I have returned from AIA Convention 2013 with enthusiasm and encouragement. Repositioning has begun and the leadership has clearly been listening to the members of the profession.
Unfortunately, very little referencing the business of architecture was presented on stage by AIA leadership. When I met AIA CEO Robert Ivy later that same day and asked specifically why Repositioning neglected my favorite topic, he quickly referred me to the AIA Foresight Report.
Upon reading the report, I was very happy to see that the first section of report is indeed titled, Firm Strategies: The Business of Architecture (huzzah!). The 34 page AIA Foresight Report describes an overview of the initiative, presents near term trends effecting the profession and summarizes the general direction that the AIA Repositioning initiative is headed.
If you are an AIA member, you may download a free copy of the report here. Unfortunately, non-members must pay $24.99* for the digital download.
We have seen renewed focus on small firms by the AIA recently, but unfortunately the newly touted report is missing a section specifically directed toward sole proprietors and small firm architects. There are few references to these members or the critical necessity to provide low-level, fundamental business resources and assistance to struggling small firm leaders. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I feel this single issue is a key component to the crisis we are experiencing as small firm architects.
I look forward to seeing the results of this massive effort of research and data gathering performed for the AIA. The current leadership is clearly committed to making the changes necessary for our profession’s survival. I applaud their effort and stand behind them with my full support. The AIA Foresight Report is not intended to be “the plan”, but after reading the document I am generally encouraged by its content. My hope though, is that as Repositioning commences and progress is made, the small firm architect is not left behind… again.
I encourage you to obtain a copy of the AIA Foresight Report yourself and let me know what YOU think.
*Just a quick end-note: AIA has made a mistake by charging non-members for this document. The organization is seeking to send the message that they represent all American architects, members or not. They are clearly attempting to convince Architects who may have recently abandoned ship to reconsider their decision. The single document specifically intended to present the many reasons why they should return to the organization should not only be free to every architect; it should be hand delivered to each non-member in the nation.
The image above is a clip of the title from Section 1 from The Foresight Report presented by the American Institute of Architects.