Friday, January 8th marked the kickoff for 2016’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program. Sixteen of Virginia’s best and brightest young architects met at The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design to get started on this year’s project, learn a little bit more about each other and hear from two excellent speakers about the past of the profession and the future of creativity.

In this session, the students learned about the history of the profession from Bryan Clark Green, Ph. D., who has done extensive research about the preservation of Virginia’s historical architecture. Green received honorary membership in AIA Virginia at the 2014 Visions for Architecture gala for his efforts. Kelly O’Keefe, who has won Entrepreneur of the Year and Ad Person of the Year, spoke to the students about how the responsibilities of leaders and industries have changed over the years, and how the students need to set themselves up to meet the future changes head on.

The students will apply these insights while working on their annual project. This year is structured differently than previous years as the students will be selecting a project from a select group of options chosen by the ELA Steering Committee. The students will soon choose which brief they would like to focus on, and will tour the location in March. They will work on solutions to this program brief and present their solutions in November at Architecture Exchange East 2016.

The ELA program began in 2009 and now has over 80 alumni — many of which have assumed leadership positions in their respective firms and AIA components. Currently, there is an ELA alum or current participant on the board of every AIA component in Virginia.

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Please contact Marshall Dreiling,, (804) 237-1769 with any questions about this program.

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