WASHINGTON, DC.- The American Institute of Architects
(AIA) and the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) announced an updated strategic alliance that allows both organizations to build upon their strengths and legacies. Under new working agreements to extend AIA financial support of the AAF through 2015, ownership of the historic Octagon will transfer to AIA Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization that in recent years worked with the AAF to provide significant support for operating the Octagon as a public museum.
Additionally, as part of the updated strategic alliance, AIA Legacy will assume oversight responsibility for the AIA/AAF Minority/Disadvantaged Scholarship program available to high school seniors and college freshmen planning to study architecture. And furthermore, logistics associated with celebrating recipients of annual AIA Awards previously conferred at the Accent on Architecture gala will now be managed by the AIA. Reinvigorating the Accent on Architecture gala and AIA Awards program will further strengthen their relevance and bring greater focus to the important contributions of architects and architecture.
The updated alliance is a forward step in aligning programs and resources to better support the respective missions of the AIA and AAF. Transition of the Octagon and the scholarship program advance the AIA mission by providing an important new platform for public engagement about the role of architects in our lives and an opportunity to enhance the diversity of the profession. Transferring the Octagon to AIA Legacy enables the AAF to reinforce its contemporary mission to support public leaders in successfully addressing design challenges in their communities.
“The future of the AIA encompasses both the rich history of architecture embodied in the Octagon and the financial support for new generations to become tomorrow’s architects,” said AIA President Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA. “The Octagon holds an elevated place for architects in America and returning ownership to practitioners allows us to build our future on this strong symbol,” added Malecha. “This agreement also helps strengthen the AIA commitment to a profession that better mirrors the society we serve. By combining AAF resources with those of the Institute, we are acting in the best interest of members’ clients, communities, and the public.”
“The AIA and AAF agreement recognizes the importance of the value each brings to its core mission,” said AAF Chairman G. Sandy Diehl, vice president, Integrated Building Systems, United Technologies Corporation. “We are proud of AAF stewardship of the Octagon over the past four decades,” added Diehl, “and look forward now to expanding the Foundation’s efforts to help city leaders create more habitable, hospitable and sustainable communities using the tools of design.”
The AAF will continue to engage urban leaders in the issues of city design through its core programs, including the Mayors’ Institute of City Design, Great Schools by Design, and the Sustainable Cities Design Academy. In addition, the AAF will continue as a convening partner of the Architecture + Design Education Network, in partnership with the AIA and Chicago Architecture Foundation, and present programs and exhibitions in Washington, DC, as part of its outreach mission.