In a major transformation for the organization, the board of directors of the American Institute of Architects has affirmed a new system of governance. The board voted on Friday, Sept. 20, to create a bicameral government for the AIA, with two houses of elected and appointed representatives.

The culmination of the AIA's Repositioning initiative, the bicameral governance model divides leadership between a small board of 11–15 appointed members and a larger council of approximately 50 elected members. The small board of directors will be chosen to reflect a diverse range of experience and expertise, while the larger council of elected representatives will reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of the AIA.

“Our Board of directors made a momentous decision last week to move us closer to our goal of the Repositioning—remaking the AIA as a visionary membership organization focused on serving members,” says AIA CEO and executive vice-president Robert Ivy, FAIA.

The small board will pursue a defined agenda related primarily to fiduciary concerns of the organization and its membership. The larger council will focus on broader concerns in the industry.

During deliberations, the AIA also produced a new alignment statement. Based on membership feedback garnered as a result of Repositioning research, and crafted with the input of the leadership consultancy Kotter International, the new alignment statement aims to declare a new direction for the organization. The alignment statement reads:

Advancing Through Architecture

Together, we agree that the time is now to change the way we think and behave in order to shape our future. To become a more valued, relevant organization, the AIA will focus our priorities to:

(1) Elevate public awareness

(2) Advocate for the profession

(3) Create and expand the sharing of knowledge and expertise to ensure a prosperous future for our members

Never before have we needed this level of bold, visionary leadership to inspire architects to work together and build a better world for all people—through architecture.

“Creating a smaller Board of Directors that will more efficiently and effectively focus on operational issues allows the Council to be fully engaged with strategic issues concerning practice, the profession, and society,” says AIA President Mickey Jacob, FAIA. “And, most importantly, moving toward streamlined governance will instill confidence in an AIA that is relevant and responsive to member feedback.”