Thomas Vonier, FAIA, 2017 AIA President
Photography: Carl Bower Thomas Vonier, FAIA, 2017 AIA President

Architecture is our profession, and the American Institute of Architects—our sole national organization—exists to stimulate the demand for architecture, to improve our capacity to practice, and to promote our interests.

When members’ interests are ignored, dismissed, challenged, overlooked, or threatened, the Institute’s role is to defend and protect them. The AIA is a bipartisan organization with a clear political agenda to advance architecture and architects’ interests—and we are engaged.

AIA members consistently identify political influence as one of our primary roles— indeed, this is one of the fundamental purposes for which the Institute was established: to be political.

That’s why we develop policies and position statements. That’s why we lobby in Congress, state legislatures, and city halls. That’s why we have ArchiPAC. That’s why we support candidates and policies that promote excellent architecture and urban quality, enhance the built and natural environments, and help practices to thrive.

When these interests and values are at stake, the AIA can’t shy away from making its voice heard, or from joining with other organizations to reverse steps that undermine our work and our standing, harm the environment, or subvert our values. What credibility will our policies have—what credibility will we have—if we don’t speak up?

Political success and influence require unity. Challenges should spur unified action. AIA members are regarded around the world as leaders in energy-efficient design, conservation practices, building-system innovation, and high-level technology. We must continue to lead, in these and other domains, for the benefit of our practices, our clients, and our society.

With our allies in urban planning, landscape design, interiors, real estate, engineering, and construction—along with many other organizations—the Institute is preparing to advance strong positions on infrastructure, energy conservation, renewable energy, support for the design arts, transportation and housing, and other issues of key concern to our profession.

This makes sense on every level—for architects, for clients, for the economy, and for the planet. The AIA, led by your elected leaders and supported by the staff, will reach out to every component to enlist support. We count on your help.