2022 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 (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 community engagement, collaboration, firm creation, financial management, advocacy, public service, and much more. The remaining monthly sessions are dedicated to their class project from a region around the commonwealth.

Want to be a member of this elite group of leaders? The application for the 2023 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 2022 the same five questions. Here are their inspiring answers.

Shahadah Allah, AIAS

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
I recently had the opportunity to study abroad in France and I was able to see some really beautiful, thought-provoking architecture. Of course, seeing Notre Dame in its current state was the most impactful. Centuries’ worth of work and craftsmanship brought us one of the most iconic cathedrals and being able to witness the restoration progress was a very cool experience. However, I will say it has left me pondering will it return to its former glory or will there come a time when the building takes on a new life and purpose

Shahadah Allah

What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. I remembered skimming through it as an adolescent but decided to pick it back up for some design inspiration. It was a great read, and a reminder to always stay generous with your kindness.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?  
I come from a family of creatives (artists, curators, writers, etc). This coupled with my love for math and science led me to the field of architecture. From an early age, my elders would always mention that I was going to become an architect one day. It started with legos and forts and progressed to room planning and landscaping my backyard with my grandmother. When I got a little older, I ventured into graphic design. Once I began designing I instantly fell in love. The transition from graphic design to architecture was a smooth one. It was challenging and I felt I was able to express my thoughts in my work. After my first rigorous semester, the satisfaction that came with seeing my work on the wall is when I knew I discovered my niche.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Anytime I need to recenter myself and relax, I like to take the day to do all my favorite self care activities. I brew some tea and sit on the patio and listen to the sounds surrounding me. My fur friend, Saturn, tends to join me. It’s always refreshing to see the clouds and stargaze at night.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
My advice for aspiring architects is to be open to varying perspectives.I’m always pulling inspiration from the craziest of places because I find it keeps the work fresh and fun. 

Christopher Brown, AIA

Christopher Brown

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
Chichen-Itza and the Mayan ruins.  I admittedly don’t know enough about the history or culture of the Maya, but the intentional way in which their world seems to be designed let me feel that something was important beyond my own comprehension.  That feeling resonated with me for quite some time.

What is the last book you read?
A Year of Playing Catch by Ethan D. Bryan

How did you discover your passion for architecture?  
In high school, I loved the structure of technical drawing.  I was attracted to the idea of putting something together on such a grand scale, so I pursued it.  I didn’t yet understand what it was I was drawing, but I knew it was a space I could dream within.  As my education progressed, I became more and more interested in the way the built environment was a reflection of our experience.  My interest had evolved to question why we build and why it matters.  As I pushed myself to satisfy this question I found such a beautiful answer that it shaped my outlook on the human experience and I knew that my place was in architecture. 

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Go for a long run, work on my garden/yard, or simply taking a step back and watching my family as they experience the world. 

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
No matter how public or private a structure may be, its architecture is a representation of culture and values in a specific period of time.  Take the time to discover what matters to you and the people around you, and find that idea in your design.  Be slow to judge, quick to learn, and always open to what your environment is telling you. 

Preethi Chitharanjan, Associate AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
One of the most evoking architectural masterpieces I have seen is the City Palace in Udaipur, India. This palace is one of the most intuitive and magnificent pieces of architecture I have ever seen in the most recent times. Historic architectural styles have always fascinated me. This palace was built in the 1600s and served as the home of the ruler of the city. The intricate detailing showcases the power of architecture in ancient India.

Preethi Chitharanjan

What is the last book you read?
Harlen Coben’s The Woods.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?    
As a kid, my parents used to take me and my brother on vacations all around the country. Every city had a unique style of building and urban fabric…. How do these buildings all look so different and unique?  India is a county filled with unique historic-style architecture. It was at that point that I got curious about how they are built and their unique styles of architecture. The more curious I got the more I read about the different styles of architecture. That was where my passion for architecture was evoked.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Play Badminton.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Follow your dreams. Curiosity can take you a long way, never shut it down until you answer your thoughts.

Cody Dodd, Associate AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
Visiting the construction site of my own project for the first time this winter evoked a strong positive reaction. Not because it’s the greatest design or anything, but because I was able to see with my own eyes how our design decisions made as a team were actually carried out in the built world. Often times as architects we create designs that exist only in a digital space and never come to fruition, however in this case I was able to evaluate and critique my own work in person on site. Unforgettable.

Cody Dodd

What is the last book you read?
Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture

How did you discover your passion for architecture?      
I’m from a small town with hardly any buildings you might call “architecture”, however, my parents took us on many summer trips up and down the east coast. It was on these trips that I became fascinated with the built environment.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Sitting on the beach in the sun is my favorite relaxation activity.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Don’t be afraid to be a specialist. The practice of architecture is vast and there are many avenues to pick from. Find what makes you tick and channel your efforts in that direction.

Steven Foster, AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
The Getty Center in Los Angeles.  My wife Caitlin and I spent hours just exploring the buildings and surroundings in awe.  There were plenty of exhibits when we visited, but the architecture was so captivating that we didn’t even have time to see any of the art on display!

Steven Foster

What is the last book you read?
The Storyteller by Dave Grohl.  I’ve been a Foo Fighters fan for as long as I can remember.  He’s the greatest rock star of my generation and seems like a really interesting guy.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?  
I always loved drawing and building things ever since I was a kid.  However, I never really made the connection to architecture until later in life.  I began my education studying engineering, but the moment I switched to architecture, I truly fell in love with the profession.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love to play golf with my friends.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Keep learning and always be open to new ideas.  Architecture is constantly evolving, and it’s really important to be able to evolve with it.

Cedric N. Gilliam, Associate AIA

Cedric N. Gilliam

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?         
The Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright. On a recent trip to Chicago, I took some time to carve out an architectural photography tour for myself and the Hyde Park landmark was my first stop.

What is the last book you read?                
Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

How did you discover your passion for architecture?       
Mrs. Bailey, my 7th-grade mentor/teacher always had us do projects from problem-solving matrices to constructing building models and doing research. Her husband was an architect and I would always “sneak over” to look at his blueprints whenever he stopped by…he always knew I did and eventually realized my interest in it and would bring in current project documents to show me what he was working on. 

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?           
Playing some records while sketching or planning out an art project. A trip to the record shop always gets me in a creative mindset.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?              
Be willing to step out of your comfort zone early on, the earlier you do the more exposure and opportunity will be available for you. No growth comes from a place of complacency. 

Brian Gore, Associate AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
This wasn’t recent but while in grad school my class visited The Fisher House by Louis Kahn. Kahn is a master of light and shadow and the quality of light in that house was simply amazing. We had to take our shoes off while in the house and because the house isn’t open to the public the space was cold. It was an overcast day, but when the sun peeked from behind the clouds the living room and kitchen lit up in a way that made you forget about how cold it was. Being in that house is one of my favorite experiences.

Brian Gore

What is the last book you read?
I have recently started reading The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard and Missing Middle Housing by Daniel Parolek

How did you discover your passion for architecture?
I discovered my passion for architecture by helping my dad with the numerous projects around the house. As a kid, many Saturday mornings were spent at Lowes picking up materials for whatever we were working on that weekend. My brothers and I were digging footers, framing, hanging drywall… you name it we did it. There was nothing in our home that we didn’t have a hand in installing. I didn’t know it then, but I was getting an education on the building process. It was that experience that helped me discover my passion for architecture.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Two things. I LOVE to cook! To me, it is very therapeutic, and it is another creative avenue for me outside of architecture. If you show or let me try a plate of food I’ve never had before I can figure out how to cook it (slight flex). I also enjoy going on walks. I love being out in nature breathing fresh air. It is very relaxing to me, and it is also a way for me to think through problems and ideas.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
My advice would be to find a mentor whether they are inside or outside your office. Architecture can be difficult for young professionals to navigate. It’s great to have a person who you can go to for advice, lessons learned, or just to hear you vent about any frustration you have. Shoutout to Rasheda!

Darian Henry, Associate AIA

Darian Henry

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia. After hearing and learning so much about it in school, it was like standing in front of a celebrity and seeing it for the first time.

What is the last book you read?
Essentialism by Greg McKeown

How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
My love for architecture started with HGTV marathons with my family. When it was time to decide what to study in college, I went on this path not knowing what to expect. After my first year,
I was hooked. It felt as if I had just gotten a deeper understanding of the world around me.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love baking, especially chocolate chip cookies.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Even after graduating, always be in student mode. There is so much to learn and that’s what keeps architecture exciting.

Helen Jadlowski, AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
There’s nothing like going to a job site and seeing the project you spent months or years pouring over finally rising out of the ground. It’s a labor of love and a major commitment. Recently I visited Arbor Acres in Winston Salem, NC where SFCS designed two apartment buildings currently under construction that are full steel and concrete structures. It was important to achieve ten-foot ceiling heights for the lower floor levels and up to fifteen-foot ceilings for the top floor units, so the buildings are colossal. Standing on the top floor of the partially framed building and looking out at the city skyline took my breath away.

Helen Jadlowski

What is the last book you read?
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. It spoke to me on a molecular level and revolutionizes everything I thought a leader was. It made me want to become a leader. The book emphasizes being brave through vulnerability. Vulnerability isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.  

How did you discover your passion for architecture?     
I always thought I’d be an artist until my seventh-grade art teacher taught us about Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. A light bulb went off in my mind when she made the relation between art and architecture. Before this, I hadn’t imagined architecture as a profession. At that moment I was irrevocably in love with architecture.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love to paint and garden. When I paint, my mind is completely transported and focused on the task of creation. I feel connected to myself and centered in those moments. Gardening is a physical connection to nature that doesn’t require much thought. I feel joy and excitement when a plant grows and thrives.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Be a sponge. The architecture field is vast and that can be daunting. Never stop learning and believe in your abilities. Be bold and brave!

Christina Jeyaseelan, AIAS

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
I just LOVE historic buildings! I feel they provide a unique sense of place and connection to the past world. The most evocative building I came across after moving to the States from India is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. The form represents the style of the greek doric temple is just marvelous and I also admire the way it creates a sense of destination for the national mall. My favorite thing to do around the national mall is to watch the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool at dusk with the hues of twilight shades in the sky. And yes the Capitol building too, I struggle a lot to choose between these two!

Christina Jeyaseelan

What is the last book you read?
The recent book I read was Life between Buildings by Jan Gehl and Writings on Architecture & Identity by Balakrishna Doshi. The book by Gehl gave me a new perspective on how public spaces play an integral role in the life and evolution of cities. As an aspiring Urbanist, I love the way this book explains strategies for creating more lively, vibrant, and healthy public spaces which is very much enlightening to me personally. Writings on Architecture & Identity is a curated set of anthologies by Indian architect Balakrishna Doshi who is also the 2018 Pritzker Laureate. His works shifted the dynamics of postcolonial architecture in India. After reading this book, I realized how important an architectural narrative is in a design. The simple yet beautiful sketches in this book explain the thought process behind each of his projects from the 1950s till the present day, which I admire the most!

How did you discover your passion for architecture?
I have always been a science and an art person since my childhood. My passion for architecture began especially during my high school history classes. Learning about the past while designing for the present and the future is the one thing I love most about my profession. The way architecture strives and adapts itself to create better livable spaces for the users in a constantly changing world is the notion that keeps me curious to learn something new every single day!

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love reading books in my leisure time, mostly historical fiction and science fiction. I am also more of an outdoor person, love to go on bike rides, and short hikes, and love to do picnics in the parks around!

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Architecture and its tenets are timeless. It requires endurance depending on the various context and dimensions which is highly subjective. Thrive, Learn, Adapt, and more than everything, be confident about your own potential!

Isabella Nassar, Associate AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
During a recent trip to Sri Lanka, we decided to climb Sri Pada, a holy mountain where at the top sits a Buddhist temple. While the temple itself is not the most glamorous or ornate, the arduous trek up those 5500 stairs, the religious significance of the site and the shared joy of the pilgrimage made it such an incredible journey. Being able to experience the sunrise over the mountains from that temple was one of the most moving experiences of my life. 

Isabella Nassar

What is the last book you read?
Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. I went through a psychology phase during quarantine and I just finally got around to finishing it! It’s an incredible read, I highly recommended it.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?
I discovered my passion for architecture sophomore year of college – at the time I was majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in architecture. It was my first time experiencing studio culture and I found the creative process addictive. Let’s just say my grades definitely reflected where my interests were and it’s a great thing I switched majors! 

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Without fail I always find I am most relaxed when I’ve gone for a long drive somewhere playing my favorite music, eventually finding a good spot for a walk and sitting out in nature. 

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Nurture your curiosity and try hard to never lose that sense of childlike wonder. 

Bronwyn Redd, Associate AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
Mildred B. Cooper Chapel by E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jeanings. While in school I always appreciated and researched the design of the famous Thorncrown Chapel by E. Fay Jones, and I recently had the pleasure of attending a wedding at its sister chapel, the Mildred B. Cooper Chapel. It was a beautiful and serene space. The wood and river rock textures as well as the tall windows, clerestories, and skylight immersed you in the natural wooded environment surrounding the chapel. The tall, curved wood structure felt light, soft, and airy. It was a refreshing space to visit and signified harmonious and fruitful beginnings for my friends’ marriage.

Bronwyn Redd

What is the last book you read?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

How did you discover your passion for architecture? 
My passion for architecture started at home. Growing up, I had many influences surrounding me.  Most notably, I was encouraged by my parents and influenced by the two major renovations/additions done to my childhood home.  Watching the house grow and evolve over the years to fit my family’s needs heavily influenced my appreciation for design.  In addition to the house renovations, I always enjoyed art, drawing, and building from a young age.  My curiosity and imagination often led me to build forts and draw floor plans of my future home, and I think architecture and design combine art and building by emulating artistic conceptual thought in the built environment.

 What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Taking leisure walks to clear my head and ponder everyday thoughts is a favorite, relaxing activity I typically enjoy.  In addition to walks, I have recently and surprisingly enjoyed taking care of my house plants as well.  I feel relaxed by the controlled yet fast, developing condition of a plant’s evolution.  Plants are strong and resilient, and they play an important role in our mental and physical health.  Everyone should own a plant!

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
As an aspiring architect myself, I have received a lot of great advice from mentors and peers in recent years.  Their advice has helped me learn and grow as I have experienced new and challenging situations.  Here are some key takeaways from my experiences as an aspiring architect:

  • Be Confident.  Don’t be afraid to try new things and challenge yourself.  You will only grow from new experiences.  
  • Be Humble.  Be respectful and open to new ideas.  Take the time to listen to others because you might learn something valuable from their differing perspective.
  • Be true to yourself.  Pursue your interests and do things that make you excited and happy.  Your happiness will lead to your own success.

Cody M. Solberg, AIA

Cody Solberg

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
I was just recently in Joshua Tree National Park and was fascinated by the many diverse contemporary homes on the outskirts of the park. Driving up to the park’s west entrance felt like driving through an architectural playground.

What is the last book you read?
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. After wrapping up my ARE’s last year I have been head down in some truly wonderful, albeit heavy, fiction books. This book was beautiful, raw, and emotionally captivating in all the right ways.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?      
I was always creative at a young age with drawing, photography, etc, and architecture felt like a logical step in combining a lot of my passions.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Jump in a pool and swim the day away.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Explore as many outlets as you can, especially while in school! Act like a sponge and absorb as much as you can and then continue to pursue your own individual creative outlets outside of the profession.

Katrina Van Orden, Associate AIA

Katrina Van Orden

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

What is the last book you read?
Living Queer History by Samantha Rosenthal 

How did you discover your passion for architecture?      
I had the amazing privilege of visiting Spain in 8th grade and I was so impressed with how much better the cities were designed to navigate and experience. The buildings were beautiful and intentional. 

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Knit!

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Chase the “why” within your passion for architecture. Figure out who you want to make for, and why you want to make it. 

Sarah Weiner

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
I recently did a case study of Villaggio Matteotti, a housing development by Giancarlo di Carlo. I love how he worked to design it with the factory workers who would be living there.

Sarah Weiner

What is the last book you read?
I am currently reading This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. It is a gripping and dramatic detailing of how our economic structure drives the progression of climate change. Klein presents a radical call of action to drastically change that economic structure in order to save our planet. Her book scares me to my core, but it is an excellent reminder of what my purpose as an architect is.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?     
Back in high school, I started urban spelunking. Some people might call it trespassing. I have always loved the history and character of old buildings being reclaimed by the environment. There’s something eerily romantic about abandoned urban space. Now that I’m older, I prefer to leave those old ghosts alone, but I still admire them.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Definitely playing with my pet rats. I build them little mazes and cardboard forts to climb around in. They’re silly little critters. Nothing is quite like coming home after a stressful day to two pocket-sized sewer puppies.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Find a healthy work-life balance. It’s easy to lose yourself in the world of architecture. There’s so much to learn and so much work to do, but your health is of the utmost importance. Make time for friends, family, hobbies, and especially sleep. Your work will be of higher quality and you will be happier as a result.

Alec Woletz, AIA

What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?
The UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers – During our most recent ELA session in Charlottesville, we were given a tour of the memorial with one of the descendants of enslaved laborers and 2 members of the design team.  I’ve walked around the memorial many times and admired the design, but this experience unlocked a much deeper level of understanding of all the thought and symbolism that went into it.

Alec Woletz, Alloy Workshop architects. Photo/Andrew Shurtleff Photography, LLC

What is the last book you read?
The Ships of Earth, by Orson Scott Card.  After learning a lot from non-fiction books in the past few years, I am rediscovering my love of Sci-Fi pleasure reading and going through a book series that was on my shelf for a long time.  This is number 3 of 5.

How did you discover your passion for architecture?
In early childhood, my parents recognized my passion for building with Legos, K’nex, playing cards, and 3D puzzles.  They encouraged me to pursue architecture and I am grateful for they set me on that path early on.

What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Hiking or biking to a quiet place where I can read and/or sketch outside.

What advice do you have for aspiring architects?
Be curious and go explore as many buildings as you can!  There is a huge difference between learning about a building in an article, book, or an image in a lecture and experiencing it in person.  If you don’t have the resources to travel the world and see famous buildings from history, explore the architecture of your town, city, or state.  You will be surprised to find how many interesting buildings are in your area, and learning from them will inform your work for many years to come.

Inaugural AEC Conference Reflections

Reflections by Kelly Callahan, AIA

Having a rather quiet start to 2022, and being an eager newcomer on the AIA Virginia board, I packed my bag and headed east for the two-day inaugural AEC Conference in Virginia Beach. Jointly sponsored by the Virginia chapters of the AIA, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the Association of General Contractors (AGC), the conference aims to promote building-industry connections and to foster vital cross-disciplinary conversations relevant to our industry.

AIA Virginia kindly distributed the attendee list ahead of the conference, so I scouted out the demographics. And yes, I color-coded the list to identify the A’s, the E’s, and the C’s that I might connect with. (Hey, architects are visual learners, right?!) Architects and engineers made up almost 75%, with owners and contractors making up the final 25%. I also noted that men would outnumber women by 3 to 1.

As we gathered for breakfast on Thursday in a waterfront room overlooking a foggy coast, the level of experience and influence in the room was palpable. Nearly everyone in attendance held the title of Principal, Director, or Vice President. And although an early morning storm triggered a power outage, water leaks, and last-minute room shifts, our AIA, ACEC & AGC hosts were remarkably focused, jovial, and calm.

I put on my networking cross-training shoes and engaged in the breakout sessions on risk management, leadership, business development & economic development through an architect’s lens. But my peripheral vision was keenly aware of the diverse perspectives in the room. And rather than lecture, facilitators with a wealth of knowledge on their subject matter crowd-sourced topics and moderated roundtable discussions on emerging issues in the building industry. It was so refreshing to hear the candid (and well-seasoned) experiences and objectives of owners, contractors, and other designers on issues like delivery methods, succession planning, and motivating young professionals – all in the same room! Leaders from VCU, UVA, ODU, Norfolk, Suffolk, Henrico & Fairfax shared future CIP opportunities, how they’re dealing with current cost escalations, and their preferences on building materials, procurement methods, and project teams. (Who’d have thought a higher-ed client would want to eliminate the use of acoustic ceiling panels?!) Hearing this information firsthand in a small group setting, I gained unique insights into some rather large bureaucracies.

Whole group mealtimes and Thursday evening’s reception gave us opportunities to continue conversations begun in breakout sessions, share future opportunities, and make plans to follow up and connect. On Friday, I had the privilege of sharing a morning run along the boardwalk with Corey Clayborne. I gained a new understanding of pandemic life with two working parents, a preschooler, and an infant, but more so, I recognized the humility and fortitude of this admirable leader, motivator, and mentor.

Looking around the room as we came together on Friday for lunch and ‘Graphs and Laughs’ (a session on the state of the economy by manic presenter Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.), I realized that connections were established over those two days that, quite frankly, have been missing from our virtual gatherings for nearly two years. I’m already pursuing new opportunities based on relationships made at the conference. And, as we all smiled for the inaugural conference photo, I was certain we were a catalyst for a more connected and compassionate industry. Thanks to all who had the vision and took the risk to bring us together, and let’s rally to broaden the table for the sequel!

About Kelly Callahan, AIA

Kelly Callahan is a design principal in VMDO’S innovative K-12 studio, where she leverages over 30 years of educational planning and design experience to create happy, healthy, high-performing places for learning. Her projects have been recognized at regional, state, and national levels for educational innovation, user satisfaction, sustainability, and design excellence. Kelly’s foundational years at Virginia Tech instilled a respect for the honest use of materials and a focus on the human experience. She offers synergistic, research-based solutions to create meaningful places that support and uplift people.

Design Forum Features Visionary Latin American Designers

Tickets are now on sale for Design Forum: South is Up! Taking place in Northern Virginia on June 3–4, 2022, the Design Forum continues the trend of showcasing thought-provoking and inspiring work. The program features an incredible line-up of visionary Latin American designers that question, explore, and redefine spaces that respect and celebrate their urban and natural ecosystems and their rich cultural contexts.

Speakers

Smiljan Radić | Chile
Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA | TEN Arquitectos, Mexico
Viviana Peńa | Colombia
Alberto Kalach | TAX Architects, Mexico
Cazú Zegers | Cazú Zegers Arquitectura, Chile

Moderated by Juan Burke, Ph.D.

Earn up to 6.75 AIA LU | Elective

Schedule

FRIDAY
5:30 p.m. Welcome and Moderator’s Remarks | Juan Burke, Ph.D.
6:00 p.m. Smiljan Radić
7 p.m. Opening Reception

SATURDAY
9:00 a.m. Check in and Coffee
9:30 a.m. Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA
10:45 a.m. Viviana Peńa
11:45 a.m. Lunch (boxed lunches available)
1:30 p.m. Alberto Kalach
3:00 p.m. Cazú Zegers
4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Tickets
Attendees can join us online or in person at the award-winning Ballston Center at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

In Person (plus free virtual access)
AIA Member: $225
Assoc. AIA Member: $150
Non-member: $300
Student: $50

Virtual Access Only
AIA Member: $115
Assoc. AIA Member: $75
Non-member: $150
Student: FREE

Lodging

A limited block of discounted hotel rooms has been secured at the Westin Arlington Gateway within walking distance of the Ballston Center. Book online using this link. Discounted parking is also available for $32 per night. Discounted rooms are very limited. Don’t forget to book your lodging!

Please join us in thanking our generous supporters.

Want to become a sponsor? Check out our sponsorship package and contact Jody Cranford.

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Knowledge Community Grants

There are 21 Knowledge Communities (KC) within the AIA. In the past, state-level Knowledge Committees (KC) have often served as important connective tissue between local KCs. Recently, AIA Virginia has seen increased interest in reinvigorating some of the Knowledge Communities. The Historic Resources Committee (HRC) and Committee on the Environment (COTE) are two examples.

Do you have a passion for one of these knowledge communities? Do you need some seed money for a special speaker or an in-person statewide event? A new grant program has been developed to present a knowledge community with up to $1,000 a year to remove programmatic barriers and to enhance the quality of programming. $2,000 in total grants are available each year.

Eligibility requirements

  • Must be an AIA recognized KC either currently organized or newly formed. (Virginia Women in Design is also eligible.) Grant monies could be used to start a recognized KC.
  • KC volunteer committee must have statewide representation.
  • Program/initiative goal should be to reach members across the Commonwealth.
  • Grant monies to be used for honoraria, materials, venue, technology, and/or something that advances the efforts of the KC.
  • Any grant recipients agree to submit a follow-up article/pictures (30 days after event) to show how the grant helped advance the mission. This article will be shared with the AIA Virginia membership through email, social media, Inform Magazine, etc.

Application process

  • Applications will be open for 30 days beginning April 1, 2022.
  • Applications can can be submitted by the KC chair or committee members.
  • Complete online application here>> https://www.aiava.org/knowledge-community-grant/
  • Monies will be awarded and available starting July 1, 2022.

Firm & Career Stage Roundtables Meet April 21

Join AIA Virginia’s Meeting of the Roundtables on April 21, 2022, to confront common challenges, share best practices, and build relationships with professionals across the Commonwealth. This program is free and open to all.

In addition to reconvening the Emerging Professional, Small, Mid-sized, and Large Firm Roundtables, this session sees the launch of two new peer communities:

Academic Roundtable
Come together to discuss the unique challenges faced by designers working in academia. Chaired by WAAC’s Susan Piedmont-Palladino, join your fellow educators to reflect upon the discipline and of the education of future architects.

Mid-career Professionals Roundtable
Join a conversation facilitated by VMDO’s Shawn Mulligan about navigating the competing demands of increased professional and personal responsibilities. With a focus on peer-to-peer sharing, explore solutions to the distinct issues frequently faced by professionals with more than 10 years of experience.

In response to requests for more opportunities for cross-network connection and information sharing, we’ve expanded the ways you can engage.

Schedule

9 a.m.                 ROUND 1: Firm and Academic Roundtable Discussions

10 a.m.               Key Takeaways

10:30 a.m.         SPEED NETWORKING

11 a.m.                ROUND 2: Career Stage Roundtables

12:15 p.m.          Key Takeaways

12:30 p.m.         Conclusion

Join one or both rounds of discussions with a speed networking session in between.

Register online today to expand your network and accelerate your career.

Earn up to 2.5 AIA LU | Elective.

2022 AIA Virginia Prize Winner Announced

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the students recognized as honorees in 2022 AIA Virginia Prize competition. The competition — which took place over the weekend of Jan. 21–24 — challenged students to craft an architectural proposition in the form of a passenger rail station to serve Virginia’s New River Valley. Each school’s faculty reviewed the submissions and sent up to 10 finalists for final consideration by the jury.

AIA Virginia Prize
The top award and $2,000 prize goes to Virginia Tech student Rachel Julius for “Trails to Rails.”

“Trails to Rails” by Rachel Julius, Virginia Tech

The jury noted the thoughtful approach to the site and the clear effort to keep many of the trees on the site intact. The parking and building placement were very practical, and the solution related well to the adjacent site. The inclusion of tiered seating in the rain garden was a nice addition and helped create a space that “feels like a venue.” The building’s forms are easy to read with a clear relationship to the Huckleberry Trail.

The jury particularly appreciated that this solution also took sustainability into account through a mass timber structure, green roofs, and rain gardens.

Hampton University Best of School
Best of School Award for Hampton University and $300 goes to Trey Baker for “New River Valley Rail Station.”

Trey Baker - 2022 Hampton University Best of School
“New River Valley Rail Station” by Trey Baker, Hampton University

The entry appealed to the jury because of the way that it incorporated the Huckleberry Trail. The ribbon-like solution was elegant, and the platform rendering did a great job conveying the experience under the canopy and pushing focus out into the site and its natural elements.

University of Virginia Best of School
The Best of School Award for University of Virginia and $300 goes to Fatin Hameed for “A New Path.”

Fatin Hameed - 2022 UVA Best of School
“A New Path” by Fatin Hameed, University of Virginia

The jury felt that the physical expression of the building hewed most closely to the Louis Kahn quote in the design brief about wonder. The expression of the train vibrations in the organic form of the building was evocative and powerful.

Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center Best of School
The Best of School Award for Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center and $300 goes to Prathamesh Rewandkar for “A Different Perspective.”

Prathamesh Rewandkar - 2022 WAAC Best of School
“A Different Perspective” by Prathamesh Rewandkar, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center

The jury appreciated level of detail in the rendering as well as the use of wood and natural materials, calling this entry “very intimate” and “of the landscape.” They particularly noted the point of arrival and the way the building reveals itself beyond the water feature.

The following were recognized with an Honorable Mention

Christian Galindo, from Hampton University, for “Huckleberry Station.”

Christian Galindo - 2022 Hampton University Honorable Mention
“Huckleberry Station” by Christian Galindo, Hampton University

The client representative on the jury particularly appreciated this solution. The organization of the plan was efficient, and the programmatic elements were laid out in a very realistic way.

Carson Sutphin, from Virginia Tech, for “Hearth.”

Carson Sutphin - 2022 Virginia Tech Honorable Mention
“Hearth” by Carson Sutphin, Virginia Tech

The rendering was very strong and conveyed a mature solution. The jury appreciated the attention paid to the details on the platform and the abstraction of the bracket elements that are traditional to train stations.

John Tan, from Virginia Tech, for their untitled entry.

John Tan - 2022 Virginia Tech Honorable Mention
“untitled” by John Tan, Virginia Tech

This submission was one of the most thorough entries in the competition. The organization of the board was clear, the drawings were linear and legible, and the composition made it easy for the jury to understand the design concept.

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 was developed by Virginia Tech.

About the Jury

Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA | Jury Chair
Carolyn Rickard-Brideau is Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, an international architecture and design firm.

Christopher Charles, AIA
Christopher Charles is an Associate Principal with Hanbury’s Norfolk office.

Wilson Rayfield, AIA
Wilson Rayfield is Executive Vice President, Aviation with Gresham Smith.

Ken Thacker, AIA
Ken Thacker is a principal with VMDO’s Charlottesville office.

Kevin Byrd, AICP
Kevin Byrd is Executive Director at New River Valley Regional Commission.

Ryan Ives, RLA
Ryan Ives is an Associate and landscape architect Senior Designer in Little’s Durham office.

HousingX Un-Conference 2022

Innovation and rapid change are transforming industries around the world. The pace of change can be so fast that it’s important to see beyond the horizon to know what’s coming. The affordable housing industry is no exception.

AIA Virginia is pleased to partner with HousingForward Virginia on the next HousingX “un-conference,” featuring dynamic keynotes, exhibits of innovative housing technologies, and more. Join your colleagues in May 24-25, 2022, in Newport News.

Hosted by HousingForward Virginia and Virginia Center for Housing Research, HousingX brings five nationally recognized speakers to highlight innovation in the fields of design, construction, finance, and justice, and more.

  • Curtis Moody,FAIA, Founder, Moody Nolan
  • Zachary Mannheimer, Founder/CEO, Alquist3D and Atlas Community Studios
  • Anna Mackay, Founder/Principal, Sister City
  • Theo Henderson, Activist/Podcaster, We the Unhoused
  • Abhijeet Mohapatra, Co-founder/CTO, Symbium

Three workshops hosted by Anna Mackay, Zachary Mannheimer, and Carlos Valdes-Dapena of Corporate Collaboration Resources will be available to attendees on a first-come, first-served basis.

And the Experience Lab is an interactive and educational exhibit hall showcasing the future of housing, featuring curated demonstrations of new technologies and ideas. Exhibitors currently include:

  • TestFit
  • Blueprint Robotics
  • Work Progress Architects
  • Pallet Shelter
  • Hampton University’s Department of Architecture

Several HousingX sessions are being submitted for accreditation by AIA Virginia and APA Virginia.

Register here.

2022 AIA Virginia Prize Jury Announced

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the jury for the 2022 AIA Virginia Prize. The competition — which took place over the weekend of Jan. 21–24 —challenged students to craft an architectural proposition in the form of a passenger rail station to serve Virginia’s New River Valley.

The AIA Virginia Prize is a design charrette that engages students at the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia.  Conducted simultaneously at each institution, students are given the competition program Friday at 5 p.m. They work over the weekend to create a board presenting their design solution by 9 a.m. the following Monday.  The competition is intended to promote collaboration between the profession, students, and professors in Virginia.

Each school’s faculty reviewed the submissions and sent up to 10 finalists for final consideration by the jury which will be chaired by Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA.

About the Jury

Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA ~ Jury Chair
Carolyn Rickard-Brideau is Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, an international architecture and design firm.

Christopher Charles, AIA
Christopher Charles is an Associate Principal with Hanbury’s Norfolk office.

Wilson Rayfield, AIA
Wilson Rayfield is Executive Vice President, Aviation with Gresham Smith.

Ken Thacker, AIA
Ken Thacker is a principal with VMDO’s Charlottesville office.

Kevin Byrd, AICP
Kevin Byrd is Executive Director at New River Valley Regional Commission.

Ryan Ives, RLA
Ryan Ives is an Associate and landscape architect Senior Designer in Little’s Durham office.

Meet the 2022 ELA Class

The 14th Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) class started the year virtually last Friday with our first session and look forward to getting together in person in February in our project area of Roanoke, Virginia.

Shahadah Allah, AIAS, from Hampton University
Christopher Brown, AIA, from Moseley Architects
Preethi Chithranjan, Associate AIA, from AECOM
Cody Dodd, Associate AIA, from Hanbury
Steven Foster, AIA, from DBI Architects
Cedric Gilliam, Associate AIA, from Jacobs Engineering Group
Brian Gore, Associate AIA, from Quinn Evans
Darian Henry, Associate AIA, from HBA Architecture
Helen Jadlowski, AIA, from SFCS
Christina Jeyaseelan, AIAS, from the Washington-Alexandria Architecture School (WAAC)
Isabella Nassar, Associate AIA, from KGD Architecture
Bronwyn Redd, Associate AIA, from Jacobs Engineering Group
Cody Solberg, AIA, from VMDO Architects
Katrina Van Orden, Associate AIA, from Hanbury
Sarah Weiner, from Virginia Tech
Alec Woletz, AIA, from Alloy Workshop Architecture and Construction

The 2022 leadership team is:
Breanna LaTondre Helms, Associate AIA, ELA class of 2019, Chair
Noah Bolton, AIA, ELA class of 2018, Vice-Chair
Nick Cooper, AIA, Past Chair
Chris Warren, AIA, ELA class of 2016, Emeritus Advisor

For more information about the ELA program or to help financially support this program, please contact Cathy Guske at AIA Virginia.

Registration Open for AEC Spring Conference

Reconnect with your industry peers and forge new relationships at the most influential industry event in Virginia — the AEC Spring Conference! Registration is now open for this program that brings decision-makers together, face-to-face, for the first time since 2019. Join your peers March 17-18, 2022, at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront to collaborate, explore trending topics, and share solutions to common challenges.

The AEC Spring Conference is a collaboration between AIA Virginia, ACEC Virginia, and AGC Virginia. Attendees can earn 13 AIA LU | Elective.

Take a look at the agenda.

Day 1

Breakfast (8–9 a.m.)

Roundtable Discussions (9 a.m.–noon)Share solutions to common challenges in risk management, leadership, business development, or grassroots advocacy during active discussions moderated by subject-matter exerts.

Lunch & Keynote Address: Virginia Politics (noon–1:30 p.m.)Learn what the latest legislation means for the industry from highly-respected political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth.

Panel Discussions (1:30–4 p.m.)
Collaborate and explore trending topics in higher education or economic development.

Welcome Reception (5–7 p.m.)
Build your network and return to your firm with new relationships and a fresh perspective.

Day 2

Breakfast (7:30–8:30 a.m.)

Roundtable Discussions (8:30–11:30 a.m.)Continue the conversations about risk management, leadership, business development, or grassroots advocacy. Dig deeper into the topics you explored on day one or sit in on new discussions and expand the network of colleagues you can tap when facing a new challenge.

Lunch & Keynote Address: Economic Update (11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.)Hear actionable economic updatesfrom Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, the Bowtie Economist.

Panel Discussions (1–3:30 p.m.)Discuss the latest developments and best practices in coastal resiliency or learn what’s in the infrastructure plan pipeline in various localities around Virginia.

If you’re ready to meet in person, join your colleagues this March. Attendance is very limited so secure your tickets today.

Please join us in thanking our generous sponsors

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