The Young Architects Forum and You
The design profession is changing. AIA recently published its first Foresight Report which documents the changing context, business, and practice of architecture. There is compelling data and valuable insights in the report for every design professional.
I am honored to be the 2014 vice chair of the AIA’s Young Architects Forum (YAF). I am often asked about the role and relevancy of the AIA. “What does AIA really do for me?” is usually the general theme of the questioning. I believe the Foresight Report shows that the role of the AIA has never been more vital in representing the interests of our profession than at the present time. According to the Foresight Report there are approximately 35,000 fewer architecture positions at U.S. firms now than there were at the end of 2008. The group hardest hit were emerging professionals, the next generation of architects. Many are leaving our industry which places the built environment in a precarious position as we strive to achieve the aims of Architecture 2030.
As the vice chair of YAF, I represent roughly 24,400 recently licensed AIA members, the very segment most affected by changes in our industry since 2008. That’s 28% of all AIA membership and 40% of all AIA Architect members. Young architects are defined as professional architects, licensed for ten years or less, regardless of age. Young architects, while they share many of the same profession-wide issues as students and recent graduates, are at a unique point in their professional development. Young architects, or if you prefer – new architects, face pressing work/life challenges such as, defining their responsibilities as newly-licensed architects, developing as a leader, launching a firm, advancing in a firm, incorporating integrated practice and maintaining a work/life balance.
The Advisory Committee and Young Architect Regional Directors (YARD) of the YAF work closely with the AIA, the AIA National Board, and AIA College of Fellows to develop professional growth and leadership programs while advocating for, and addressing, the issues facing young architects. The YAF has three primary goals:
- To encourage professional growth and leadership development among recently licensed architects through interaction and collaboration with AIA and allied group.
- To build a national network and serve as a collective voice for young architects by working to ensure that issue of particular relevance to young architects are appropriately addressed by the AIA.
- To make AIA membership valuable to young architects and to develop the future leadership of the profession.
The YAF, through the Council for Emerging Professionals, acts as the AIA National Board’s trusted advisor and think tank. Young architects are our profession’s next generation of leaders. We are the ones best positioned to anticipate change within the profession, seeing around corners and shaping our future, collaborating and aligning ourselves within the AIA and allied groups, and challenging the status quo.
Where do you see the future of the profession heading? Where do you want it to go? What do we have to do as a profession to remain relevant within the design industry? How do we become a trusted advisor to the public? Contact your YARD to share your opinions and learn more about YAF. Be the change. Get involved!