AEC Cares: Volunteering at the AIA Conference on Architecture
At the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando, I had the opportunity to join Ned Kramer, editor-in-chief of Architect magazine; Laura Marlow, vice president for strategic relationships at Construct Connect; and Michael Davis, FAIA, president of Bergmeyer Associates, for a panel discussing Project Orlando. The AEC Cares volunteer project paired AEC Cares with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida to renovate its Center for Women and Families. The event attracted over 100 industry volunteers the day before the conference kicked off on April 27.
• AEC Cares started in 2011, when the AIA Conference on Architecture was held in New Orleans. The city was still rebuilding post-Hurricane Katrina, and the project was so successful that it became an annual event.
• The Center for Women and Families houses and feeds up to 500 people every day.
• More than 500 pro bono hours went into the center’s design process.
• As Director of Community Involvement and Awareness on the AIA Host Chapter Planning Committee, I sought opportunities to elevate our profession in the community—and AEC Cares suited that mission perfectly.
• Each member of DLR Group’s Orlando office joined us for the build blitz on April 26.
• Through my work in justice design and architecture, we know homelessness is just one of many challenges in our society today that we are working to resolve.
• The Center is west of Interstate 4 corridor, which is a burgeoning area thanks to the completion of the new federal courthouse, and many other great new projects and development.
• The Coalition for the Homeless is at the center of this community, and those who utilize these services don’t experience the benefits of the new work/live/play development that is taking place: They are just struggling to survive.
• Project Orlando was an opportunity to assist those forgotten faces in the community.
• How does one execute pro bono design? It’s takes a strong, local leader to facilitate, as well as a lot of time outside a designer’s daily life.
• You need a true passion to change the lives of others, which is why I think we’re all here in the first place.