Promoting Architecture: An Overview Of The American Institute For Architects

The American Institute of Architects, also known as the AIA, is a professional organization for architects. Headquartered in Washington D.C. and representing over 90 thousand members, the Institute engages in educational programs for its members and non-members, government advocacy to influence legislation that could affect the industry, community redevelopment, and public outreach campaigns to support both the profession and the industry’s public image. They have been doing this for over a century and a half.

Founded in 1857 by a group of thirteen architects who wanted to better themselves and the industry, the organization was originally called the New York Society of Architects, even though that name changed as its membership grew. It was founded to “promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members” and to “elevate the standing of the profession.” and that mission hasn’t changed.

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As time passed on, the industry changed. The profession became more formalized, with standardized expectations regarding schooling and training. The profession also became more widespread as America grew, with new cities forming. With the changing industry, the American Institute for Architects also changed. As more members joined the organization, and the membership better trained, the organization’s governance also grew. From the thirteen original members, the organization now has over two hundred full-time employees and is governed by a Board of Directors that includes big names in the industry, such as Robert Ivy.

Robert Ivy is the CEO of the Institute and he has held this position since 2011. Early in his career, he was a Principal at Dean/Dale and then Dean & Ivy. Later, he would become the Editor in Chief of the Architectural Record and the Vice President and Editorial Director of McGraw-Hill Construction Media. While he was Editor in Chief of the Architectural Record, he helped grow the journal into the world’s most widely read architectural journal.

During his tenure as CEO at the American Institute for Architects, Robert Ivy has accomplished much. He streamlined the protocols of governance of the organization, improving the AIA’s decision-making capabilities. Under his leadership, the Institute also developed a new digital-first tech framework, and launching an award-winning public awareness campaign.


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