Candidate Statement

Architects Shape Lives

 

"First we shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us."  Winston Churchill's words express a powerful truth that holds the key to architecture’s future: architects shape lives.

Across many fields, there is growing awareness of the human dimensions of the built environment. Where and how people live shapes them and their ability to contribute to the economy and society.

Last October the first authoritative scientific study was published linking building environmental factors to cognitive function. Design shapes human performance, productivity, wellbeing, and health. We don't have to seek relevance but seize it.

Evolving Value – We must embrace change proactively to translate evolving ideas about architecture’s value into steady demand for our services. It is a world of massive and accelerating change. Consider GM, Ford, and Chrysler. 2015 was their best year ever; yet, their success is overshadowed as Google, Apple, and Uber reshape the auto industry.

Innovative Practice – Our prosperity also depends on innovative practice. Energy-efficient design is one powerful example. By saving energy, architects help clients allocate more money to first-costs, resulting in increased building investment and higher architectural fees. In Paris, the U.S. committed to building-sector energy targets which will create thousands of architectural projects every year for decades.

Workforce Diversity – Continued population growth and advancement in underdeveloped regions foretell unprecedented demand for architectural services, demand we will struggle to meet unless recruitment and retention patterns change fundamentally. Diversifying our talent pool will strengthen the profession, expand its reach, and resolve systemic equity issues.

These are forces that can dramatically improve our profession if we evolve with them. As 2018 AIA President I will work with you to promote architecture's environmental, economic and social value, support innovative practice, and strengthen our engagement with the diverse world we shape.

© 2019 Carl Elefante