2019 ELA Class Profiles

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 (and now 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 financial management, communication and negotiation, advocacy and public service, and much more.

Want to be a member of this elite group of leaders? The application for the 2020 class will be available later this summer. 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 2019 the same five questions. Here are their inspiring answers.

Macy Anne Carman-Goeke

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

Macy Anne Carman-Goeke, AIAS

A: I recently had the chance to see the Pont Du Gard in person, and after all those years of studying it, it took my breath away to see it and appreciate the craftsmanship that brought such incredible engineering to life.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The All-Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg for a fun read, and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert for a more sobering read.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I had an early knack for puzzles, and discovered that I was more interested in designing a building for my future-career-of-the-day in childhood than the career itself. A dolphin training center, veterinary hospital, and horse barn were just a few of the things I designed. However my curiosity about all things led me down some other roads, and I came back to architecture as a career change after spending time in the environmental and community policy sector, and seeing first hand the way the built environment impacts human lives and the health of our planet.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: To spend time outside hiking, cycling, running, or camping with my husband, taking photographs, traveling to new places, listening to a fascinating podcast, or reading a good book.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To never box yourself in- we build in a complicated and messy world. Everything is related to architecture and the more you know about it, the better the architect you will be.


Annesley Cole

Annesley Cole, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Most recently, the Royal Danish Library (the Black Diamond) in Copenhagen. It was incredible to experience how something as traditional as a library could be a vibrant modern destination, constantly buzzing with activity – both from visitors and locals.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (and – ongoing in the background – the Ballast ARE 5.0 book!)

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I’ve always loved puzzles, and figuring out how to make things fit together. We moved a handful of times in my childhood, and each time my parents had the option of a move-in-ready house or one on the verge of collapsing. Needless to say, they always took on the challenge, and I spent many hours watching my mom (an author by trade) hand sketch over the architect’s blueprints to make each house work best for our family of 6. I loved seeing the way a building could shape how and where we spent our time, and continue to love the puzzle that is figuring out how a building will work best for the end user.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: At the end of a long day, I love to go down and sit on the beach with my husband (and our dog!) and just catch up and unwind.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Know that this field is a constant learning curve and that you will make mistakes (especially in the beginning!), and that is totally okay. Make friends with your coworkers, because work is a lot more fun when you have people to push through deadlines with, joke with, and collaborate with – not to mention someone who will answer your dumb questions. Also remember that acknowledgment of, credit to, and gratitude for others goes a long way. Everybody likes to know they are appreciated!


Ashley LeFew Falwell

Ashley LeFew Falwell, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Lately, I’ve loved opportunities for bird’s eye city views. In Paris, Sacre Coeur is glowing in the distance from many vantage points. Then once you’ve arrived, the perspective it provides is awe-inspiring.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The 12th book in the Gamache series by Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning. This is a mystery series, but I most enjoy Penny’s lovingly flawed protagonists, brilliant descriptions of art, and thoughtful reflections on human nature. And Book 13 features an architect!

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: My grandmother started teaching me to paint and draw when I was very young. Through her mentorship, I learned how to really slow down and see. I was equally drawn to all of the core subjects in school, but I craved subjectivity in response to an emphasis on memorization and testing. I found a counterpoint in art classes and enjoyed the intuition and embodied knowledge involved in making things. Through travel opportunities and over time, I became more and more interested in large-scale installation and the built environment. I see architecture as the fascinating intersection of many disciplines in physical form; it’s at once technical and empathetic.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Reading is high on the list. It’s even better when combined with the outdoors, a cat, or a cup of coffee. I also love knitting, walking, and meaningful conversations with my extraordinary family and friends.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: One of my professors always said, ‘It takes forty years to become an architect.’ At the time, I thought he was exaggerating. Once I began practicing in an office, his words rang true to me. Becoming an architect is a lifelong process. If you embrace a love of learning and a sense of curiosity, you will never lack for inspiration.


Ojima Glover

Ojima Glover, AIAS

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: The Research and Development Center at Virginia Tech. Reason being, I am currently working in the space and seeing how we can take the original design, and mold it to what Virginia Tech needs today. I have had the opportunity to talk to the building’s designers and see why they made certain design decisions. Having the opportunity to compliment the design is a wonderful learning experience for me and has reiterated for me that it is possible to work on an existing building without taking away a lot of its character.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Warm of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book highlights the migration of African-Americans from the south to the north.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: That is a funny story. I grew up wanting to go into law because I felt that was the best way to help people. I didn’t want to do Architecture for a long time because of the math involved and I didn’t know how involved with people one could be. My mom pushed for me to look into it because I loved creating things and she didn’t want me to let that go. So after doing a days worth of research about what Architects do, I was hooked and knew that this was the field I wanted to go into. (With a complementary degree in contractual law of course.)

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I love to spend time with friends, read, and SLEEP!!

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Don’t come in with any preconceived notions of what you must do or know. Enjoy your time exploring architecture and have fun with your designs! Push the boundaries and see what can come out of it. Find what’s important to you in design and let it influence your design and the firms you choose to go for!


Karim Habbab

Karim Habbab, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: The Garage in Charlottesville, VA. It is a single car garage located on a side street across from Market Street Park. Every once in a while the garage door opens, people gather on a grassy hill across the street, and a band performs live music. It is a gem hidden in plain sight and a wonderful use of space.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Growing up having architect parents instilled in me the importance of design excellence at a young age. I was privileged to have accompanied them to job sites as a child. It was when I saw their sketches become reality that I decided to pursue architecture as a career.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Reconnect with nature and get some fresh air. I currently live near the blue ridge mountains, so I usually hop on over to Shenandoah national park and go on a quick hike.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: You will excel if you are passionate about your work. I challenge you to wear many hats when analyzing your work and never be afraid to go back to the drawing board.


Kelley Holmes

Kelley Holmes, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I recently visited Paisley Park – the home, music studio, and playground of one of my music idols, Prince Rogers Nelson. The 65,000 square foot multi-purpose facility, constructed in 1987, blew me away in regards to its overall scale. Though many parts of it still felt of the 1980s/1990s era of postmodern architecture, it was an amazing and emotional experience to be in the same spaces where much of Prince’s music was recorded and where two of his films and many music videos were created. The 1500-person sound stage was by far the most jaw-dropping space, but I found myself especially intrigued with seeing samples of his handwriting on display.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Hike: A Novel by Drew Magary. Filled with extraordinary characters, this fantasy saga is an exciting read with lots of twists and turns. The novel follows a suburban family man in an epic quest of life-or-death proportions. The essential lessons of the author’s overall narrative are to 1. keep moving forward in your journey and 2. practice the art of empathy by truly understanding what it is like to be in another person’s shoes.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?      

A: Like many young children, I was enamored with Legos, Lincoln Logs, and building forts in the woods. However, it was in 6th grade (’95-’96) when my father purchased a new desktop computer that came with several free programs, one of which was a very basic 3D modeling program. For me, this instantly sparked a deep interest in design, encouraging me to seek out additional programs and shadowing opportunities to explore, as well as encouraging me to include classes like drafting, art, and advanced math courses into my curriculum during middle school and high school.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Being in nature, especially near water is my preferred way to relax. But, when that option is not available, I enjoy singing along to music and listening to podcasts.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

Maintain a love for curiosity and exploration, as well as learn to ask the ‘right’ questions that will result in a thoughtful and informative response – whether it be in a job interview or during client meetings.


Sydney Huibregtse

Sydney Huibregtse, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Midtown Center by SHoP Architects at 15th and I in DC. Utilizing bridges to connect the two sides make for a unique and fun feature, especially for DC.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: My mother is a graphic designer and my dad was in the construction field. Once I got old enough to understand what they did for a living, I realized my passion for wanting to design. I knew architecture was the path I wanted to take when I took a summer architecture course in high school at Cornell.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Running or paddle board

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Set goals and break boundaries. Enjoy what you do and don’t let anyone dim your light.


Breanna LaTondre

Breanna LaTondre, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Biscuitville in Danville, Virginia. It is the most charming, little yellow shack in the middle of the city. I’m absolutely obsessed.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Color of Law: Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I’ve always loved bridges, for as long as I can remember. For a while, I actually thought I wanted to be a civil engineer, but in high school, I came across the work of Santiago Calatrava. His work just absolutely changed everything I thought I knew about architecture. I thought I could design both bridges and buildings. But now, I understand my love for bridges is really driven by my love for the expression of structure, no matter what I’m designing.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Try everything. Having just graduated a year ago, I see how we can put so much pressure on ourselves to land the best job right out of school, and I have to love what I’m doing every day or I’ve failed. But that’s just not the case. You’ve got to start somewhere, taking on roles in your firm that maybe weren’t in your job description, or taking on a responsibility that you might never have done before, but it’ll stretch you to grow so much faster. Slowly figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to shape your career for the long haul.


Divya Nautiyal

Divya Nautiyal, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Pruitt Igoe – mostly negative, but a reminder that architecture does not exist in a vacuum. Public policy, environmental & social psychology are not separate from architecture.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Design Like You Give a Damn by Cameron Sinclair and Beyond Shelter – Architecture and Human Dignity, by Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, Patrick Coulombel, Teddy Cruz, Deborah Gans, Victoria Harris, John Norton, Sergio Palleroni, Anita van Breda, Sandra D’Urzo, Marie Aquilino.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Totally by accident but when I realized architecture had the capability to address social issues is when it truly became a passion for me.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Napping, sketching and cooking, in that order.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To develop a discerning eye for everything around you.


Ryan Oldach

Ryan Oldach, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Not so much a single building, but an entire district – The Art Deco Historic District in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach felt like taking a step back in time. The colorful, retro, and iconic structures reminded me of how architecture from different eras can still be appreciated for their uniqueness and groundbreaking styles.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: What the Health by Eunice Wong with Kip Anderson & Keegan Kuhn

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I have always gravitated towards the creative realm of hobbies including drawing, music, and building with Legos from a very young age. When I no longer wanted to build Lego sets per their step-by-step instructions and instead come up with my own designs, I think is when I realized I wanted to be a designer.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Give me enough sunscreen and water, you can find me soaking up the sun on the beach all day long with my favorite music at my side.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions – there are individuals in our profession with an immense amount of knowledge that are willing to share. All too often I found myself being too timid to ask the question of “Why?” within architecture but once I really grasped the idea that our professors, mentors, and colleagues were there to help, it opened a new world. The best advice I was ever given was by an architect with much more experience than I: “Wisdom comes from experience, and experience comes from a lack of wisdom.”


Jeff Rynes

Jeff Rynes, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Palladio’s Villa Rotunda

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Lectures on Architecture Vol. 2 by Viollet-Le-Duc.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture? 

A: Playing with Legos and drawing when I was 5

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Spend time with friends and family

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Follow your passion, make the world a better place, and have fun!


Kelsey Sinichko

Kelsey Sinichko, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: The White House.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Building forts in the woods behind my house growing up

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Sunday morning ritual of coffee, piano, and easy crossword puzzles

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Surround yourself with people excited about what they do; be one of them


Ianta Summers

Ianta Summers, AIAS

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: At Fort Monroe, I am working with the National Park Service interpreting a museum house from civil war times. It is important to me that everyone’s story is told correctly so there is a lot of emotion put into my efforts.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Dear America, The Diary of a Freed Black Girl

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: On accident! I never knew this profession was something I wanted to do until I came to school and tried it out. I love how I was able to stay creative and precise at the same time.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I love sitting by the beach. Sadly, I always have something running through my mind and never feel truly relaxed though.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To my aspiring architects: do your homework, never stop sketching, and keep up with architectural news!! I see you’re already doing that and it’s appreciated this time 🙂


Zakiya Toney

Zakiya Toney, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I was recently on a trip to Philadelphia and the Philadelphia City Hall building brought me to a standstill. The incredible grandeur of older masonry buildings – specifically those of more ornate architectural styles – will always be awe-inspiring to me.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The last book that I read was the Site Planning and Design Handbook because I am currently studying for the Architect Registration Exams. (3 down, 3 to go!) I also started reading Becoming by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I came across architecture as part of a career research project in high school, but I discovered my passion for architecture at NC State College of Design’s Design Camp in 2010. After being a camper, I applied to NC State for undergrad that fall (c/o 2015) and later returned to the camp as a Counselor and Teaching Assistant.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: My favorite way to relax is by listening to music (since taking a private jet on a quick overseas vacation is currently not a financially feasible option). It is the quickest way to calm down, ground myself and refocus.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Remember your “why.” No matter what the first projects that you are given may be, remember what got you into the profession and stay inspired. Hold on to the principles of design and principles of architecture that align with your purpose.


Jeanne Vick

Jeanne Vick, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I’ve never been a huge fan of Antoni Gaudi’s work, and even when standing in front of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona a few summers ago, I wasn’t “wowed.” I could appreciate the intricacy of the sculptures and was amazed by the sheer scale of the building, but it wasn’t until I stepped inside that my entire perception of his work changed. It was truly magnificent. Pictures don’t do it justice. You must see it in person.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Growing up in North Carolina, my parents took me to visit Biltmore in Asheville one summer. I was around ten or eleven and already had a passion for art and drawing. I left that house in complete awe and my desire to be an architect was born.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Sit on a back porch with a drink and someone I love, or joyrides out into the countryside with my husband in his convertible.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Surround yourself with people that are better than you and don’t be intimated by it. They will keep you on your toes and will encourage you to reach your highest potential.


Alex Zondlo

Alex Zondlo, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Notre Dame Cathedral because of the worldwide response in the wake of the fire.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Through Legos (way too many Legos) and a high school teacher who taught drafting classes.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I enjoy being outside, whether camping, hiking, or walking around DC. and also reading.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Go shadow a firm and see what it is like to be an architect. If possible, participate in an experiences program during high school.

Tell Your Story. But Do it Fast.

Got 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell us about the best d@mn thing you’ve ever done as a designer? Come share your story at Architecture Exchange East this November. We’re seeking up to 6 presenters for a Pecha Kucha (PK)-style session at ArchEx. (What the heck is a PK?)

With our focus on developing sessions that encourage conversation, connections, and collaborative learning, we figured it was about time we brought the PK back to ArchEx.  A good PK is creative, tells a great story, and shares something inspiring (with a little dash of humor mixed in).

It’s a format made for designers by designers. We know you’ve done some pretty incredible things in your professional life and we want to hear about them — whether you’re sharing your favorite project, a brilliant marketing idea, or an innovative office layout. Be as creative as you want. If you can weave in our theme, re:culture, even better!

We’ve only got time for 5-6 speakers, so pitch us your best idea by June 28 and we’ll get back with you in July.

This form is now closed.


What the heck is a PK?

From ArchEx 2018. Photo by Jay Paul.
From ArchEx 2018. Photo by Jay Paul.

Pecha Kucha (Japanese for chit-chat) is a concise presentation format where speakers tell their story using only 20 slides — usually with a single image. The slides automatically advance each 20 seconds while you talk.  

This format was conceived of by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture as a way to showcase creative design work through quick informative presentations.

Ann Beha Announced as 2019 Design Awards Jury Chair

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce that Ann Beha, FAIA will chair the 2019 Design Awards jury.

Beha is Principal of Ann Beha Architects, a Boston practice known for its exploration of heritage in dialogue with contemporary design. She founded ABA to focus on preservation and adaptive re-use, and has led ABA to honors for new design and construction and planning, extending its reach nationally and internationally.

She has been Design Principal at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, Cornell University Law School, Yale University, and MIT. Her civic projects include the United States Embassy in Athens, Greece, and projects at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Beha received a Master of Architecture from MIT, an undergraduate degree from Wellesley, was a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Design at the City College of New York. She is a member of Harvard University’s Design Advisory Council, received the 2018 Award of Honor from the Boston Society of Architects and the 2019 Honor Award from the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Industry Advisory Group.

The Design Awards program recognizes outstanding design — both built and unbuilt — from the past eight years. All entries must be the work of licensed architects who have an office in Virginia OR are members of AIA Virginia. The deadline is June 17, 2019. Learn more about the Call for Entries or submit your entry online.

AIA Women’s Leadership Summit

Reframe, Rethink, & Refresh

Join AIA national and AIA Minneapolis for the largest leadership event in the US for women in architecture! Women’s leadership Summit is three days of high-value educational sessions, candid conversations, and wellness activities designed to help you refine your leadership skills and accelerate your career growth.

You’ll hear from inspirational women leaders including Debbie Millman, curator and host of the Design Matters podcast; Priya Parker, founder of Thrive Labs; and Toshiko Mori, FAIA, Harvard professor and principal of Toshiko Mori Architect.

Invest in yourself and your career—register for the Women’s Leadership Summit today!

Register >

ArchEx 2019: Call for Proposals

re:culture  — regarding culture


Architecture Exchange East is bringing together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore the theme of culture.  And, we think you should have a seat at the table (or lectern, as the case may be). We’re seeking polished presenters as well as fresh voices to share their research and expertise at ArchEx in Richmond on Nov. 6–8, 2019.

We’ll engage in dynamic conversations around office culture. We’ll dig into redefining studio culture. We might even get a little lofty and examine architecture’s role in expressing humanity’s highest ideals.

If you’re an expert in (re)designing firm culture — submit a proposal.

If you’re a champion of participatory design — submit a proposal.

If you design cultural institutions — submit a proposal.   

If you’ve conducted research into the socio-cultural impact of architecture — submit a proposal.

If you can speak to Japanese influence on custom residential design in the U.S. — submit a proposal.

You get the idea.

We really value sessions that encourage conversation, connections, and collaborative learning. Think workshops, roundtables, and interactive panels. Most of our session slots will be 60 minutes, but we’ll have a few longer time slots for more in-depth explorations. All confirmed speakers will receive a 50% discount on conference registration.

Help us design the best ArchEx experience yet — submit a proposal.    Deadline is May 15. The proposal form is below.


The Call for Proposals is now closed.

An Update from the ELA Class

The Emerging Leaders in Architecture: An Honors Academy of AIA Virginia is completing their eleventh year in 2019. Architecture students, candidates for licensure, and recently licensed architects apply for the program in November of each year and are selected to participate based on chapter and university nominations and open applications. Beginning in January, the class gathers once per month for a series of topic-based seminars to expand the horizons of their experience. Each meeting rotates around the state chapters, introducing participants to new places, new firms, and new peers. Aside from that, the class is tasked with a group project, and present the results of their work at the Architecture Exchange East Conference in November.

We are a diverse class of sixteen architects, designers, and students from all over the world and working in the state’s top firms and schools in Virginia.  Though we are only a few months into the year, we’ve already had loads of fun and gotten to know each other quite well. At our first session in Richmond in January, we each gave three minute long Pecha Kucha style presentations to introduce ourselves to the group, got familiar with the program and visited a project site. For our project kick-off in February, we met at AECOM’s offices in Arlington. Following our day of seminars, we spent the night at an Annandale AirBnB mansion-ette, which featured a baby grand piano and a hot tub. It was there that we learned of Ojima’s musical talent, Ryan’s trivia brilliance, and we discovered that Jeff is our group “Dad.” Everyone also got the chance to learn more about each other on a personal level and get comfortable as a group, be more personal and get comfortable with each other which we all really enjoyed. In our March session, held at the offices of DBI Architects in Reston, we dug even deeper with a Strengthsfinder test. We learned how valuable it is to have strengths balanced in the four main categories like Zakiya and Ianta (something that is a rare trait). They give credit to their Virgo qualities. We then practiced our teamwork and strengths dynamics in a fierce spaghetti tower competition. (See our Facebook page for pics!)

This year, our team has been asked to tackle a broad question, “What should we do with unused office space in Northern Virginia?”  NOVA has about 172 million square feet of office space and about 20% of that space is currently vacant. In presentations given by local developers, planners, and politicians, we learned that two primary disruptors contributed to the rise of vacancy beginning in 2008: the BRAC commission, which called for some government functions in leased space to be relocated to bases, and secondly the release of the iPhone. The iPhone brought with it a major shift in the way work happens. People are no longer tethered to physical places where information is stored; many can now conduct their business from anywhere. As a result, more employees work from home and companies require less square footage per person to operate. Currently, developers look to the bottom line to decide which obsolete office buildings are candidates for upgrades. Tenants have come to expect amenities such as exercise facilities and cafeterias from newly constructed office space. Proximity to parking, public transit, and shopping also help developers predict which buildings have investment potential which is a challenge for the unused spaces farther from civilization.

Currently, we are wading through a sea of research available on this big topic. We are studying the evolution of office space typologies and adaptive reuse case studies across the world, mapping vacancies, and seeking input from the next generation of building end users – children!  We are working on reframing the question. Beyond the bottom line, we are interested in how these buildings could contribute something more to both the community and the environment in which they reside. 

In the coming weeks, we will be moving from the research phase into more defined parameters for our final project. We will be tackling questions like: what is the scale of our solution, will policy-making play a role, what are everyone’s individual goals for a solution, and finally, how are we celebrating at the end of this thing?

For updates on our progress please visit our Instagram @elaclassof2019 and spread the word!

It’s a Wrap: Art of Practice 2019

Nearly 60 firm leaders came together in Northern Virginia on March 22 to exchange ideas, enjoy fellowship, and learn at the second biennial Art of Practice.

The program kicked off with Message Book training presented by the AIA’s Caitlin Reagan and Frank Scanlan. The group learned the basics of communication philosophy and how to design effective messages. After hearing some excellent tips and watching good (and truly awful!) examples of public speaking, attendees took part in an interactive exercise on crafting message headlines. After that, the group dug into how to use these tools in business development and advocacy environments. Several brave souls volunteered to put what they learned into practice. Short mock interviews were conducted and played back for the group to critique.

Following robust conversations (and wine) over lunch, Michele Russo, the Managing Director of Research and Practice at the AIA, offered an economic forecast. After sharing current conditions and the top four business concerns in architecture firms, she offered a 2019/2020 outlook for the profession.  Predictions indicate that firms can expect growth in 2019 – but at a slower rate than last year. She shared several indicators that hint at slower economic growth in 2020.

Karl Feldman from Hinge offered emerging research and best practices for employee recruitment and retention. He shared generational differences in how candidates approach a job search as well as how they evaluate opportunities. Following a lively Q&A session, Karl moderated a Leadership Transition Panel Discussion featuring Donna Phaneuf, FAIA; Mark Orling, AIA; Bob Moje, FAIA; Tom Kerns, FAIA; and Rob Comet, AIA. Each of the panelists shared their approach to leadership cultivation and transition within their firms.


Art of Practice Video

Special thanks to Philip Moo for creating a video of highlights from the day.


Art of Practice Photo Gallery

Building Evaluator Training Coming to Arlington

When a disaster strikes, one of a community’s first tasks is to determine whether its buildings are safe for habitation. Too often, the structures that must be examined greatly outnumber the trained city inspectors. You can help bridge this gap.  

The AIA Safety Assessment Program (SAP) trains architects, engineers, building officials, and inspectors to evaluate homes, buildings, and infrastructure in the aftermath of a disaster. This workshop teaches you to conduct rapid damage assessments of structures affected by earthquakes, wind, and water. Upon completion of this course, you’ll be able to consistently and safely assess structures for habitability. You’ll also receive a nationally recognized Cal OES registration ID card from the state of California.

CREDITS// 6.5 AIA LU|HSW
Saturday, April 6, 2019
8 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Location: Jacobs| 1100 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 500, Arlington VA

ABOUT THE TRAINING

This curriculum is based on the State of California’s training program and has benefited numerous communities — resulting in thousands of safety evaluations and saving municipalities millions of dollars.

The Safety Assessment Program Training is a technical training program that includes Applied Technology Council ATC-20 Post-earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings and ATC-45 Safety Evaluation of Buildings after Wind Storms and Floods.

2019 AIA Virginia Prize Jury Announced

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the jury for the 2019 AIA Virginia Prize. The competition — which took place over the weekend of Jan. 25–28 — challenged students to design a pop-up diner with a small kitchen, short-term supply storage, and a dining counter for standing and sitting customers. Students were asked to consider the energy, water, and waste flows in their solutions. [Read the full competition brief.]

Each school’s faculty reviews the submissions and sends up to 10 finalists to Richmond for final consideration by the jury.

Jury

Nick Serfass, FAIA, Executive Director, RVATECH | Jury Chair

Lori Garrett, FAIA, Senior Principal & Director of Higher Education Studio, Glavé & Holmes

Sandra Hunter, AIA, Design Manager, Loudoun County Dept of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure

Donna Phaneuf, FAIA, President + Lead Design Principal, Via Design

Burt Pinnock, AIA, Principal, Baskervill

Patrick Thompson, Assoc. AIA, Associate, Commonwealth Architects

The Prize is expected to be awarded in April.

About the AIA Virginia Prize

Conducted simultaneously at Hampton UniversityUniversity of VirginiaVirginia Tech, and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, the competition is a design charrette that engages students at all of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia. Students are given the competition program on a Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. They work over the weekend to create a design solution and submit it by 9 a.m. the following Monday. The top submission wins a $3000 prize.

Launched in 1980, the competition is intended to promote collaboration between the profession, students, and professors in Virginia. Historically, the charrette has taken place in January, however over the last several years, the competition has been hosted in September to accommodate an ongoing scheduling conflict at one of the schools. Now that the conflict has been resolved, the Prize weekend has shifted back to the spring semester to better align with the demands of the academic calendar.

Development of the competition brief rotates between the four schools annually — the 2019 Prize challenge was developed by Virginia Tech.

Art of Practice Agenda Announced

Current and future firm leaders from across the Commonwealth will converge on March 22, 2019, at the Winery at Bull Run for the second biennial Art of Practice summit. The program is intended to cultivate leadership skills, identify solutions to common business problems, and fuel collaboration across the profession.

Registration is now open for the day-long event in Northern Virginia. The venue was selected to nurture a retreat-like atmosphere and to encourage relationship building among peers. In keeping with this notion, space is extremely limited, so early registration is strongly encouraged. Tickets are available to members only and are $125 (lunch is included). Participants can earn 6 learning units.

Art of Practice is sponsored by:

Pella Windows of Virginia
Hinge Marketing
VMDO Architects
MEB General Contractors

About the Program

Advanced Communications Training
Effective communication skills are critical the success of any business leader. Take part in an intensive leadership communications program — developed specifically for architects — that was designed to improve your public speaking and storytelling skills. Learn advanced presentation techniques and discover more about your personal style and delivery. Come away with an understanding of how facial expression, eye contact, hand and body movement, and voice impact your message.

Lunchtime Roundtable Discussions
The learning doesn’t stop when we break for lunch. Taking a cue from the most popular part of AIA Virginia’s Firm Roundtable meetings, we’ve reserved time for peer-to-peer learning. Discover best practices and share your experiences with colleagues while you enjoy a catered lunch (carefully paired with sparkling water or a glass of Bull Run’s finest).

Employee Recruitment and Retention
Firm leaders are telling us that their biggest challenge right now is finding and hiring the right talent. Hear emerging research from the AEC industry and discover best practices for employee recruitment and retention.

Moderated Leadership Transition Panel Discussion
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Whether your firm is facing the retirement of a key leader, a merger, or simply considering how to nurture the next generation of principals, leadership transitions can often take years — even with advance planning and management. Hear how your colleagues faced a host of issues and positioned their firms for success in the face of change.

Lodging

A limited room block is held nearby at the Hyatt Place Chantilly. Make reservations online or call the Reservations Center at 1-888-591-1234 using the group code G-AIAE. Complimentary shuttle service is available for those who wish to stay afterward and a enjoy tasting.


About the Art of Practice

The biennial Art of Practice was launched in 2017 with the purpose of providing current and aspiring firm leaders and with timely, relevant, actionable advice on how to grow and sustain their businesses.

Read the key takeaways from the 2017 event and see the photo gallery.