By Jane Frederick, FAIA, October 21, 2020
Last week, AIA issued a call to action. In announcing the launch of our Blueprint for Better campaign, and our new logo, we’re inviting AIA members, architecture professionals, civic leaders, and the public to help transform the practice of architecture to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable future. The special email you received last week is a snapshot of the campaign, and I encourage you to visit blueprintforbetter.org to learn more and to help spread the word. Through a variety of inspiring features, Blueprint for Better shows architecture professionals in action, building the healthy, resilient, equitable, sustainable communities everyone deserves.
Blueprint for Better not only inspires, it instructs and connects. The campaign provides the tools and resources architects need to change your practice and make the business case to clients, communities, and civic leaders.
As architects, we know how design communicates meaning. Accordingly, another way we’re signaling our commitment to change is through adopting a new logo. After thoughtful research and deliberation, AIA unveiled the logo in conjunction with – and in support of – the Blueprint for Better campaign. It’s another way to send a strong signal that AIA stands firm on its commitment to progress. Like the best renovations, like our mission itself, the logo is still recognizably AIA. But it’s updated. It’s adapted to better fit the moment and the mission.
The message we’re sending with the new logo? To signal a big change, you have to change something big.
Another initiative eloquently making the case for designing a better world is the AIA Film Challenge, which announced its winners this week. A testament to how our organization and the profession are adapting, even thriving, through pandemic challenges, we received the greatest number of submissions in the program’s history – a 45 percent increase over last year. The new Mini Doc format was a great success – helping drive so many high-quality submissions that we increased the number of finalists.
Anyone who has doubts that architects can make a difference when it comes to sustainability, health, and equity should watch these films. You’ll see architects pitching in to address COVID-19 through manufacturing protective gear and creating outdoor restaurant designs. Grand Prize winner “Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum” explores one of the only museums in the world designed to tell the story of African American, Native American, Asian American, and other communities alongside its focus on honoring, and learning from, Holocaust victims and survivors. Runner up “From Ruins to City” examines community efforts to turn abandoned Buffalo siloes into vehicles for sustainability and community. And third place honors went to “Boxville,” which portrays how shipping containers were adapted to develop a thriving, community-affirming market “in the heart of Black Chicago.”
To signal a big change, you have to change something big. In communities across the nation, architects are achieving big changes. Through initiatives like Blueprint for Better, the largest design organization in the world is taking on the world’s biggest design challenges.