved art when I was in high school, and wanted to continue this throughout my career. Telling stories through the built environment is such an important aspect of architecture, and it is critical to me that harmony between humans and buildings exists. Well-designed buildings tend to take on the spirit of their inhabitants, and it is fascinating to see the humanity in our environments by how items we use every day are arranged. Whether it is stray papers on a desk, or a slightly skewed chair, placement matters, and buildings should help the people inhabiting them to thrive.

          What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
          I love hanging out with my husband and three black cats, Night, Luna, and Abba. Aside from that, I relax by reading, dancing in between lifting weights at the gym, making art, hiking/ interacting with nature, and most of all, cooking. I enjoy creating both new and tried and true recipes to share with friends and family, as I believe good food helps bring people together. My favorite recipe is traditional spaghetti carbonara, which I learned to make when I was studying abroad in Rome during my fourth year at Penn State. What advice do you have for aspiring architects? Go to networking events and building tours, be engaged with your work and your community – find the balance so you can enjoy a full life. Maybe it’s an overstated cliché, but seriously: communication is key – learn how to say the same thing in multiple ways, and communicate on the level of your audience (expertise, understanding, etc.). Enjoy the process, keep growing, and ask questions – you can never know everything! Learn to be ok with that and ask for help. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you!

          2024 Design Awards Jury Chair

          AIA Virginia is pleased to announce that Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, Principal and Design Leader at Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects in San Francisco, California will chair the 2024 AIA Virginia Design Awards Jury.

          Make sure you submit your projects by June 28th>>

          Mark Cavagnero directs a large architecture firm in California. He began his career in New York being mentored by Edward Larrabee Barnes, a nationally prominent architect known for work in the arts and higher education. In 1993, Mark established Mark Cavagnero Associates in San Francisco. The firm’s first project was the modernization of the iconic California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Over the course of the next three decades, Mark has led the design of a large and significant portfolio of new buildings and building modernizations. These projects have been widely published nationally and internationally and have received numerous awards. Projects include the SFJAZZ Center, the Oakland Museum of California, the ODC Theater Center, the Moscone Convention Center, the San Francisco Public Safety Building, the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, the Finn Center in Mountain View, and the Bowes Center for the Performing Arts at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His work has included multiple projects in New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. He also has executed projects in numerous locations abroad: London, Amsterdam, Munich, Dublin, Tokyo, Paris, Hyderabad, and Sydney. He also currently serves as the master architect for the global software company Salesforce. Current projects include three embassies for the U.S. State Department- located in Estonia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Burkina Faso.

          Mark’s projects have garnered well over 100 major design awards. These awards range from national, state, and local awards from the American Institute of Architecture, the Chicago Athenaeum Awards for both International and American Architecture, the International Interior Design Association Awards and numerous others. Mark was personally honored with the 2010 Distinguished Practice Award and the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Maybeck Award from the American Institute of Architects. In 2012 the firm received the Firm of the Year Award from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects. Under Mark’s leadership, the firm ranked #8 in Architect Magazine’s ranking of the top architecture firms in the country for design.

          Mark has been very involved in the community in California. He has been a Board Member for a number of institutions, by way of example, currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the UC Berkeley International House, an organization initiated by the Rockefeller family to promote international understanding and collaboration for the past hundred years. His community efforts have also included many tasks of planning commission participation and chair leadership, athletic coaching, involvement with libraries and theater organizations, and fundraising for his college and graduate school alma maters. He has served UC Berkeley’s School of Architecture as a distinguished Howard Friedman Professor and as a member of the Chancellor’s Curriculum Committee.

          Support the PAC – Win $1,000 for your Chapter

          The AIA Virginia PAC is one of the sharpest tools in our advocacy toolkit. The AIA Virginia PAC Award celebrates the engagement and commitment of a local AIA component that supports the advancement and mission of the PAC. The winning component goes home with $1,000 cash for Architecture Week/Month and the award trophy at Architecture Exchange East in November. AIA Blue Ridge took home the cash and trophy for 2023.

          Points are accrued in three areas: local component Board participation, the percentage of local component’s membership who have invested in the PAC, and the total amount of money invested by the members of the local component.

          Current Leaderboard:
          AIA Blue Ridge – 80 points
          AIA Central Virginia – 50 points
          AIA Richmond – 30 points
          AIA Northern Virginia – 10 points
          AIA Hampton Roads – 0 points

          Points are allocated as follows:

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

          Scoring will be closed on Friday, October 11, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

          Make your investment today at www.aiavapac.org

          Design Forum Reflections

          By Michael Spory, 2024 Chair, Design Committee

          The places we gather shape us. Just over a month ago, over two hundred of us grabbed our fancier clothes, empty notebooks, and perhaps a design-y friend or two and raced to Richmond’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) for AIA Virginia’s bi-annual Design Forum. You may not have known what to expect, other than the featherlight expectations of hearing about great design, something about AI, or at least to see that Steven Holl museum that I’d heard about?

          Well, I know that even after planning for 18 months, I left with much much than I anticipated–a head swimming with creative energy, a thicket of insights, several pages of hastily scribbled ideas not nearly as organized as I’d like, and several new friends–and a great appreciation for our design community in Virginia. I was honored that amidst deadlines, phone calls, urgent construction responses, and class schedules, so many of my you all as my colleagues chose to join for a conversation about the present conundrum of how our architectural sensibilities of craft are crashing into the next waves of technological innovation–artificial intelligence, machine learning, automated fabrication, to name a few. 

          And amidst my own [un]certainty about all this, I felt this tension release slightly as I glimpsed the jagged, swirling white columns dotting the tables–collaboratively inspired by our Forum attendees and fabricated by the Center for Design Research students from Virginia Tech, UVA, Hampton, and Howard. I wonder where these young creative minds might further our traditional Virginia neoclassical columns as a living remnant of our historic material culture, that is on the precipice of something new.

          I saw how the rigorous experimentation of Dwayne Oyler’s work collided with the material quietness of Billie Tsien, the refined and cantankerous earthiness of Rick Joy, the joyful embrace of ecologically minded craft for Ted Flato. I listened to the din of break-time conversations in the lobby, over dinner, with coffee and scribbled notes, sharing insights and imagery as we approach new horizons of craft on cyberfrontiers. 

          While listening to this energy, I wondered how we go from here. I wonder what design challenges we’ll face in two years for the next Design Forum, in 10 years, in 50 years, in 200 years. In a polarized, uncertain time, I came back from Design Forum XVI with both the gentle reassurance and the quiet unsettling of great conversations–the ones that always end before you are quite ready for them to be done. I felt that spark of creative energy again–and I hope it continues to echo out beyond our Forum gathering on Broad Street, beyond Richmond, beyond the mountains and rising tides of our wide Commonwealth.

          If you did not get to enjoy Design Forum this time, I hope we see you in 2026! And until then, may you continue to gather in places of beauty, wonder, and gratitude that shape you as richly as our Design Forum has shaped me.

          Photos from AIA Virginia Staff

          From the President’s Desk

          Happy May! As the blossoms yield to breezes and the forest canopy emerges, first fruits appear on the vines, and fish abound in rivers and the bay, I’m grateful to experience the cycles, seasons, and abundance of Virginia’s mountains, valleys, and coastal areas while connecting with members across the commonwealth. And I’m reminded of our common commitment to protect and promote these assets as we design a better built environment. AIA Virginia has enjoyed a banner spring, and we’ve got more opportunities to share and learn together. Here’s an update.

          In April, we hosted Design Forum XVI, where students, practitioners, educators, and emeritus members packed the ICA at VCU to gather, eat, make, get inspired, and gain wisdom and insights from four remarkable keynote speakers. The words and work of Billie Tsien, Ted Flato, Rick Joy, and Dwayne Oyler still resonate with me, and I’m thankful for our time together and for our Design Committee for making it all happen.

          Our April Board of Directors meeting was held at Hampton University, where Ex-Officio board member Dr. Daya Taylor, AIA, NOMA shared their studio spaces, introduced us to HU faculty and staff, and allowed us to participate in a 3rd-year project pin-up.

          Just last week, AIA VA hosted our first 2024 Town Hall in downtown Roanoke, where leaders, members, and friends of AIA Blue Ridge came out for an evening to connect, share, and learn more about our activities and advocacy efforts. See below for a schedule of 2024 Town Hall events at each local component. Please save the date and look for more information on our Events page or from your local component!

          And finally, I’m excited to attend AIA24 in Washington DC, where more than 250 AIA Virginia members will join AEC industry professionals from across the globe to connect, learn, tour, and celebrate. It’s not too late – register here!

          Kelly D. Callahan, AIA
          2024 President, AIA Virginia

          2024 AIA VA Town Halls
          5/23 AIA Coastal Virginia
          6/21 AIA Richmond
          9/5 AIA Central Virginia
          10/3 AIA Northern Virginia

          AIA Virginia letter of concern to AIA leadership
          AIA Virginia recently became aware of various letters of concern sent to AIA National leadership related to AIA’s processes, finances, and proposed bylaws revisions. Two weeks ago, AIA Virginia, in partnership with our local component’s leadership, issued a letter of concern to AIA’s board of directors requesting a third-party review and transparent communication related to the allegations. Last week, AIA responded acknowledging our concerns and ensuring actions were being taken. As a member-driven organization, we trust that AIA will act with integrity and swiftly address these concerns. For our part, AIA Virginia continues in its commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability to our members. AIA Virginia’s board of directors’ meetings are held on the 3rd Friday of even-numbered months and are open to members. A financial report, membership data, and opportunities for involvement are presented at our annual meeting each November, and all substantive proposed revisions to our bylaws are published early and voted on by our membership at the annual meeting. To ensure open lines of communication and knowledge sharing between state and local component leaders, AIA Virginia hosted an inaugural state Leadership Summit in January, and we will continue to meet every six months. I’m grateful to serve you, our members, alongside our committed leaders and faithful staff, and hope that you will reach out to me, President-Elect Meagan Jancy, AIA, or EVP Paul Battaglia, AIA, with any questions or concerns related to this matter.

          Please note that time was of the essence in getting this letter to AIA leadership. As such, AIA Central Virginia and AIA Coastal Virginia did not get their approval to us in time to be included in the signatories.

          New Members

          We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined the ranks of AIA Virginia.

          New Architect Members
          Zeena Al-Nasser, AIA (Northern Virginia)
          Phillip Horst, AIA (Coastal Virginia)
          Kyle Moir, AIA (Blue Ridge)
          Jesse Robeson, AIA (Northern Virginia)

          New Associate Members
          Kayla Hinds, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)
          Christiana Johnson, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
          William Kopp, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
          Alejandra Landaverde, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
          Guido Seoanes, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
          Erika Workman, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)

          Transferred In
          Ahmed Hashem, Intl Assoc. AIA (Blue Ridge) from AIA Ohio
          MacKenzie Miller, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Pennsylvania
          Mark Palmer, AIA (Richmond) from AIA|DC
          Rob Sabbir, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA California
          Andrew Vargo, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA Maryland
          Robert Volpe, AIA (Northern Virginia) from AIA|DC

          New/Renewed Allied Members

          View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

          Meet the 2024 Honors Committee

          AIA Virginia President, Kelly Callahan, AIA has made the following appointments to the 2024 Honors Committee:

          Bill Brown, AIA (Chair)

          Bill Brown, AIA (Chair)
          Scott Campbell, AIA
          Tim Colley, AIA
          S. Jeanne LeFever, AIA
          Robert Reis, FAIA
          Warees Smith, AIA
          Lori Garrett, FAIA
          Bruce Wardell, FAIA
          Shannon Dowling, AIA
          Eric Keplinger, AIA
          Erin Webb, AIA
          David Prevette, AIA
          Nina Comiskey, AIA
          Paul Battaglia, AIA (staff liaison)

          The honors program recognizes the best efforts of Virginians who, by profession or avocation, have made creating, preserving, and enhancing Virginia’s communities an important life commitment.

          The call for nominations is now open. The submission deadline is June 14, 2024.

          AIA Virginia Newsletter: April 2024

          An Advocacy Coda: Lessons Learned
          Recently, and more than once, I was asked what lessons I had learned through the experience of our advocacy efforts during the recent General Assembly session. Excellent questions should not remain unanswered.
          More>>

          Register by Thursday at 5 p.m. for Code Event
          Join us in Roanoke on April 25th for a Lunch and Learn presentation of the recent 2021 VCC changes and then a panel discussion with Jonah Margarella, AIA, Florin Moldovan, MCP, and Tommy Hahn, local Building Commissioner.
          More>>

          Resiliency Week is Next Week
          Join AIA Virginia for an exploration of resiliency in the built environment and discover why investing in resilient solutions can help protect us all – on zoom from Monday, April 22-Friday, April 26, noon-1 p.m.
          More>>

          Call for Entries: Design Awards
          Entries to the 2024 Design Awards program are now being accepted. AIA Virginia’s Awards for Excellence in Architecture (also known as the Design Awards) recognize outstanding design, built and unbuilt, from the past seven years. The program is juried by a team of esteemed practitioners from outside of the region.
          More>>

          Call for Nominations: AIA Virginia Honors
          Do you have a colleague who deserves recognition? Is there a firm with a great culture that consistently produces incredible work? Is there a building that has captured your heart? Consider nominating them for an award in AIA Virginia’s 2024 Honors Awards program.
          More>>

          Advocacy Update: at (very close to) the End of the General Assembly Session
          Some rapid-fire updates on advocacy efforts…
          More>>

          Associated Thoughts: A Reflection on Craft and Design Forum XVI
          A few weeks ago, AIA Virginia and their Design Committee hosted the Design Forum XVI, focusing on [Un]Certainty: Reflections on Craft at the Cyber Frontier. The event and accompanying discussions were both humbling and thought-provoking.
          More>>

          2024 AIA Virginia Prize Winners Announced
          During the first weekend of February, students across the Commonwealth participated in the 2024 Virginia Prize. See who took the top prize this year.
          More>>

          ArchEx 2024 Call for Presentations Closes April 30th!
          Architecture Exchange East is the annual thought-leadership conference and expo bringing together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers!
          More>>

          Knowledge Community Grants
          AIA Virginia is awarding one, $1,000 grant to a knowledge community making an impact throughout the Commonwealth. Apply before May 31, 2024.
          More>>

          Fellows Fête 2024
          Take a look at the celebration at Barboursville last month that welcomed our 4 newest Fellows.
          More>>

          Save the Date for a COTE webinar
          The AIA Virginia Committee on the Environment will be holding a webinar on May 14th. More information is coming soon! Check out what else they have planned for 2024.
          More>>

          An Update from the AIA Strategic Council
          Representative Robert Easter, FAIA, NOMAC shares an update from the AIA Strategic Council.
          More>>

          ACE Virginia Forum: Keys to the Virginia Building Code
          Join AEC Virginia on May 8th from 1:30-4:00 p.m. in Richmond to hear from local government building officials about concerns/issues with implementing the building code. Bring your questions! This event will help the AEC industry build relationships with building officials and offer networking with peers and colleagues.
          More>>

          Virginia’s Secretary of the Commonwealth, Kelly Gee, encourages us to consider applying to be a Gubernatorial appointment to one of 320 boards that serve specific roles for the state. Three boards have openings reserved specifically for architects to start July 1, 2024!
          More>>

          Welcome These New Members
          We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined AIA Virginia.
          More>>

          Newly Licensed
          Congratulations to the following member for passing their exams and gaining licensure.
          More>>

          Amber Book
          Are you ready to get licensed? AIA Virginia offers associate members a 60-day subscription to the Amber Book for only $99.
          More>>

          Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities
          AIA Virginia events calendar: https://www.aiava.org/events/
          Check out the statewide events calendar here: https://inform-magazine.com/events/

          Call for Entries: 2024 Design Awards

          Entries to the 2024 Design Awards program are now being accepted. AIA Virginia’s Awards for Excellence in Architecture (also known as the Design Awards) recognize outstanding design, built and unbuilt, from the past seven years. The program is juried by a team of esteemed practitioners from outside of the region.

          Each entry will be judged on how successful the project is in meeting its individual requirements. Consideration is given to aesthetics, social impact, innovation, context, performance, and stewardship of the natural environment — with particular emphasis on the Framework for Design Excellence.

          Each entry must include a completed Framework for Design Excellence Project Information Form as page one of their submission. Note: Entrants should not feel obligated to respond to every measure within the Framework — only those that apply to the project being submitted. It is understood that every project is different and may not respond to each measure within the Framework. The jury will consider each design holistically and within context. (Note on the form itself – make sure all of your entry text is visible from the PDF before uploading.)

          No specific number of awards is set, and the program is open to all categories of building as well as interiors projects. The location of projects is not restricted, but any built works submitted for consideration must have been completed on or after Jan. 1, 2017. Enter online.

          The Design Awards program is sponsored by:

          Gold
          Bamforth Engineers + Surveyors
          Silver
          Epic Metals

          Awards Categories include:

          • Architecture;
          • Design for Context;
          • Unbuilt Architecture;
          • Extended Use;
            • Historic Preservation
            • Adaptive or Continued Use
          • Interiors;
          • Residential; and
          • Small Projects
            • Up to $150K in construction cost
            • Up to $500K in construction cost
            • Under 5,000 square feet

          Check out the complete descriptions of each award category, and review the regulations, eligibility requirements, and frequently asked questions for more information.

          Entries are due by 5 p.m. on June 28, 2024. Note: You should be prepared to submit your concealed ID and project submission upon entry.

          Entry fees

          AIA Virginia Members:
          $210 for the first project
          $180 for each additional project
          The Small Projects Category has a reduced entry fee of $100
          Note: The entrant must be a member of AIA Virginia to be eligible to receive the member discount. The submitting AIA Virginia member must be a contributor to the design team.

          Non-members of the AIAVA (must have an office located in Virginia):
          $295 for the first project
          $270 for each additional project
          The Small Projects Category has a reduced entry fee of $200

          Not an AIA Virginia member? Apply for unassigned membership.

          About the Framework for Design Excellence

          Developed by members of the AIA, the Framework for Design Excellence, represents the defining principles of good design in the 21st century. It’s intended to be accessible and relevant for every architect, every client, and every project — regardless of size, typology, or aspiration.

          The 10 measures that make up the Framework are intended to inspire progress toward a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment. They represent standards of excellence as defined by members of the AIA. These measures align with the AIA’s core values which are collectively defined by members across the country.

          The completed Framework for Design Excellence Project Information Form is required and shall be page 1 of each submission. The remaining 6 pages of each submission may be designed and defined by the entrant.

          Use the Project Narrative section to describe how the design aligns with the Framework for Design Excellence. Entrants are encouraged to address all applicable measures.

          We recognize every project is different and may not respond to every measure within the Framework. The jury will consider the design holistically and within context.

          Data may not be available for some metrics on the form, or the client may prefer to keep certain metrics confidential. If this is the case, space is provided on the form to provide an explanation.

          Entrants are encouraged to call out extraordinary responses to specific measures in the remaining 6 pages of their submission as well.