Note: The following speech was presented at the 2010 AIA New York Board Inaugural that took place 12.08.09 at the Center for Architecture. Tony Schirripa, AIA, IIDA, is the 2010 AIANY President.
Past AIA New York presidential themes have celebrated the work that architects do. And that work, the final, finished project, is all that most of the general public knows of us. Now it’s time to celebrate and elevate the “complete” architect — the designer, planner, innovator, and leader. As we begin to emerge in 2010 from one of the worst recessions of our lifetime, architects will have the opportunity not just for more work, but for designing projects that will lead our industry, this city, and the nation on the road to recovery and growth. We will be asked to show the way in designing sustainable buildings, to help communities plan for a healthy and viable future, and to lend the full breadth of our knowledge and skill to policy decisions — local and global — in this increasingly interdependent and integrated world.
I have established as the 2010 theme “Architect as Leader.” We will explore the role of the architect in the leadership of projects and firms, in communities, and the political arena.
Through this theme, we will explore the following topics:
· Leadership in Sustainable Design will highlight the ways in which architects contribute to building a sustainable world. We are, after all, the designers of energy-efficient, cost-effective, smart buildings. The USGBC, LEED, Green Globes, and Energy Star — all the standards and rules in the world — are only pieces of paper until we interpret them and bring them to life. But our role goes far beyond design: it is our responsibility to teach people how to use sustainable buildings, how our buildings can be catalysts for sustainable communities, and how design and behavior are interdependent.
· Not Business as Usual will continue to provide the necessary resources and support to our members during the recession. Through the series we will enhance job skills, training, and provide new opportunities for professional development to all members of the design community.
· Leadership Training in partnership with a major university will explore methods and challenges of running a successful business today. Our architectural education does not include a thorough exploration and study of the business of architectural practice; it is expected that we will learn what we need through on-the-job experience. That may have been adequate in the past; today the world is far too complex for ad hoc, on-the-fly learning. We need a higher level of knowledge and skill, gained through a more formal, integrated education in the business of managing people — especially a younger, mobile, and more diverse generation of professionals — in developing and implementing a strategic business plan. We also must train for today’s challenges, like preparing for a smooth ownership transition, and maintaining a healthy practice no matter the economic conditions.