American Institute Of Architects: Defining Architectural Excellence For 160 Years

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a non-profit professional association for architects in the United States. The mission of the AIA is to promote the refine and perfect the artistic, scientific and practical implementation of architecture. Founded in 1857 in New York City, the professional organization is now headquartered in Washington, DC with more than 260 chapters and 90,000 members worldwide.

The American Institute of Architects advocates for the value of architecture and the quality of the profession in modern life. It seeks to inspire and advance positive changes like diversity, sustainability, and inclusion through progressive architecture. The AIA harnesses the power of the American architectural community to shape legislature and regulations at the federal, state and local level. The AIA also educates architects on ethics practices to hold the industry to the highest professional standards.

Architects are able to join the AIA and gain access to a community of architects and advocates, as well as professional development opportunities and continuing education. There are five types of membership in the AIA:
Architect MembersAssociate MembersInternational Associate MembersEmeritus MembersAllied Members
• Architect Members (“AIA”, licensed to practice architecture in the United States)
• Associate Members (“Assoc. AIA”, not licensed but either work under the supervision of an architect, have earned a professional degree in architecture, are faculty members in a university level architecture program, or are earning credit toward licensure)
• International Associate Members (licensed to practice architecture outside the United States)
• Emeritus Members (AIA members aged 65 and older who have been active members for for 15 or more years and no longer practice)
• Allied Members (Individuals in related professions)

The AIA has several prestigious awards which recognize achievements in architecture by individuals and companies/organizations. These include the AIA Gold Medal, the Architecture Firm Award, the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, and Institute Honors.

The American Institute of Architects connects with the public by showcasing architecture’s relationship to the elements, its artistic value, and the way buildings affect day-to-day life. Public outreach by the AIA includes programs like Blueprint for Better and the Sustainability 2030 Toolkit. Through these initiatives, the AIA seeks to educate the public about the profession of architecture, and how architectural works impact society as a whole.

Architects, allied professionals, and the public can learn more about the American Institute of Architects at the organization’s website, https://www.aias.org, and on it’s social media profiles. The AIA shares interesting stories and profiles on Facebook and Twitter, beautiful design concepts on Pinterest and Instagram, and interesting residential projects on Houzz.