AIA Convention 2009
by Leigh Christy
"Ours is a hopeful future," said American Institute of Architects President Marvin Malecha, FAIA, as he opened the 2009 AIA Convention in San Francisco. "We need to let the public know that they can count on our profession to lead them through these tough times."
Entitled "The Power of Diversity: Practice in a Complex World," the 141st annual convention combined an array of emerging and established voices in general sessions, seminars, tours, exhibitions, and AIA business meetings. The convention drew a respectable 22,400 registrants to the Moscone Center for a weekend this spring, with a record-breaking 10,000 additional people attending virtual seminars via a live webcast.
Acknowledging the recent economic downturn, the AIA included a seminar track dealing specifically with navigating the current economy. That subject complemented three other recurring themes: integrated processes, diversity, and sustainability.
Architecture in the Slowdown
Moderating Friday's session, award-winning multimedia journalist John Hockenberry characterized the economic situation as "a call for radicalism — for taking our ideas to government institutions and financial systems who need to scale up."
"No one ever accused an architect of not thinking big," he continued. "But now it is a responsibility, not a character flaw."
Korean architect Minsuk Cho shared one positive view of the slowdown as a forced opportunity for Asian cities to evaluate their recent frantic pace of construction.
And Asian cities are not the only ones slowing down. The convention provided an opportunity for architects working in all countries to reflect on exactly how we practice and how that is already changing beneath our feet.
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