ELA 2020 Class Nominations Due

Nominations for the 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) are due by 5 p.m.

The application and more information is available here>>

How to Stay Engaged in ELA

The Emerging Leaders in Architecture program now has 150+ alumni members! The first ten years of this program have shown that a majority of these alumni become more engaged AIA members, citizen architects, and leaders in their firms/industries.

Here’s how you can stay engaged with ELA:

  1. Sponsor class sessions/happy hour
  2. Follow/Like through Social Media Channels
    1. ELA Facebook page
    2. Current class social media
      1. 2019: Instagram – @elaclassof2019
    3. AIA Virginia Facebook and Instagram pages
  3. Attend the local event happy hours – when the class seminar day is in your area, plan to attend the happy hour afterward to connect with the current class and network with your alumni peers.
  4. Attend the annual networking dinner at Architecture Exchange East (November)
  5. Become part of the local steering or executive committees. View the Leadership structure.
    1. Work on planning sessions in your area
    2. Work on researching class project ideas. Be on a project advisory council for the class when it’s in your area.
  6. Nominate potential class members (August-October)
    1. Work with local AIA board or help with open applications
  7. Networking/Social events
    1. Help plan quarterly alumni socials around the state
    2. Help plan the annual summer reunion for all alumni and families

To get involved, or if you have any questions, email Cathy Guske, Member Services Director at AIA Virginia, cguske@aiava.org

2020 ELA Class Nominations Open

AIA Virginia announces the call for applications for the 2020 class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA): An Honors Academy of AIA Virginia.

The application and more information is available here>>
The application deadline is Nov. 8, 2019.

ELA is an intensive program of educational sessions structured around presentations, discussions, team exploration, analysis, consensus-building, collaboration, and case study activities undertaken over the course of a year by a small cadre of participants selected for their potential to be outstanding contributors to the profession and the community. Facilitators and mentors who are established leaders in the building, finance, non-profit, development, university, legal, consulting, and design professions and in the community at large develop and deliver the sessions, designed to provide participants with advanced knowledge and skills related to specific areas of leadership and practice.

The program consists of monthly, day-long seminars, work sessions, or class project presentations, culminating at a presentation at Architecture Exchange East in November.

The seminars are interactive, drawing on real examples and actively involving participants. They rotate among sites in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, Alexandria, and Norfolk in conjunction with the firms, schools, and the local AIA component in each area.

The class project for 2020 will be in Norfolk, VA, so many sessions and the project workdays will be located in the Norfolk area.

How to Apply
The committee seeks applicants from three categories:

Component Nominees: Each of the five AIA Virginia local component Boards may nominate one or more individuals for admission to the program. One participant will be selected from each component for a total of five. If interested, please contact your local AIA chapter representative. Each chapter sets its own deadline and application requirements for these positions.

Student Nominees: Each Virginia Architecture School (UVA, VT, Hampton, and WAAC) may nominate one or more students for admission to the program. One participant will be selected from each school for a total of four. If interested, contact your department Chair/Dean.

Open Applications: Applicants may apply on their own or be nominated by someone else. Seven participants will be selected from among these applicants.

The application and more information is available here>>
The application deadline is Nov. 8, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Guske, Member Services Director at AIA Virginia, cguske@aiava.org

2019 ELA Class Profiles

AIA Virginia’s award-winning Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program was developed in 2009 to jump-start the careers of young professionals. Conceived of and lead by a passionate steering committee of successful architects (and now ALL past ELA alumni!), the program was designed to share the things they wished they had learned in architecture school.

Each of the seven day-long-sessions focuses on developing essential skills like financial management, communication and negotiation, advocacy and public service, and much more.

Want to be a member of this elite group of leaders? The application for the 2020 class will be available later this summer. Contact Cathy Guske for information on how to nominate an emerging leader or with any questions about the program.

We asked members of the ELA class of 2019 the same five questions. Here are their inspiring answers.

Macy Anne Carman-Goeke

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

Macy Anne Carman-Goeke, AIAS

A: I recently had the chance to see the Pont Du Gard in person, and after all those years of studying it, it took my breath away to see it and appreciate the craftsmanship that brought such incredible engineering to life.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The All-Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg for a fun read, and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert for a more sobering read.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I had an early knack for puzzles, and discovered that I was more interested in designing a building for my future-career-of-the-day in childhood than the career itself. A dolphin training center, veterinary hospital, and horse barn were just a few of the things I designed. However my curiosity about all things led me down some other roads, and I came back to architecture as a career change after spending time in the environmental and community policy sector, and seeing first hand the way the built environment impacts human lives and the health of our planet.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: To spend time outside hiking, cycling, running, or camping with my husband, taking photographs, traveling to new places, listening to a fascinating podcast, or reading a good book.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To never box yourself in- we build in a complicated and messy world. Everything is related to architecture and the more you know about it, the better the architect you will be.


Annesley Cole

Annesley Cole, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Most recently, the Royal Danish Library (the Black Diamond) in Copenhagen. It was incredible to experience how something as traditional as a library could be a vibrant modern destination, constantly buzzing with activity – both from visitors and locals.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (and – ongoing in the background – the Ballast ARE 5.0 book!)

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I’ve always loved puzzles, and figuring out how to make things fit together. We moved a handful of times in my childhood, and each time my parents had the option of a move-in-ready house or one on the verge of collapsing. Needless to say, they always took on the challenge, and I spent many hours watching my mom (an author by trade) hand sketch over the architect’s blueprints to make each house work best for our family of 6. I loved seeing the way a building could shape how and where we spent our time, and continue to love the puzzle that is figuring out how a building will work best for the end user.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: At the end of a long day, I love to go down and sit on the beach with my husband (and our dog!) and just catch up and unwind.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Know that this field is a constant learning curve and that you will make mistakes (especially in the beginning!), and that is totally okay. Make friends with your coworkers, because work is a lot more fun when you have people to push through deadlines with, joke with, and collaborate with – not to mention someone who will answer your dumb questions. Also remember that acknowledgment of, credit to, and gratitude for others goes a long way. Everybody likes to know they are appreciated!


Ashley LeFew Falwell

Ashley LeFew Falwell, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Lately, I’ve loved opportunities for bird’s eye city views. In Paris, Sacre Coeur is glowing in the distance from many vantage points. Then once you’ve arrived, the perspective it provides is awe-inspiring.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The 12th book in the Gamache series by Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning. This is a mystery series, but I most enjoy Penny’s lovingly flawed protagonists, brilliant descriptions of art, and thoughtful reflections on human nature. And Book 13 features an architect!

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: My grandmother started teaching me to paint and draw when I was very young. Through her mentorship, I learned how to really slow down and see. I was equally drawn to all of the core subjects in school, but I craved subjectivity in response to an emphasis on memorization and testing. I found a counterpoint in art classes and enjoyed the intuition and embodied knowledge involved in making things. Through travel opportunities and over time, I became more and more interested in large-scale installation and the built environment. I see architecture as the fascinating intersection of many disciplines in physical form; it’s at once technical and empathetic.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Reading is high on the list. It’s even better when combined with the outdoors, a cat, or a cup of coffee. I also love knitting, walking, and meaningful conversations with my extraordinary family and friends.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: One of my professors always said, ‘It takes forty years to become an architect.’ At the time, I thought he was exaggerating. Once I began practicing in an office, his words rang true to me. Becoming an architect is a lifelong process. If you embrace a love of learning and a sense of curiosity, you will never lack for inspiration.


Ojima Glover

Ojima Glover, AIAS

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: The Research and Development Center at Virginia Tech. Reason being, I am currently working in the space and seeing how we can take the original design, and mold it to what Virginia Tech needs today. I have had the opportunity to talk to the building’s designers and see why they made certain design decisions. Having the opportunity to compliment the design is a wonderful learning experience for me and has reiterated for me that it is possible to work on an existing building without taking away a lot of its character.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Warm of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book highlights the migration of African-Americans from the south to the north.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: That is a funny story. I grew up wanting to go into law because I felt that was the best way to help people. I didn’t want to do Architecture for a long time because of the math involved and I didn’t know how involved with people one could be. My mom pushed for me to look into it because I loved creating things and she didn’t want me to let that go. So after doing a days worth of research about what Architects do, I was hooked and knew that this was the field I wanted to go into. (With a complementary degree in contractual law of course.)

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I love to spend time with friends, read, and SLEEP!!

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Don’t come in with any preconceived notions of what you must do or know. Enjoy your time exploring architecture and have fun with your designs! Push the boundaries and see what can come out of it. Find what’s important to you in design and let it influence your design and the firms you choose to go for!


Karim Habbab

Karim Habbab, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: The Garage in Charlottesville, VA. It is a single car garage located on a side street across from Market Street Park. Every once in a while the garage door opens, people gather on a grassy hill across the street, and a band performs live music. It is a gem hidden in plain sight and a wonderful use of space.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Growing up having architect parents instilled in me the importance of design excellence at a young age. I was privileged to have accompanied them to job sites as a child. It was when I saw their sketches become reality that I decided to pursue architecture as a career.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Reconnect with nature and get some fresh air. I currently live near the blue ridge mountains, so I usually hop on over to Shenandoah national park and go on a quick hike.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: You will excel if you are passionate about your work. I challenge you to wear many hats when analyzing your work and never be afraid to go back to the drawing board.


Kelley Holmes

Kelley Holmes, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I recently visited Paisley Park – the home, music studio, and playground of one of my music idols, Prince Rogers Nelson. The 65,000 square foot multi-purpose facility, constructed in 1987, blew me away in regards to its overall scale. Though many parts of it still felt of the 1980s/1990s era of postmodern architecture, it was an amazing and emotional experience to be in the same spaces where much of Prince’s music was recorded and where two of his films and many music videos were created. The 1500-person sound stage was by far the most jaw-dropping space, but I found myself especially intrigued with seeing samples of his handwriting on display.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Hike: A Novel by Drew Magary. Filled with extraordinary characters, this fantasy saga is an exciting read with lots of twists and turns. The novel follows a suburban family man in an epic quest of life-or-death proportions. The essential lessons of the author’s overall narrative are to 1. keep moving forward in your journey and 2. practice the art of empathy by truly understanding what it is like to be in another person’s shoes.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?      

A: Like many young children, I was enamored with Legos, Lincoln Logs, and building forts in the woods. However, it was in 6th grade (’95-’96) when my father purchased a new desktop computer that came with several free programs, one of which was a very basic 3D modeling program. For me, this instantly sparked a deep interest in design, encouraging me to seek out additional programs and shadowing opportunities to explore, as well as encouraging me to include classes like drafting, art, and advanced math courses into my curriculum during middle school and high school.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Being in nature, especially near water is my preferred way to relax. But, when that option is not available, I enjoy singing along to music and listening to podcasts.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

Maintain a love for curiosity and exploration, as well as learn to ask the ‘right’ questions that will result in a thoughtful and informative response – whether it be in a job interview or during client meetings.


Sydney Huibregtse

Sydney Huibregtse, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Midtown Center by SHoP Architects at 15th and I in DC. Utilizing bridges to connect the two sides make for a unique and fun feature, especially for DC.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: My mother is a graphic designer and my dad was in the construction field. Once I got old enough to understand what they did for a living, I realized my passion for wanting to design. I knew architecture was the path I wanted to take when I took a summer architecture course in high school at Cornell.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Running or paddle board

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Set goals and break boundaries. Enjoy what you do and don’t let anyone dim your light.


Breanna LaTondre

Breanna LaTondre, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Biscuitville in Danville, Virginia. It is the most charming, little yellow shack in the middle of the city. I’m absolutely obsessed.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Color of Law: Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I’ve always loved bridges, for as long as I can remember. For a while, I actually thought I wanted to be a civil engineer, but in high school, I came across the work of Santiago Calatrava. His work just absolutely changed everything I thought I knew about architecture. I thought I could design both bridges and buildings. But now, I understand my love for bridges is really driven by my love for the expression of structure, no matter what I’m designing.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Try everything. Having just graduated a year ago, I see how we can put so much pressure on ourselves to land the best job right out of school, and I have to love what I’m doing every day or I’ve failed. But that’s just not the case. You’ve got to start somewhere, taking on roles in your firm that maybe weren’t in your job description, or taking on a responsibility that you might never have done before, but it’ll stretch you to grow so much faster. Slowly figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to shape your career for the long haul.


Divya Nautiyal

Divya Nautiyal, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Pruitt Igoe – mostly negative, but a reminder that architecture does not exist in a vacuum. Public policy, environmental & social psychology are not separate from architecture.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Design Like You Give a Damn by Cameron Sinclair and Beyond Shelter – Architecture and Human Dignity, by Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, Patrick Coulombel, Teddy Cruz, Deborah Gans, Victoria Harris, John Norton, Sergio Palleroni, Anita van Breda, Sandra D’Urzo, Marie Aquilino.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Totally by accident but when I realized architecture had the capability to address social issues is when it truly became a passion for me.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Napping, sketching and cooking, in that order.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To develop a discerning eye for everything around you.


Ryan Oldach

Ryan Oldach, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Not so much a single building, but an entire district – The Art Deco Historic District in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach felt like taking a step back in time. The colorful, retro, and iconic structures reminded me of how architecture from different eras can still be appreciated for their uniqueness and groundbreaking styles.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: What the Health by Eunice Wong with Kip Anderson & Keegan Kuhn

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I have always gravitated towards the creative realm of hobbies including drawing, music, and building with Legos from a very young age. When I no longer wanted to build Lego sets per their step-by-step instructions and instead come up with my own designs, I think is when I realized I wanted to be a designer.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Give me enough sunscreen and water, you can find me soaking up the sun on the beach all day long with my favorite music at my side.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions – there are individuals in our profession with an immense amount of knowledge that are willing to share. All too often I found myself being too timid to ask the question of “Why?” within architecture but once I really grasped the idea that our professors, mentors, and colleagues were there to help, it opened a new world. The best advice I was ever given was by an architect with much more experience than I: “Wisdom comes from experience, and experience comes from a lack of wisdom.”


Jeff Rynes

Jeff Rynes, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Palladio’s Villa Rotunda

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Lectures on Architecture Vol. 2 by Viollet-Le-Duc.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture? 

A: Playing with Legos and drawing when I was 5

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Spend time with friends and family

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Follow your passion, make the world a better place, and have fun!


Kelsey Sinichko

Kelsey Sinichko, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: The White House.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Building forts in the woods behind my house growing up

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Sunday morning ritual of coffee, piano, and easy crossword puzzles

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Surround yourself with people excited about what they do; be one of them


Ianta Summers

Ianta Summers, AIAS

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: At Fort Monroe, I am working with the National Park Service interpreting a museum house from civil war times. It is important to me that everyone’s story is told correctly so there is a lot of emotion put into my efforts.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Dear America, The Diary of a Freed Black Girl

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: On accident! I never knew this profession was something I wanted to do until I came to school and tried it out. I love how I was able to stay creative and precise at the same time.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I love sitting by the beach. Sadly, I always have something running through my mind and never feel truly relaxed though.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To my aspiring architects: do your homework, never stop sketching, and keep up with architectural news!! I see you’re already doing that and it’s appreciated this time 🙂


Zakiya Toney

Zakiya Toney, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I was recently on a trip to Philadelphia and the Philadelphia City Hall building brought me to a standstill. The incredible grandeur of older masonry buildings – specifically those of more ornate architectural styles – will always be awe-inspiring to me.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The last book that I read was the Site Planning and Design Handbook because I am currently studying for the Architect Registration Exams. (3 down, 3 to go!) I also started reading Becoming by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I came across architecture as part of a career research project in high school, but I discovered my passion for architecture at NC State College of Design’s Design Camp in 2010. After being a camper, I applied to NC State for undergrad that fall (c/o 2015) and later returned to the camp as a Counselor and Teaching Assistant.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: My favorite way to relax is by listening to music (since taking a private jet on a quick overseas vacation is currently not a financially feasible option). It is the quickest way to calm down, ground myself and refocus.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Remember your “why.” No matter what the first projects that you are given may be, remember what got you into the profession and stay inspired. Hold on to the principles of design and principles of architecture that align with your purpose.


Jeanne Vick

Jeanne Vick, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I’ve never been a huge fan of Antoni Gaudi’s work, and even when standing in front of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona a few summers ago, I wasn’t “wowed.” I could appreciate the intricacy of the sculptures and was amazed by the sheer scale of the building, but it wasn’t until I stepped inside that my entire perception of his work changed. It was truly magnificent. Pictures don’t do it justice. You must see it in person.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Growing up in North Carolina, my parents took me to visit Biltmore in Asheville one summer. I was around ten or eleven and already had a passion for art and drawing. I left that house in complete awe and my desire to be an architect was born.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Sit on a back porch with a drink and someone I love, or joyrides out into the countryside with my husband in his convertible.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Surround yourself with people that are better than you and don’t be intimated by it. They will keep you on your toes and will encourage you to reach your highest potential.


Alex Zondlo

Alex Zondlo, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Notre Dame Cathedral because of the worldwide response in the wake of the fire.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Through Legos (way too many Legos) and a high school teacher who taught drafting classes.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I enjoy being outside, whether camping, hiking, or walking around DC. and also reading.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Go shadow a firm and see what it is like to be an architect. If possible, participate in an experiences program during high school.