American Institute of Architects

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American Institute of Architects
American Institute of Architects logo.svg
Formation1857;162 years ago (1857)
Type NGO
PurposeArchitectural profession
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Region served
United States

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image. The AIA also works with other members of the design and construction team to help coordinate the building industry.

Architect Person trained to plan and design buildings, and oversee their construction

An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city, located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.


The AIA is currently headed by Robert Ivy, FAIA as EVP/Chief Executive Officer and William J. Bates, FAIA as 2019 AIA President, with Edward Vance, FAIA as Chancellor. [1] [2] [3]

Robert Ivy, FAIA, is the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Ivy was named CEO in 2011.

Edward A. Vance, FAIA, an American architect, is the principal-in-charge of design and CEO at EV&A Architects, a specialty architecture firm he founded in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006. Vance has been a registered Architect in 19 states and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the current Chancellor of the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows.

The Octagon House was built in 1800 in Washington, D.C. and is owned by the American Institute of Architects Octagon house.jpg
The Octagon House was built in 1800 in Washington, D.C. and is owned by the American Institute of Architects


1957 stamp commemorating the AIA's centennial Architects 3c 1957 issue U.S. stamp.jpg
1957 stamp commemorating the AIA's centennial

The American Institute of Architects was founded in New York City in 1857 by a group of 13 architects to "promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members" and "elevate the standing of the profession." [4] This initial group included Charles Babcock, Henry W. Cleaveland, Henry Dudley, Leopold Eidlitz, Edward Gardiner, Richard Morris Hunt, Fred A. Petersen, Jacob Wrey Mould, John Welch, Richard M. Upjohn and Joseph C. Wells, with Richard Upjohn serving as the first president. They met on February 23, 1857, and decided to invite 16 other prominent architects to join them, including Alexander Jackson Davis, Thomas U. Walter, and Calvert Vaux. Prior to their establishment of the AIA, anyone could claim to be an architect, as there were no schools of architecture or architectural licensing laws in the United States. [4]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Charles Babcock was an American architect, academic, Episcopal priest and founding member of the American Institute of Architects.

Henry W. Cleaveland American architect

Henry William Cleaveland was an American architect based in New York, New York, and then San Francisco, California, and Portland, Oregon. He was one of the founding members of the American Institute of Architects, and several of his works have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. His works include Ralston Hall, a National Historic Landmark in the San Francisco Bay Area, the original Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and the Bidwell Mansion in Chico, California.

They drafted a constitution and bylaws by March 10, 1857, under the name New York Society of Architects. Thomas U. Walter, of Philadelphia, later suggested the name be changed to American Institute of Architects. The members signed the new constitution on April 15, 1857, having filed a certificate of incorporation two days earlier. [4] The constitution was amended the following year with the mission "to promote the artistic, scientific, and practical profession of its members; to facilitate their intercourse and good fellowship; to elevate the standing of the profession; and to combine the efforts of those engaged in the practice of Architecture, for the general advancement of the Art." [4] Architects in other cities were asking to join in the 1860s, by the 1880s chapters had been formed in Albany, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. As of 2008, AIA had more than 300 chapters. [4]

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Albany, New York Capital of New York

Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 135 miles (220 km) north of New York City.

Baltimore Largest city in Maryland, United States

Baltimore is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the 30th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 602,495 in 2018 and also the largest such independent city in the country. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.802 million, making it the 21st largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2018 population of 9,797,063.

The AIA is headquartered at 1735 New York Avenue, NW in Washington, D.C. A design competition was held in the mid-1960s to select an architect for a new AIA headquarters in Washington. Mitchell/Giurgola won the design competition but failed to get approval of the design concept from the United States Commission of Fine Arts. The firm resigned the commission and helped select The Architects Collaborative (TAC) to redesign the building. The design, led by TAC principals Norman Fletcher and Howard Elkus, was ultimately approved in 1970 and completed in 1973. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the organization, the building was formally renamed in 2007 the "American Center for Architecture" and is also home to the American Institute of Architecture Students, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

New York Avenue (Washington, D.C.) street in Washington, D.C.

New York Avenue is diagonal avenue radiating northeast from the White House in Washington, D.C., to the border with Maryland. It is a major east–west route in the city's Northwest and Northeast quadrants and connects downtown with points east and north of the city via Cheverly, Maryland, the John Hanson Highway, the Baltimore–Washington Parkway, and eventually Interstate 95.

United States Commission of Fine Arts independent agency of the federal government of the United States

The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) is an independent agency of the federal government of the United States, and was established in 1910. The CFA has review authority over the "design and aesthetics" of all construction within Washington, D.C. In accordance with the Old Georgetown Act, the CFA appoints the Old Georgetown Board. The Old Georgetown Board has design review authority over all semipublic and private structures within the boundaries the Georgetown Historic District. The CFA was granted approval authority by the Shipstead-Luce Act over the design and height of public and private buildings which front or abut the grounds of the United States Capitol, the grounds of the White House, Pennsylvania Avenue NW extending from the Capitol to the White House, Lafayette Square, Rock Creek Park, the National Zoological Park, the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, Potomac Park, and the National Mall and its constituent parks.

The Architects Collaborative architectural firm

The Architects Collaborative (TAC) was an American architectural firm formed by eight architects that operated between (1945-1995) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The founding members were Norman C. Fletcher (1917-2007), Jean B. Fletcher (1915-1965), John C. Harkness (1916-2016), Sarah P. Harkness (1914-2013), Robert S. McMillan (1916-2001), Louis A. McMillen (1916-1998), Benjamin C. Thompson (1918-2002), and Walter Gropius (1883-1969). TAC created many successful projects, and was well respected for its broad range of designs, being considered one of the most notable firms in post-war modernism.



More than 90,000 licensed architects and associated professionals are members. AIA members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct intended to assure clients, the public, and colleagues of an architect's dedication to the highest standards in professional practice. [5]

There are five levels of membership in the AIA: [6]

There is no National AIA membership category for students, but they can become members of the American Institute of Architecture Students and many local and state chapters of the AIA have student membership categories.

The AIA's most prestigious honor is the designation (FAIA) of a member as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. This membership is awarded to members who have made contributions of national significance to the profession. Slightly more than 2,600, or 2% of all members, have been elevated to the AIA College of Fellows. Foreign architects of prominence may be elected to the College as Honorary Fellows of the AIA. [7]


The AIA is governed by a Board of Directors and has a staff of more than 200 employees. [8] Although the AIA functions as a national organization, its 217 local and state chapters provide members with programming and direct services to support them throughout their professional lives. The chapters cover the entirety of the United States and its territories. Components also operate in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Canada. [9]


By speaking with a united voice, AIA architects influence government practices that affect the practice of the profession and the quality of American life. The AIA monitors legislative and regulatory actions and uses the collective power of its membership to participate in decision making by federal, state, and local policy makers. To serve the public, the AIA's community-based programs work with federal legislators and local governments to elevate the design of public spaces, protect the nation's infrastructure, and develop well-designed affordable housing for all Americans.

The American Institute of Architects announced in June 2013 at CGI America (an annual event of the Clinton Global Initiative) the creation of "Designing Recovery," a design contest in partnership with the charities Make It Right, SBP, and Architecture for Humanity. [10] Sponsored by Dow Building Solutions, a total of $30,000 in prize money was divided equally among three winning designs in New Orleans, Louisiana, Joplin, Missouri, and New York City. [10] Entrants submitted single-family housing designs with the objective of "improving the quality, diversity and resiliency of the housing in each community." [10] Organizers made the portfolio of designs (even from non-winners) available to communities recovering from natural disasters. [10]


The AIA serves its members with professional development opportunities, contract documents that are the model for the design and construction industry, professional and design information services, personal benefits, and client-oriented resources.

In contributing to their profession and communities, AIA members also participate in professional interest areas from design to regional and urban development and professional academies that are both the source and focus of new ideas and responses. To aid younger professionals, an Intern Development Program, Architect Registration Exam preparation courses, and employment referral services are frequently offered by local components. [11]

Public education

The AIA attempts to meet the needs and interests of the nation's architects and the public by raising public awareness of the value of architecture and the importance of good design. To mark the AIA's 150th anniversary and to showcase how AIA members have helped shape the built environment, the AIA and Harris Interactive released findings from a public poll that asked Americans to name their favorite 150 works of architecture. [12]

Two of the AIA's public outreach efforts, the Blueprint for America nationwide community service initiative marking its 150th anniversary and the Sustainability 2030 Toolkit, a resource created to encourage mayors and community leaders to advocate environmentally friendly building design both earned an Award of Excellence in the 2007 Associations Advance America Awards, a national competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for Association Leadership.

Honors and awards

The AIA has long recognized individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements in support of the architecture profession and the AIA. [13]

Honors Program:

Institute Honors: (for new and restoration projects anywhere in the world)

This award, recognizing architectural design of enduring significance, is conferred on a project that has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years. The project must have been designed by an architect licensed in the United States at the time of the project's completion. [14]

AIA Committee on the Environment

Cosponsored programs:

Membership Honors:


Architect: The Journal of the American Institute of Architects
Editor-in-chiefNed Cramer
PublisherHanley Wood
Year founded1911
CountryUnited States
Based inWashington, DC
ISSN 1935-7001
OCLC 75182955

Architect Magazine: The Journal of the American Institute of Architects is the official magazine of the AIA, published independently by Washington, D.C.-based business-to-business media company Hanley Wood, LLC. Architect hands out the annual Progressive Architecture Award, in addition to the R+D Awards [15] (for research and development). Architect formerly conducted an Annual Design Review, which it described as "a unique barometer of the business of architecture." [16]

Previously, the official publication of the American Institute of Architects was Architecture (magazine), which was preceded in turn by the Journal of the American Institute of Architects. Both publications are currently defunct.


The following people served as presidents, all of whom were elevated to Fellows of the American Institute of Architects: [17]

See also


  1. Testado, Justine. "William J. Bates inaugurated as 2019 AIA President". Archinect. Archinect. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  2. "Architecture as a calling: Ed Vance's Las Vegas firm growing again". Las Vegas Review-Journal. May 24, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  3. "eva-architects | Edward Vance". eva-architects. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "History of The American Institute of Architects". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  5. "Become a Member!". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on March 3, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  6. "Rules Of AIA Designations" (PDF). American Institute of Architects. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 9, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  7. "AIA College of Fellows". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  8. "AIA Board of Directors". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on March 11, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  9. "Local Components of the AIA". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on March 6, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  10. 1 2 3 4 PR Newswire (June 13, 2013). "American Institute of Architects, Make It Right, St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity Launch Housing Design Contest to Aid Disaster Survivors". PR Newswire US (Press release). Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  11. "AIA Knowledge Communities". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  12. "America's Favorite Architecture". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  13. "Awards Handbook" (PDF). American Institute of Architects. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  14. "Twenty-five Year Award". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  16. "Awards - Architectural Annual Design Review". Architect Magazine. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  17. "AIA Presidents". American Institute of Architects. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  18. Massie, Caroline. "Thomas Vonier Elected AIA 2016 First Vice President / 2017 President-Elect". Architect Magazine. Hanley Wood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  19. Busta, Hallie. "The AIA Announces Carl Elefante as 2018 President". Architect Magazine. Hanley Wood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  20. Testado, Justine. "William J. Bates inaugurated as 2019 AIA President". Archinect. Archinect. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  21. Keane, Katherine. "William J. Bates Elected 2019 AIA National President". Architect Magazine. Hanley Wood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.

Coordinates: 38°53′46″N77°02′30″W / 38.89611°N 77.04167°W / 38.89611; -77.04167

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