Volume 10, No. 11 - January 15, 2017
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

2016: Year in Review

What's New

Membership FiguresAIA Northern Virginia celebrates the end of another year! The Chapter House is finally starting to feel like home at its new location on Duke Street, just one block over from our old location in Alexandria. After 28 years in our old space, moving was no easy task. Special thanks to Debbie, Lorin and the many Chapter members who made the transition happen, from finding contributions of carpeting, lights, shades and fans, to spending the weekend hanging our Design Award boards. The new office offers the chapter increased space with a great public presence thanks to the large showroom windows. The spot-lighted wall displaying the Design Award boards offers a stunning nighttime view of our members' work. If you have not had the opportunity to see it, stop by the check it out. It is worth the trip.

As a continuation of the AIA National repositioning efforts to ensure that members across the country are receiving the same core member services, each Chapter needed to apply for accreditation in 2016. Chapter HouseChapters were required to demonstrate proficient service in member and public communications, continuing education, advocacy, membership, finance and governance. We are proud to announce that Northern Virginia has received full accreditation. Thanks to all of our volunteers who make many of our programs happen, from continuing education and programming to mentoring and community engagement. This is why our Chapter continues to thrive.

As my tenure comes to an end, it has been a great honor to serve as President and I thank all of my fellow board members and committee chairs for their continual support and enthusiasm throughout the year. Thanks also to Lorin Boswell and Matt Shuba who continue to dedicate themselves to keeping us running like a well-oiled machine. Most importantly, to Debbie Burns for the ability to take on anything thrown at her without hesitation. She is a rock for our Chapter who makes us all better. May 2017 continue to see our Chapter grow and thrive!

    -- Meagan W. Jancy, AIA, 2016 Chapter President

Advocacy and AIA Repositioning

2016 saw many challenges and opportunities for advocacy by the Chapter on behalf of our Members and the profession. AIA Northern Virginia participated in the 2016 AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference held in Detroit February 23-25. We look forward to this year's Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference, which will return to Washington, DC, where we anticipate meeting with elected representatives from our area regarding the important issues facing our profession, such as creating livable communities, encouraging more sustainable design, investing in infrastructure and providing preservation tax credits.

Architectural Billings IndexMany of our members championed the preservation of The American Press Institute Conference Center designed by Marcel Breuer. Located in Fairfax County and completed in 1974, this structure is the only work by Breuer in Virginia. Though these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, these members diligently campaigned to conserve a structure deemed by many as worthy of saving. Preservationists hope to document the structure and save interior furnishings specific to the building.

Within our communities, the chapter supported local jurisdictions, such as Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, with their design award programs by announcing their call for entries, submitting qualified projects from our Design Awards program to theirs, providing jurors and publishing articles announcing their winning projects. We also promoted programs produced by local jurisdictions such as Alexandria’s Historic Preservation Month. All of these efforts sought to promote and raise awareness of good design, and elevate our profession at a local level.

In preparation for the 2016 election, we shared comprehensive, non-partisan information, produced by AIA, outlining where the major candidates stood on critical issues affecting architects. As part of the post-election dialog generated by the National AIA's response to the election outcome, we sent a letter to our members reaffirming our Chapter's support of the long standing values of our profession. This letter also called for members to be engaged with the Chapter's efforts to have a positive impact on our communities.

Our ongoing repositioning efforts call on each of us to advocate for our profession and the transformative power that architecture can have on all people. AIA Northern Virginia worked with the other local Chapters and AIA Virginia to improve services for our Members, expanding opportunities in a spirit of collaboration, cooperation and communication. In the coming year, AIA Northern Virginia will continue to engage the public and elevate awareness of what the profession can do, champion our role in designing better communities, advance our knowledge and expertise and continue to become a more effective voice in the region and beyond, providing the most benefits to our Chapter members.

    -- Karen M. Conkey, AIA, 2017 Chapter President

Activities and Events

Our chapter is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of architecture and practice among its members and other professionals. The activities and events the chapter offers are our main vehicle for this mission. 2016 was a very successful year, providing dozens of different events. Having a chapter with a membership that includes diverse backgrounds, all levels of experience and covers a large geographic area means that our events have to accommodate a wide array of people and interests. This is no small task, but our chapter and all our volunteers presented an impressive line-up in 2016. Here are some highlights:
  • ARE Prep Series – the Chapter's award-winning series provided 16 sessions including one this fall on the transition from ARE 4.0 to 5.0
  • Young Architects Forum (YAF) – in addition to organizing the ARE Prep Series and all the other work they do to help our emerging professionals, YAF arranged several construction tours.
  • Architecture Lab Committee – volunteered in several schools in both the spring and fall and organized two exhibits of student work.
  • Architecture Week – had a full schedule of activities that included walking tours, lectures, exhibits, a construction tour, a scavenger hunt for the kids and even a yoga class on the top floor of a new building overlooking the area skyline.
  • New Project Studio – for one month in the spring, our chapter partnered with the Torpedo Factory Art Center (TFAC) to hold rotating exhibits of works by students at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC).
  • Women in Architecture (WIA) – organized a Dress for Success clothing drive and a charity Spa Night benefitting the National Breast Center, as well as worked with a local Girl Scout troop in Arlington.
  • Charities – in addition to the WIA charity events, our chapter raised money and donations for those in need via another excellent Canstruction competition (www.aianova.org/canstruction.php) and a Toys for Tots drive.
  • Annual Meeting – our yearly event to honor outstanding achievements by our members and hold our Chapter elections was at a great new venue this year, the Cedar Knoll Inn in Alexandria.
  • Design Awards – our Chapter's premier event to recognize and celebrate our members' design achievements was held at LMI in Tyson's Corner in June.
  • In addition to all the great activities above, our chapter organized many happy hours, a picnic, a brunch, a baseball game outing and two open houses – our regular Mardi Gras event as well as a celebration of our new Chapter House, held in conjunction with honoring our newly licensed members.
None of these successful activities and events could have happened without the dedication of our members and their generosity. Thank you to all and we look forward to an even bigger year in 2017!

    -- T.J. Meehan, AIA, 2016 Secretary

Financial Outlook

After 28 years on South Patrick Street in Alexandria, The Virginia Tech Foundation notified us that they had other plans for our building and asked us to vacant. With diligent negotiations, significant donations and many hours of volunteer time, we were able to successfully move into a larger Chapter House on April 28 without using any of our reserve funds to finance the move or the improvements. Additionally, our Design Awards Committee exceeded our expectations and raised more funds than what was budgeted for 2016. Our committees have been active organizing many more events and finding sponsors to support them.

With a slight increase in dues this year, we are proposing a balanced budget for 2017. We continue to maintain a healthy reserve fund of more the 65% of our annual expenses. Summary charts are included, showing the income and expenses of the chapter for 2016 and the proposed 2017 budget broken down by category – dues/expenses, fundraising events, professional development and public awareness.

This year we have also engaged a professional fundraiser who is spearheading our partnership program for sponsorships. With increased sponsorship, we propose to continue to close the gap between our membership dues income and our annual operating expenses, while serving our Members' needs.

    -- Theresa del Ninno, AIA, 2016 Treasurer

Our Volunteers

Continuing EducationThe volunteers who serve on AIA Northern Virginia’s committees are the heart and soul of the chapter. They plan, organize, collaborate and work hard to provide fantastic programs and activities for our members. These generous and energetic folks are vital to the chapter’s most important work as they have the most direct engagement with the members and other constituencies such as the public, students and emerging professionals. We want to thank those who graciously gave of their time having completed years of service to the chapter and also welcome our new committee chairs and thank them for generously offering to step up. The following changes have taken place over 2016:
  • School Connections: Sonja Jarboe, AIA takes over as chair of this important committee that strengthens connections between academia and the profession.
  • Honors and Nominations: Immediate past president, Meagan Jancy, AIA takes over for Sean Reilly, AIA, who will now become an AIA Virginia Director.
  • Continuing Education: Carter Jones, AIA has stepped down after several years of service. This committee is in need of a new chair.
  • Design Awards: Stephen Wakeman, AIA stepped down as chair after several years of service. Manoj Dalaya, AIA, already active on the committee, moved into the role of chair.
  • Women in Architecture: April Drake, AIA takes over as chair for Jo Anne Murray, AIA who stepped down after years of service in order to serve as chair of the planning committee for the 2017 AIA Women's Summit, being hosted by AIA NOVA.
  • Young Architects Forum (YAF): Braden Field, AIA takes over as chair, Simone Saidel, Assoc. AIA steps in as Vice Chair, Spencer Lepler, AIA serves as Past Chair. Anna Barbour, AIA, the committee’s chair for many years, is stepping down, but will continue to help coordinate the ARE Prep Series.
  • Legislative and Government Affairs: Sean Reilly, AIA takes over for Bill Brown, AIA who stepped down to serve as AIA Virginia President.
We are most grateful for the dedication and service of the retiring committee chairs and welcome the new committee chairs. We hope everyone will lend their support and show their appreciation for those taking on new and important roles with the Chapter.

We also want to thank those who are continuing in their committee leadership. Please know that these dedicated folks stepped up to lead their committee, but they need your help to accomplish what needs to be done in enhancing our Members experience. The coming year provides an opportunity to engage and become active in a committee you find interesting.
  • Architecture Lab (formerly Architecture in the Schools): Elma Hajric Willcoxon, Associate AIA
  • Architecture Week: Joe McCoy, AIA
  • Community Service / Canstruction: Lisa Lettieri, AIA and Jay Scruggs, AIA
  • CRAN: Francisca Alonso, Assoc. AIA and Randy Mars, AIA
  • Environment: Jin Park, AIA
  • Fellows: Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA
  • Golf Tournament: Baird Smith, FAIA
  • Historic Resources: John Burns, FAIA
  • Small Firms: David Chan, AIA and Stephen Kulinski, AIA
Most AIA Northern Virginia Members engage with the Chapter through the great programs and activities offered by these committees. The question is "how are we doing?" Is there a program or an activity that we should be doing that we are not doing now? Is there a program, or activity that could be strengthened, or improved in some way? We want to hear from you. Tell us your ideas. Tell us what you would like to see in 2017 and we’ll do our best to make it happen. Contact our Executive Director Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA at debbie@aianova.org, or our 2017 Chapter President Karen Conkey, AIA at Kconkey@conkeyarchitects.com.

At our 2016 Annual Meeting in October we elected an enthusiastic and dedicated Board of Directors for AIA Northern Virginia and our chapter’s representatives for the AIA Virginia Board.

2017 AIA Northern Virginia Board

Executive Committee:
  • President – Karen M. Conkey, AIA
  • President Elect / 1st VP – Theresa P. del Ninno, AIA
  • Treasurer – T.J. Meehan, AIA
  • Secretary – Joseph B. McCoy, AIA
  • Past President – Meagan W. Jancy, AIA
Director/2nd VP: Christopher S. Kehde, AIA; Kathryn T. Prigmore, FAIA and Spencer E. Lepler, AIA.

Directors: James L. Barker II, AIA; Manoj V. Dalaya, AIA; Morgan B. Danner, AIA; Braden L. Field, AIA; Jody Gibson, AIA; Jin Park, AIA; Simone Saidel, AIA, Jay Scruggs, AIA and Edward D. Weaver, AIA.

2017 AIA Virginia Directors: John A. Burns, FAIA; Spencer E. Lepler, AIA; Randall A. Mars, AIA; Sean E. Reilly, AIA and Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA.

A very special thank you for the years of service of our out-going board members: Al Cox, FAIA; F. Carter Jones, AIA and Stephen R. Wakeman, AIA.

    -- Sean E. Reilly, AIA, 2016 Past President & Nominations Chair

Looking Forward to 2016

To start the year, our calendar features several committee meetings as we plan our 2017 events. Our award-winning ARE Prep Series just started. We have made adjustments in this year’s sessions to accommodate candidates still testing in ARE 4.0, those who are starting in 5.0 and those combining 4.0 and 5.0.

Upcoming social events include our Women in Architecture Happy Hour, our Young Architects Forum Happy Hour and our Chapter's Annual Open House, which is on February 28. Join us at the still relatively new Chapter house for some fun and Cajun food.

Our Design Awards Call for Entries will be released in March, with submissions due in late April, and the gala in early June. In 2016 we had 38 winners, so be sure to submit your work this year!

Virginia Architecture Week is April 9-15, so watch for a list of fun activities in Northern Virginia and across the state.

Our Golf Tournament returns in 2017! We are partnering with United Community Ministries to support their mission of helping those who are hungry, homeless, helpless or hopeless and to fund our scholarship program to help local architecture students. The tournament will take place June 26.

We are excited to host the 2017 Women’s Leadership Summit in September. The biannual conference kicks off with an opening reception on September 14.

As always, we will offer a wide range of continuing education sessions, making it easy for you to earn all your CE requirements. The board is working on a new strategic plan for the chapter and there are plans in the works for a new membership directory.

It’s easy to keep up with chapter activities. Just check the front page of our website for our current calendar, look for the calendar in each issue of BLAST and sync to our Google calendar.

    -- Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA, Executive Director

Now It's Your Turn

Take full advantage of your AIA membership and become an active member in 2017! The chapter offers you the opportunity to make a significant difference for yourself, your community and the profession. We need your participation! Learn more on our website. Let us know what we can do for you and where you would like to help. Contact us at (703) 549-9747 or aianova@aianova.org.

Membership Renewal Information

 Your 2017 AIA dues can be paid online, by phone, by mail or by a dues installment plan. Specific instructions are included with your invoice and additional information is available on the AIA website.