ArchEx 2019: In Review

For 3 days in November, the profession came together at Architecture Exchange East 2019 for a dynamic exploration of culture and design. Here are a few highlights from the program.

Some of the speakers have given us permission to share handouts and presentations. Check them out.

yafCON 2019 Announces Speakers

yafCON is pleased to announce the panelists for the 2019 micro-conference at Architecture Exchange East. This year’s theme is The Architect of the New Era: critical issues of the 21st century designer. The program is free with your ArchEx registration or you can simply register to attend the [yaf]CON micro-conference on Friday, Nov. 8 from 1:30-5 p.m.

The panel features four distinguished emerging professionals with experience within at least one these focus areas: socially-sensitive design, emerging technologies and data in design, sustainability and environmentally-conscious design, and equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Sydney Covey
Sustainable Solutions Manager, Structr Advisors, Virginia Beach

“Our industry plays a critical role in climate change and sea level rise. We have to shape our perspective to begin to think about how the building impacts both the occupant and the environment.”

Yiselle Santos Rivera
Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, HKS, Inc., Washington, DC

“We are the ones that ignite the fire. When we show there’s value in pursuing equity, diversity, and inclusion, we make sure that everyone is engaged in the conversation and accountable, there is no space for failure.”

Edward Becker
Professor of Architecture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg

“Faced with the pressing global challenges of rapid urbanization and human-induced climate change, we should focus on the development and implementation of low-carbon construction.”

Pascale Sablan
Founder & Executive Director, Beyond the Built Environment, New York City

“We need to address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline.”

The yafCON team is looking to crowdsource questions for its engaging panel.


We Are Family

Next Month’s Convening of a Family of Design Professionals

From November 6-8, we will be convening for AIA Virginia’s Architecture Exchange East at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. We will bring together hundreds, which include design professionals and students, from Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic to discuss the topic of Regarding Culture. Our keynote speakers are worth the wait! Dwayne Oyler, Pascale Sablan, and Patricia Gruits are the headliners that will take the stage and promise to leave you inspired about why we became architects.

On Wednesday, the complimentary Meeting of the Roundtables will take place in the afternoon. Did I mention this is FREE and worth 3 Learning Units? Those who attend will break into Roundtable groups, based on firm size, to discuss the pressing issues to their organization and engage in meaningful dialogue on best practices and lessons learned. This year, in the same room, there will also be an Emerging Professionals Roundtable where our future leaders will be able to share their perspectives with current firm leaders. Later that evening, we will host our Annual Membership Meeting to share with you our organization’s accomplishments and how we continue to position our members to be increasingly relevant to society. As part of this meeting, the John Braymer Leadership Circle [AIA Virginia Past Presidents] will host our annual Prosecco toast to celebrate our newly licensed architects with NCARB and DPOR leadership.

The rest of the conference contains individual seminars that have been organized by unique zones to allow you to easily satisfy your interests and educational yearning. Content has been curated and placed into the Inspiration, Future, HSW, Practice, History/Community, Public Work/Public Good, and Crowd-Sourced zones. For example, check out how our 2019 Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) class is changing a community through design in the Future Zone. Friday night, we will celebrate our Design and Honors Awards recipients at our annual Visions for Architecture gala.

A great experience awaits you next month. Of course, you will grab some Learning Units, but you will also bond with your peers. Many call this event a “family reunion.” Various networking dinners and events will allow you to meet new friends and colleagues and reconnect with old ones whether you attend all three days or one.

I look forward to welcoming you to Richmond in three weeks!

With service,
Corey Clayborne, AIA, MBA
Executive Vice President

The Power of a Women’s Archive: Revealing Diverse Cultures

A collection of original, revelatory work by women in architecture and design, curated and hosted by the International Archive of Women in Architecture

The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) seeks to discover, collect, and preserve the work of women in architecture and the design-related fields, as well as sponsor research that will help fill the voids in the history of the disciplines. This unique archive receives work of women, be it in installments or as a whole body of work in its diversity of material. Founded almost 35 years ago by Prof. Milka T. Bliznakov from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech together with the University Libraries, the archive currently preserves more than 450 collections in Newman Library on the Blacksburg, Va., campus. 

Members of the Executive Committee of the IAWA Center are hosting an experiential session at Architecture Exchange East (ArchEx) 2019 to propel knowledge of under-represented groups and frequently hidden methods in architecture. The 90-minute workshop, titled “The Power of a Women’s Archive: Revealing Diverse Cultures,” will take place on Friday, Nov. 8. You can register to participate online.

To capture the experience of building an archive in real-time, women architects and designers attending ArchEx 2019 are invited ahead-of-time to contribute one piece of original flatwork, accompanied by a CV, and a handwritten paragraph noting the work’s significance, describing how this piece sparked a breakthrough in their education or practice. Flatwork may include sketches, drawings, diagrams, collages, prints, screenprints, photographs, outlines or synopses of written work, among others, artifacts of a “revelatory moment.”

All ArchEx attendees and workshop participants are invited to contribute an original work by other women. Work collected for this exhibition will become a part of the 1×1 collection of the IAWA.

The exhibit will be on display on Thursday, Nov. 7 and during the session on Friday, Nov. 8 at 8:45 a.m. In order to prepare the display and the discussion, the moderators request that you mail the material, CV, and the accompanying text by Nov. 1, 2019 to: 

IAWA Center c/o Prof. Donna Dunay 

School of Architecture + Design (MC 0205), 
201 Cowgill Hall, Virginia Tech
1325 Perry St., Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

Please contact the organizers via email with your questions:
Donna Dunay
Paola Zellner 

Though time is short, the moderators look forward to receiving your work and are intrigued by the prospect of an exhibition created under the auspices of ArchEx becoming part of the historical record.

See samples from the archive below:

Courtesy of IAWA, Special Collections, Virginia Tech

ArchEx 2019: History/Community Zone

Join us in our carefully-curated History/Community Zone at Architecture Exchange East this November 6–8, 2019. In this zone, you’ll hear case studies, discuss preservation, and deliberate the power of building community. Check out the highlights from this Learning Zone below.

View the complete agenda or register online today. You can pick and choose sessions from any of the zones or do a deep dive into a particular theme. Discounted Registration ends Oct. 9.

History/Community Zone


03: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Workshop
This day-long workshop provides an introduction to the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).


51: Field Measuring 101
Renovation projects may not always warrant the use of 3D scanning or photogrammetry. This course reviews basic techniques for field measuring and provides some helpful hints.

104: AIA Forum for the National Mall: Renewing our Voice
The AIA Forum for the National Mall is a think tank for creative innovation to address climate change, security, expansion, preservation, spatial allocation, interpretation, transportation, tourism, and utilization to design an even greater treasure for future generations.

204: Cultural Stewardship through HBIM
Explore how Historic Building Information Management (HBIM) gives stewards of historic properties the information they need to preserve culturally important sites like never before.

304: Architecture is the Message
Discuss how old buildings and the ones not deemed historic can survive and thrive through modern adaptations. 


402: Mentoring Future Fellows
Are you interested in becoming a Fellow? Do you want some guidance and feedback on your application? Sign-up for this session and get matched with a mentor.

451: The Power of a Women’s Archive: Revealing Diverse Cultures
The interaction with the original artifacts is, in itself, a qualitative, multilayered, and irreproducible learning experience. Immerse yourself into women’s diverse professional practices.

604: Alexandria Riverfront Economic Framework Plan
Investigate a road map to reinvigorate the waterfront into a vibrant economic engine that encourages cultural development, tourism and urban mixed use development. 

704: Cultural Matchmaking Your Way to Project Success
Explore the cultural opportunities and challenges of integrating research, academic and healthcare environments using a case study and published research.

804: Excellence in Affordable Housing: Reshaping Urban Environments
Using case studies in Northern Virginia, this panel discussion will highlight the successful practices and strategies used to address the pressing need for affordable housing in urban environments.

904: Washington Alley Project: Research and Public Space Advocacy
Examine D.C.’s informal alley network as a viable site for new modes of urban living, creating opportunities to adapt to the social and technological pressures of today without sacrificing architectural heritage.

About Architecture Exchange East

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference and expo. This year, it takes place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from Nov. 6–8, 2019. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore the theme of culture.

All ArchEx seminars offer 1 AIA/CES learning unit unless otherwise noted in the agenda.

ArchEx 2019: Practice Zone

This year, we’ve organized our carefully-curated program for Architecture Exchange East into learning zones. You can pick and choose sessions from any of the zones or do a deep dive into a particular theme.

Join us in our Practice Zone to focus your ArchEx experience on practice management. In this zone, you’ll discuss practice management methods and explore the topic of firm culture.

View the complete agenda or register online today. Discounted Registration ends Oct. 9.

All ArchEx seminars offer 1 AIA/CES learning unit unless otherwise noted in the agenda.


04: AIA Virginia Firm Roundtables
Leaders from various firm sizes come together to discuss pertinent practice topics in a structured and facilitated format. 


50: Why Should I Choose You?
There’s one question you’re faced with every day that matters above all else: Why should I choose you? It’s the most difficult question to answer and it comes from three directions: business development; employee experience; and customer experience.

103: Building Belonging: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
How do you foster a diverse firm culture where every individual feels empowered to contribute? Hear from leaders whose organizations have devised and implemented a strategy to build and sustain a culture that celebrates human differences.

203: The Missing Middle: Surviving the Mid-Career Phase
Engage in an open dialogue on firm culture, the recession, and the art of delegating. Discuss firm culture, work/life balance, time management, goal setting, and mentorship. Emerging professionals, mid-career professionals, and firm leaders are all welcome.  

303: Building a Cohesive Firm Culture Across Offices
Quinn Evans Architects has expanded rapidly in the past few years, having merged with both Baltimore’s Cho Benn Holback + Associates and Richmond’s BCWH since 2017. The directors of QEA’s Richmond, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, offices will discuss their experience with the mergers and their impacts on firm culture.


404: The Culture of Value
Understanding key points such as building a management team, building a client base, building a growth strategy for the firm and individuals, and effective financial controls shows the employees (and perspective future owners) that the firm’s value culture is one they’ll want to buy into.

450: Focus: Your Most Valuable Skill
Distraction is derailing your projects. It’s also making you stressed, burned out, and less innovative. Dive into how our brains function best and discover secrets to overcome distraction individually — and as a firm.

603: Culture Catalyst: Workplace Design as a Leadership Tool
Does your office align you’re your culture, or does it get in the way? Learn how design impacts the culture you have and how it can support the culture you want.

703: Enriching Culture: Diversity Groups in Practice
FXCollaborative shares how the firm’s mission-driven groups foster an inclusive and equitable environment. Hear about the firm’s diversity groups including FXWomen, FXMosaic, and FXOne, which are designed to help women, racial/ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ community to thrive.

803: Creating a Business Development Culture
Building a corporate culture that embraces business development can be one of the most effective ways to achieve your company’s growth objectives. Discover how to engage in a systematic cultural change process that will allow you to create this type of culture.

903: Purpose-Driven Performance: Connecting Culture to Success
Assess your firm’s culture and learn how to leverage a sense of purpose to drive better performance.

About Architecture Exchange East

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference and expo. This year, it takes place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from Nov. 6–8, 2019. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore the theme of culture.

Registration Open for ArchEx 2019

I don’t know about you, but the anticipation has been killing us. Registration is now (finally!) open for Architecture Exchange East 2019 — one of the largest and most exciting annual gatherings of architects and design professionals in the mid-Atlantic.

ArchEx 2019 features dozens of educational sessions, spectacular behind-the-scenes architectural tours, engaging special events, and more than 60 vendors in the ArchEx Exhibit Hall — all organized around our theme of re:culture. Check out the complete agenda. (View as a PDF)

This year, during the Early Bird registration period, we’ve frozen registration fees. Register today to secure your tickets at last year’s best price – but don’t delay. Discount registration ends Oct. 9. Check out all the registration options and fees.

Keynote Speakers

Our general session features three keynote speakers. We kick off with an opening talk by Dwayne Oyler from Oyler Wu Collaborative. The firm has been published globally and widely recognized for its excellence in architectural design, research, and fabrication. Learn about the firm’s approach to fostering creativity and collaboration, and then hear about their experimentation around fabrication and 3D printing — including their LACE line of products.

Then, hear from Pascale Sablan, AIA. She’s a Senior Associate at S9ARCHITECTURE as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond the Built Environment. Pascale is the 315th living African American woman in the United States to attain her architectural license. She was recently appointed to AIA New York’s Board of Directors and to the AIA National Strategic Planning Committee. Pascale was named one of 25 Young Architects to Watch in 2019 by Architizer and recognized with the 2018 AIA Young Architects Award. She is an architect, mentor, intrapreneur and a passionate advocate for bringing visibility and voice to the issues concerning minority designers. 

The general session wraps up with an address by Patricia Gruits, Senior Principal and Managing Director of MASS Design Group. Gruits leads both design and research projects in health, education, and equity. Since joining MASS in 2013, she has led the design of the Maternity Waiting Village in Malawi with the Malawi Ministry of Health, a series of primary schools in East Africa with the African Wildlife Foundation and the M2 Foundation, and is currently leading the development of an assessment tool to measure the impact of design and infrastructure investments.

Prior to joining MASS, Patricia worked with Kennedy & Violich Architecture in Boston and co-founded the global non-profit, Portable Light, which provides a portable and sustainable source of power and light to those in resource limited areas of the world. Her work has been featured in journals of architecture and design as well as on the BBC World News and the Discovery Channel.

About the Program

This year, we’ve organized our carefully-curated program into learning zones. You can pick and choose sessions from any of the zones or do a deep dive into a particular theme.  Check out descriptions of learning zones below or see the seminar titles in a grid.

The Inspiration Zone: In this zone, you’ll attend design-focused sessions that are intended to recharge your creative batteries.

The Future Zone: In this zone, you’ll discover emerging technologies, methods, and research and find out what’s on the horizon for the profession.

The HSW Zone: In this zone, you’ll focus on health, safety, and welfare – and earn up to 15 HSW learning units.

The Practice Zone: In this zone, you’ll discuss practice management methods and explore the topic of firm culture.

The History/Community Zone: In this zone, you’ll hear case studies, discuss preservation, and deliberate the power of building community.

The Public Work/Good Zone: In this zone, you’ll discuss the opportunities (and challenges) of engaging in public work as well as the benefits of working for the public good.

The Crowd Sourced Zone: In this zone, you suggested the sessions, we invited the speakers.

About Architecture Exchange East

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference and expo. This year, it takes place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from Nov. 6–8, 2019. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore the theme of culture.

ArchEx 2019: Future Zone

This year, we’ve organized our carefully-curated program for Architecture Exchange East into learning zones. You can pick and choose sessions from any of the zones or do a deep dive into a particular theme.

Join us in our Future Zone to find out what’s on the horizon for the profession. Discover the latest research, emerging technologies, and trends.

View the complete agenda or register online today. The Early Bird discount ends on Sept. 18.


101: Floating Communities: Cultural Shift to Living ON the Water
Floating communities are environmentally sound, socially focused, and a wellness living environment second to none.  Michael Winstanley AIA AICP and Leejung Hong LEED AP will present their vision and plans for a series of floating communities ranging from a small community of 25 homes in an existing urban marina in downtown Washington, DC to a large 84 home new community in Woodbridge.  The proposed plans document a net-zero development of homes ranging from 1,500 gsf to 3,000 gsf each constructed on a concrete “float” foundation in a remote location and brought in by barge an assembled to create a vibrant and integrated community.  Power, water, and sewage are all part of the discussion as well as common facility and shore-based support functions.

201: Moon Base: Designing a Lunar Village
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has released the conceptual design for the first full-time human habitat on the lunar surface, called “Moon Village.” Learn about the proposed concept and hear how the team had to consider entirely new challenges, such radiation protection, pressure differentials, and how to provide breathable air.

301: Virtual Reality and the University of Virginia Hospital Expansion
The University Hospital Expansion project (UHE) is a 14-story, 440,000 square-foot patient-tower currently under construction at the University of Virginia. Seeing the value of the use of Virtual Reality during project design, the on-site team decided to set the challenge of finding a way to use VR during construction administration. Through this presentation, the design team will share their journey over the last 5 years of software exploration and the ever evolving use of technology during construction.


411: Technologies for Inclusion
Computational design and digital fabrication technologies—including robotics—have afforded new potential for all design disciplines. Global architecture and design discourse continue to profess the potential of ‘emerging’ design technologies and fabrication methods as the drivers of the future of creating buildings. Computational design, collaboration, project management, and fabrication technologies have enabled projects to happen faster while utilizing global supply chains, global labor and universal methods, often without respect for impact—both positive and negative, in the short and long term, on local communities, economies, environments, and culture. In opposition are amazing stories emerging from the discourse surrounding the Architect as an inclusive creator. Often as one-offs or special projects outside of the normal practice, these altruistic endeavors rarely result in sustained solutions with systemic impact. In this dichotomy, we have people that make buildings at a pace to meet global demand and in opposition we have people that make buildings that meet local and regional human needs, through processes that empower—a healthy framework for discourse but the practical reality is that development is outpacing altruism at an alarming pace.

To meet global demand while also empowering local communities we must find ways to leverage the same design technologies that are allowing the global construction industry to thrive, to enable collaboration, engagement across stakeholders, find new ways of working, and to reinvent the value proposition of design. Through a series of examples from the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech, this talk will explore ways in which design and construction technologies help us do more, better and faster, while enhancing the human experience by enabling inclusive processes.

501: Goldilocks and the Power of Ten
Scientists are providing greater and greater access to the design of materials at super-small scales. This talk will provide case studies that explore how designers can make, size, and apply these new materials to orchestrate the flow of energy through buildings in novel and efficient ways.

601: Emerging Leaders in Architecture Session
Celebrate the achievements of the 2019 Emerging Leaders in Architecture and hear about this year’s class project. Dramatic changes in technology and workplace behavior has contributed to an excess of vacant office space, with Northern Virginia approaching a 20% vacancy rate. This year, the Emerging Leaders in Architecture class identifies strategies and creative interventions that revitalize these structures to provide space and amenities that contribute to their local communities.

701: [yaf]CON
[yaf]CON aims to unite and connect members of YAF chapters in Virginia through a mindfully curated micro-conference intended to forge connections and advance the careers of attendees.