The Birth of the American Institute of Architects

Founded in New York City by a group of thirteen architects in 1857, the American Institute of Architects was meant for the promotion of the scientific and practical side of the architectural profession as well as to prove the professionalism of its members, elevating their social standing in the community. Anyone who wanted to claim to be an architect could do so in the times preceding the founding of the American Institute for Architects, because in the United States at that time there were no architectural schools or licensing laws.

The American Institute for Architects has its headquarters in Washington D.C. The AIA is all about giving support to architects as well as elaborating on the public’s image of the architectural profession. Providing educational resources, governmental advocates, community reinforcement and a public outreach.

As with any newly formed organization, it was necessary for a constitution and by-laws to be drawn up in which named the organization the New York Society of Architects. Only after a recommendation by Thomas U. Walter, a former president (1877-1887), did it become the American Institute for Architects. The founding members signed the constitution and new by-laws on April 15, 1957.

In the mid-1960s AIA held a design contest in search of an architect to design the new headquarters; Mitchell/Giurgola won that contest, however it would all come to naught when he was unable to get an endorsement of his design by the United States Commission of Fine Arts. It was then decided that “The Architects Collaborative” (TAC) would re-design the new building. Two of the TAC principals, Norman Fletcher and Howard Elkus led this design team in which a new building would be completed in 1973. The 150th anniversary celebration in 2007 would once again rename the building to the “American Center for Architecture” making it the new home to the American Institute of Architecture students, The Association of Collegiate Architecture Students, and the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

.Robert Ivy was named the Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute for Architecture in 2011, in which he is also the Executive Vice-President. Robert Ivy earned his Masters of Architecture from Tulane University as well as his Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) majoring in English from Sewanee: The University of the South.

His career began when he was selected in 1996 to become the Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Record in which under his guidance grew to be one of the most read journals in the world. He also became Vice-President and Editorial Director of “McGraw-Hill Construction Media.” He was also a part of the panel in which made the selection of architect, Frank Gehry to design the National Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.

With his education and career history, it seems fitting that Robert Ivy be named current CEO of the American Institute for Architecture. Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/topic/organization/american-institute-of-architects

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