Located Washington D.C. and founded in 1887, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is an organization of professional architects. A group of 13 architects founded the AIA to promote excellence and perfection in the profession through scientific and practical methods. Richard Upjohn was its first president and at the first meeting, they invited 16 other architects to join them. At the time of the founding anyone could claim to be an architect, and in order to protect the profession and their clients, they adapted a constitution and bylaws.
By 1880, 11 chapters were opened across the United States and currently, there are 300 chapters representing professional architects across the country. The current president presiding over more than 90,000 licensed architects is Robert Ivy. The 90,000 members consist of licensed architects, associate members, international members, emeritus members and allied members. Its managed by a board of directors with over 200 employees and it spans the globe with chapters in the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, and across Europe.
The AIA monitors federal, state, and local policy decisions concerning design and structure and in public service the AIA offers community-based programs to local governments to improve designs, protect infrastructure, and promote affordable housing. To its members, the American Institute of Architects offers it experience on design, contracts, urban development, and education. While students are not permitted in the AIA proper, they have a separate arm of the AIA called the American Institute of Architects – Students (AIAS). The AIAS has been adopted by most chapters of the AIA and they offer special programs and educational assistance for the students. The AIAS is non-profit and independent.
The AIA recognizes outstanding achievement in architecture with awards and honor programs, and one of its most prestigious honors is the title ‘Fellow of the American Institute of Architects’. This award is given to those architects who have gained national recognition in architectural excellence. Only 2% of the membership bear this honor.
The association’s CEO Robert Ivy the owns the honor of wearing the title Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Mr. Ivy holds a Masters in architecture from Tulane University. He is the editor-in-chief of the Architectural Record and vice president and editorial director of McGraw-Hill Construction Media. Mr. Ivy served on the panel that selected the architect to design the Eisenhower Memorial and served as a principal critic at Dina&Ivy for many national architectural publications.