(Photo | Pexels)
While many people recognize the aesthetic beauty that architects create for their clients, at a fundamental level we are solution-based problem solvers trained to look at a need and develop elegant solutions based on a complex set of rules and restrictions. As individuals, architects are also highly collaborative and seek out consensus-based decisions. While these are qualities discerning clients look for in selecting an architect for their building project, it also means architects are valued members of local boards, committees and advisory groups.
Fortunately, for Bend and our surrounding communities, many architects volunteer their time and use their skills to support community organizations. This includes citizen advisory groups that support local government, such as the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Bend Landmarks Commission, Arts, Beautification and Culture Commission and planning commissions. Other architects serve on nonprofit boards like City Club, Bend 2030, Bend Chamber and Scalehouse. And many others participate in the Architects in Schools program which engages elementary students through design education and creative approaches to solving problems.
In addition to practicing architecture and actively participating in local community initiatives like my colleagues, I have the honor of being the first President of Oregon’s newly reorganized American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chapter. The AIA is a 162-year-old membership organization for the architecture profession; it’s synonymous with the American Medical Association or the National Realtor Association. AIA Oregon’s reorganization is the result of more than four years of effort by AIA members from across the state, and I’m honored that our members have entrusted the President responsibilities to an architect located in Bend, rather than defaulting to a member from Portland where the largest number of our chapter’s members reside and work.
January 1 of this year marked the beginning of the new chapter structure. Bend (along with much of Eastern Oregon) is now recognized as a Section in the state (the only new Section), acknowledging that Bend is a hub of architectural activity with a thriving architecture profession. It also means that the resources of the AIA Oregon chapter are now fully available to our members and communities within the Bend Section territory.
Over the next few months, we’ll select Bend Section leadership roles and continue to provide our local members with continuing education opportunities, networking events, recognition of design excellence and support of our emerging professionals. Members will be tapping into local and state advocacy efforts; knowledge communities such as AIA Oregon’s Committee on the Environment and Small Firm Exchange; and bringing awareness of the power of design to our community.
I’m excited that Central and Eastern Oregon have received the recognition we deserve as a significant architecture market and that the new AIA Oregon structure will support our local professionals. I’m also hopeful that through AIA Oregon’s support, local members will continue to improve our community through their professional practice and volunteer roles.