Emerging Themes and Trends from AIA CO P+D Conference

Coming to you live from the AIA Colorado Practice and Design Conference! This is a big weekend for AIA Colorado and it’s members. Speakers and architects come from around the country to shed light on current trends in architecture as well as innovative design technology and theory. I have been quite impressed with the caliber of speakers and the overall quality of each session. I personally use this time every year to get re-inspired and remember why this profession is my passion.

Whether or not it is planned, themes typically emerge from presenters and presentations. As we are halfway through the conference, we’ve heard everything from winning projects in interviews to designing social infrastructure. I have deemed one of this year’s themes as team. I have been in charge of social media outreach during the conference and have taken quite extensive notes. Below, I have listed some stand out lines from our speakers:

No one project can be delivered by one discipline. – Barbara J. Jackson, Ph.D, DBIA , University of Denver

On winning an interview… Sell your team, make your client want to join your team. – Meg Winch, Communication Resources

As a semi-recent graduate, I remember the competitiveness of architecture programs and the lack of teamwork amongst students. I think this is traditionally inherent in architectural programs, but it is evident this is not the future of the profession, nor has it been for some time. Not only does working on a team bring the best possible solutions to the table for projects and clients, but it allows us to provide more value to our services when working with experts from various fields.

This term value brings me to another key theme that has emerged from the conference. The perception of what an architect does is evolving. Teamwork provides more value for clients, but value of our services is greatly needed in society and the hardest part is spreading this message to people who have no idea they need an architect. Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG challenges us to think outside the box or the project description. Our job as creators and designers is to give the client something they don’t know they need. We can provide them with solutions that not only solve their immediate issues of space and circulation, but can provide them with a larger solution to increased physical activity or an increase in tourism.

Barbara J. Jackson said something that really stuck with me, “we really need to get at something bigger than just a beautiful building.” Beauty of design and buildings is what draws us to this profession. But now that we are here isn’t it our job and role within the greater society to extend our value beyond just a beautiful building in the landscape?

I’m proud to say that we come from an economically booming part of the country. Firms are hiring and producing great projects that are something bigger than just buildings. We witnessed this at the Design and Honor Awards Gala last evening. The projects that won showed not only beautiful design, but benefit their community in some way.

This conference is providing exactly what I come here for: it’s providing me with some needed and valuable continuing education credits, it is helping me to engage in the larger design community and I am inspired to go out and make sure our profession provides value.

If you are in attendance, enjoy the rest of the conference. If you aren’t, plan on attending next year to see what the themes might be!

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