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Events | A Different Perspective of the AIA Convention

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The leading architecture and design event, the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Convention, took place in Philadelphia, a legendary American city known for attitude, passion, and perspective. The provocative speakers, engaging seminars, and new technology inspired three Bailey Edward staff members in attendance: Ellen Dickson, Susan Turner, and Alejandro Martinez.

Ellen and Susan were both at the Convention to receive their FAIA awards and Alejandro, a Chicago architectural intern interested in sustainability and design technology, all provide unique perspectives on the event.

Ellen Dickson | Women Power! At the AIA Convention in Philadelphia this past week, I was most impressed with the great spotlight on women in the profession with several courses on women in design. Many of my fellow female Fellows were very impressive with a wide array of specialties and skillsets. As thrilling as it was for me to be elevated to a Fellow in the AIA, my ‘goose bump’ moment came when Denise Scott Brown walked across the stage to receive her Honorary FAIA and AIA Gold Medal. Many of you may not know the backstory to what made the moment special in the eyes of women architects across the United States. Let’s just suffice to say this moment almost made up for her not being named co-winner of the Pritzker Prize 25 years ago while her business partner and husband, Robert Venturi was given the honor. A good read on this can be found in this Fast Company Design Article on Denise Scott Brown. Even Philadelphia’s Carpenters Company, founded in 1724 and definitely an “old boys”network honored her in 1994. Her receipt of the AIA Gold Medal this year was long overdue and definitely well deserved.

Susan Turner | The AIA Convention provides a feeding frenzy of education programs, product information on the trade show floor, and a plethora of inquisitive architects from around the world to meet. 500 + Courses offered. 18,000 steps in three hours in a half-pass of the convention floor! 149 architects elevated to Fellow, a distinction afforded to only 3% of AIA members. For three days, the city was full of architects posting photos of the beautiful Philadelphia with the hashtag #ilookup. What is the best part of an AIA Convention? Hard to say – learning new things? meeting new colleagues? exploring a new city? You will just have to go and decide for yourself!

Alejandro Martinez | This was my second year attending the AIA Convention, this year in Philadelphia, and I left feeling even more impressed and inspired than before. This can easily happen when you find yourself in a room with many people who share your passion for design and technology. Keynote speaker, architect and MIT professor Neri Oxman explained how technology and the unique set of skills architects possess can be applied to a variety of other professions and Pritzker Prize winner architect Rem Koolhaas made us reimagine and rethink the profession with his unconventional background in script writing and journalism.

On a personal level, I was very moved to see, Peter Exley -FAIA, be elected At-large AIA Director at the convention and Miguel Del Rio -AIA, exceptionally directing the Florida/Caribbean AIA Chapter. Both have contributed so much to my academic formation as a young architect, Del Rio as a professor back in Puerto Rico and Exley as professor and mentor here in Chicago. It is safe to say that this won’t be my last AIA convention.

To gain your own perspective on the latest in architecture and design, attend the AIA Convention 2017 in Orlando, Florida next year.