The American Institute of Architects(AIA) is a Washington D.C. based architectural firm that was originally founded in New York City in the mid-1800s. The company’s main focus is assisting the federal government with infrastructure, while advising lawmakers on legislative policy that directly impacts the lives of the American population. At the forefront of this agenda is AIA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer Robert Ivy. Ivy has a Masters degree in Architecture from Tulane University and was promoted to the company’s top executive in 2013. Since his appointment, Ivy has directed the company’s resources to focus on government-funded buildings. Schools, hospitals, and other public service facilities have a direct impact on the well-being of the population and maintaining the structural integrity of these institutions is critical. Ivy believes the political divide among the country’s top officials has lead to the neglect of infrastructure and with that partisan activity comes the threat of harm to the public. The same public that elect these officials to serve and protect their interests.
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Robert Ivy believes the future of architecture will be determined by the negative effects that climate change has had on our society. Emissions from dirty industry and their outdated practices have lead to a weakening of the country’s interior framework. Ivy’s goal is to initiate an agenda that focuses on cleaner, smarter construction which is commonly referred to as GREEN technology. This applies to not only the actual construction of a building but also how the building operates after its completion. Systems involving heating, cooling, lighting, and maintenance procedures all need to be addressed. Recent statistics have shown that implementing GREEN and energy efficient practices not only have shown positive revenue growth but have also provided millions of jobs to the population. Ivy’s hope going forward is that more companies adopt these clean initiatives and focus their efforts on a smarter approach to their operations.
The American Institute of Architects is also strongly committed to assisting the next generation of architects. Many of these young men and women are unable to afford the expenditures associated with college curriculums, which leads to them either dropping out of the programs or not even signing up for them in the first place. This is discouraging for Robert Ivy as the youth of the society is ultimately the future of it as well. Not being able to mentor these young people or provide them with the ability to utilize their full potential is a major setback for the industry. Fresh minds mean fresh ideas and combining old world practice with new world ambition is a recipe for success for many business models.
The American Institute of Architects is often criticized for being a credential or a seal of prestige for its members, rather than being a living, influencing organization that drives the industry in a meaningful way. At some point, this might have been true. After all, can it really be helped when you’re an organization dating to 1857 and so prominent that your membership numbers more than 90,000. AIA membership has become synonymous with the profession in the US, but its leadership has a clear vision for it to be much more than just that. The American Institute of Architects is one of the most influential lobbying groups in the U.S. capital of Washington D.C.