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New Orleans Convention Report

Having just got back from New Orleans and the AIA 2011 National Convention I thought I’d report on activities there and my impression of where our national organization is today.                                                                                                         

New Orleans is a great city and if you haven’t visited there you should.  It really has a very unique character for an American city.  The French Quarter and Warehouse District that make up a major portion of its urban core are  strongly influenced by the European and Caribbean cultures from which New Orleans was built.  Art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and bars make for a thriving entertainment district both day and night.  On the seedy side, the French Quarter has an atmosphere all its own.

The convention itself ran very smoothly and to my knowledge without controversy.  The first keynote address presented by Thomas Friedman was excellent.  Mr. Friedman implored Americans and more importantly policy makers to take ownership of our actions as they relate to infrastructure, education, immigration and the environment.  Much of the world mimics the consuming behavior of the United States.  As other cultures adopt our way of life, quality of life in the world becomes unsustainable.  He was persuasive in stating that we must learn to use resources more responsibly before others adopt our wasteful traits.

The highlight of the convention for me was the formal recognition of BNIM for its Firm of the Year Award.  The video of BNIM’s work and Steve McDowell’s remarks are something I’ll long remember.  Other honors went to Joy Swallow and Reeves Wiedeman who were advanced to Fellow, Amy Slattery received a Young Architects Award, and AIA Kansas City received a Component Excellence Award.  Our entire region should be proud of these wonderful accomplishments.

I also enjoyed the combined reception that the schools of architecture from the Central States Region held for convention attendees and friends.  Because the schools went together it was a much bigger event and convenient for those of us that have always scrambled from one event to another.  The format was well received – I hope the schools continue to use it.

One thing I did note – national AIA leaders seemed to gloss over the current state of the economy and the lack of work in our industry.  There were few signs that anything was different from a few years ago when we all had more difficulty finding staff than clients.

All in all I enjoyed the convention.  I hope other Kansas participants did too.  If some of you who did attend had a differing experience, I’d like to hear from you.  One last thing – pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way in New Orleans!

Gary Nevius, AIA, AIA Kansas President           Back to Top

blox leadership training program

The blox leadership training program of the AIA Kansas prepares emerging professionals (intern architects, those licensed ten years or less and allied professionals) for their role in shaping the future of both the architectural profession and the State of Kansas.  This program combines interactive involvement between the participants with state leaders and policy makers in government, industry and our communities.  Each class will be able to customize their program to meet their interests by adding topics or emphasis.  The class may conduct research or tour sites that will enable them to understand the issues and policies of our state and how these affect our communities and our profession.      More information and application.         Back to Top    

AIA Kansas and AIA CSR Design Awards Programs 

It is time to get those photos done and enter the AIA Kansas and/or the AIA Central States Design Awards Program.  Since AIA Kansas is sponsoring the CSR Conference and Awards this year, we have combined the entry and submittal information.  So, please read the instructions carefully to make sure you are entering the program you want and pay accordingly.    Back to Top

AIA Kansas Open House June 22, LKA, Wichita

Join the AIA Kansas Board of Directors on Wednesday, June 22nd from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at Law/Kingdon, 345 Riverview, Wichita.  This is an informal get together with refreshments provided by LKA.  Find out what AIA Kansas has been doing for you, our plans for the AIA Kansas/CSR Conference in Wichita in October and more.  Open to members and potential members.  No cost.           Back to Top

Thank You Disaster Volunteers

On Sunday, May 22, AIA Kansas and HOA/ICC provided volunteer architects, building instructors, structural engineers, and administrative personnel to inspect and placard structures for safety and habitability and process the information to provide the community, Kansas Emergency Management, and the Governor’s Office with quick, accurate and complete information on the Reading tornado.  AIA Kansas and HOA/ICC provided eighteen volunteers who inspected 130 structures – all but 44 damaged or destroyed.  The architect volunteers were StanPeterson, FAIA, Co-State Coordinator of the Kansas Disaster Assessment Program; Greg Sims, AIA; Ken Price; John Raney, AIA; David Vance, AIA; William Robarge, AIA; Jim Lichty, AIA; and Daniel Tevis, AIA.  Building inspector volunteers were J. Michael Davis, Co-State Coordinator of the Kansas Disaster Assessment Program; Gaylene Epke, Martin Peres,  Jerry Mallory, Dan Murphy, Jim Magathan, and Robert Brunell, Jr.  Administrative volunteers were Lana McPherson, Deann Polzin and Gina Bell. 

Just eleven days prior to the Reading tornado, Stan Peterson, FAIA, lead the training of 162 architects, engineers, building inspectors and fire marshals in Alabama to provide disaster assistance for communities hit by any number and kind of disasters.  Those trained then performed safety assessment in Alabama on homes and structures in the wake of the devastating tornadoes that tore through parts of that state on April 27.

Joplin, MO – we have had many members volunteer to do assessments in Joplin however, the State of Missouri has called on their state-trained SAVE volunteers to provide assessment of the structural damage in that city.  We stand ready if asked to provide whatever assistance we can give now and in the future.    Back to Top

Government Advocacy

Governor Brownback used his line-item veto to eliminate the Kansas Arts Council.  Sine Die is today.  The final outcome of the bills followed by AIA Kansas will be posted to the AIA Kansas website after today’s final gavel.   Back to Top

Make Your Voice Heard to the SBA

The Small Business Administration has proposed new size standards for what defines an architecture small business. Their proposals may have large impacts on many firms across the country. The SBA effort focuses on simplifying the regulatory process and to combine what they consider to be similar professions into a single standard.

The SBA is proposing to change the size standards for Architecture firms from $4.5 million in annual receipts to $19 million in annual receipts. (Please click here for more information on how to calculate annual receipts.) As of 2009, a majority of firms qualify for SBA business status based on their billings. Just over ninety percent of firms reported their annual gross billings under the $4.5 million SBA status threshold. The proposed increase would enable another 6% of firms to qualify for SBA status.

Breaking News—Member Call-In: On Thursday, June 2, from 3 p.m. -4:30 p.m. Eastern time, the AIA will host an open member call focused exclusively on the issue of the Small Business Administration's proposed firm size standards. This event will give background on the work that the AIA has done on this topic so far, and will also allow for member discussion. It will be hosted through WebEx and we ask that all attendees fill out the questionnaire prior to the event. Further information, including the PowerPoint and dial-in information, will be distributed after you have completed the registration form

Comment Deadline Extension: AIA was successful in our request to Congress for an extension of the SBA deadline. Walter J. Hainsfurther, FAIA, and two other representatives from other organizations, asked that the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Capital Access and Tax request an extension for the comment period. The AIA is also working with this Congress and the SBA to outline other potential methods to determine small business requirements.     Back to Top

Design Architect Barbie® "Dream House”

Yes, AIA and Mattel have teamed up for a Design Competition for architect Barbie’s® dream house.  Two important things to know: Barbie® loves to PLAY and have FUN. When designing your Barbie® Dream House™, we encourage you to play and have fun, too. Remember not to take it too seriously — Barbie® is a doll after all! Just think pink and you’ll do fine. Below you will find guidelines from Barbie. Good luck!                          Back to Top

In the News

USA Today; building will take years, millions — and patience

Toronto Globe and Mail; Unhealthy neighbourhoods play big role in obesity, diabetes epidemic

83 Degrees; Q&A: Mickey Jacob, 2012 AIA President-Elect, Tampa

ABC News; Tornado-Proof House? Safe Room Is Better for Purse and Family

Washington Post; Big risk of living in known natural disaster areas

New York Times; An Alarmed Architect’s Complaint: Preservation Distorts the Past

MSNBC; The world's 10 most beautiful churches

Crain’s New York Business; Redefining New York City's skyscrapers

U.S. News & World Report; How to Talk with an Architect

San Diego Union-Tribune; Architects face a 'new normal' but will recover as business slowly improves

Buildings; Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011

New York Times; A City Prepares for a Warm Long-Term Forecast

Buildipedia; Building Green on a Budget: Advice from Leading Architects

EPA; EPA Honors Nation’s Best in Energy-Efficient Building Design - Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR Projects Honored at the American Institute of Architects Convention

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