2022 AIA Virginia Prize Launches Jan. 21

The 2022 AIA Virginia Prize competition kicks off the spring semester by offering students the opportunity to win a $2,000 prize.

Any student enrolled in one of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia is eligible to compete in the competition which will take place over the weekend of Jan. 21-24, 2022.

Universities send up to 10 finalists to be reviewed by a jury of respected Virginia practitioners. The winners will be announced later this spring. In addition to the $2,000 prize, three $300 “Best of School” awards will be given.

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.

Launched in 1980, the competition is intended to promote collaboration between the profession, students, and professors in Virginia.

Development of the competition brief rotates between the four schools annually — the 2022 Prize challenge is being developed by Virginia Tech. Learn about last year’s competition.

AIA Large Firm Roundtable ARE Scholarship

The Architects Foundation’s Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) ARE Scholarship helps fulfill the LFRT’s goal to double the number of licensed Black architects by 2030. The scholarship defrays the costs associated with the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), provides a one-year subscription to ArchiPrep and covers one year of Associate AIA or NOMA member dues.


Applicants must:

  • identify as Black or African American,
  • be a current Associate AIA member or NOMA member,
  • hold an active National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) record,
  • and be eligible to sit for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).


Deadline: Friday, Jan. 14, 2022
Review period: January–April 2022
Scholarship recipient selection meeting: April 2022
Scholarship recipients notified: Immediately following the meeting

Learn more and apply>>

ELA Class of 2021 Wrap-Up

Emerging Leaders in Architecture is a year-long professional learning and service program created by the Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects This program brings together students and young professionals from across the state for monthly sessions on topics that will deepen our understanding of professional practice, alongside a year-long project to create a meaningful deliverable for a particular community. For the class of 2021, our focus was the neighborhood of Blackwell in Richmond, Virginia. We were tasked with developing a design proposal that addresses the needs of a community on the verge of significant redevelopment while considering the preservation of its history and culture.

View their ArchEx project presentation

Blackwell is a predominantly Black, low-income residential neighborhood in the city of Richmond. Like many inner-city neighborhoods, its history is linked to urban renewal, gentrification, and cultural erasure. White flight and urban divestment have resulted in much of the surrounding neighborhood fabric and culture being erased to make way for newer development, highways, and outpriced housing markets. The residents of Blackwell feel as though they have been continually left out of the conversation and are now being driven out by increasing property taxes and cost of living.

To properly address the historical and present-day inequity, as well as the physical and economic challenges that impact the community of Blackwell, we focused our initial efforts on listening to community members to learn and prioritize their needs. We heard that Blackwell lacked access to resources, especially fresh produce, affordable housing, and physical places for people to gather. Without these resources, the residents will likely be pushed out of their neighborhood due to the redevelopment happening all around them.

As our group discussed how to honor, secure, and support the existing community and culture of Blackwell, we acknowledged that, as outsiders with limited time on this project, we cannot pretend to be experts on the community and cultural identity of Blackwell. The only people who can decide what Blackwell needs are the people who live or work there. So, instead of focusing on a specific structure or a location, we explored ways that we could connect residents with resources that already exist so that they can assert their own agency regarding the future of their community. We have since assembled a “community tool kit” for Blackwell: an entry-level, user-friendly guide for starting a grassroots effort to support whatever improvements the residents decide are most important. These tools have been developed for and in conjunction with the community of Blackwell.

Over this past year, this project and process have taught us all so much about the vital role that community engagement must play in all our projects as designers. We prioritized listening to the Blackwell community, and in response to what we heard, did our best to produce a tool for them that is tangible and practical. We have also partnered with local organizations that are willing to store and distribute this community tool kit so that this information is made continually available to Blackwell long after our ELA 2021 class has disbanded. Now, we look to your financial and professional assistance to put this tool into the hands of the community so that they can continue this initiative in their own unique way. If you are able, please consider financial support of this project to help bring this community tool kit to life.

Help fund this project>>

AEC Conference – Save the Date

The 2022 AEC Virginia Conference will be hosted by the Virginia chapters of the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Institute of Architects, and the Associated General Contractors on March 17-18 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Its vision is to bridge together architecture, engineering, and construction professionals to collaborate, create, and build for the future.  Preliminary information is available at Summary – 2022 AEC Virginia Spring Conference (cvent.com).

COTE Corner: Are You a Carbon Counter?

Are you a “carbon counter” in your firm? Holistically measuring the embodied carbon or CO2-equivalent emissions associated with a building’s materials is tricky — and vital to evaluating the highest-impact, most cost-effective solutions to reducing embodied carbon on projects.  AIA Virginia’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) is looking for folks who are interested in sharing best practices, resources, suppliers, and tools.

If you’d like to get involved, email Rhea George.

Are you new to the carbon accounting game? Check out the 3-part Embodied Carbon Toolkit.

Introduction to Embodied Carbon

Measuring Embodied Carbon

Strategies for Reducing Embodied Carbon

ArchEx 2021 Agenda & Information

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference. This year, it takes place (mostly) virtually from Nov. 1–5, 2021. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore a broad theme.

In 2021, we’ll consider consequences — both intentional and unintentional. Design sometimes follows unexpected paths. Like cracks in the sidewalk, the built environment blooms in surprising ways with unexpected actors, leading us to new horizons. This year’s program features designs and designers responding with innovation, synthesis, and perhaps even a lesson or two from the undesigned constraints around us.

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Making Space: Designing for Inclusion

Join us at Architecture Exchange East on Thursday, Nov. 4 from 3-5:15 p.m. for Making Space: Designing for Inclusion to hear from pioneering researchers and advocates for inclusive design. Registration is now open through Nov. 5. See the complete agenda.

Chris Downey, AIA, Magda Mostafa, and Derrick Behm-Josa, will each share insights and research in individual presentations. Then, they’ll all come together for a panel discussion moderated by Janice Majewski.

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Zena Howard Announced as ArchEx Keynote

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce that groundbreaking architect Zena Howard, FAIA, will be a keynote speaker at Architecture Exchange East (ArchEx) on Wed., Nov. 3. Registration is now open. See the complete agenda.

Zena Howard is a Principal and Managing Director of the North Carolina practice of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will. An award-winning architect, strategist, mentor, and team builder, her career has been defined by visionary, complex, and culturally-significant projects, such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., that navigate social issues of equity and justice, restoring lost cultural connections by honoring history and memory. Her current work includes Destination Crenshaw, a community-inspired project in South Los Angeles that will be the nation’s largest art and cultural celebration of African American contribution to world culture.

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ELA 2022 Nominations Open

AIA Virginia announces the call for applications for the 2022 class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA): An Honors Academy of AIA Virginia.

The application and more information is available here>>
The application deadline is Nov. 5, 2021.

ELA is an intensive program of educational sessions structured around presentations, discussions, team exploration, analysis, consensus-building, collaboration, and case study activities undertaken over the course of a year by a small cadre of participants selected for their potential to be outstanding contributors to the profession and the community. Facilitators and mentors who are established leaders in the building, finance, non-profit, development, university, legal, consulting, and design professions and in the community at large develop and deliver the sessions, designed to provide participants with advanced knowledge and skills related to specific areas of leadership and practice.

The program consists of monthly, day-long seminars, work sessions, or class project presentations, culminating at a presentation at Architecture Exchange East in November.

The seminars are interactive, drawing on real examples and actively involving participants. They rotate among sites in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, Alexandria, and Norfolk in conjunction with the firms, schools, and the local AIA component in each area.

The class project for 2022 will be in Roanoke, so many sessions and the project workdays will be located in the Roanoke area.

How to Apply
The committee seeks applicants from three categories:

Component Nominees: Each of the five AIA Virginia local component Boards may nominate one or more individuals for admission to the program. One participant will be selected from each component for a total of five. If interested, please contact your local AIA chapter representative. Each chapter sets its own deadline and application requirements for these positions.

Student Nominees: Each Virginia Architecture School (UVA, VT, Hampton, and WAAC) may nominate one or more students for admission to the program. One participant will be selected from each school for a total of four. If interested, contact your department Chair/Dean.

Open Applications: Applicants may apply on their own or be nominated by someone else. Seven participants will be selected from among these applicants.

The application and more information is available here>>
The application deadline is Nov. 5, 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Guske, Member Services Director, cguske@aiava.org

It’s a Wrap: Art of Practice 2021

More than 70 firm leaders came together online on Aug. 4 to exchange ideas, enjoy fellowship, and learn at the third biennial Art of Practice business symposium.

The program kicked off with a talk from Carole Wedge, FAIA, the CEO of Shepley Bulfinch, and the 2020 AIA Edward C. Kemper Award winner. She spoke about her professional journey from the mailroom to CEO and her approach to leadership. Following her talk, she had a conversation about the future of the profession with Rasheda Tripp, AIA, an Architect at Guernsey Tingle; Simone Saidel, AIA, a Project Architect at HGA Architects and Engineers; and Michael Spory, Assoc. AIA a Designer at VMDO Architects. They explored how the disruptions of 2020 revealed new opportunities to engage and empower teams.

Next up, we heard from a series of experts about what’s on the horizon for practice — from emerging technologies, trends in risk management and decarbonization, and the latest developments in employment law. Then, attendees talked about what they heard during our firm roundtable breakout sessions.

We closed out the day with a lively economic update and Q&A session with the AIA’s chief economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D.