2016 Platform

Architects Shape Lives


"First we shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us." 

                                                                   Winston Churchill

Evolving Value

In 2012, the AIA conducted the most comprehensive study of the architectural profession ever. Its conclusion was that the world around us is changing rapidly and we need to change with it to prosper. The AIA made a multi-year commitment to Repositioning the profession and the Institute.


Since then, the AIA has thrown its energies into “being the change”, by streamlining the governance of the national component and realigning core services among state and local components. With 88,000 members, AIA is at historic strength.


Now it is time to seize the opportunities of Repositioning by looking outward. The next generation of clients is looking to our profession to contribute to a new spectrum of social and economic needs. If we respond proactively, our chances for prosperity over the upcoming decades will be greatly strengthened.


Architects shape lives. The human impacts of the places we make are relevant to every market sector and accessible to firms of any size and in all regions. Together, we can seize the evolving value of architecture for a better tomorrow. It’s why we became architects.


Innovative Practice

Architects are busy again across the country and around the globe. Instead of struggling to find work, many are finding it difficult to fill positions. Yet, architects are experiencing a new normal.

Rapidly advancing technology and realignment within the A/E/C industry are changing the nature of our work. Tried and true conventions are being disrupted.

Increasingly, the success and prosperity of architects are linked to innovation: inovation in the way we work; innovation in our collaboration with others; innovation in building performance.

AIA must respond to support innovative practice. Just as AIA Contract Documents and MasterSpec have provided valuable practice tools for decades, the new normal requires innovative tools.


Diverse Workforce

Architects shape lives in the way we work. Anecdotes that define our profession include: long hours with little sleep; years of school and internship without proportionate financial reward; and deadlines that make work-life balance an impossible dream.

Let's admit that we take a little pride in living the architect's life. Now let's agree that it is not the best way to compete for top talent or sustain our workforce.

Today, about half of all architects are over 50. In the next fifteen years, some 40,000 AIA members will have reached retirement age. While the population bubble of the Millennial generation holds promise, our profession is challenged to attract and retain an inspired and talented workforce.

Our profession has the opportunity to do well by doing good. To successfully make this generational change we must resolve the systemic diversity, inclusion, and equity issues that turn away thousands of prospects and limit the contribution of architects throughout their careers.

A more diverse workforce will strengthen our profession and extend its reach.