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An Official E-Newsletter of AIA Ohio – Fall 2013

Presidents Message
AIA OVR Convention
Advocacy Grants Given
Vision Program
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OVR Convention Logo 2013
Are you registered to attend the 
AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention?



Registration is open, and the schedule of events is full of educational programming, social events and includes three design speakers sure to inspire. 


Click here to register


Convention Schedule of Events 


Click here for a printable schedule of events


Hotel rooms are going fast for the AIA Ohio Valley Region Annual Convention, so reserve yours today!  The Convention hotel is theLouisville Marriott Downtownlocated at 280 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, KY.  


We’ll see you in September!

Mike Schuster, FAIA

I Still Say That Nobody Reads These Things

4 Schools, Tax Dollars and Design for Others



There are four outstanding schools of Architecture in the State of Ohio.There will soon be five. Year in and year out we open the enrollment doors to the best, the brightest and the most talented young, (and in some cases, the “non-traditional”) students. We tell them that they will learn from some of the most highly educated and knowledgeable professors in the country. We take their money. We don’t discriminate. We take in state and out-of-state tuition, though truth be told, a little more out-of-state money isn’t so bad. Five, six, seven or even more years later those outstanding students graduate. We have now trained them to be great architects in the future. And for the most part, we have trained them to be great designers. One would hope that all the schools of architecture have as their mission to train designers, thinkers and visionaries, not technicians.


Those students have toiled long hours in great schools; late into the night and into the early hours of many days. We have taught them to learn and to understand the applications of innovative software programs that only a decade ago didn’t exist; Rhino, Grasshopper, Revit etc. They have traveled many miles to see some of the greatest architecture in the world. We have encouraged them to take internships and co-op jobs many, many miles away from the campuses so that they might be exposed to many other places, designed environments, and cultures. In a nut shell, as my son once told my wife when he finished high school: “your job is done. It is time for me to move on”. Then she reminded him about rent and car insurance and cell phone charges. . . . . .So our job is done.


Now realize that we have done everything we could have done to create the best new designers (because there is no institution that wants to have the moniker of being mediocre). They are ready to take on the world. But imagine that we tell them that if they really want to do the great work that they aspire to do, that they need to move out of the state. They need to move to the coasts, or even move to Europe. No. It isn’t imagination. It is what we tell them. “Go west young man, go west” or east. You get the point. There are not always great design opportunities available for Ohio architects. Most of our “high” design work is done by out-of state or even out of country firms. (Maybe we should charge an out-of-state fee to them). It isn’t that we want the work to go to others. No there are many reasons. Maybe our firms haven’t done the type of project. Maybe our firms don’t have the design talent, (remember it all moved out west). Maybe our firms aren’t big enough. Maybe, maybe, maybe.  


It’s time to change the paradigm. It’s time to start a culture of design excellence in Ohio. Why can’t we be known as a great place to find great designers?


How do we do it? Now that’s the big question. There are no perfect ways. We can start today by realizing that every, and I mean every project is important to the client. There is a reason for every project. A place to live. A place to learn. A place to worship. A place to work. Within the resources available, create the best architecture that you can. Minimize nothing.


Don’t create arbitrary design. Make it meaningful to the client and the users. Hire those consultants that will assist the project’s success. So be it if they are from out-of-state. If we need help, we need help. Quarterback the best project for our clients.


Hire talented folks before they leave the region. Let our staffs think. Paint visions for our clients. Find reasons for what we do, not just because it looks “cool”, although occasionally that is the design criteria. And who doesn’t like to design cool stuff?


And here is the big one. Start a process in our state that gives our architects a chance to be the creative firm. Create design competitions. Paid competitions. Make some for big projects, some for medium projects, and some for small projects. And if we are given a chance, don’t blow it. Do it with all you got. The right ideas creatively developed. Cool stuff. Meaningful stuff.


Currently the state of Ohio pays significant dollars to out-of-state firms to do this great work. That’s another issue. Imagine the lost revenue, tax dollars and business growth opportunities that are lost. Imagine the jobs that are lost to other states. Essentially, there is a trade deficit in professional services in our state. Let’s reverse the trend. Let’s be the sought after firms from the great state of Ohio. It’s not only a design issue, it is a business issue.


Now, I am not saying that other designers shouldn’t be brought to our region. Great design is great design. And we should create environments that are great design.


But, by being trained, educated designers we will be more capable to be the design leaders, not the design followers. And that is what we were taught to do.




Registration is now open for the AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention taking place Sept. 19-21, 2013, in Louisville, KY.


Why Louisville?

AIA Kentucky will be hosting this year’s regional convention in the fabulous city of Louisville. Did you know that Louisville…

            has over 120 parks?

has the nation’s largest urban forest?

            produces over 1/3 of the world’s bourbon AND 90% of the U.S’ disco balls?

is home to the largest Victorian neighborhood in the U.S.?


These are just a FEW of the many reasons to plan to come to Louisville in September. The weather will be pleasant, the city will offer plenty to do and see, and our AIA Kentucky neighbors will roll out the red carpet complete with Southern hospitality.


The Convention web site includes all the information you need:


A quick view graphic schedule of events

A full convention agenda, with descriptions of each session
Hotel Information

Registration Link



We’ve got some great architects keynoting this year’s convention:


Frank Harmon, FAIA

Frank Harmon, FAIA, is principal of Frank Harmon Architect PA in Raleigh, NC, and Professor in Practice at NC State University’s College of Design. A veteran judge for design award programs, he is a nationally recognized leader in modern, sustainable, regionally appropriate design, specializing in environmental education centers. Harmon’s work ranges from small sheds and studios to 70,000-square-foot corporate headquarters, and has been published in many national and regional periodicals and books on the subject, and exhibited in the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. In 1995, he received the North Carolina Architecture Foundation’s Kamphoefner Prize For Distinguished Modern Design Over A Ten-Year Period. In 2005, he received one of only 10 Business Week/Architectural Record International Honor Awards for a project at the Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, and, his firm was named “Top Firm Of The Year” by Residential Architect magazine. In 2008, his firm won the architectural design competition for the new AIANC Center for Architecture & Design in downtown Raleigh. In 2009, his residential designs received both a National AIA Housing Award and Custom Home Design Awards from Custom Home magazine. In 2010, his design of a thoroughly sustainable addition to a historic church in downtown Charleston received a national design award from the AIA Interfaith Forum on Religious Art & Architecture. Also in 2010 Harmon was included in Residential Architect’s inaugural “RA 50: The Short List of Architects We love.” And in 2012, his firm was ranked 17th among the top 50 firms in the nation by Architect Magazine


Marlon Blackwell, FAIA

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA will be the Friday morning keynote. Blackwell practices

architecture in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and serves as Distinguished Professor and Department Head in the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. Working outside the architectural mainstream, his architecture is based in design strategies that celebrate vernaculars, that draw upon them, and that seek to transgress conventional boundaries for architecture.  Work produced in his professional office, Marlon Blackwell Architect, has received national and international recognition, numerous AIA design awards and significant publication in books, architectural journals and magazines including Architectural Record. The significance of his contributions to design is evidenced by the publication of a monograph of his work entitled “An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell” published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2005. Marlon was selected by The International Design Magazine, in 2006, as one of the ID Forty: Undersung Heroes and as an “Emerging Voice” in 1998 by the Architectural League of New York. To view featured projects, click here.



Friday afternoon, convention attendees will have the privilege of hearing from principals at VJAA, recipient of the 2012 AIA Firm of the Year Award. VJAA is a collaborative design studio with a commitment to design excellence and producing architecture that engages social, cultural, and environmental issues in a knowing and creative way. Through a research-based process that continually reconsiders the fundamentals of building design, program, site, materials, and structure, our practice is committed to design excellence and innovative thinking on every project, regardless of budget, scope, or complexity. Sustainability and material craft are woven through the culture of the office and are central to its core values.

Jennifer Yoos, FAIA.
Vincent James, FAIA

Vincent James, FAIA and Jennifer Yoos, FAIA will present VJAA: Material/Immaterial as the Friday afternoon closing keynote session. Vincent James is a founding principal of VJAA, whose career includes extensive teaching experience in both design and professional practice. Jennifer Yoos has practiced architecture both independently and with firms in Minneapolis and London. She has practiced with VJAA since 1997 and has collaborated on the design of all of the firm’s award-winning work since joining the firm.




The continuing education schedule for the AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention rivals what you will find at national meetings. Sessions over the course of the event have been applied for over 40 AIA learning units. More than eight hours have been applied for AIA GBCI CE (through USGBC). These learning experiences include lectures, panels, and tours. Here’s just a small taste of what you can expect in continuing education at the AIA Ohio Convention:


T04 When Art Meets Design

Architecture and art. Architects work with clients to create their dreams, desires and vision. They produce designs dictated by what works for function and purpose. Artists can add to the vision and provide the architect the product to give it design and functionality. Kentucky sees this viable connection and has developed a program to provide architects, builders, landscape architects, interior designers and private clients a resource for building design. The Architectural Artists Directory is a marketing program for Kentucky’s finest architectural artists. Kentucky’s architectural artists work at the top of their field and are dedicated to creating custom work for renovations and installations in homes and businesses throughout the Commonwealth and across the United States.


T06 High Quality Communication, High Quality Results: Creating a Strong Consultant Relationship

New funding realities have transformed how cities and their non-profit partners are able to transformative projects happen. This has created new opportunities and new design processes that are stongly dependent on a more dynamic relationship between designer and public/non-profit entity. This relationship, while more collaborative, also relies on an increasingly complex and less traditional way of role definition. The Louisville Downtown Development Corporation has worked with several consulting firms in evolving ways over the past five years to use intermediate design documents to pursue and successfully secure funding for a number of high profile projects, including the Second Street Bridge, sidewalks on Main Street, South Fourth Street Streetscape changes, East Market Street Streetscape and a number of gateway projects. Join a dynamic discussion between the agency and one of their consulting firms about how project conceptualization and execution are changing form.


T13 “The New Project Team: Accountable, Transformational, Successful”

Traditional project delivery methods are inefficient, frequently contentious, and often unsuccessful. In today’s economic climate, that can lead to critical, expensive failures. The design profession is in a time of change, and this presentation will demonstrate the value of team development in alternative delivery methods. It will illustrate the process and tools needed to successfully implement innovative service models with any building project.


F03 Common Construction Practices that Cancel Out Energy Efficiency and Air Quality

As the architectural profession is changing to recognize the importance of sustainability in design, there are many common construction practices that work against energy efficiency and air quality details. These practices can mitigate expensive energy efficiency components and even cause dangerous air quality issues. However, the solutions to most of the issues discussed are simple and inexpensive. This presentation focuses primarily on residential and small commercial projects but the lessons learned can be applied to all building types. Participants will learn to identify common construction practices which can diminish energy efficiency and air quality and the proper installation and specification techniques to overcome these problems. Additionally, participants will learn how to remedy improperly installed or designed details.


F04 Architect of the Internet: Social Media Case Studies and Strategies for Architects

The American Institute of Architects is in the midst of a Repositioning initiative. We have recognized that we have to transform the way our profession is organized and perceived, the way we market and communicate. We are in a Time of Change.


S01 Making Change – Using Historic Tax Credits for Innovative Project Funding

Recent changes in the economic and political climates have given rise to the development of a wide variety of creative methods by which educational institutions are funding much needed campus building and infrastructure improvements. To renovate three residence halls, each of which are contributing structures in a designated historic district, Baldwin Wallace University engaged MCM Company, Inc. to create a for-profit partnership that would allow the University to leverage its investment through the use of tax credits and other non-traditional sources of financing. Without this innovative approach, these renovations and additions would not have been possible for the University.



Click here to register.


Convention Hotel
Louisville Marriott Downtown
280 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, KY  40202
To make a reservation, call 800.266.9432
Be sure to mention that you are with AIA Ohio Valley Region to receive the group rate of $129 per night. Reservations must be made by Thursday, Aug. 29, in order to qualify for the group rate.


Plan now to attend!


AIA Ohio Gives $9,000 in Advocacy Grants

AIA Ohio awards cash assistance to Chapters who successfully apply for the Advocacy Grants.  These grants were established four years ago by AIA Ohio and offer funding to Ohio local components to provide support for programs designed to advocate for the profession by outreach to the community. These initiatives or events must be of significant value in advancing the profession to the public. The grant applications are available on-line.


Four applications for the AIA Ohio Advocacy Grants were evaluated by the Executive Committee, and all four of them were found to be substantial enough to be awarded grants this year. The programs are evaluated on the information provided in the application. The merit of the program is supported by partnerships with other organizations, specific goals, media plans, budgets, and metrics to measure the results against the goals.


Watch future AIA Ohio newsletters for progress reports on these Advocacy Grant projects:

AIA Eastern Ohio – Historic Home Trends in the Valley

AIA Dayton – Architecture Week Celebration

AIA Columbus – ArChallenge

AIA Dayton – Dayton Mayoral and City Commission Candidates’ Forum


All Ohio components are encouraged to submit proposals for next year’s Advocacy Grants. Information and deadlines can be found online, at Components are encouraged to consult the Executive Committee of the Board for assistance with the applications prior to submitting them.

Jud Kline

AIA Ohio and Cincinnati Partner to Deliver Vision Program

By Judson A. Kline, FAIA
AIA Ohio Immediate Past President


Among the initial priorities of AIA Ohio President Michael Schuster the 2013 leader has been to make the Cincinnati Vision Program available to all of the members of AIA Ohio. In pursuing this initiative, a task force was charged to create a statewide strategy for the program by pursuing funding to support the development of a model version through AIA National’s Repositioning Fund. A team led by Past President, Jud Kline along with Doug Richards, Marcene Kinney, Pat Daugherty, Eric Pempus. Bruce Sekanick, John Kelleher, Kate Brunswick and Gwen Berlekamp were given the responsibility to prepare and submit the application to the National Fund and to begin to develop a pilot program. While the application did not receive a grant during the first round, AIA Ohio plans to resubmit it for consideration. 


The AIA Ohio course is based upon the AIA Cincinnati’s VISION Program, a 10 month long leadership curriculum designed especially for architects licensed less than 10 years that want to gain the skills necessary to advance to higher levels within the architectural profession. Candidates apply to participate and only a select few are accepted in order to keep the learning focused and intimate. Participants are established in their careers and recognized as leaders with great potential within their practice. Likewise, candidates are chosen who are interested in growing their innate leadership capabilities through an enriching holistic curriculum in:


  • Facing the challenges of living and practicing to grow business, addressing industry trends, and leaving a lasting legacy.
  • Developing and acting on meaningful civic responsibilities.
  • Building professional skills – leadership development, business acumen, networking – and strengthening negotiating power.
  • Developing a strong network with peers and community leaders on the rise.


The program includes ten full-day facilitated curriculum sessions which convene monthly at various locations throughout the city where the program is imbedded. Each session varies in terms of implementation depending on the topic and speakers.


Candidates actively participate in seminars, workshops, and professional networking opportunities. They have exposure to local and national leaders and issues, a service project, panel discussions moderated by local AIA Fellows and firm CEOs, monthly presentation and discussion forums, and a mechanism to provide continuous feedback to participating architects and firms.


The program curriculum is complimented by keynote public lectures held in conjunction with the AIA Cincinnati Chapter programming. This compliment seeks to elevate the quality of chapter programming while at the same time connecting national and internationally recognized architects with VISION participants in the program seminars and VISION program partner’s constituencies.


Long term, AIA Ohio VISION will cultivate the next generation of leaders for local firms, their AIA chapters, and most importantly for the chapter is working to address the aforementioned generation gap in AIA’s membership, expand membership and generate revenue with increased membership and sponsorship.


The objective of the AIA Ohio VISION Program is the effort to package up the success of this program and let other components grow and nurture their EPs. The pilot program will be imbedded in Columbus to develop the model for reproducing the endeavor and create a manual for replicating the program throughout Ohio and across the country. With assistance from the Repositioning Innovative Fund, AIA Ohio can achieve this objective. The Repositioning Fund awards will be announced at the August CACE meeting in Atlanta.


“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today”, Malcolm-X. AIA Ohio is betting on the future of architects in Ohio by helping prepare them today.



AIA Ohio
A Society of the American Institute of Architects
17 South High St. – Suite 200 
Columbus, OH  43215-3458
This information is provided exclusively for AIA Ohio members.
Call 614-221-0338 or send e-mail to
Visit us on the web at