Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, Inaugurated as 2014 AIA President

I was so thrilled to have attended the inaugural of friend and colleague Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, as the 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) national president this past Friday at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Dreiling is the 90th president in the AIA’s 156-year history, and is the third woman to hold the position.

Dreiling said: “During my term as president, I want to look towards the future of our profession and society in general.  We need to stimulate research to benefit the design and construction industry, emphasize a culture in firms that nurtures emerging professionals and promotes diversity and inclusiveness for under-represented groups, and advance the profession in the eyes of the public. Ultimately, our efforts will be focused on bringing a shift to our own professional culture–the way we think, act and behave to transform the way that our culture regards architects and architecture.”

Dreiling is the executive director of the Virginia Center for Architecture based in Richmond, and had lead the Roanoke-based firms The Plum Studio and The Dreiling Partnership Architects. She has previously served as AIA secretary (2011-12), national vice president (2000), and national board member (1997-98 and 2000). From 2000 to 2009, Dreiling held several positions at the AIA national office, including managing director of component relations, vice president of strategic initiatives and relationships, and team vice president, AIA Community.

As many of you know, I am pleased to have been appointed by Dreiling to be the chairman of the AIA Convention Advisory Committee for the 2014 AIA National Convention, to be held in Chicago, June 26-28, 2014. Look for announcements in early 2014 regarding the convention theme and keynote speaker highlights! It’s sure to be an exciting year for the profession!


Contract Editor in Chief John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA, Hon. IIDA, and 2014 AIA National President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, at her inaugural, December 13, in Washington, D.C.


Pictured, left to right: Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, and Susan Maxman, FAIA. Dreiling is the 90th national president of the AIA, and the third woman to serve in that role. She will be succeeded by 2015 AIA National President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA. The two women who previously served as AIA national president were Susan Maxman, FAIA (1993), and Kate Schwennsen, FAIA (2006). Photo credit: Jeanette Barkley.



At the start of the inaugural ceremony, past presidents stood at the stage to greet Helene Dreiling. 2013 AIA National President Mickey Jacob, FAIA, is onstage.



With 2013 AIA National President Mickey Jacob, FAIA, at the lectern, Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, acknowledges and thanks the past presidents standing before the stage. Photo credit: Paul Barkley.



After dinner, Dreiling dances with the band onstage.



The names of all presidents of the AIA are on a wall in the Richard Upjohn Room at the AIA national headquarters in Washington, D.C. Upjohn was the first AIA president, and held the position for 19 years from 1857 to 1876. Pictured here are the names of the presidents from the past 45 years.

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