New Resources Available: Global Practice Primer

Three new chapters have been added to the AIA Global Practice Primer, covering human resources, technology in practice, and sustainability.

The AIA Global Practice Primer is designed for architects who are either considering the pursuit of projects abroad or are already engaged in international work. It serves to highlight the intricacies and differences when it comes to working abroad, including specifics on how international practice generally differs from domestic architectural practice in the US.

The primer was produced by the AIA International Practice Committee and features contributors with a wealth of first-hand knowledge and expertise on international projects. From business development and marketing to legal issues and project delivery, this primer is designed to provide architects with the basics needed to expand your work internationally.

The International Practice Committee Advisory Group invites commentary on this document’s content and usefulness. Submit any feedback to Theresa Palma, director of international relations, at

Urbanization, Health and Resilience

“People from all walks of life … must recognize the crucial role design can play in coping with the complexities and challenges of the future.” ~ Richard Farson, Ph.D.

Designing to Transform our WORLD

The peoples of our world are gradually coming to understand that many of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century— urbanization of the planet, the well-being of society, the resiliency of our communities—are fundamentally matters of design. Increasingly, governments, industry, and the general public are beginning to appreciate that the creativity, training, and experience of architects and designers are necessary if we are to realize the dream of healthy, productive, safe, sustainable, and livable communities.

First, Urbanization:
Today, more than half the world’s inhabitants live in urban areas. The pressing cultural and environmental concerns of

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA

urbanization demand new levels of accountability as we measure ecological performance, energy use, density relationships, and dwindling resources.

Quick policy or technological fixes—a dam here, a regulation there—may provide temporary relief, but typically lead to larger problems. The paradigms of urbanism desperately need recalibration to meet today’s and tomorrow’s global challenges. Who is best trained and equipped to inform and lead the decision-making process that will bring about new thinking about the fair and sustainable allocation of resources? Architects and designers.

Second, Health:
An issue that demands our leadership is health. When we think of health, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the medical industry and treating illnesses when people are unwell. What should be uppermost in our minds is not the treatment of illness, but how to keep people WELL.

Whether dense or dispersed, there is a growing appreciation for the value of planning and designing cities to support physical activity, sunlight, clean air, the use of sustainable and safe building materials, access to healthy foods, safety, and social connectedness. This is a transformational moment for understanding and addressing the health consequences of our cities, and for architects to take the lead to put knowledge, measurement, and innovation at the disposal of elected officials and community leaders. We can and must be the agents for a quality of collaboration among all the affected parties, especially citizens, that shapes environments that support human wellbeing and environmental health.

And third, Resilience:
Becoming a globally urban society intersects with a looming crisis of 21st-century life—global climate change. This may be the greatest challenge of all, and it cries out for the leadership of designers of all disciplines. While some still question that human activity is (for the first time in history) having an impact on global weather, what is beyond argument is that more and more of us are in harm’s way. This affects us with growing frequency in Virginia.

“Resiliency”—which I define as structures that can resist all types of destructive events and continue to provide their primary functions—is a major challenge to the design professions—and an opportunity to demonstrate the value of design. Structures so designed have the ability to reduce the magnitude and/or duration of disruptive events by anticipating, absorbing, adapting to, and recovering rapidly from natural and human-caused disasters. Stated more simply, resilience can be defined as the ability to bounce back after a disturbance or interruption. However, resiliency does not and should not be equated with a fortress mentality; instead, it can be a way of thinking that links our work intimately with site and climate.

Public-opinion polls, newspaper articles about local issues and politics, and anecdotal evidence all show that communities around the world are concerned about livability issues. Health, security, transportation, safety, schools, sustainability, resiliency, economic development, and productivity all contribute to quality of life. All are influenced (in some way) for better – and, for worse – by the way we shape the built environment.

My dear friend, the late Richard Farson, PhD., recognized author and psychologist I quoted above, believed that we are in the midst of an emerging “Design Century.” In Dr. Farson’s words, “The stakes are high. The next few decades will determine the survival of our civilization. We will either design our way out of this crisis, or we won’t make it. We will succeed only if design thinking becomes the organizing discipline of the future!”

Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA
Executive Vice President
AIA Virginia

Mutations on View at the Virginia Center for Architecture

Saul Bass's Vertigo poster
By combining photography, typography and hand-made graphics into expressive pictographs, Saul Bass brought additional power to the work of directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger.

Design, like DNA, describes who we are and how we evolved. Technological evolution presents designers with means and methods to express ideas that continually build upon a collective heredity. Evolution, however, is not contingent solely on nature. Often misstated as “survival of the fittest,” evolution depends on the genetic mutations that best provide an individual or system the ability to adapt to and thrive in its environment. Accordingly, great design evolves not out of the desire to generically appeal for universal acceptance, but from an astute reading of and capitalization on the passions, needs and aspirations of an era. As opposed to timelessness, design speaks to a moment. If design lingers in our collective awareness, it is precisely because it captures the spirit of the best ideas, practices and expressions of its time. This cultural, philosophical, geographic and intellectual nurturing of design is as important, therefore, as its elemental composition.

Louis Kahn's Salk Institute
Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute spans the dogma of early modernism and the ambiguity of late-twentieth century design. Photo by Llewellyn Hensley.

The Virginia Center for Architecture announces a new exhibition chronicling the intersections between fashion, graphic design, interior design and architecture throughout the last century. MUTATIONS: The DNA of Twentieth Century Design features the work of 28 iconic designers and demonstrates the physical and metaphysical intersections that bind design. The exhibition opens with a Reception on July 25 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. and features light refreshments. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited and reservations are recommended. Call (804) 644-3041, ext. 100, register online at or email to make reservations.  The exhibition will be on view through Oct. 13, 2013.

The exhibition was curated by Roberto L. Ventura with students from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Departments of Graphic, Fashion and Interior Design. Most of the students came to the project through their participation in the Middle of Broad interdisciplinary studio and each played large roles in the generation of the design brand, exhibit design, and content. The design team included Liz Belte, Sarah Brown, Ying Jun Cheng, Laura Colagrande, Llewellyn Hensley and Mia Zhou.

About the Guest Curator

Roberto L. Ventura has practiced and taught modern and sustainable design in Virginia and North Carolina for 15 years. A member of a number of local teams earning design awards from AIA Richmond and the James River Green Building Council, his work has also been exhibited nationally through the HOME house Project sponsored by the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. For the international light art exhibit InLight Richmond 2009, he collaborated with poet Joshua Poteat on the installation “for gabriel,” winning Best in Show.

While maintaining his practice, roberto ventura design studio, Ventura is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has also taught Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, and has lectured at the University of Oulu, in Oulu, Finland. Ventura holds a Master’s in Architecture from Miami University and a B.A. in Math and Physics from Albion College. He earned his LEED AP accreditation in 2008 and his NCIDQ certification in 2012.

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 and design 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.; and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at

Design and Conversations

Get a taste of our latest release — B+D3: Get Outta Here.  This marks the third in our series of social, design-inspired conversations, and we’re pleased to “re-bottle” it under the Beer+Design label.  Stay tuned here and on Facebook for regular updates.

Beer+Design 3: Get Outta Here
Feb. 6, 2013
beginning at 5 p.m.
Storefront for Community Design
205 E. Broad Street
Richmond, Va.


Thom White – Work Program Architects, Norfolk

Fred Wolk + Dave Ackerman – Wolf Ackerman Architects, Charlottesville

Nelly Kate – Musician & Artist, Richmond

Giles Harnsberger – Storefront for Community Design, Richmond

Peter O’Shea – Siteworks, Charlottesville


Blue Mountain Brewery

Storefront for Community Design

Designing an End to Illness

Credit Valley Hospital. Photo by Tom Arban.
Credit Valley Hospital. Photo by Tom Arban.

As the health care debate rages on in the public arena, chronic disease and illness are threatening to overwhelm the health care system. The cost of treating diseases like obesity, asthma, diabetes and heart disease is an enormous financial burden on the economy. Most of us recognize that architecture can have an impact on health, but what if it could actually make us healthier? What if it could help prevent disease? Reduce violence? Increase productivity? Architecture Exchange East, the Society’s annual conference and design expo, announces Tye Farrow, an internationally recognized expert in salutogenic design, as the keynote speaker.

For those not familiar, it may be easiest to understand the word salutogenic by first defining its opposite. If pathogenic is disease-causing, then salutogenic is health-causing. Salutogenic design focuses on creating, enhancing and improving physical, mental and social well-being through well designed and planned environments — environments where making healthy, sustainable choices is easy.  Farrow, senior partner with the Farrow Partnership, has gained international recognition for the design of public and private sector buildings that enhance health.

The concept of salutogenic design moves beyond conventional notions of sustainability to encompass not just the building’s impact on the environment, but also its impact on users.  It becomes another measure of good design.  “… we’re no longer going to settle for design that is simply profitable, or efficient, or sustainable, or programmatically compliant, or any of a dozen other measures of design success,” says Ray Pentecost, FAIA, the Society’s Vice President for Professional Excellence, in an interview with Bill Mallard in Architect magazine. “We are going to look for design standards that address and respect public health.” And the idea doesn’t just apply to hospitals, but to the workplace, schools, institutions, and homes. Now that sustainable design has moved from a niche specialty to something expected — even demanded — by clients, Pentecost believes that salutogenic design is the next great wave of theory and practice.

Farrow will present his keynote address at Architecture Exchange East on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Architecture Exchange East in Richmond, Virginia. Watch for information and registration details. The ArchEx Keynote Address is sponsored by Scott Long Construction.

About Tye Farrow

Tye Farrow
Tye Farrow

Farrow has designed award-winning projects across Canada and around the world. Recently, the Stockholm-based World Congress on Design and Health identified him as a global leader who is making “a significant contribution to health and humanity through the medium of architecture and design.”

His groundbreaking approach to promoting wellness at the Credit Valley Hospital and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Canada is viewed internationally as setting a new standard for health care design.

His work has been published in the British journals Architectural Review Magazine, AD Architectural Design and HD Hospital Development. He has been designated by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40; recognizing Canada’s “best and brightest.” The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in the United Kingdom selected Farrow’s design for Credit Valley Hospital as 2007’s Best International Design.

He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University.

Follow his firm on Twitter @FarrowPartners

Visit the website

Read the blog


Calling All Experts: ArchEx Seeks Presenters

Showcase your strategies, theories, ideas, research and results at the most energetic gathering of architects and construction-industry professional in the mid-Atlantic. Architecture Exchange East is seeking proposals from qualified speakers. Join nearly a thousand design professionals in historic Richmond for the 25th Architecture Exchange East, Nov. 7–9, 2012.

Feedback from prior conferences tells us that  attendees want information on the latest developments in the industry. Specific, focused seminars should be proposed that can convey information in one of these formats:

  • Three- or six-hour workshops
  • 90-minute or three-hour seminar presentations

Keep in mind that we are looking for sessions that are interesting, relevant to an audience of architects, and reflect current or emerging practice.  To propose an offering, please complete the required Presentation Information Form and submit it to us by Friday, April 27, 2012. Your proposal will be reviewed by the Program Advisory Group and you will be notified if your proposal has been accepted.

Tell us about your presentation. Be prepared to include:

  • A description of your workshop
  • Your presentation format
  • Audience level (introductory, intermediate or advanced)
  • Your presentation style
  • Main learning objectives
  • A short biography for you and for any co-presenters along with any recommended reading

Submit your presentation proposal online at

Mark your calendar for Nov.7–9, 2012, for the 25th Architecture Exchange East.


Tech’s LumenHAUS Wins AIA Honor Award

LumenHAUS, courtesy Va. Tech

Virginia Tech’s acclaimed LumenHAUS has earned another feather in its much-adorned cap. This net-zero-energy house — which has garnered attention not only for design excellence but as an educational tool — has been awarded a 2012 Institute Honor Award for Architecture from the national component of the AIA. Recognized by the Society with a 2011 VSAIA design award and the Prize for Design Research and Scholarship in 2010, the LumenHAUS also took home the top prize at the European Solar Decathlon in 2010.

The house has been on display in New York’s Times Square, Washington, D.C. and alongside Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House as an exhibition, not only on good design, but as a tool informing the wider public about issues of alternative energy and sustainability.


Virginia LID Design Competition

Low impact development (LID) focuses on maintaining or restoring a site’s natural hydrology. Retaining and filtering storm water on-site rather than conveying it to storm sewers recharges groundwater, reduces the scouring of stream banks, and helps keep watersheds clean and healthy. This two-stage open competition—sponsored by the James River Association, Friends of the Rappahannock, Potomac Conservancy, and Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Civil Engineers—focuses on three actual sites in Virginia.

Competition entries must come from integrated teams of at least three design professionals licensed in Virginia and must include at least one civil engineer and one landscape architect. The registration fee is $100, and the stage-one submission deadline is February 17, 2012. Teams may register online.

Stage one will be scored by a five-person jury comprising:
• Civil Engineering: Don Rissmeyer, PE
• Landscape Architecture: Kennon Williams, ASLA
• Low Impact Development: Thomas Schueler
• Architecture: Patrick Farley, AIA, LEED-AP
• Hydrology: (Judge Pending)

Finalists will be announced March 4 at the Virginia Lakes & Watershed Association Conference.

In stage two of the competition, finalists will present their entries verbally and through PowerPoint to a jury of influential Virginians from the development, civic, and government communities. Those presentations will be April 12 in Lexington, Va., at the 23rd Annual Environment Virginia Symposium. The jury will select winners that same day in each of three categories. The award for each category is $15,000.

The three categories (and site locations) are:
1) Suburban Mixed Use (Fredericksburg area)
2) Urban Redevelopment (Fredericksburg)
3) Green Roadway (Arlington)

Submissions will be judged on how well they conserve natural resources, provide natural functions to control and filter storm water, and use small-scale decentralized landscape features to:
• Reduce the amount of runoff by mimicking the natural hydrologic function of the site and matching pre-development hydrology
• Minimize the use of and/or reduce the size of pipe and other centralized control and treatment infrastructure
• Lower the total cost of development when compared to traditional infrastructure design
• Minimize and disconnect impervious surfaces, lengthen time of concentration, and promote bio-filtration of runoff to improve the quality of storm water leaving the site
• Minimize or eliminate the use of potable water resources needed for irrigation and, where practical, provide for the reuse of rain water
• Use enhanced quality of life values and reduced maintenance costs inherent in LID practices to increase marketability of the development and longterm property values.

For more information on the sites and competition rules, visit the Virginia LID Competition site.

For specific questions, contact Adrienne Kotula by email or phone, 804-788-8811 x206.

Call for Entries: Design Awards 2011

The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects calls architects, interior designers, and preservationists to submit to the 2011 Awards for Excellence in Architecture presented by Scott Long Construction.

Three categories, three juries:

ARCHITECTURE, INTERIOR DESIGN, and PRESERVATION will each be judged separately by a jury of esteemed professionals.

Winners will be honored at a special session during Architecture Exchange East and at Visions for Architecture, a gala event hosted by the Virginia Society AIA. Winning projects will also be the subject of the fourth annual Design Awards exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture, and featured in Inform magazine’s annual directory.

The 2011 Design Awards are presented by Scott Long Construction and sponsored by Carolina Cast Stone Co., Inc.


4 p.m., June 30, 2011      REGISTRATION

4 p.m., July 21, 2011        PROJECT SUBMISSION

No faxes or mail to send! The Virginia Society AIA continues to pursue a more sustainable model of operating and therefore is accepting only electronic registrations.


All entries must be the work of licensed architects who have an office in Virginia OR are members of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. This includes Associate Members of the VSAIA.

The location of projects is not restricted, but any built work submitted must have been completed after January 1, 2006.

Un-built work will also be considered, as long as it was commissioned by a client as opposed to hypothetical work completed in the mode of research or academic training.

Meet the Jury Chairs

Paul Mankins, FAIA
Recipient of the 2003 AIA Young Architects Award, and elected to the AIA College of Fellows at only 40 years old, Mankins is a founder and principal of the nationally recognized collaborative design practice Substance. In addition to awards from Architecture, Architectural Record/Business Week, Contract, I.D. (International Design), Interior Design and Residential Architect magazines, his work has been recognized with more than 35 Honor and Merit Awards at the regional, state and local level. In 2002 he received an AIA National Honor Award for Architecture. He serves on the National Board of Directors of the AIA, and during his time as Editor-in-Chief of Iowa Architect, it was recognized by the AIA as the outstanding component publication in the nation.

Kevin J. Flynn, FAIA, IES
Currently serving on the AIA National Board as a Regional Director from the Central States Region, Flynn has extensive experience in architecture, lighting design and theatrical design. Through his work as Executive Vice President of Kiku Obata & Company, he has been recognized for architecture, lighting, and retail design work by the AIA, Chain Store Age, the International Conference of Shopping Centers, Institute of Store Planners/Visual Merchandising & Store Design Magazine, and the International Illumination Design Awards.  In addition to his service to the AIA, he has served as president of the Illuminating Engineers Society of North America.

He is the 2012 Chair of the AIA Institute Honor Awards for Collaborative and Professional Achievement.

Eugene C. Hopkins, FAIA
Principal and co-founder of HopkinsBurns Design Studio, Hopkins is a nationally-recognized leader in historic preservation architecture. He has extensive experience in the restoration and rehabilitation of hundreds of structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places including a number of National Historic Landmarks. As president of the American Institute of Architects in 2004, he led efforts to renew the AIA/National Park Service/Library of Congress partnership; save the Farnsworth House; advance the integration of Historic Preservation principles into the architectural curriculum of colleges and universities and excluded the historic tax credit from the JOBS/Tax bill. He has received numerous recognitions for his contribution to architecture, including the 2003 prestigious Gold Medal from AIA Michigan, 2006 Gold Medal from AIA Detroit, the 2002 Robert Hastings FAIA Award and the 1992 AIA Michigan Young Architect of the Year Award. His work on the Michigan State Capitol received a National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award in 1992 and an AIA Honor Award for Architecture in 1996. In 2008 he was appointed Architect of the Michigan State Capitol.

See the Regulations and FAQs.

Citizen Architect: Hansen and Loudon Co. Design Cabinet Honored

Al Hansen, AIA accepts the 2010 PlanVirginia Citizen’s Award

Al Hansen, AIA, and the entire Loudon County Design Cabinet were honored with the 2010 PlanVirginia Citizen’s Award.  This award is given to a group or individual who has made a notable and constructive contribution to the harmonious and orderly development of the community, region, state or nation.  PlanVirginia, who sponsors this award, is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering, throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, public understanding and awareness of the need for excellent community planning as a means of making our localities better places in which to live, work, and do business.  

Since 2003, Hansen, who is Director of Architecture for DBI Architects, has served as cabinet chair of Loudoun County’s Design Cabinet.  The Design Cabinet promotes high quality ecological, urban, architectural, and landscape design in Loudoun County. Design Cabinet members include engineers, architects, planners, and designers who have come together in a fusion of creative community problem solving.  Collectively, Hansen and the Design Cabinet members have been actively involved by volunteering in the community, conducting design charettes and problem solving sessions, focusing on improving plans, and stimulating new ways to think about projects in Loudoun County.