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In some of the posts I wrote during the recent AIA convention, I was coming down pretty hard on "credit-chasers" in the ranks. (AIA members are required to earn 18 "learning unit" hours annually, with at least eight about health, safety, and/or welfare.) The conferences I typically attend are smaller and more focused than the AIA behemoth, and the people who come to them are eager to wring out every bit of information from the sessions that they can. At AIA, on the other hand, people began streaming out of most of the sessions I attended as soon as it was clear that the presentation was nearly over. Not done, but getting there. There were a couple exceptions, and others from BuildingGreen attended sessions where most of the room stayed put through the duration. On the way back to Vermont, after the conference, I had a conversation with Nadav about it. He was much more understanding — and/or more forgiving — than me. Architects are busy people, as a commenter also pointed out. But I'm still not sure I entirely buy that they're too busy to stick out the final five or ten minutes of a session, if not the Q&A... when some of the most useful and enlightening information is turned up as a result of other professionals — in this case, other architects — getting important clarifications and asking questions based in on-the-ground situations. But anything negative I had to say falls far short of the thoughts architect Peter Gluck shared in a September 2007 article in Metropolis. "I don't belong to the AIA," he said. "I think they're the problem, not the solution. It's a group of people who get together to promote themselves; they're not interested in really looking at the profession and trying to see where its problems are." Me, I'm not dissing the AIA; there are parts of its ethical and practice rules and guidelines that impress me. I do think that at least some part of the organization's efforts are solution-oriented (often for problems caused by architects in the first place, however). I know there are caring individual members. I'm a giant fan of COTE. Take a read of the article about Gluck. It's interesting. And contrary. And problematic. There's something in it for just about anyone to take great exception to... and I'm no exception.

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1 A memo was distributed yester posted by Mark Piepkorn on 05/29/2008 at 01:23 pm

A memo was distributed yesterday to the AIA Board of Directors, Volunteer and Staff Leaders, and USGBC Members from the American Institute of Architects and U.S. Green Building Council about collaborating to advance their common sustainability goals. They praised each other, as happens in these kinds of announcements:

"As you all may know, USGBC’s formative meeting took place in AIA’s Board Room, and USGBC acknowledges and celebrates the leadership of AIA Committee On The Environment as a fundamental component of our organization’s DNA as well as AIA’s commitment to sustainability as expressed in its education and advocacy efforts.

"Similarly, AIA acknowledges and celebrates the work that USGBC and its LEED program have done to move the sustainability and green building agenda forward. To that point, AIA’s recently published study on green building rating systems found that LEED performed very well against the sustainability criteria examined."

So there, I guess.


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