Our second featured Associate Director-Elect Candidate is Luc Bamberger, Assoc. AIA. Check out his Q&A below and feel free to leave comments or questions for Luc.
Generally, through what capacities do you connect with other associates? Generally, through what capacities do you connect with people outside the profession?
Really the only way to connect to people—other associates, professionals, and like-minded community members—is to get out and mix it up face to face. Social media is an excellent tool for staying connected, but nothing can replace the immediacy and energy of public engagement. For me, I have really enjoyed the time spent and the friends I have made while volunteering my time on AIAS and AIA boards and committees. Attending local galas, YAAG, the Design Conference, and social events like the North chapter’s bowling night are all ways that I have reconnected with other colleagues and met new folks. Also, staying engaged on a community level is very important. Going to lectures, concerts, gallery openings, political events, functions at my kids’ school—all have been opportunities to connect with people who are passionate about making where we live a better place.
Your term as AIA Colorado Associate Director will be in 2013, the same year the AIA National Convention is in Denver. What topics or events would you like to see during the convention relating to associate members?
Knowing that the AIA National Convention will be held here in June 2013 has been a real motivator for me. I will be volunteering for this event regardless of whether I win this position. We have the opportunity to show the rest of the country how Colorado is pushing the boundaries of architecture, both from a design perspective as well how we practice architecture; and also to have a forum where we can share successful ideas with each other to move the profession forward.
With the recent economic downturn, our profession has been hit very hard and we are faced with an uncertain future. But with this comes an opportunity to reevaluate how we practice and run the business of architecture. We are facing serious challenges as associates trying to find employment and get licensed during this recession. Does the current business model work? Are there perhaps other alternative models that could be used that allow associates to earn IDP hours and gain valuable experience?
The National Convention will provide an amazing opportunity for the young leaders in the profession to gather and set a course for the future. We need to address issues of licensure, compensation, diversity and globalism. I am looking forward to helping set the agenda for this event and creating the forum for this dynamic exchange.
How might you “bridge the gap” between AIAS members, Associate members, and Architect members?
In Colorado, we are fortunate to have a state AIA chapter that is very engaged with and supportive of the university. As the AIAS Chapter President, I worked to strengthen these ties in our community between the university, the emerging professionals and architects. I would like to continue this work as Associate Director by improving our professional development forums, lecture series, YAAG and other, more informal social gatherings. We must, however, engage a more diverse group of people. There are many members who are underserved, especially in other parts of the state, as well as non-members who perhaps do not see the benefits of joining. We must work together and learn from each other in order to make this association stronger and more dynamic. The profession is a continuum from graduate school, through licensure and into practice. By working to make this as seamless as possible, we will strengthen the practice of architecture as a whole.
What is your “million dollar idea” if you are elected to Associate Director-Elect?
I would like to work towards establishing a cooperative business model that would allow for students, associates and professionals to come together on projects that are beneficial to communities, projects that might be overlooked by traditional developers, that can take advantage of a pool of enthusiastic and dedicated designers. By working with the university, the AIA, local governments, redevelopment agencies and local businesses, we could develop a sustainable model that could facilitate the design and construction of these projects across the state.
For example, perhaps an AIA member is in between jobs or ready for something new. She identifies a specific project aligned with the goals of the cooperative and begins the design with a group of graduate students at the university. Students receive studio credit and valuable experience working on a real world project. The project then moves forward out of the university and into a professional setting. Graduating students can transition into an internship and begin earning money and IDP hours. Other associates with more experience are brought in as mentors and managers. The project architect oversees the entire process, imparts wisdom, stamps drawings, etc. As such, the team oversees the project from beginning to end.
This idea is in its infancy and requires input from many people—people with more knowledge and experience than I have. But as the Associate Director, I would love to work with everyone involved to make it a reality. It will only be through the creative, problem-solving act of design that we will emerge from this recession a stronger, more sustainable profession.