Show Us your Sketches

Art can be healing. Inspiring. Challenging. Liberating. It can put a smile on someone’s face, bring people together, or provoke hard conversations. (Sometimes all at once.) Frankly, we could probably use a little bit of each of these things right now. Show us your sketches and we’ll share them with the world through Inform Magazine‘s platform.

Since its inception, we hoped Inform would be a place to exchange ideas and art. We’ve been lucky enough to have Virginia legend Carlton Abbott, FAIA be the first to share his sketch of a Nelson County Barn. Now, we’re hoping you’ll share your work too!

Simply fill out this brief form, give us your name and tell us a little bit about your sketch (if you feel like it), upload your sketch, and give us the thumbs up to share it. We’re looking forward to seeing what you’ve got!

Virginia Architects Issue Joint Statement on Racial Injustice

Virginia’s state and local chapters of the AIA and Virginia NOMA issue the following joint statement on racial injustice.

The killing of Mr. George Floyd was a despicable and heinous act committed by police officers who betrayed their oath to protect the community they served. The civil unrest we are witnessing in our cities is a public outcry in response to centuries of neglect, oppression, and suffocation of African-Americans. It is a response to an America that has failed to practice the very words upon which it was founded – that all are created equal. This is a forceful reminder that we have much work to do as a society in order for all Americans to enjoy the benefits of this inherited promise.

As architects and designers, we remain steadfast in our commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our profession while designing spaces that benefit all people. Each pen stroke we put on paper sets into motion a series of consequences that shape our communities for decades to come. Though that responsibility is great, it is not our only obligation. We are called, each and every one of us, to remove barriers to our profession, boldly committing to providing opportunity and equity for all who wish to contribute.

Kelly Callahan, AIA: President of AIA Central Virginia
Scott Campbell, AIA: President of AIA Hampton Roads
Nick Cooper, AIA: President of AIA Richmond
Kevin Jones, AIA: President of AIA Blue Ridge
Kenneth Martin, AIA Member Emeritus, NOMAC: Inaugural President of Virginia NOMA
Joseph McCoy, AIA: President of AIA Northern Virginia
Beth Reader, FAIA: President of AIA Virginia

Read the statement from the national component of the American Institute of Architects

Read the statement from the National Organization of Minority Architects

Call for Nominations: 2020 Honors Awards

Do you have a colleague who deserves recognition? Is there a firm that consistently produces incredible work? Is there a building that has captured your heart? Consider nominating them for AIA Virginia’s Honors Awards program.  

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.

Important note: The AIA Virginia board, at its April 2020 board meeting, revised the descriptions of the Virginia Emerging Professional Award and the Award for Distinguished Achievement to recognize individuals engaged in initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion. As you’re considering your nominees, please keep this in mind!


Nominations must be submitted online. Nominations should be submitted as a single PDF up to 20 pages (not including letters of support) and no larger than 15 MB.

Nominations for all AIA Virginia honors may be made by individual members, by chapter honors committees, by AIA Virginia committees, or by the Board of Directors itself.

Current AIA Virginia Board members and Honors Committee members are not eligible for any award. Members of the Honors Committee may not be used as a reference or adviser or be solicited by the candidate or the candidate’s advisor.

The deadline is Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Want an overview of the awards or some tips on putting together a successful nomination? Register for our webinar on June 3.


Eligibility criteria and submission requirements vary by award. Click on the awards listed below for additional details and to review past recipients.

Award Categories

The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. Only one medal may be bestowed each year.

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service is AIA Virginia’s most prestigious public award, honoring an individual or organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to the public’s understanding and awareness of the built environment. Only one medal may be bestowed each year but may be given simultaneously to more than one person.

The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award, as the highest honor bestowed by AIA Virginia to a Virginia-based architecture firm, recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least ten years.

The Virginia Emerging Professional Award recognizes the accomplishments of an emerging leader in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in any of the following: design, research, education, service as a “citizen architect,” service to the profession, service to the community, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

The Award for Distinguished Achievement recognizes either a singular achievement by an architect or the work of an entire career in any of the following: design, practice, education, service as a “citizen architect,” service to the profession, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the AIA Virginia but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of AIA Virginia.

AIA Virginia Honors may be bestowed on non-member individuals or organizations that have inspired, influenced, or complemented the architecture profession in Virginia through practice of an allied profession, research, education, planning, legislation, architectural writing, the arts, or crafts. An individual who has previously been elected an Honorary Member of AIA Virginia is ineligible to receive AIA Virginia Honors.

The Test of Time Award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance. The structure should be in Virginia and must be no less than 25 years old. Building use may change over time if the overall design is cherished as a significant contribution to the community and the built environment.

Call for Entries: 2020 Design Awards

AIA Virginia’s Awards for Excellence in Architecture recognize outstanding design, built and unbuilt, from the past eight years. Also known as the Design Awards, the program is juried by a team of esteemed practitioners. 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 after January 1, 2012. Enter online.

There are five categories in the Awards for Excellence:
Historic Preservation
Contextual Design; and
Residential Design.

Each entry will be judged on how successful the project is in meeting its individual requirements, with particular emphasis on design excellence.

In each category, consideration is given to aesthetics, social impact, innovation, context, performance, and stewardship of the natural environment.

Check out the complete descriptions of the awards categories, and review the regulations, eligibility requirements, and frequently asked questions for more information.

Entries are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, 2020. Note: You should be prepared to submit your concealed ID and project submission upon entry.

Entry fees
AIA Virginia members: $190 for first project; $160 for additional projects
AIA Virginia Associate members: $85 for each project
Non-member w/ office in Virginia: $245 for first project; $220 for additional projects

Note that you must be a member or associate member of the AIA Virginia to receive a member discount. Only members of AIA Virginia are eligible for the discounted member rate, regardless of your national AIA member status.

Not an AIA Virginia member? Apply for unassigned membership.

COVID-19 Resources and Best Practices for the Architecture Community

AIA Virginia stands at the ready to serve as a resource to our members. As the architecture community — and the global community at large — move through this uncharted territory, please let us know how we can help.

The AIA has compiled the resources below to help members and firms navigate the rapidly evolving global pandemic. As new resources become available, the list will grow. Is there a resource we should add? Let us know.

Websites for Primary Agencies

Guidance for Understanding Federal Coronavirus Bills

Guidance for Businesses from Federal Agencies

Governor’s Executive Orders and State Resources for Businesses

For Individuals

For Firms

For Your Clients

Resources for Designing Alternative Care Sites

Recorded Webinars

Recorded on May 21, 2020

Read the Uniting the ACE Industry: Construction Administration During a Global Pandemic Key Takeaways.

Read the Remote Work During COVID-19 Key Takeaways.

Inform is Coming

Over the past several years, we’ve been re-imagining Inform Magazine as a digital publication that celebrates Virginia’s rich culture of design and the diverse individuals who shape it. Inform will live at the intersection of designers and clients, serving as a nexus for idea-exchange and relationship cultivation. We’ll profile projects and designers — as well as the research and products that help them realize their vision.

Want to Contribute?

Do you regularly blog or post to LinkedIn about architecture and design? Are you an authority in your sector or a typology expert? Do you have design research to share? 

As we prepare to launch, we’re seeking content contributors. To express interest, contact Rhea George. Feel free to include any relevant writing examples.

Want to Pitch a Story?

All of our content will be Virginia-based. We’ll feature award-winning design, news from academia, industry best practices, product and designer profiles, key takeaways from signature events, and member-generated content — all with a connection to the Commonwealth. We’ll also highlight pathways into the profession and champion the industry in Virginia. If you’ve got a compelling story idea, send it to Rhea George.

Want to advertise?

If you’re interested in reaching an audience of Virginia-based designers and design-minded members of the public, contact Judy Cheadle to learn more about advertising opportunities and launch rates.

The History of Inform

Inform was launched in January 1990 as a vehicle to promote good design, covering everything “the human hand shapes [in] the visual world.”  It existed as a physical publication — issued up to 6 times a year — until early 2015 when the board made the critical decision to consider a more sustainable mode of operation. Over the next several years, the board and outreach council worked to evaluate Inform’s purpose, scope, and coverage area and envision its future. Below are a few key milestones:

A task force conducted marketplace research and evaluated member communication preferences. This research, coupled with a thorough budgetary analysis, led to the recommendation that we transition to a digital publication.

In partnership with the non-profit US Modernist, a digital archive of the physical publication was created.

An online firm directory was launched to serve as an important public resource. Firms are searchable by name, ZIP code, and areas of practice.  

In August, a refreshed identity was finalized with our partners at 903 Creative and BCS Website Services began development on a new website shortly afterward.

Work is currently underway to populate content, and the publication is expected to launch in the coming months.

Highlights from Visions for Architecture 2019

The profession came together at Visions for Architecture on Nov. 8, 2019 to celebrate AIA Virginia Honors Awards and Design Awards. Photos by Yuzhu Zheng.

Visions for Architecture is generously supported by:

Underwriter Sponsors

Patron Sponsors
Clark Nexsen
Glave & Holmes Architecture
O’Hagan Meyer
Riverside Brick & Supply Co., Inc.

New YARD Selected

The Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects Region of The Virginias has selected Allie Ditzel, AIA, as Regional Director for the 2020 – 2022 term on the Young Architects Forum, a National AIA Committee.

Allie is a Project Architect at HGA Architects & Engineers in Northern Virginia and received her M.Arch from Virginia Tech WAAC. She shared that she believes, “young architects if given the right tools will engage on important issues facing their communities and by default the world. We need to support, mentor and empower individuals to find their place within our field and continue to build a supportive community within the AIA for which they can rely.”

Jay Scruggs, AIA, Director at HGA Architects & Engineers, comments that “Allie is a dedicated employee, and she contributes to the community, our firm, and our office in many ways. Within AIA, Allie provides ARE instruction for young aspiring architects through YAF and AIA Northern Virginia. She also is a mentor through the AIA Women in Architecture Mentorship Pairing Program and attended the Women’s Leadership Summit this year in Minneapolis. Allie has a keen interest in mentorship and furthering the professional growth of young aspiring architects.”

The Young Architects Regional Director (YARD) serves as a link between the YAF and regional AIA members. YARDs are also responsible for gathering information about issues facing young Architects within their Regions and helping to disseminate information about national/regional activities and resources.

ArchEx 2019: In Review

For 3 days in November, the profession came together at Architecture Exchange East 2019 for a dynamic exploration of culture and design. Here are a few highlights from the program.

Some of the speakers have given us permission to share handouts and presentations. Check them out.

yafCON 2019 Announces Speakers

yafCON is pleased to announce the panelists for the 2019 micro-conference at Architecture Exchange East. This year’s theme is The Architect of the New Era: critical issues of the 21st century designer. The program is free with your ArchEx registration or you can simply register to attend the [yaf]CON micro-conference on Friday, Nov. 8 from 1:30-5 p.m.

The panel features four distinguished emerging professionals with experience within at least one these focus areas: socially-sensitive design, emerging technologies and data in design, sustainability and environmentally-conscious design, and equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Sydney Covey
Sustainable Solutions Manager, Structr Advisors, Virginia Beach

“Our industry plays a critical role in climate change and sea level rise. We have to shape our perspective to begin to think about how the building impacts both the occupant and the environment.”

Yiselle Santos Rivera
Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, HKS, Inc., Washington, DC

“We are the ones that ignite the fire. When we show there’s value in pursuing equity, diversity, and inclusion, we make sure that everyone is engaged in the conversation and accountable, there is no space for failure.”

Edward Becker
Professor of Architecture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg

“Faced with the pressing global challenges of rapid urbanization and human-induced climate change, we should focus on the development and implementation of low-carbon construction.”

Pascale Sablan
Founder & Executive Director, Beyond the Built Environment, New York City

“We need to address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline.”

The yafCON team is looking to crowdsource questions for its engaging panel.