The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is an establishment originated by a group of architects to advance the status of their craft and to further the overall progress of its members. They provide support for their profession through education and working with government and the community. The organization’s headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. and has grown tremendously since its inception in 1857. Before the AIA was created, there were no laws governing architecture or schooling available to learn the craft. The AIA operates on a national level, but also has local and state constituents that extend out from the United States into Europe, China, Japan and the United Kingdom. They employ over 200 people and are controlled by a Board of Directors.
The building that houses the AIA was given a new name in 2007 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment. It is now called the American Center for Architecture and there are other companies in the building that are dedicated to the profession, such as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the National Architectural Accrediting Board. During the celebration of their anniversary and as an effort to make the public aware of how important good design and architecture are, the AIA along with Harris Interactive, released the results of a poll where Americans named 150 of their favorite examples of architecture.
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The AIA’s membership has grown over the years to over 90,000, from a group of 13, and is made up of licensed architects and professionals in related fields. Members are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner according to AIA’s system, assuring clients and everyone in general of their dedication to high standards. Members enjoy many benefits and resources such as professional development opportunities and client resources. Members who have made outstanding contributions to the profession on a national level are elevated with the appointment as a Fellow of AIA.
The AIA observes and keeps track of activity involving laws and regulations and gets involved with decision making at the government level by using its membership and resources. They provide input for affordable housing, improvements to the scheme of public areas and preserving America’s infrastructure.
The AIA received awards in 2007 at the Associations Advance America Awards for two public outreach programs they sponsor. The purpose of the programs is to inspire mayors and other decision makers in communities, to support building designs that are not harmful to the environment.
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