Washington, D.C. - Imagine New York without Times Square, Chicago without the Magnificent Mile, or San Francisco without the Golden Gate Bridge. Because great architecture connects, inspires, and empowers people and communities, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched the nationwide community service initiative Blueprint for America to mark the organization's 150th anniversary. In 156 communities across the country, AIA members donating their time and expertise are collaborating with citizens to find and implement ways to enhance their communities.
"Architecture cannot exist in a silo," says David Downey, CAE, Assoc. AIA, managing director, AIA Center for Communities by Design. "Communities thrive when the public is engaged and encouraged to share their vision for the future."
Over the last six months, the AIA has donated $2 million dollars to community grant projects lead by AIA chapters and members. Grant recipients were notified in May and October of 2006, as projects took shape.
What's Happening and Where
Blueprint for America projects range from bus-stop extreme makeovers to a new expressway corridor in Brooklyn and are created to inspire people to change the way they view architecture and its role in their daily lives. Three-dimensional models will bring to life visions for revitalizing sleepy downtowns, and teams of AIA architects and citizens will determine new standards for affordable housing.
Below are a handful of the community service initiatives that will be completed throughout the next year:
- Bus Stop Extreme Makeover (Oklahoma City/Wichita)
- Statewide Disaster Preparedness Program (Tennessee)
- Summer Design Camps (Houston/Wyoming)
- Brooklyn Expressway Corridor (New York)
- 3-D Planning Models (Colorado Springs/Indianapolis)
- Affordable Housing Modules (New York State/Southeast Wisconsin)
- Capitol Mall Improvement (Arizona)
- Downtown Revitalization (San Diego)
A Gift to the Nation
As the projects are completed over the course of this year, the AIA will compile case studies from individual Blueprint projects. The case studies, intended for local officials interested in implementing similar programs, will be accessible through the AIA's Web site, www.aia150.org, free of charge. The completed piece, titled "Blueprint for America Mosaic: A Gift to the Nation," will be presented by the AIA in 2008.
150 Years and Counting
Blueprint for America is the cornerstone of the AIA's 150th Anniversary Celebration. Intended to inspire communities to come together around architecture, Blueprint provides the opportunity for individuals to collaborate with AIA architects and share their ideas for creating livable communities.
"I can't think of a better way to celebrate our 150th anniversary, adds Downey. "We're using this important milestone to invite a fresh approach to the way people view architecture. At the end of the day, we hope people will better understand that architecture is more than bricks and mortar: It's the way we live."
For a complete list of community initiatives or to learn about an individual project in your area visit www.aia150.org or contact Alissa Lew at (312) 861-5225 or via e-mail at [email protected].
Celebrating 150 years, the AIA is the premier professional organization for America's architects. The AIA150 program, "Celebrating the Past, Designing the Future," honors architects for their dedication and commitment to excellence in design and livability in our nation's buildings and communities. The cornerstone of AIA150, Blueprint for America, serves as a nationwide platform to unite architects and citizens to collaborate on their communities' design priorities. The AIA will also release its list of America's Favorite Architecture, determined by a professional survey. The AIA acknowledges the important financial support of AIA150 Corporate Founders Circle contributor McGraw-Hill Construction (Official Media Sponsor). For more information on other AIA150 news and events, including Blueprint for America, visit www.aia150.org.
Blueprint for America
Blueprint for America is the cornerstone of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 150th Anniversary Celebration. Comprised of 156 community service projects funded by the AIA, Blueprint for America brings architects and the public together to address community needs related to design and livability. For more information, visit www.aia150.org.
About The American Institute of Architects
For 150 years, members of The American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. AIA members have access to the right people, knowledge, and tools to create better design, and through such resources and access, they help clients and communities make their visions real.