AIA Celebrates 100 Years in Virginia

Virginia Celebrates ArchitectureAs the Commonwealth collectively greets the new year, citizens throughout Virginia are working, studying, shopping, eating and sleeping in spaces designed by architects — many with very little understanding of how quality design enriches the human experience.  Virginians move through their days without recognizing how architecture shapes our lives and reveals our history. Without being conscious of how we all use places to describe and anchor some of the most important events in our lives — from the hospitals where we were born to the cemeteries where our loved ones are buried.

As the Society welcomes 2014, we’re marking the 100th anniversary of the AIA in Virginia by generating a new conversation about the designed environment. In close collaboration with the Virginia Center for Architecture, and AIA components in Virginia, we’ll embark on a comprehensive public outreach program called Virginia Celebrates Architecture. Through this year-long observance, we’ll work to develop a broader understanding of what architects do and the value they bring to our communities.

A robust schedule of public outreach programming, including exhibitions, lectures, group programs, and tours will take place throughout the year.  The centerpiece of this program is an exhibition announcing Virginia’s favorite architecture. The exhibition — aptly titled Virginia’s Favorite Architecture — showcases the results of a public poll which garnered nearly 30,000 votes during November and December. It kicks off with a public announcement and Opening Reception on Thursday, April 10, at the Virginia Center for Architecture.  In addition, through the compilation and timely release of a year-long series of top ten lists, we’ll use structures to tell the story of the Commonwealth and the citizens that built it and inhabit it today.

Several special events have been planned for members of the profession as well.[adrotate banner=”52″]

Virginia Design Forum: Dwelling  — April 11–12
The eleventh biennial Virginia Design Forum turns our attention to the one environment where we yearn to feel most secure: home. Speakers include Peter Gluck of Gluck+; Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG; Jeff Kovel of Skylab; and Ma Yansong of MAD.

A Virginia Accord — Sept. 19–20
We’ll consider job creation and environmental sustainability through the lenses of transportation, the constructed environment, public health, land development, and urban infill. Speakers include Richard Jackson, author of Making Healthy Places; Dan Friedman, President of National Academy of Environmental Design; James Cramer of Greenway Consulting and Chair of the Design Futures Council; and outstanding speakers representing mayors, USGBC and transportation interests.

Architecture Exchange East — Nov. 5–7
We’re featuring nearly 70 educational sessions, spectacular behind-the-scenes architectural tours, engaging special events, and cutting-edge vendors. Keynote speaker Brian Mackay-Lyons will share his pioneering work with MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.


Seeking Centenarian Firms

World War I begins, the Panama Canal officially opens for crossings, the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place — 1914 boasts some pretty monumental events in our history as a nation. The profession marked some significant milestones that year as well, including the formation of a Virginia component of the AIA.

While it won’t get you mentioned on The Today Show or a telegram from the Queen, the Society and the Virginia Center for Architecture want to know which Virginia firms have hit the 100-year mark. Regardless of name changes, consolidations or merges, if you can trace the history of your firm back to 1914 or earlier we’d love to know about it. As we prepare the commemorate 100 years of the AIA in Virginia, we’d like to celebrate the firms that were there to witness the birth of the Society.

Contact Rhea George at or (804) 237-1768 to add your firm’s name to our list of Centenarians.  Who knows? Maybe you will get that shout out from Willard Scott.