Architecture Week 2018


Architecture Week is held every April as part of the American Institute of Architect's nationwide celebration of our built environment. While there has been some confusion about the actual 2018 dates, a tweet from AIA confirmed that the week of April 22-28, 2018 has been designated for the national annual observance. AIA chapters all over the country will offer a variety of lectures, tours and activities geared towards architects and the public alike during the week.

AIA Chicago has a very active calendar of events throughout the year, and several activities have been set during Architecture Week:

TUESDAY / APRIL 24, 2018 / 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Heitman Architects, 180 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 001, Chicago

Join the Illinois Green Alliance, IIDA Illinois, and AIA Chicago for a four-part series addressing health and wellness in our buildings and spaces. This third-part will focus on how lighting can improve the health and performance of occupants.

TUESDAY / APRIL 24, 2018 / 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

The Devon&Devon showroom in the Merchandise Mart will play host to a reception celebrating the 2018 Small Project Awards which will be announced on Thursday, May 17 at the annual SPA Exhibit.

WEDNESDAY / APRIL 25, 2018 / 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
906 S. Homan Ave., Chicago, IL

The 2018 Community Interface Committee theme is Neighborhood Diversity. CIC will kick off the year with a tour of the Nichols Tower at Homan Square in Lawndale which was home to the Original Sears Tower since 1906. The 14-story Neo-Classical tower was part of the sprawling Sears, Roebuck & Co complex until they moved downtown in 1973.

THURSDAY / APRIL 26, 2018 / 8:30 AM - 11:45 AM
AIA Chicago, 35 East Wacker Drive #250, Chicago, IL

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an important topic, and AIA Chicago wants to ensure that members have accurate information on this subject. Professional Affiliate member Debra Gervase, Area Vice President for Arthur J. Gallagher, has organized a program that will help architects from firms of all sizes understand the issues that they and their business may face.

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Architecture Week will also be used to raise awareness about the AIA's Blueprint for Better Communities initiative - a program intended to increase architects’ engagement with their communities around pressing issues like climate change, housing, and public health.

Film Challenge Bringing Architectural Stories to Life

The American Institute of Architect’s third annual I Look Up Film Challenge is inviting architects and filmmakers to collaborate in bringing architectural stories to life. This year’s challenge calls for films that highlight projects and architects that are helping to change communities for the better. This year's campaign hopes to shine a light on the powerful social impact of architects and their work.

A short documentary film on the positive changes in Midtown, a neighborhood in Jackson, Mississippi, launches the 2017 Challenge and introduces this year's theme, Blueprint for Better. Duvall Decker, a Jackson architecture firm, worked alongside residents and community leaders to transform a struggling area into an example of healthy community revitalization. Architect Roy Decker, AIA opens the film saying: "Architecture, at its best, is practiced when it is in service to a community or a larger goal - a public benefit of some kind."

The film ends with the quote: "This world is a gift. If you're going to build, you should build well." Entries are due next month and public voting will run from 8/21/17 to 10/06/17. To learn more, visit

An Overlooked Legacy

February is Black History Month, an annual observance in the United States and Canada to honor the important accomplishments of black individuals in every area of endeavor. As the month gets underway, I wanted to share a story that was featured in FastCoDesign about the life and legacy of architect Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980).

He practiced largely in Southern California and designed the homes of numerous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Barbara Stanwyck and others. He also designed many public and private buildings - including the famous Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport.

The articles says that Williams designed over 2,000 buildings during his career. While he was known for his Hollywood mansions, he also designed affordable housing, conceptual transportation systems, experimental structural systems, and more. "Expensive homes are my business and social housing is my hobby," Williams once said

This year, Williams was posthumously honored with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gold Medal. “Our profession desperately needs more architects like Paul Williams,” wrote William J. Bates, FAIA, in his support of William’s nomination for the AIA Gold Medal. “His pioneering career has encouraged others to cross a chasm of historic biases. I can’t think of another architect whose work embodies the spirit of the Gold Medal better. His recognition demonstrates a significant shift in the equity for the profession and the institute.” The article by Diana Budds is worth your time and may be found here.

Where Architects Stand: A Statement Of Values

As our nation marks another Presidential inauguration and debates continue about collective values, I thought it might be helpful to share a statement from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on the values held by our industry.

It begins by declaring "The AIA works to advance our nation’s quality of life and protect the public’s health, safety and welfare, as it has done for 160 years. Each day AIA members across the country and throughout the world create the places where people live and learn, work, and play. We design hospitals that heal us and houses of worship that sustain us. We create next generation energy-saving buildings to make our communities healthier and safer."

The statement goes on to outline where AIA stands - today and everyday:

  • We stand for equity and human rights

  • We stand for architecture that strengthens our communities

  • We stand for a sustainable future

  • We stand for protecting communities from the impact of climate change

  • We stand for economic opportunity

  • We stand for investing in the future

You may read the statement in full, here. As a member of AIA, my work and my approach to every project reflects these values. I stand with members across the country who are committed to focus the power of design on solving the challenges facing our nation.

Quick Link: AIA's ArchitectChats with Chicago's Amanda Williams and Andres Hernandez

Architect, The Journal of the American Institute of Architects, produces a podcast called ArchitectChats where their editors talk with the people who are working at the cutting edge of design, technology, and practice in architecture.

In a recent episode they spoke with Chicago-based designers Amanda Williams and Andres Hernandez, who were announced as the joint winners of the 2016 PXSTL Design-Build Competition. The biennial competition is aimed at using temporary pavilions to help revitalize blighted urban space. The podcast explores their plan for the site in St. Louis and their design concept of "unbuilding." Williams and Hernandez will also participate in a teaching residency in fall 2016, leading a team of students from the Sam Fox School's Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design.