Volume 7, No. 12 - December 31, 2013
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

2013: Year in Review

What's New?

This year brought many new opportunities to AIA Northern Virginia, starting with our own Chapter House. Joining with Virginia Tech and the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), we are in the process of developing incubator space for new architecture firms on the upper floors of the Chapter House, bringing together the academy and practice in a real, tangible way. As part of this we are planning to rearrange our space on the first floor to expand our capacity to host events and support the incubator space.

 Introduced in 2013, AIA's Repositioning initiative calls for the organization as a whole to make meaningful changes to remain relevant to members and the profession. Participating in this conversation, our Chapter surveyed the membership to find out what is most important to you and shared your suggestions with National; attended Grassroots (AIA's leadership and advocacy conference) and the 'Big Sibs' conference (for large chapters with a 1000+ members) to develop new ideas and strategies to contribute to the national initiative; and discussed how best to move forward at the local level.

New this year, we introduced an easy online submittal process for the Design Awards and then adapted it for quick online registration for all our events. Joining with AIA|DC and AIA Potomac Valley, we established a regional CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network) group and our Women in Architecture Committee (WIA) started a book club. Always looking for ways to enhance our ARE® Prep Series, our Young Architects Forum (YAF) added a weekend workshop for Building Systems to complement our popular Structural Systems workshop. This new session quickly sold out. YAF also held ARE Trivia Nights and started what will become an annual tradition of celebrating our newly licensed members.


Beside the new CRAN group, we also joined with DC and Potomac Valley for DesignDC, numerous continuing education sessions, regular leadership meetings and a reception for all three chapters' boards and committee chairs to exchange information and share ideas. The Virginia Center for Architecture visited in September to discuss their programs and role in elevating public awareness of architecture. And with the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Society in 2014, we are beginning to make plans for the celebration. To reach out to related professions, we hosted a spring happy hour with the Design and Construction Network and organized a meeting with numerous local organizations to discuss ways of sharing information.


Community outreach was an important part of our 2013 activities. Our Canstruction® competition was held at Reagan National Airport this year, offering a high level of visibility and providing 17,283 pounds of food to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. We were finally able to host the return of our Golf Tournament, which supports our scholarship fund, after its 2012 postponement for Hurricane Sandy. WIA held another successful Dress for Success clothing drive and organized a fabulous Spa Night, donating more than a $1000 to the National Breast Center. Architecture in the Schools volunteers taught in several local schools and worked with students to design fascinating projects which were displayed in two exhibits held this year. And to convey the value of architecture and design to the public, our annual Architecture Week featured an exhibit and lecture at WAAC, a PK night and our always popular walking tour of Alexandria.


Advocacy played an active role in Chapter initiatives in 2013. Acting on a request from a member, the board contacted Fairfax County to discuss concerns about delays in the permitting process and was invited to join other stakeholders in a series of meetings to develop ways of improving the process. The National Park Service asked for Chapter involvement with planning for the restoration and renovation of the Memorial Bridge. Members participated in several meetings and shared thoughts on the proposed options. As part of the AIA Grassroots Conference, members visited the offices of the Frank Wolf, James P. Moran and Gerald E. Connolly to discuss issues of importance to architects, including job creation, tax deduction programs that benefit architects and rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure. At a breakfast meeting planned by the VSAIA PAC, members were invited to meet with Delegate David Bulova, a member of the House General Laws Committee, which has jurisdiction over key architectural issues.

Ongoing Activities and Events

Our annual events were all very successful this year. Once again we celebrated Mardi Gras at our packed Open House and we look forward to our 2014 Open House on March 4 to showcase the new incubator space. We celebrated 23 Design Award winners at a sold-out, movie-themed party that featured popcorn and champagne in the recently renovated Old Town Theater in Alexandria. Our Annual Meeting at Maggiano's honored our ties with Virginia Tech with special guest Jack Davis, FAIA, the Dean of the school's College of Architecture and Urban Studies and 2014 President of the Virginia Society AIA. We recognized the long-standing support of both Jaan Holt and Henry Hollander at WAAC with the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter Award.

 The Chapter offered 124.5 hours of continuing education credit in 2013, covering topics from Vegetated Garden Roof Systems to An Architect's Experience in Post-Disaster Haiti. Of the 124.5 hours, 114 offered HSW credit and 31% were offered free of charge. The Small Firms Committee held a steady stream of sessions offering participants useful information, pizza and a great way to spend a Friday afternoon with colleagues. Partnering with WAAC, our Schools Connections Committee (SCC) arranged many events where students and professionals came together, including firm pin-ups, student portfolio reviews, professional practice forums, lectures, exhibits and a scholarship program. As a joint effort of our YAF, WIA, SCC and Fellows, we organized both 360 and speed mentoring events and were able to connect many mentees and mentors. And our long-awaited membership directory with Potomac Valley is moving into the production stage and will be sent to all members in early 2014.


We are closing this year in a very strong financial state thanks to careful management by our Chapter leadership. Our 2013 budget will end with a surplus and we have 67% of our annual budget, almost 8 months of operating costs, in a reserve fund.

Thank You

Thank you to our 2013 Chapter President, Ed Weaver, AIA for his exceptional leadership and thanks to the Chapter Board, Committee Chairs and all our active members and volunteers.

Now It's Your Turn

2014 is the year for you to take full advantage of your AIA membership and become an active member. The Chapter offers you the opportunity to make a significant difference for yourself, your community and the profession as a whole. We need our members' participation to accomplish all we do.

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 2014 AIA invoice is due by January 15 and can be paid online, by phone, by mail, by fax or by a dues installment plan. Specific instructions are included with your invoice and additional information is available on the AIA website.
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