May 6, 2019

Calling all public servants!  In celebration of the 15th anniversary of AIAS’ community service program, Freedom By Design, the AIAS will be kicking off FBD Live at our annual AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference in 2019.  

FBD Live is a collaborative, year-long project aimed at educating students and the community about sustainable design. Partnering with LEAFhouse, University of Maryland students, and AIA Potomac Valley, the goal is to expand their current site to grow into a demonstration facility. The hope is that the LEAFhouse site will turn into a place where the public, designers, and policymakers will be able to come and learn in real time about the design and implementation of systems such as rain barrels, native plantings, vegetative solar shades, and stormwater management. We hope to grow all these individual activities into a broader concept that would create a vibrant, full-time combination of scholarship, research, testing, discussion, and demonstration at the 3 ½-acre site LEAFhouse occupies, with a singular focus on answering the question, “What is ‘sustainability’ and how can we achieve it?” This concept, which we refer to as SPARC – Sustainability Park and Academic Research Center, could be the first facility of its kind.

AIAS will be partnering with AIA Potomac Valley, the Potomac Valley Foundation, and numerous student groups on the University of Maryland campus to kick off this project. The project is broken down as follows:

  1. 10 AIAS members will be selected to be a part of this AIAS National Freedom By Design Project. These students will be a part of a Task Force that would also include students from the University of Maryland’s SCoop – the Sustainability Cooperative made up of different sustainable groups on campus, including AIAS, Engineers without Borders, and more.
  2. The FBD Live Task Force would then convene on Wednesday, July 17th at the LEAFhouse to conduct an initial site visit, hear from sustainability professionals and participate in hands-on demonstrations, and work on design charrettes for the overall site planning of the Park, along with the first ‘installation’ project.
  3. The FBD Live Task Force would then work throughout the year to make progress on the first ‘installation project’, ideally culminating in a built project and a ribbon cutting ceremony during Grassroots 2020.
  4. AIAS National will record, document, and create educational materials from the FBD Live Event and SPARC project for future AIAS Chapters to be able to do similar FBD projects if interested.

All FBD Live Task Force members would need to arrive in Washington, DC on Tuesday, July 16th to participate in the event on Wednesday, July 17th.  Due to our partnerships with NCARB and the Benjamin Moore Foundation, the 10 AIAS members on the AIAS FBD Live Task Force will receive comped registration to the 2019 AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference, as well as a $700 travel stipend to attend the summer event.  

Apply now to join the Task Force and be a part of this exciting event!  The deadline to apply is May 25th.