October Thesis Feature #3


Tips on how to make even the most unconventional architectural thesis resonate within the conventions of standard design practice

Rebecca Soja


Your thesis is labeled as unconventional – own it. When the skeptics start asking questions about why your project matters to the architectural profession, here’s how you can respond:

Where’s the architecture? There is an inherent assumption that an architectural thesis must include a building with a typical program to be considered architectural. However, a fundamental part of the argument could be that architecture is missing or disengaged when it comes to reconciling some of the most pressing and controversial issues of our time. I don’t know of many architects volunteering to design a beef processing facility, do you? But it should matter that architecture and design excellence (in a traditional sense) begin to intersect with the networks of countless externalities and unsustainable conditions that extend beyond immediate awareness.

What’s your agenda? Architecture is ubiquitous. Practically anything can be linked back to the built environment or the user experience and as architects we gain inspiration from a plethora of sources – history, art, natural sciences, technology, culture, politics, forms, and materials. Architecture is agency through design and it doesn’t end at the building envelope. In a thesis, there is the opportunity to redefine what constitutes the built environment beyond permanent structures. One can embrace notions of temporality, resilience, ecosystems (social, natural, or otherwise), etc. Push your agenda, at whatever scale from community down to a wall section detail, in favor of a broader public agenda, using programs, policies, spatial relationships, workflows, fabrication processes, and materials or systems as mechanisms for change.


Are you a vegetarian? My thesis may have been about industrial beef, but truth be told, I’m not a vegetarian. Being passionate about a topic is a plus, but not a requirement to deliver an impressive body of work. You can make the project interesting in other ways by approaching whatever the problem is with curiosity and rigor. I chose beef because it was ostentatious and encompassed relevant themes of cultural overconsumption, the serious immediate and long-term ramifications and costs of sizeable industrial processes, and lack of transparency. I wanted to inject an architectural lens into a place it had never really been to make a point about the segregation of production and consumption practices and spaces. The focus could have just as easily been some other resource or commodity like petroleum, water, or electronics. Once I got started diving deep into research, I wanted to become a mini expert.

How will you apply what you’ve learned in the profession? I’m always surprised about the positive response my thesis arouses. I may never design a transparency tour, but as an architect, I feel it is my responsibility to consider equity, safety, health, wellness, sustainability, and context in order to design with intent and impact. Working on my thesis broadened my perspective and helped me to improve design and representation skill sets, which has allowed me to find a niche in my firm where I can be involved in research and developing tools or workflows that integrate all stakeholders throughout the design process. Two years after completing my thesis, I’m still getting a return on investment from the creative energy I put into it. It’s exciting to see the conversation continue.


What if unconventional was the new normal? It seems that some of the most revolutionary ideas are deemed crazy at first. If everyone took an unconventional approach to thesis, whether it be the topic or the process, imagine how much we could contribute to the profession. Even if your thesis isn’t buildable, that doesn’t mean you can’t grab the attention of a practicing architect. In fact, you have to differentiate yourself to make a statement or nobody will notice you have something to say. If you start a conversation, whether with architects or other disciplines, you might motivate implementation/adoption of an idea or collective action towards a solution to an issue. What was once considered unconventional, may just become the latest trend and a future design standard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t take thesis too seriously (seriously, though). You’ll get a lot more out of the endeavor if you factor a little bit of ridiculousness into the equation.

For an extended version of this post with additional tidbits of advice I have based on my experience, plus a look into my “unconventional” thesis, The Meat You Haven’t Met, check out the following links:




October Thesis Feature #2

Today we feature our second blog post highlighting one of the projects from this year’s thesis showcase winners. Great insight for those in the middle of this type of project!

3 Lessons from My Architectural Thesis

Pedro Sanchez

Much of my experience during my thesis project holds true in the professional world. It all seems different at first, but it is all about how you approach each challenge you face. Most of what you learn in school is actually independent of scale and topic. With that in mind, it seems that for most people, the thesis project carries the most pressure. A wise friend and colleague once said that the thesis does not define you. It does not have to be the best project you’ve ever seen. Putting too much pressure on yourself can leave you paralyzed. This is true for every project, and the thesis is just another test.


My thesis, titled “Recovering Civic Space”, looks at the role that freeway and rail infrastructure plays as it relates to the city. It is about taking an area of uninhabitable and divisive infrastructure and elevating it to something civic. It accepts the premises that the presence of, and the need for, that infrastructure will remain. Just south of the Capitol Building, I’m proposing a master plan that makes use of valuable land, reconnects neighborhoods, and connects a place experienced through a series of civic spaces.

1. Sometimes the Topic Chooses You

You might be interested in everything, which if you are like me, makes it difficult to pick a topic for your thesis. The main thing to do is to not panic. Surround yourself with images and texts revolving around topics that you find interesting. If the project is going to choose you, then all you have to do is facilitate. Have conversations with your colleagues, professors, and even just with yourself. At this point you are well versed in the studio culture, and you know that sometimes you just have to try something and get feedback.


This thesis project began with a conversation with my thesis chair, landing the project in a broad area of Washington D.C. Although I did not have a topic yet, I had the start. We knew that the selected area had many problems, and the topic emerged from studying those problems. The whole project felt like a discovery.

2. When Time is Scarce

Try to be realistic about what you can produce, while considering time and resources. One must accept the fact that you won’t solve everything. The process of figuring out what your thesis will cover, or what type of story it will tell, is one of discovery. As you study, iterate, and work through challenges and ideas, you begin to understand the problem – or the thesis. I would ask myself – When I am done producing my drawings, what big picture problem will I be addressing? I think this helps to not get stuck on the small stuff.

Time is something I had very little of. I was blessed enough to participate in the 2017 ULI Hines Competition which I devoted an entire month to. I was also blessed to have a Teaching Assistant position, teaching first year architectural studio, which took time and brain power. Meanwhile, a large portion of my time was spent struggling to understand what kind of project this was, and how I was going to present it.

You may have a perfect plan of how to execute your thesis, but remember, that you might get thrown off by your thesis committee, or even simply change your mind. As with any project, you might be forced to invent new ways to get things done. That is part of the beauty. You might even learn a few skills.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I found myself with one month left to go, and no images to show for my efforts, I was forced to MacGyver my way to the finish line. One and a half weeks of SketchUp modeling, and most of my urban design and buildings were done. Two days of Lumion and 2 days of Photoshop and I had 18 renderings that were unique and extremely well received. I even managed to create a 3-minute. Of course, it was a bit more complicated than that as it was a process of discovery.

3. When the Problem is Too Big

The size of the problem depends on how you approach it. You may find yourself with a very large project in the physical sense, such as an urban design project. This can be stressful, as you try to incorporate architecture and design of spaces. As we know time is very limited. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. You don’t have to be creative in every single aspect of your project. Your strategy will have more value than the uniqueness of the product. Use your creativity when approaching the problem, instead of trying to be creative with the solution. If you have a unique view of the problem, then the solution will naturally follow.

Your project might seem to be asking too much of you, and sometimes all it needs is an answer, not the most creative or unique answer. In architecture we look at precedents to learn about topics, and for inspiration. We can also look at precedents as pieces of the puzzle that you can place, remove, and move around your project. Especially with a large urban design project. In fact, placing precedents in your project as test fits can help you farther understand the problem.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My thesis project had several large areas that needed design, including streets, urban spaces, and the buildings that created them. Although I had ideas of what I wanted those spaces to be, precedents were especially helpful in executing the idea when time was very limited. They also helped others understand the quality of space, and proved that it was all possible. The selected precedents did not come out of thin air and were not hard to find. They were consistent with the ideas I stood for and the vision I hoped to create.

You may notice that there is not much that is new in your thesis project. You have learned all the skills and critical thinking to complete it. The things that are new will naturally come from you. Give yourself a pat in the back, relax, and remember that there is life after thesis.


October Thesis Feature #1

This month we will be featuring blog posts from our four presenters at this year’s thesis showcase! These posts will highlight each student’s path through the thesis process, the unexpected challenges they had to overcome, and the influence each project has had on their career.

pier perspective2-FINAL

How to Explore, Push, and Prod Your Way Through an Architecture Thesis

Jeannine Muller

It’s time to start your architecture thesis: cue instant dread, nerves, and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Thesis can seem like an enormous challenge that tests your architectural abilities, time management skills, and sleep patterns. But it can also be your chance to explore exactly what you have been interested throughout your architectural education but haven’t had the ability to do yet. A good thesis is just that: an exploration; deep, probing, and meaningful, but an exploration nonetheless. In my opinion, it is not the job of the architecture student to pick an issue and be able to completely solve it in a year of thesis work; as we have all learned in school, there is no one way to solve a problem, and no one person can have all the answers.

By approaching thesis as an exploration of a topic you are passionate about, you can have an array of outcomes at the end of the day. One way to get started is to generate a series of questions that you hope to raise in your exploration. They might not be questions that you answer by the end of your thesis, but they can serve as probes that you return to through your process.

I think it is important to pick a topic that you are truly passionate about—something that you won’t get bored of during your year-long endeavor. Part of this is picking a topic that is broad enough to sustain your interest and passion. Once you begin researching one part of your topic, you might hit a dead-end or lose interest and it helps to have a topic that allows you the range and flexibility to approach it from several angles, or examine it through multiple lenses.

My thesis was about the relationship between waste and the city and how architecture can play a role in that relationship. The final title of the thesis was “The Architecture of Waste: Designing New Avenues for Public Engagement with Trash”. Getting to that point certainly took some time. I knew I wanted to focus my thesis on urban issues, as I’ve always been fascinated with all things related to cities. What interests me most about cities are that they are like living ecosystems: made up of a complex series of systems that must work together in order to function as a whole. When listing out these systems to pick a thesis topic, I was most interested in the systems that act as “invisible infrastructures”, systems that must work in order for a city to function, yet have little value placed on them. One of these that stood out to me was waste. Hardly anyone stops to think about the larger system of waste as they throw out an old food container in the trash or think about how waste collection has an effect on the urban environment they occupy until a noisy garbage truck drives down the street. But all of these things are important parts of our built environment. With the topic of waste, I felt I could delve into broad issues such as the sustainability of cities, public awareness of the cycle of waste, the technology of waste-to-energy, and lastly the lack of the involvement of architecture profession in these issues.

By pursing an architecture thesis on a topic most architects don’t typically associate with design, I wanted to push people’s perception of the types of environments we design. It was important for me to use this thesis as a way to contribute towards the conversation of how to push the field of architecture beyond its traditional limits, in order to become involved in all the issues that face our cities. I believe thesis is the opportunity for young emerging professionals to critically question the field of architecture and push the boundaries of it. It is the chance to become an expert in a particular issue of interest, but to also be part of a larger conversation of advancing the profession.


5 Questions for Brian Kelly


This week we sat down with Brian Kelly, Professor and Director of the Architecture Program at the University of Maryland, to discuss what he sees as opportunities and challenges for recent graduates in anticipation of our Fourth Annual Thesis Showcase next Tuesday! You can register here.

  1. Are there specific themes that you have been seeing in recent thesis projects (i.e. sustainability, robotics, etc.)?

    In the past few years theses have increasingly focused on the big issues of our time. Students regularly probe issues of sustainability and resilience. For some students this is the central theme of their thesis investigation, but for nearly all students, theses tend to intersect these topics and students develop insightful responses to our current predicament. More and more thesis projects are taking up the problems of cities. This is particularly relevant as we see increased interest in living in compact, walkable, transit-oriented environments, like Washington, DC. Similarly, there are consistently groups of students who explore the social, economic, cultural, and environmental problems of places like Baltimore where there are drastic shifts in populations, deteriorated housing stock, de-densification, and gentrification in many areas. We also see trends to bring in experts from allied disciplines in the context of thesis.

    It is not unusual to have faculty members from Planning, Preservation, or Real Estate Development sitting on committees and students diving deep into these issues as they impact architectural thinking. Likewise, students are increasingly reaching outside of the allied disciplines in order to do deep dives into thesis topics, NASA scientists on campus, urban agriculture experts, and mentors in visualization all come to mind as additional resources rallied by students in the completion of their thesis work.

  2. Has your program made any changes to align with recent efforts to prepare students to take exams earlier?

    We are a NCARB approved iPAL provider, but we have yet to bring the program online due to a series of campus-wide approvals that need to be in place. We encourage students to engage AXP and are open to the idea of earlier engagement of the ARE, but there have been no structural changes in this arena.

  3. What do you believe is the biggest challenge for recent grads transitioning into the work place?

    Time management is the biggest skill that I think students don’t fully appreciate. School allows lots of flexibility, while in the workplace you need to perform efficiently and reliably. I think that some of our most successful graduates transition well because they have developed the ability to manage time. I also think that understanding that every project needs leadership at all levels is another important challenge. If you want to succeed, you need to convince your colleagues that you are capable of leadership even if you are relegated to the task of working out details for a fire stair or toilet room.

  4. What skills do you think recent grads can bring to a new office that might not be realized/utilized currently?

    I feel that students today care deeply about the environment and social conditions. They are well-versed in bringing knowledge into the equation beyond just that of the formal/technical dimensions of architecture. Unlike my generation that was preoccupied with issues of style and content, this generation understands that the solutions to the pressing problems that face them requires deep knowledge of the discipline of architecture and a broad knowledge of other disciplines that can inform what we do.

  5. Has the approach to teaching design thinking evolved/changed because of the millennial culture?

    Many millennials don’t know how to use their hands. Unlike students from a decade or two ago, the tradition of drawing, model making, even free-play, seem to have been pushed to the wayside in favor of a digital world. We believe that mastery of digital skills is necessary, but architects build real things in the real world, and thus need to draw and make models. Drawing offers insights into architecture and design thinking that digital media cannot replicate. I am reminded of how Louis Kahn always started design projects with charcoal and soft clay because the ideas were ill-formed at the beginning of the design process and thus needed media that could be forgiving and permit interpretation.

There’s still time to register for tonight’s event! Come with more questions!

5 Questions for Usman Tariq


In anticipation of tonight’s #ArchitectUp mentoring session on architecture and business, we asked Usman Tariq, associate managing pricinipal at HDR, a few questions to gain some insight into his experience.

  1. Usman, you are Associate Managing Principal at HDR. Describe what this title involves, in fifty words or less.

    It is an office leadership role where I oversee the operations management of the DC practice working alongside with our Managing Principal. My role is focused on project delivery, project performance, and resource management.

  2. How did you become involved in the business side of architecture?

    From a very early onset of my design career, I was curious how the sum of parts on projects result in the overall performance for the projects and practice. I volunteered for various process improvement initiatives that provided more interaction with the senior leaders in the office to gain insight. I also undertook multiple graduate level courses with focus on project management, accounting and finance to put that learning into context. My involvement in those activities in addition to my design and project management roles helped me transition to the business management aspect of our practice.

  3. This mentoring workshop will explore business strategies in architecture. What advice do you have for emerging architects who would like more exposure to this critical aspect of the profession?

    Explore learning opportunities and be curious. Ask a lot of questions. Use every project as a learning experience to know a little bit more about the complete lifecycle of the project from initiation to closeout.

  4. What do you feel are the three biggest financial challenges facing the profession?
    1. Competitive markets and shrinking design fees
    2. Commoditization of services
    3. Risk management in alternative project delivery methods (design build etc.)
  5. Final question: what is the one thing you wish emerging architects knew about the business side of architecture?

    Value of their time. That is the fundamental unit of our practice and if managed well can allow us to continue to push the boundaries of creative problem solving and be business savvy at the same time.

There’s still time to register for tonight’s event! Come with more questions!

5 Favorites Friday

1. If that last peer review has you thinking about starting your own firm:


Our third mentoring session of the #ArchitectUp series will be kicking off Tuesday July 25th! This month we are featuring a panel of three architects that are heavily involved in the business side of things to help get you thinking about the business know-how the architecture world requires. Register today!

2. If you want to spend some time looking up this weekend.

3. If you’d like to stop hearing people remind you to network and finally DO SOMETHING about it:

Banner w location

We’re hosting the second annual Summer Networking Bash on the Dock 79 rooftop, just behind Nats stadium, on August 17th! Come chat with other young leaders from the real estate, development, and architecture industries. Plenty of food and beer to break the ice! Registration is now open!

4. You find large installation art intriguing, but BBQ even more intriguing.

5. If you’re looking for some professional advice:


Big take away from our monthly meeting: take the AREs as soon as possible!

5 Questions for WeWork

In anticipation of our upcoming mentoring session at WeWork Crystal City, we asked the community manager Alissa Avilov a few questions about the atmosphere and how she achieves balance between work and life.

CC WeWor
Common Area at WeWork Crystal City

1. You are Community Manager at WeWork/WeLive, and also live in the community. For those unfamiliar with the concept, what is your elevator pitch for WeWork/WeLive, in fifty words or less?

WeWork/WeLive is a space that is all about fostering community and collaboration through programming and design. We have offices or apartments combined with communal spaces like pantries, conference rooms, media lounges, chefs kitchens, libraries and yoga studios.

2. This mentoring workshop is focused on work/life balance, a concept architects have been known to struggle with, both in academia and in the profession. What tips do you have for maintaining a healthy balance between one’s work life and one’s home life?

Taking time to do things that will clear your mind – for me that is cooking or taking a walk outside. Also, I’ve learned to be ok with leaving work with a to do list. At first this was a challenge, but I had to realize that I just can’t always get everything done. Accepting this did wonders for me being able to enjoy life when I was not at work (but I still check my phone a lot).

3. By putting one’s workplace and their living space in one building, the WeWork/WeLive model uses the built environment to blur the physical boundary that typically exists between our work lives and our home lives. From a time management standpoint, what are the advantages and disadvantages of living where you work?

The blessing/curse is the commute. Yes, you are saving time but you are also missing out on things like sunlight, me time, and feeling like you are leaving your house and coming to work. What I love is that I can have a long night at work and take 4 seconds to get home, this is really convenient. For me, thinking about things like packing a lunch before coming to work help me manage my time more effectively, but that might not be the case for others.

CC WeWor2
Work space at WeWork Crystal City

4. WeWork/WeLive also uses the built environment to encourage interaction via shared spaces: communal kitchens, lounge areas, and workspaces where you may work alongside people in completely unrelated fields. This is also a concept being rolled out in open office settings, including many architecture firms. Overall, what type of feedback has this “unsiloing” yielded at WeWork/WeLive?

This is what we are all about. I think it’s especially interesting with WeLive because we’ve shifted so far away from this in our tech fueled lives. To encourage people to look up from their phones and say hi to a neighbor, or come to a wine tasting with people they don’t know in their building, has actually yielded pretty special results. People are often hesitant when they move in, and then they end up connecting with others and being grateful for the space.

5. Final question, for the architects in attendance: what is the one design takeaway from the WeWork/WeLive community you would like to see used more widely in workplace or residential design?

The open design that allows people to flow through the space without ever having to run into an awkward corner or anything like that.

For more info on the WeWork community, come check out the tour this Tuesday the 25th at the Crystal City location!

5 Tips to Improve Your Job Package

Next month we are organizing an event to help demystify putting together the best job package possible. We sat down with Rob Holzbach, the Director of Staff Operations and an Associate Principal at Hickok Cole, to talk about recommendations, tips, and tricks as a preview of what to expect.

1. Make the work samples stand out

Often as an entry level hire you will be asked to do a lot of production work. Your work sample highlights your ability to create high quality renderings and drawings and the graphics of this are important. You want this to highlight your software skills and demonstrate your eye for design. This can help to make up for a lack of relevant job experience. Rather than including full sheets from a CD set, integrate details into the graphics of your work sample. You want these pages to be easy to navigate and eye catching.

2. Make the hiring person’s job as easy as possible

These people are busy so it’s important to make information easy to find. Your resume should highlight any relevant job experience or internships. That information should be visible at first glance.

3. Utilize your network

This can be difficult as a recent graduate, but it’s pivotal to being able to get your foot in the door. Thanks to websites like Linked In, this has become much easier. Reach out to professors who might have connections and utilize your alumni network. Attend EAC events!

4. Double check for spelling errors

Seriously. You’re often reviewing these things so many times it becomes difficult to see them. Have a friend proof read it for you. More egregious than spelling errors are misspelling of a firm or a person’s name. The more you can connect with the person reading your application, the better.

5. Over done is just as bad as under done

You want to make sure everything is concise and clean. Graphically interesting is good, but illegible and busy is bad. Remember that you will not have control over how your job package will be printed when it’s delivered electronically. Things that are oddly shaped (larger or smaller than 8.5″x 11″) often become difficult to file or review and will end up getting printed on regular paper anyhow. An interesting portfolio should be saved for the interview.

Rob will be going into more detail and showing examples of good and bad practices at the workshop. That will be followed by a series of small group crits by local practitioners. This is a great way to get a jump start on your job search and make some connections to work on point number 3! Make sure to register for the full event here.

5 Easy Steps to Becoming an Architect


Okay so in all honestly we know that “easy” is the operative word in the title, but here’s hoping this post breaks things down into more manageable steps for anyone that is a little intimidated by the process.

1. Start Your NCARB Record

Important first step. Starting your NCARB record verifies that you’re legit and allows you access to the online platform needed to complete steps 2 and 3. You will need to locate your transcript for this step to verify that you have an accredited degree. Reaching out to your former university is more of an annoyance than a challenge, but it can take some time, so plan accordingly. NCARB requires the university send the transcript directly and not digitally.

2. Start the Architectural Experience Progam (AXP)

Until recently this was known as the Intern Development Program (IDP), but it has been restructured in the past year to make it easier to navigate and more relateable to the day-to-day activities in the profession. It’s important to get your project manager involved in this conversation so they can help make the process easier when scheduling your work hours. One area that can prove to be particularly challenging is construction observation. Construction tours (like the one the EAC is co-sponsoring in February!) can help towards that in particular. Check out this link for more details on the upcoming event: http://www.aiadc.com/event/construction-tour-and-panel-alexander-court

3. Pick Your Jurisdiction and Petition to Start Testing

This one seems insignificant, but can really make a big difference in the amount of time that it takes for you to complete the process. Each state has different requirements for when you can start testing and how much of the AXP must be complete. To find out more details check out this link: http://www.ncarb.org/Getting-an-Initial-License/Registration-Board-Requirements.aspx

4. Study For and Take the ARE

I’m sure this sounds like the most intimidating step, but let me assure you it’s really not. Everyone seems to think that you have to know absolutely everything to start the testing process. This is 100% not true. As architects, we specialize in being generalists. The likelihood that you will be presented with something you don’t know the answer to basically everyday is pretty high. The tests are just a good way to prepare yourself for that. It’s probably good to read the study materials too. Find support, study groups and additional resources through the EAC and AIA! There are a couple resources locally that can be utilized:

  • AIA DC has set up a series to help navigate the test transition, allowing you to take five tests total! More information at the following link: http://www.aiadc.com/page/are-take-5
  • AIA NOVA has a great series to help prepare you for the tests starting tomorrow! For more info on that check out their website: http://www.aianova.org/are.php

5. Complete License with Jurisdiction and Finalize NCARB Record

Once you finish testing, NCARB has to let the state you petitioned know that you are cool to stamp things. You’ll get your final license info and then you will also want to finalize your NCARB record. This makes reciprocity easier later in life should you choose to be licensed in more than one state.

See! Easy stuff! In all seriousness, a lot of EAC members have recently completed the process or are currently going through the madness and we welcome any comments/questions you might have! We even have our own personal license advising resource in Adam Schwartz, who is happy to help field questions at aschwartz@hga.com

Now go become an architect!

@AIAYAF and AIA National Associates Committee Seek Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

The AIA Young Architects Forum (YAF) and the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) would like to formally open the call for applications for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director position for each of these committees.

Jump to the 2017 – 2019 YAF Mid-Atlantic Regional Director position. Jump to the National Associates Committee 2017-2018 Mid-Atlantic Regional Associate Director Position

Each of these positions is a 2-year appointment and will commence January 2017 and terminate December 2018. Applicants applying for the YAF must be an architect within their first 10 years of licensure. Applicants applying for the NAC should not be licensed architects at the time of submission. All Applicants must be AIA or Assoc. AIA members. Further information about each of these positions can be found on the following pages. Deadline to submit is October 31, 2017; 11:59pm.

2017 – 2019 YAF Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

The AIA Young Architects Forum (YAF) is the voice of recently licensed architects, and the catalist for progress within the Institute. As the future of architecture, we are the professionals who use 21st century design skills to respond to both today and tomorrow’s issues and change the way people work, live, and play. In 2017, the YAF is celebrating its 25th year as a Committee within AIA National and has the following three overriding values:

  • LEADERSHIP is the practice of actively engaging recently licensed Architects to affect positive change for the betterment of other members, their firms, their communities, and the Institute overall.
  • MENTORSHIP is the developmental partnership through which a seasoned Architect (mentor) shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective with an Intern Architect or a recently licensed Architect (mentee) in order to develop specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the mentee’s professional and personal growth.
  • FELLOWSHIP is the condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences with other recently licensed Architects or more experienced Architects in a congenial, collegial atmosphere on equal terms.

The Young Architect Regional Director (YARD) is the primary connection between local AIA chapters and the national YAF Advisory Committee (AdCom). The YAF Regional Director will keep communication flowing between these groups by:

  • Maintaining quarterly communication with all YAF chapters/EP Committees within his or her designated region.
  • Serve as a conduit between local YAF chapters and the AdCom.
  • Disseminating information to and collecting information from local chapters as requested.
  • Submitting a regional report as requested.
  • Participating in YAF Focus Group led by AdCom.

As the regional director, AIA National covers your costs for travel, food, and lodging for the YAF/NAC Annual Meeting. Additionally, you are provided a stipend by AIA Mid-Atlantic to cover registration, travel, food, and lodging costs associated with AIA Grassroots, and AIA Convention. Any other costs associated with travel or other conferences are to be covered by the delegate.

This is a tremendous opportunity to take on a larger leadership role within the AIA. You will grow your network with the YAF, AIA, and the College of Fellows both regionally and nationally. Through national committee appointments, this rewarding experience will allow you to be actively engaged in shaping the future of the profession.

Mandatory Attendance Each Year:

  • YAF/NAC Transition Meeting, Location TBD (2 days) – February
  • AIA Grassroots, Washington, DC – March 8 – 10, 2017
  • AIA Convention, Orlando, FL – April 27 – 29, 2017
  • Design DC Regional Conference, Washington, DC – September (encouraged)
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting – October (1/2 day)
  • YAF Monthly Conference Calls (1 hour each)
  • Attending regional YAF Chapter and EP Committee Meetings and Programs (encouraged)

Required Application Material:

  • Licensed Architect – Applicants must be a licensed architect with no more than 10 years of registration. Provide date/state of first registration.
  • AIA Membership – Applicants must be a member in good standing within the AIA Mid-Atlantic Region (AIA|DC, AIA Delaware, AIA Maryland, AIA Baltimore, AIA Potomac Valley, AIA Chesapeake Bay). Provide AIA member number.
  • Letter of Nomination/Letter of Interest – Applicants may be nominated by others or be self-nominated. The author of the nomination letter should ideally be familiar with the YAF and understands the leadership qualities of the applicant. Limit one-page.
  • Letter of Recommendation – Each application must include one letter of recommendation. Limit one-page.
  • Personal Resume – Including applicant’s education, employment history, organizations or activity involvement, and honors and awards. Resumes are preferred to be no more than two pages. (It is NOT in the best interest of the applicant to simply submit a 1-page firm resume with project experience)

Complete Applications must be submitted as a single PDF to Ryan McEnroe
(ryan.t.mcenroe[at]gmail[dot]com) by 11:59pm on Monday, October 31, 2016.

National Associates Committee 2017-2018 Mid-Atlantic Regional Associate Director Position
The National Associates Committee (NAC) is dedicated to serving Associate members of the AIA in the advancement of their careers.

Vision Statement
By promoting excellence, providing information and leadership, fostering inclusiveness, and encouraging individual, community, and professional development, the NAC will integrate the growing Associates community of the profession into a strong voice within the Institute.

The NAC aspires to be the catalyst for progress within the Institute and the profession:

  • We ENGAGE by becoming agents of change
  • We INNOVATE by challenging the status quo
  • We CONNECT by representing our diverse membership
  • We LEAD by example, promoting mentorship, fellowship, licensure, advocacy, and service

The NAC believes its work serves to make AIA membership meaningful to Associates through services that effectively anticipate, meet, and exceed their needs.

The Regional Associate Director (RAD) works with their counterparts, the YARDs, AIAS Quad Directors, Architect Licensing Advisors, and AIA Regional Directors across their Regions. RADs are responsible for gathering information about issues facing Associates within their Regions and disseminating information about national/regional activities and resources for use at the local level. Of equal importance, RADs serve as a vital link between Associates and the national organization.

While RADs roles and responsibilities vary Region to Region widely, NAC-related roles and responsibilities are expanded in the Appendix of this Handbook. RADs are the key to vertical communication, connecting Associate leaders at all levels of the Institute. RADs are also encouraged to work on various issues important to them and their regions through the NAC work groups.

As the regional director, AIA National will cover your costs for travel, food, and lodging for the YAF/NAC Annual Meeting. Additionally, you are provided with up to a $1,000 stipend by AIA Mid-Atlantic Regional Council to cover registration, travel, food, and lodging costs associated with AIA Grassroots and the AIA Convention. Any other costs associated with travel or other conferences are to be covered by the delegate.

This is a tremendous opportunity to take on a larger leadership role within the AIA. You will grow your network with the NAC, YAF, and the AIA both regionally and nationally. Through national committee appointments, this rewarding experience will allow you to be actively engaged in shaping the future of the profession.

Event Attendance Each Year

  • YAF/NAC Annual Meeting, Location TBD – 2 days – February (Mandatory)
  • AIA Grassroots, Washington, DC – March 8 – 10, 2017
  • AIA Convention, Orlando, FL – April 27 – 29, 2017
  • Design DC Regional Conference, Washington, DC – 3 days
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, Location TBD – Fall – Half day
  • NAC Full Committee Quarterly Conference Calls – 1 hour each
  • NAC Taskforce Conference Calls – 1 hour each/frequency TBD
  • Attending regional Emerging Professional Committee Meetings and Programs Is highly encouraged

Required Application Material

  • AIA Membership – Applicant must be an Associate AIA member in good standing within the AIA Mid-Atlantic Region (AIA|DC, AIA Delaware, AIA Maryland, AIA Baltimore, AIA Potomac Valley, AIA Chesapeake Bay) and not be licensed at the time of submission.
  • Letter of Nomination/Letter of Interest – Applicant may be nominated by others or be self-nominated. The author of the nomination letter should ideally be familiar with the NAC and understand the leadership qualities of the applicant. Limit one-page.
  • Letter of Recommendation – Each application must include one letter of recommendation. The author of the recommendation letter is encouraged to be an AIA Leader. Limit one-page.
  • Personal Resume – Applicant should education, employment history, organizations or activity involvement, honors, and awards. Resumes are preferred to be no more than two pages. (It is NOT in the best interest of the applicant to simply submit a 1-page firm resume with project experience)

Completed applications must be submitted as a single PDF to Yiselle Santos, Assoc. AIA (yiselle.santos[at]gmail[dot]com) by 11:59pm on Monday, October 31, 2016.