In 1857, in New York City, 13 architects came together to found an association to help set standards and raise the public opinion of their profession. Up to that time, the United States offered no formal schooling for architects nor were there any licensing laws. Anyone could claim to be an architect. The vision of these 13 pioneering businessmen was quickly embraced by many well known and respected fellow professionals. Soon a constitution was drafted for the new institute, along with by-laws to help guide what many regarded as an art into mutual collaboration and public good standing.
Originally named the New York Society of Architects, the name quickly evolved to the more inclusive American Institute of Architects (AIA). Within 20 years of its founding, AIA had added a dozen new chapters across the country and has continued to expand to over 300 chapters with proponents spread globally to include the UK, Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong. The institute’s base of operations is now located in Washington, D.C., and includes over 200 full-time employees. This headquarters supports more than 90,000 licensed architects and associated professionals. Heading this monumental task, Robert Ivy, a prominent figure in the architectural field and an AIA fellow, was appointed CEO and Executive Vice President in 2011.
Facilitating productive communication among members is just one part of AIA’s mission. The institute has sought to employ many opportunities to promote the artistry and professionalism of its members while embracing ongoing scientific advancements in the craft. A code of ethics is in place to assure colleagues, clients, and the general public that the highest standards will be met and upheld. AIA seeks to be a united voice in influencing government practices which may affect the quality of both the profession and the general quality of life in America. CEO Robert Ivy seeks to continue to direct the institute’s focus to issues of design and practice.
Robert Ivy brings many years of experience to the institute. Ivy has been the Editor in Chief of Architectural Record since 1996. He is also the Vice President and Editorial Director of McGraw-Hill Construction, and was a recipient of the G. D. Crain Award in 2009 for his lifetime contributions in business media.
Under Robert Ivy’s leadership, AIA continues in its pursuit of excellence, including programs to assist young architects in training and support. Professional advancement opportunities are accessible, as well as contract document models. Personal benefits, along with client-oriented resources are available. A variety of incentives and rewards are offered, the most prestigious of which is the Fellow of the American Institution of Architects designation. Bestowed on about 2% of all members, this designation recognizes contributions of national significance.