Region Update

January 30, 2018

Winter in a significant portion of our vast region is certainly upon us.  We hope that 2017 was a very good year for you, your business and your family.  Our region is geographically and culturally diverse with fantastic project opportunities and incredible leisure and vacation destinations.  We hope that you are experiencing both!

During the election portion of the Annual Business meeting held in conjunction with the Leadership Summit in Seattle in late October, Ben Lee of AIA Honolulu and Rod Ashley of AIA Portland ran for the director’s position for the years 2018 – 2020.  Both Ben and Rod were great candidates and we would have been well served by either of them as our next director.  Following the tally of the votes, it was announced that Rod Ashley would serve as our next Director.  Congratulations to both for all that you’ve done and the commitment you have brought to the Northwest and Pacific Region! We welcome Rod to the Region. Please take a moment to read his bio, as well as perception of AIA Governance Week.

2017 was Chere LeClair’s third and final year as Region Director and Strategic Council Representative.  Having served since 2015, Chere has provided outstanding leadership to the  Region and has been a foundational influence to the Strategic Council from a national standpoint.  We look forward to her continued leadership and professional fellowship in new AIA capacities and as we continue into 2018 and beyond. Chere – Thank you very much for your dedication, and leadership.

2018 and beyond looks as exciting as ever with the Northwest and Pacific Region playing a vital role in the profession locally, regionally, nationally and globally!

2017 NWPR Leadership Summit

In late October, 2017, delegates from components around the Region participated in the Northwest and Pacific Region Leadership Summit in Seattle, WA. The event was graciously co-hosted by AIA Washington Council and AIA Seattle at the Center for Architecture and Design.  After some brief introductions, Directors Chere LeClair, AIA and Dave Huotari, AIA reported to the region board the various activities they had been working on within the Strategic Council. These Council Work Group topics included the New Urban Agenda, the Equity Commission and Lifecycle of an Architect. Each of these topics were introduced to the Region delegates, followed by a group discussion, giving Chere and Dave valuable feedback to share with the Council. During the Annual Business Meeting that followed the Summit, Dave provided an overview of the Strategic Council's progress over the past year. A review is included in this update.

The summaries of the three discussion topics are below with an overview of the Region Board comments follow each category.

1. New Urban Agenda(NUA)

The United Nations convened its Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, referred to as UN Habitat III, in Quito, Ecuador in October of 2016. This is the third international Habitat conference, with each meeting occurring 20 years apart. The conference was attended by 30,000 representatives from 167 countries, and AIA sent a delegation that included 2016 AIA President Russell A. Davidson, FAIA, along with staff and members.

The outcome of the Quito conference is a document titled New Urban Agenda. The agenda is focused towards renewing the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, building on the initiatives adopted at Habitat II held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996. When Habitat I convened in 1976, the percentage of the world’s population living in cities was 37.9; it was 45.1 percent at the convening of Habitat II in 1996; and this past year in Quito, it was 54.5 percent. By 2050, that number is projected to increase to 75 percent. It is estimated that two billion people will require housing by 2030 alone. These numbers demonstrate the massive migration of people to cities across the globe, driven by matters such as employment opportunities, war, political strife, and climatic changes. Ultimately, the impacts on urban and rural environments will be monumental.

New Urban Agenda is not a checklist but a modifiable guide that can be tailored to the specific needs and issues unique to any community. It is scaleable and simultaneously applicable to mega cities, peri-urban, and rural communities. It serves to assist local and regional governments in addressing challenges such as creating sustainable development designed with sensitivity to urban ecology and resiliency, with a keen eye towards optimizing infrastructure and transportation.

It also speaks to inclusiveness of underrepresented populations in the process of urban development, addressing their “rights to the city” and aligning with issues of housing tenure, health, women’s and children’s rights, diversity, access to services, urban space and cultural amenities, to name but a few. In addition to being inclusive of the spectrum of the populace that will be inhabiting these places, the planning process must also represent diverse constituencies, including economists, financiers, planners, governmental organizations, and architects.

The Challenge

How do we educate our profession (internal to our profession) on the NUA and how is it relevant to all communities? Secondly, how do we create awareness amongst our broader constituencies (external to our profession – mayors, financial institutions, etc.) about the NUA and how it can positively effect change and shape our communities?

The Project Goal

As a result of research in prototype communities, create outreach materials that will serve as a tool kit available to AIA leadership, components and general membership to have conversations within their communities about the NUA and how to begin to engage around the NUA’s principles. Create a general sense of understanding among membership leading up to A’18. Define added methods to create a model for change (beyond A’18 and within other programs already in place.)

Region Board Feedback

Some key ideas were to provide outreach beyond the immediate profession, spreading the ideas of the NUA to include K-12 schools, other design professionals and US Conference of Mayors, for example. Another idea was the utilization of local media as a means to get-the-word out and help apply public pressure to make policy changes. Also, is was noted that the role of universities will be key in moving the NUA forward.

Another thread of comment centered upon the role of national AIA in making this topic accessible to components. There could be a series of tool kits, powerpoint presentations, YouTube videos and/or check lists that component could share with their members/clients. Could the NUA become part of the Core Member Services structure/continuing education and become integrated into design awards? Also, discussion centered upon crafting the NUA message to specific audiences and communities. “Archi-speak” needs to be eliminated so the ideas and concepts are accessible and inclusive.

The region could be a mechanism of resource sharing and perhaps national could assist by creating a speaker list around topical expertise. Also, there could be “best practices” traveling exhibits or “centers for expertise” within the region to share these ideas more broadly.

Overall, it will be important to define how to measure success relative to NUA outreach. Finally, there was consensus around the idea that the NUA challenges architects and the profession to think more broadly.

2. Equity and the Future of Architecture Commission (EQ+FA)

The EQ+FA Commission was formed in January of 2017. The Commission recommends that the Institute create and provide members and their firms with guides on best practices in observance of equity, diversity, and inclusion principles, and how those principles can be a part of any architectural practice. The guides would address such issues as career progression, work culture, leadership development, talent recruitment and more. The guides could be accessible thru on-demand publications. The three areas of focus for this year are cultural competency, pay equity and work place culture.

In order to meet the challenges of practice in a multi-cultural and global world, it is important that firms attract, recruit, and retain the best the profession has to offer. The future of the profession is dependent upon having diverse staff that are reflective of the constituencies that represent our clients and the communities in which we live and work. Additionally, research has shown that a diverse group of individuals actually create higher quality solutions. That translates to architects having better work and to more effectively engage in the global challenges we all face. When firms are inclusive and equitable, they have more productive and engaged employees with higher retention and job satisfaction rates.

Region Board Feedback

It is important to understand how universities are addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). To tackle pipeline issues into the field of architecture, we collaborate with the professions of law and medicine to recruit diverse students and expanding the STEM fields to include Architecture (STEAM)?

There was discussion on the culture of the profession and how it has not traditionally valued work-life balance and how it is an impediment to recruiting and retention. Flexible work schedules and family leave for parents/caregivers is critical. To create a more diverse work force, it is important to allow alternative paths to licensure for lower-income students who cannot afford a traditional university education. Scholarships for underprivileged students is one tool to help this demographic enter the profession.

3. The Lifecycle of an Architect

The Challenge

To comprehensively evaluate the available support and programming for all stages of an architect’s lifecycle (K-12 students, emerging professionals, middle-career architects, alternative career architects, leadership, senior architects and emeritus members) in order to identify any gaps for further analysis and improvement.

The Project Goal

Through interviews, surveys and meta-analysis, this group aims to evaluate the current state of support and programming at the varying stages throughout the lifecycle of an architect following either a traditional or alternative career path. Through the research and evaluation process we can identify where support or programming may be lacking for certain architect lifecycle levels and architect groups. Our findings can further be used by the Institute to take a deeper dive and develop a better understanding, if further analysis is needed, and/or if actions need to be taken to reevaluate targeted support or programming to fill in the gaps.

A Brief Synopsis of Working Group Activities to Date

Through interviews, surveys and meta-analysis, we have aimed to evaluate the current state of support and programming at the varying stages throughout the lifecycle of an architect following either a traditional or alternative career path. Through the research and the evaluation process we have begun to identify where support or programming may be lacking for certain architect lifecycle levels and architect groups. Our findings can further be used by the Institute and the Board of Directors to take a deeper dive and develop a better understanding if further analysis is needed and/or if actions need to be taken to reevaluate targeted support or programming to fill in the gaps. With regular group calls, we identified strategies for collecting data and surveying current programming.

Our group conducted interviews with a variety of AIA members and CACE. Data was sought in regards to the following groups: K-12 students, emerging professionals, leadership, middle career architects, alternative career members, senior architects and emeritus members and used to form our final recommendations.

PERTINENT DOCUMENTATION FOR CONSIDERATION

Sample Questions asked – discussion generated much of the feedback

How do our current members deal with Transitions? What do the need/want?

The questions were prefaced with – “Traditionally, a lot focus and resources are concentrated to singular points in one’s career, but nothing really ties all the stages of one’s career together or cross-pollinates  them.”

To Chapters [CACE]:

•    Do your current members ask for help from the AIA in transitioning from one career state to another?

•    How do your current members deal with professional transitions through their career?

·       Recognizing that there are many programs and initiatives for early career transitions, does your chapter offer any specific initiatives for mid-career or late-career transitioning?

To Members:

·       [Depending upon members age] Have you been through a transition point in your career where you needed assistance that the AIA could have helped with?

•    [Given that most responses were very specific] Are there general transition skills that could have helped in this circumstance but also others you may have gone through along the way?

•    Has the AIA helped you directly in professional transition through any stage of your career?

In addition to the questions above, we gathered specific information that relates to each group topic.  For example, the Leadership Category Group reached out with the questions above and gathered information about what is available (or lacking) in regards to AIA members pursuing leadership positions within their careers.

RESPONSES were solicited from:
GROUP: K-12 Students
Emerging Professionals
Leadership
Middle-Career Architects / Alternative Careers
Senior Architects / Emeritus Members

The work of several of these working groups is likely to continue into 2018. Additional professional topics are likely to be identified and addressed in 2018 as well.

2017 NWPR Annual Business Meeting Recap

 Introductions of NW&P Region members present

The Financial Report by the Finance Committee members Leonard Lodder and Rod Ashley.  This consisted of a review of the September 20, 2017 status as well as a review      and discussion of the 2018 Budget.

NWPR Directors Chere LeClair and Dave Huotari provided a “Year in Review / Director’s Highlights”.  Chere provided a great presentation on the New Urban Agenda.  Chere has been very involved in this topic as a National Strategic Council member.  Strategic Council members are all participating in workgroups to address pertinent professional areas of importance.  Dave provided an overview of the Life Cycle of an Architect workgroup that he participates in.  An overview of the working groups is included in this update.

Committee Reports were shared –

o   Design Awards by Dave Huotari (NWPR Director)

o   Firm/Emerging Firm Awards by Katie Hall of AIA Southwest Oregon

o   Region Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement by Chere LeClair (NWPR Director)

o   Young architects forum by Melissa Morse of AIA Alaska

o   Region Associate Director by Jason Takeuchi of AIA Honolulu

The Election of the next AIA NWPR Director was conducted.  The Candidates were Ben Lee of AIA Honolulu and Rod Ashley of AIA Portland. There were no nominations from the floor for other candidates.  The results of the election are summarized in the Welcome comments by Dave Huotari in this newsletter.

Looking ahead to 2018 –

o   Grassroots will be in San Diego - March 12–14, 2018

o   The National Convention will be - New York City in June 21-23, 2018

o   The Region Leadership Summit will be in Honolulu – November 13-15, 2018

It was a very productive Annual Business Meeting.  Following the meeting a reception was hosted by the DLR Group at their beautiful office in downtown Seattle. Thanks to Rico Quirindongo, with DLR, for serving as a gracious  host.