Centennial Luncheon Captures “Moment in Time”

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, at 12:30 p.m., members and staff of the Virginia Society AIA celebrated “a moment in time” when 5 members of the AIA in Virginia met exactly 100 years earlier in the same place—Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel—to create the AIA in Virginia.  Following the reading of the minutes of that meeting by VSAIA Secretary Eric Keplinger, AIA, five “elder statesmen” of the Society gave brief biographical sketches of the founders, and President Jack Davis, FAIA, called the roll of the 81 men and women who have led the Society in its first 100 years.

As Executive Vice President/CEO John Braymer, Hon. AIA, noted in his welcoming comments, the Centennial Luncheon was a time to reflect on the accumulated human effort and dedicated service that brought the Virginia Society AIA to this point in its history.  Also recognized were William C. Noland Medalists, Virginia Members of the AIA College of Fellows, Richard Upjohn Fellows of the AIA from Virginia, Presidents, Chairs, and executive officers of the Virginia Foundation for Architecture, Distinguished Members of Staff with more than 10 years of service, and a short list of chief executives beginning in 1970.  AIA President Helene C. Dreiling, FAIA, one of three Virginia architects to have held the Institute’s highest office, conferred a Presidential Citation on the Society near the climax of the program.

Plans are now underway for the next centennial celebration—the VSAIA Bicentennial—on Monday, Sept. 17, 2114.

See the program. Read the text of the Presidential Citation.

Dreiling to Become Chief Executive Officer in 2015

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA

On June 6, 2014, the Board of Directors unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Search Committee to appoint Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, to the position of Executive Vice President/CEO of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects upon the retirement of the current EVP John Braymer, Ph. D., Hon. AIA, at the end of the year. Her contract was signed during the Sept. 17 meeting of the Board of Directors on the Society’s centennial anniversary.

“The Virginia Society AIA has a history of developing responsive and innovative programs for its members and the profession,” says Dreiling. “I look forward to continuing that legacy of leadership, with a focus on enriching the member experience while elevating awareness of architects and architecture.”

Dreiling — who is an accomplished architect and Fellow of the AIA — has followed a career path largely beyond the bounds of traditional architectural practice. She has worked in several not-for-profit settings including The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and as a staff Vice President for The American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C.

Her service to the profession is significant and remarkable. She is a past president of AIA Blue Ridge and recipient of their Award for Distinguished Service. Dreiling is also a Virginia Society AIA past president, a Noland Medalist, and Distinguished Achievement Award recipient. Her service at the national level includes 2014 President; Past 1st VP, Secretary, VP, and Regional Director. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Center for Architecture, a position she will continue to hold.

Throughout her AIA experience, Dreiling visited dozens of AIA local and state components, facilitating member town hall meetings, helping to resolve challenges, and assisting in the restructuring of numerous Component Boards. This work gave her deep insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a wide range of AIA Components.

Her professional background and volunteer service provide her with substantial non-profit management experience, uniquely suited to the role of EVP/CEO of the Society.

Ten Buildings that Changed Black History in Virginia

Buildings shape our lives and reveal our history. The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. In close collaboration with the Virginia Center for Architecture, the two organizations are embarking on a public outreach program called Virginia Celebrates Architecture.  One element of this program is to introduce new conversations about the built world and the part it played in shaping Virginia’s history.

In recognition of Black History Month in Virginia, the Virginia Society AIA and the Virginia Center for Architecture have assembled 10 structures that changed history in the Commonwealth.

1. Robert Russa Moton High School — A student-led strike at this Virginia school played a significant role in ending segregated “separate but equal” schools throughout the nation.

2. Fort Monroe — In 1861,the commander at this Hampton fortification announced that his troops would not enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Slaves who fled to the fort would be treated as “contraband of war” and not be returned. By the time the Civil War ended in 1865, it is estimated that more than 10,000 enslaved African Americans sought refuge at Fort Monroe. [adrotate banner=”53″]

3. Harrison School — Now the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the Harrison School was the first public high school for African-American students in Southwest Virginia.

4. Gum Springs — West Ford, a former slave, founded Gum Springs after being freed by George Washington. The oldest African-American community in Fairfax County, Gum Springs became a sanctuary for freedmen and was an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

5. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank — Conceived of by Maggie L. Walker, St. Luke’s provided a courteous, safe place for African Americans to conduct financial business during a time when Jim Crow laws and oppressive conditions made banking difficult for many blacks.

6. Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library — On August 21, 1939 — more than two decades before the famous sit-in movement — five young African Americans staged what is thought to be the first planned sit-in at the public library in Alexandria, Virginia.

7. Jackson Ward — After the American Civil War, previously free blacks joined freed slaves and their descendants and created this thriving African-American business community, which became known as both the “Black Wall Street of America,” and “The Harlem of the South.”

8. Attucks Theatre — Built in 1919, the Attucks Theatre was designed, developed, financed, and operated entirely by African Americans. Once known as the “Apollo of the South,” the theatre is named in honor of Crispus Attucks, the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War in the 1770 Boston Massacre.

9. Manassas Industrial School —The school was founded largely through the efforts of former slave Jennie Dean who, after years of fundraising, chartered the school on October 7, 1893. The school taught both academic subjects and skilled trades to young African Americans.

10. Longdale Recreation Area/Green Pastures Recreation Area — At the urging of the Clifton Forge Chapter of the NAACP, the Forest Service constructed this recreation area to be used by African Americans in the area. It was built by a local Civilian Conservation Corps company from 1938 to 1940 for the African American community in response to the construction of the whites-only Douthat State Park.

About the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects
The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects is a professional association representing nearly 2,500 members. Since 1914, the Virginia AIA has represented the professional interests of architects and allied professionals in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information, contact the Virginia Society at (804) 644-3041 or visit www.aiava.org.

About the Virginia Center for Architecture
The Virginia Center for Architecture is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Fan District. The Center is dedicated to developing the understanding of the power and importance of architecture through programs, exhibitions, and its stewardship of an historic landmark. The Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.architectureva.org.

About Virginia Celebrates Architecture
Virginia Celebrates Architecture is a year-long public outreach program marking the 100th anniversary of the American Institute of Architects in Virginia. It is intended to develop a broader understanding of architecture and design by beginning new conversations about buildings and the impact they have on our lives. Learn more at www.vacelebrates.org.

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.