November 30, 2020

With the Midwest Quadrant Conference being online, Bowling Green State University planning team went full force to give members and registrants the best experience possible and to make it feel like we were in Bowling GreenBetween extensive networking breaks and sending out physical swag bags, the conference was typical of an in-person experience. 

The conference kicked off on October 23 and had a full weekend of programming focusing on the theme, Revitalize. Revitalize was geared towards exploring the idea that architecture can be solution to post-industrial cities in need. Dissecting key components within architecture; design, environment, and civic discussions, a further understanding of architecture and the architects role gives a clearer understanding of how we can move forward as an industry and make a more positive impact on communities. 

Each day of the conference had a blend of tracks and keynotes that emphasized the theme and essence of Revitalize. The first day the conference started off with a strong presentation from Craig Kolstad, the environment keynote, where he emphasized the importance adaptive reuse and where it is or is not applicable to revive communities. Following his keynote, we were able to get a tour of a restored Steam-engine plant turned Healthcare headquarters in ToledoWe also got to see roll call videos and really connect as a quad through socials.

The second day kicked off with an amazing coffee social sponsored by Gensler, which gave the quad the opportunity to relax and chat before a full day of programming. Our first piece of programming for the day was our design keynote, Anya Sirota. Her amazing lecture focused on the idea of how smaller instillations and projects with design at the forefront geared towards community growth and gathering and how that often can make a larger impact than the standard architectural project. Following Sirota, there were a series of track break outs further exploring design, environment, and civic tracks in addition to our Civic Keynote Dan BaisdenDan talked about civic space and designing with inclusion at the focus. Emphasizing on research and informed design, Dan wanted to make it known that civic spaces should enhance interaction for all ages and be a space for all. 

The last day focused on how design, environment, and civic discussions should be interrelated and that not one takes precedent over the other in successful architectural design. The Revitalize Panel hosted three Gensler employees and facilitated the discussion of the interrelation of the three tracks. 

The three-day virtual conference called out architecture and its impact on local communities and how it should be used as a tool for good. Revitalize fueled an important conversation within our community and helped bring informative programming to attendees which can help further these conversations in our everyday practice.

The Bowling Green State University planning team is so thankful to the Midwest Quad and the support from our sponsors that we have received to make Revitalize a successful and memorable conference. Because of the success and support of the conference we are able to donate our profits to the AIAS to further programming and impact of the organization! These donations will go towards AIAS Membership, Forum Scholarships, and AIAS Lebanon! 

Thank you all!

The AIAS BGSU Quad Planning Team