We’re Baaaaaccckkkkkk!

There is no secret that the last 18 months have been a challenge for many of our brothers and sisters in the profession. For AIA Virginia, I feel like we have been playing defense in the pandemic. It started as an urgent scramble to get our members the essential tools and resources to navigate the choppy waters caused by an intentional economic shutdown and public health crisis. Over time, we transitioned to a virtual environment which undoubtedly has its advantages and disadvantages. It allowed us to continue providing the needed human interaction that is necessary for positive mental health. Our Design Forum keynote presentation by Steven Holl, FAIA, felt like a fireside chat on Zoom.

On the other hand, I have yet to hear of a virtual meeting or event going viral where people continue to talk about it for months after it concludes. Those who you meet for the first time through a virtual environment are not very memorable after you hit the large red “Leave Meeting” icon. As an association that is THE VOICE of the architecture profession, we cannot fully live out our mission behind a computer screen.

So, in this letter, I want to yell from the rooftops:

“We’re Baaaaaaaaacccckkkkkk!”

We have wasted no time getting back to making memorable moments and demonstrating the value that each one of you offers to our world as an architect. Within the last 30 days, AIA Virginia has twice been a requested resource by our state and local elected officials.

On September 29th, we delivered a presentation to the Commission on School Construction and Modernization which will help our state’s leaders develop funding recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor. That same night, AIA Virginia hosted our “Blueprint for Better Communities” dinner in Norfolk. This event brought together our local architects and prominent community leaders, including the Mayor, to discuss the pursuit of the city’s vision together.

Just a few days later, we presented “School as a Community Catalyst: Happy, Healthy, and High-Performing” to our local elected officials at the Virginia Municipal League’s annual conference in Leesburg. And lastly, we held our first in-person Board meeting since the pandemic at the University of Virginia where we had an inspirational time engaging with students, faculty, School of Architecture Dean Malo Hutson, and Alice Raucher, FAIA (Architect for the University).

This is the time of year where we set our eyes on Architecture Exchange East and Visions for Architecture. Our conference will be mostly virtual and span the week of Nov. 1-5. However, the last day will have an in-person option at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. On this day, we will host Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, as our keynote speaker followed by the safe celebration of our 2020 and 2021 Visions honorees over cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Remember, if you purchase an in-person ticket, it includes the keynote and Visions!

I encourage you to register at: ArchEx 2021 Registration Open – AIA Virginia (aiava.org)

Many of you I have not seen in person since the beginning of 2020. Come join us and I assure you that we will safely have a great time!

In service,

R. Corey Clayborne, FAIA, NOMA, MBA, CAE
Executive Vice President

Meet David Keith, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C

David Keith, FAIA is a Design Principal and CEO of Hanbury in Norfolk, Virginia.David champions a model of practice driven by continuous talent development, creating a thriving culture of design excellence and transforming the firms that he leads and the communities and campuses in which he works.

David is a fierce advocate for growing the next generation of architects and professional leaders. Entering the profession in 1987, in the first Intern Development Program class, he observed that few firms had a clear approach to helping young architects grow professionally and personally. Ever since, he has analyzed how architects learn. Beginning with his first opportunity to mold practice culture, he has shaped teaching firms that deepen and accelerate that learning, providing intentional opportunities for growth with every project.

David structures his practice to create a continuum of education for young designers entering the profession. His expanding firm’s new offices are located near architecture schools. He works closely with schools to understand what students are looking for. Out of this exchange and his personal experiences, David developed his firm’s career development and talent recruitment programs.

David has created teaching practices that use these tools to ensure continuous professional and personal growth:

  • Research: David incorporates researchinto studio practice, to enable individuals to explore subjects(building systems, program outcomes, evidence-based design, sustainability and resiliency, etc.)about which they are passionate. David works to build each designers’ confidence that they can complete outstanding projectsthat reflect their passions and interests.
  • Mentoring:David’s Responsibility Matrix (presented as a case study inThe Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice) enables young designers to assess abilities, identify personal growth agendas, and communicate those agendas to teammates. This process takes place at every project phase kick-off, when young team members identify both the strengths they will bring to the project and five or six goals for professional growth. The project manager is expected to incorporate two or three of these goals into the team’s work plan, thus ensuring growth with every project and providing an opportunity for each employee to shape their career track in a personal way. This approach creates motivated and highly effective teams that often over-perform.
  • Expectations of Senior Staff: The incorporation of goals for growth into work plans is a core expectation of senior staff. Because it puts young people in unfamiliar situations, they will at times make mistakes. David closely guides how senior staff responds to such mistakes, enforcing a strict “No Assholes Rule”: no getting mad, no beating people up, no blaming. It is a moment for teaching.

Summer Scholars Research Projects

A pivotal element of David’s approach is the Summer Scholars program, which has brought young people from more than 25 prestigious schools of architecture throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, India and China to engage in research and design that achieves real-world significance.

Design Excellence

The outward fruit of systematic talent development is design excellence across a wide range of contexts, from conventional practice, focused on higher education, civic and commercial projects; to pro bono practice, advancing the missions of organizations like Operation Smile; to rigorous design-build work for the US military; to regional community development. 

Firm Transformation

The inward payoff of talent development is firm transformation. The most vivid measure of David’s success is the transformation of Clark Nexsen. In the 15 years he was its Director of Architecture and Design Director it won over 200 design awards — more than 40 of them from the AIA — and rose to #11 in the ARCHITECT magazine 50. His current firm, Hanbury, with David in his fourth year as President and CEO, is on a similar trajectory.

The profession has long sought better models for bridging between school and practice. David Keith’s teaching office, its success abundantly proven, is just such a model.

Where did you go to college? 

I’ve been a Virginian most my life. Born in Northern Virginia, grew up in Charlottesville, attended Virginia Tech and have spent most of my professional life in Richmond and Hampton Roads.

I have a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech (1987).

What does it take to be an architect?

Curiosity, passion, humility, and leadership mixed-in with a strong desire to learn and solve problems in creative ways.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?

I am most inspired and grateful for the many teachers/mentors that have influenced my career….Olivio Ferrari, Doug Gilpin, Marley Carroll/John Walters, Rohn Price/Dave King, Sandy Bond/Rob Comet/Doug Westmoreland, Brad Tazewell and Jane Rathbone along with many others. 

What are you currently reading?

I love books about art, architecture and design, however my reading has tailed-off dramatically…I’m currently reading Vishaan Chakravarti’sA Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America

and I found Henry Ayon’s book Egyptian Placesto be a delightful journey to a place I haven’t been.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?

It’s not a single meal, but my favorite meal by far is Thanksgiving Dinner. We celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving with Turkey, Country Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Stuffing, Pumpkin Pie (with Cool Whip), Green Beans, and Yeast Rolls. Most of all, I enjoy the gathering of the family (and it’s always a 4-day weekend which more often than not includes a Hokie win over the Hoos).

Why do you volunteer with AIA?

I believe that our profession has much to offer the world, and the AIA is the one organization that brings together architects from all backgrounds and provides opportunities to make an impact beyond our projects. It’s important to be involved and volunteer with the AIA as it will be what we collectively bring to it.

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 an architect!

Sarah E. Kimble, AIA (Northern Virginia)

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, cguske@aiava.org

Where’s Corey

Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, has pledged to travel around the state and visit firms, components, partner organizations, and universities.

Here’s his recent travel schedule:

AIA Local, Regional, and National Engagement
AIA Richmond Golf Tournament
October 18

NOMA National Conference
October 20-22

Architecture Exchange East
Virtual + Richmond
November 1-5

Ambassador Engagement
Legislative Event with Del. Hodges
October 12

Legislative Reception with Sen. Barker
Northern Virginia
October 13

Lead Virginia
Danville and Southside Virginia
October 14-16

Legislative Reception with Sen. Hanger
October 19

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

Luz Rosado, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Warees Smith, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Hunter Wilson, AIA (Blue Ridge)

New Associate Members

Joshua D. Berkeley, Associate AIA (Northern Virginia)
Charles Culbertson, Associate AIA (Richmond)
Samantha Harlow, Associate AIA (Northern Virginia)
Erik Harvey, Associate AIA (Blue Ridge)
Erin R. Hostetler, Associate AIA (Hampton Roads)
Matthew A. Larkin, Associate AIA (Blue Ridge)
Ryan M. Minar, Associate AIA (Blue Ridge)
Veena Shah, Associate AIA (Richmond)
Emily Zekany, Associate AIA (Hampton Roads)

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Invitation to the UVA SARC Winter 2022 Externship Program

The University Of Virginia School Of Architecture invites your organization to host a student(s) for the annual winter externship program.  The externship program matches students with professionals for a week of learning through professional practice.  Students range from beginning undergraduates to the PhD level, studying Architecture, Design-Thinking, Urban and Environmental Planning, Architectural History and Preservation, and Landscape Architecture.

The official externship week will be January 10-14, 2022 with the option to bring students on earlier, the week of January 3-7 as needed.  All students will be back in classes on January 18th.  Depending on the students’ experiences, they are eager to join project teams, pursue research, prepare precedent and case studies, and work on drawings, models, graphics, and design proposals.  Students especially appreciate participating in meetings, site visits, and learning about different roles within the organization.

The sign-up form this year will allow you to select a traditional externship or a shorter shadowing experience. The traditional externship assumes a 40 hour work week and is best for upper-level students that can plug into a project and produce work or research. For-profit organizations are asked to compensate students with an hourly wage or stipend for their work.  Non-profit or governmental offices may be eligible for students to receive course credit rather than pay.

The shadowing experience does not assume a full work week but can be scheduled throughout the week as needed to allow students to join meetings, talk with team members, visit construction sites, and (if possible) tour the office.  Shadowing is best if there is no expectation of a work product or payment.

As we continue to monitor COVID 19 cases this winter, we will work to match students according to locations and opportunities with the least amount of travel.  For now, please select whether the externship/ shadowing experience would be all virtual, hybrid, or in-person and as we get close to January, we can make any necessary adjustments.

If you are interested in hosting one or more students for a winter externship, reply by filling the Google Form (https://forms.gle/r4Q97jn9eXixcW3A8).  This year, Externship Coordinator, Lauren Cheetham, UVA BSARCH 2021 will be following up to send student applications once we have them on the website for your review.  The goal is to have a list of students to you by the end of October and students matched with organizations by the end of November.  Our alumni recount their externship experiences as essential in shaping their career paths. We are grateful for your generosity and time in this important student experience.

Assistant Dean of Students, Career Development
Lecturer, UVA School of Architecture

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. 3 from 4:45 to 6 p.m. There is no charge to attend the Membership Meeting.

Register for the annual meeting>>


Minutes from 6-3-2021 Membership meeting>>
Minutes from 2020 Annual Membership meeting>>

The 2021 Nominating Committee has placed the following members for nomination for 2022:

President: Robert Easter, FAIA [AIA Richmond]
President-Elect: Mitch Rowland, AIA [AIA Richmond]
*Secretary: Krystal Anderson, AIA [AIA Richmond]
Treasurer: Bill Hopkins, AIA [AIA Hampton Roads]
Associate Director: Caitlin Morgan, Assoc. AIA [AIA Central Virginia]

*Will fill the last year of an unexpired term

At the August Board Meeting


AIA Virginia | 2021 Board of Directors
August 13, 2021
Zoom Virtual Meeting

Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of the AIA Virginia Knowledge Community Grant Program
  • Approval of the Charges for the Pathways into the Profession Inclusivity Study
  • Approval of the 2021 AIA Virginia Honors Awards
  • Approval of using 2021 Visions for Architecture as a Fundraiser for Hampton University Scholarships
  • Approval of the 2022 Slate of Officers and Associate Director for presentation to the Membership
  • Adoption of the Board Performance Review Policy
  • Approval of Modifying Requirements of the Financial Contingency Fund in the Rules of the Organization
  • Approval of Leaving 2022 AIA Virginia Dues Rates unchanged from 2021 Rates
  • Approval to Dissolve the Region of The Virginias in accordance with AIA National Governance Changes

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • PAC Update
  • 2021 Rumble in the Jungle PAC Competition
  • Advocacy Update: Commission on School Construction and Modernization
  • Art of Practice Debrief
  • Architecture Exchange East Update
  • Membership Update
  • Amber Book Program Update
  • Virginia NOMA Update                                              
  • Emerging Leaders in Architecture Update
  • Communications Audit Status                                   
  • Community Dinner: Norfolk                           

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

The next meeting of the 2021 AIA Virginia Board of Directors will occur on October 1, 2021.

An Update from NOMA Virginia

We have much to celebrate as we conclude our inaugural year. NOMA’s national signature program, Project Pipeline, was a major success this summer. As part of the southern region, we were host to well over one hundred campers, thirty from our chapter. I have promised to begin a year-round workshop for middle and high school students interested in learning more about architecture.

An ARE examination preparation class has been established for our members seeking licensure. We have developed several partnerships with organizations, design firms, and companies that have yielded opportunities to share information, resources, and revenue. We have reached out to NOMAS chapters in our Virginia design schools, providing support and guidance.

A major effort his year was the development of a strategic plan for our chapter, giving us a blueprint for the next three years. Our Finance Committee has developed a financial planning framework for the next fiscal year.

The strength of these achievements is in our board of directors and members who are to be commended for providing leadership to our organization. They have achieved much in a short period. Our upcoming planning retreat will provide the next steps to raise the bar for 2022. 


Kenneth Martín, AIA, NOMAC, NOMAF, NCARB

Follow the Virginia Chapter of NOMA on Facebook | Instagram

Hope and History Rhyme

Growing up in Jamaica, Joan Hunt experienced a scarcity of resources: regular power outages, frequent water shortages, showering from a bucket.  She became sensitive to waste.  Joan grew up in a conservative society where girls were encouraged to play with dolls and her boy cousins were given chemistry sets. Joan wanted the chemistry set. When Joan immigrated to the United States at an early age, she decided to become an architect.  

Joan’s life experiences shaped her values and priorities as an architect.   Her Oakland California firm Blinklab specializes in high-performance buildings and community design.

One of only 500, or so living African American women architects in the United States, Joan characterizes her demographic as the “minority of minorities”.  She advocates to increase the numbers and believes it has to start very young. Parents and young girls need to be exposed to architects and see them in action, to develop a strong inner sense that leads them to say with confidence: “I can be an architect too”.  Joan Hunt is an architect-advocate and former President of the NOMA-Oakland Chapter.  

Sean Reilly, AIA

Unfortunately, it’s not just African American women licensed architects whose numbers are significantly too low. African American women and men licensed architects together comprise only about 2% of all licensed U.S. architects, even though African Americans comprise about 13% of the United States population.  In 2017, the AIA Large Firm Roundtable established a goal to double that percentage to 4% by 2030.   Four years into it, we’re still stuck at 2%.  We have nine years left.

How can we double the number of licensed African American Architects in less than a decade when it has taken over 150 years to reach 2%?   Does AIA Virginia have a role to play?  The consensus of the AIA Virginia Board is: Absolutely!  AIA Virginia is taking a holistic approach to diversifying our profession in Virginia, which is a critical piece of AIA Virginia’s Strategic Plan. We resonate with Joan’s instincts: parents and young African Americans need to be exposed to architects at an early age for some of them to make the connection and form an inner belief that says: “I want to be an architect”. The key is to create excitement and interest in pursuing architecture at an early age through outreach. 

AIA Virginia will be undertaking the Alternative Pathways to the Profession Inclusivity Study, to focus on this issue and make recommendations for increasing the number of licensed minority architects, including African American architects in particular.  Recently, the Board reached a consensus on the primary charges for the study.  The Board will establish a stakeholder group this fall and commence this important work in January 2022.

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding next month.  NOMA builds community and provides space to shine the light on the voices of its members.  Our profession needs NOMA and its members now more than ever.  In 2020 AIA Virginia supported NOMA in its founding of the Virginia Chapter.  One of NOMA’s incredibly valuable activities is elevating the voices of its members.  Storytelling is a powerful medium.  It is not possible to over-tell the stories of our minority architects to the world.  Their stories need to be told in non-accredited architectural design programs, community colleges, and K-12 schools to show parents and their children that there is a way, a path to becoming an architect.  Hopefully inspire some to believe: “I want to be an architect.”

History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave…
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

from The Cure at Troy
Seamus Heaney

Diversifying our profession to reflect society is a big, complicated issue that is incredibly daunting.   AIA Virginia is dedicated to doing our part and the Inclusivity Study is a vital piece of our overall strategy.  Collaborating, planning, and implementing the Inclusivity Study’s eventual recommendations will be hard, but then anything of lasting value usually is. It will require resilience and perseverance from all who take part.  We need to do this and be successful if our profession is to remain relevant and of value to the society we serve.  We move forward together with hope, courage, and commitment to create a more diverse, just, and equitable profession for all.

Sean E. Reilly, AIA
AIA Virginia 2021 President