“Not Business as Usual”

One last blog post on the dour economy: Recognizing the radical change of landscape over the past few months, yesterday AIA New York held a lunchtime summit dubbed "Not Business as Usual" to explore how the AIA, the Center for Architecture Foundation and architects in general can use the economic downturn as a tool for creative response and support. 

Report Melina Gills, communications coordinator for AIA NY

At lunchtime on Wednesday, December 17, the “Not Business as
Usual” economic crisis discussion brought 91 architects and other design
professionals to the Center for Architecture. In an open discussion led by 2009
AIANY President Sherida E. Paulsen and 2008 Center for Architecture Foundation
President Alex Lamis, those attending spoke of the needs of the architectural
profession and proposed methods to re-energize the design community. What was
very clear is that architects need one another and that the entire building
industry should come together. The Center for Architecture can become a place
where those needs can be addressed and strategies developed.

AIA New York Board Secretary Abby Suckle organized the event
as chair of the Chapter’s Member Services Committee. Many who spoke envisioned
the Center for Architecture as a place where architects could convene, take
courses in LEED, BIM, or the ARE exam, and “retool,” as one participating
architect put it. The Center was called on to be a community center where
architects and those affiliated with the profession can come and learn,
attending daytime programs or meeting to talk and share. One interior architect
tagged it a potential “Starbucks for Architects.”

Many present at the meeting, including representatives from Architecture
for Humanity and Arup, offered up additional possibilities for services and
education. The Chapter will host other training sessions, from resume building to
how to get public work. Starting February 7, AIA New York IDP/ARE Task Force
will be holding weekly Architect Registration Examination preparation courses. Other
possibilities for unemployed architects include exhibition design at the Center
and serving as docents for tour guides.

At the strong urging of those present, AIA New York is
making Wednesday’s meeting the first of many other “Not Business as Usual”
sessions. The design professions are changing – the Center can help ease the
pain of the transition.

Whether you are in New York or some other locale, we want to hear your creative solutions. How can the profession come together in these tougher times?

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