This past November, the AIAS Chapter at Lawrence Tech hosted the fall’s CRIT Live: AIAS Research Symposia and they could have not been more ecstatic! They wanted to make a weekend of the event for anyone interested in experiencing their beautiful city. They kicked things off Friday afternoon at the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoo is currently in the process of building a brand new Red Panda Forest designed by Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects out of Seattle. This tour was unique because those in attendance got to see a new side of architecture that they probably have never considered and plus who does not like the zoo!? Later that night they headed to the Lawrence Tech Detroit Center for Design + Technology to begin a walking tour of downtown. Their school and chapter are heavily invested in the city and were thrilled to show off what makes Detroit great!
On Saturday, conference goers had the pleasure of starting their morning off with an engaging “How to Research” presentation from Babak Soleimani. Babak is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Architecture with a specialization in Design Studies from the University of Michigan and works as a Data + Design Research Intern at HKS. Following Babak were a handful of presenters whose research covered everything from adaptive reuse in Rust Belt cities to a study of daylighting in Scandinavia. Last but not least, CRIT Scholars Evan Wermers and Kevin Park shared what they have been working on the last year as AIAS CRIT Scholars!
It was a great two days getting to learn from our peers and being able to spend time with new and old friends. Saturday capped off in Downtown Detroit where dPOP Culture was kind enough to open their bank vault to celebrate a successful weekend! Next up: CRIT Live at Carnegie Mellon University in the spring!
On November 3rd, the AIA New Orleans Center for Design opened its doors to students and professionals for a jam-packed day full of educational sessions, presentations, and networking centered around how to THRIVE in the profession. In just its second year of existence, THRIVE has grown into an empowering and informational event that all AIAS members can benefit from.
The fall edition of AIAS THRIVE: A Career Prep Program was brought to fruition thanks to our friends over at Black Spectacles, the wonderfully supportive leaders of AIA New Orleans, and our dedicated AIAS members at Tulane University. Over 40 students from chapters across the South traveled to New Orleans to learn how to not only prepare for their future but THRIVE in the process. Students participated in conversations regarding the opportunities and challenges of practicing architecture in the Gulf South, heard the ins and outs of the hiring processes at firms of various scales, and learned the tips and tricks for enhancing their portfolios and resumes. Many members brought their resumes and portfolios to the event and even got feedback from professionals on site! Some of the firms featured at this portion of the event included Colectivo, Gould Evans, MA, and Gensler.
The event also featured a lively presentation regarding how to actually “Land the Job”, where our members were exposed to strategies for showcasing their self-worth as an applicant through a variety of traditional, and perhaps avant garde, avenues. After this session, many students expressed a newfound understanding for the value of confidence, assertiveness, and strategic outreach. They also learned the importance of embracing their individual skills and assets and undoubtedly left feeling more confident and prepared for their next steps as professionals.
Though all of the sessions throughout the day were informative and helpful for all involved, perhaps the most eye-opening piece of programming was the closing panel session addressing the myriad career paths that individuals with an architecture degree can take. The panel featured individuals that graduated from architecture school, but paved their own paths to success in external disciplines. Some of the paths showcased included landscape design, practice management, organizational leadership, and city safety and permitting. This session truly succeeded in dispelling the stigma frequently placed on architecture students that capital “A” Architecture is the only path they can take, and highlighted the value of architectural education to all in attendance.
By virtue of our position at the transitional stage for students into their professional careers, the AIAS has an inherent opportunity to bridge the gap between the academic and professional realms of architecture. THRIVE: A Career Prep Program is just one of many initiatives designed to help AIAS members reach their full potential and find their distinct path to success. We hope all the individuals that were able to attend the New Orleans event left feeling inspired, informed, and eager to utilize their newfound insight to conquer their next professional goal. Next up: THRIVE Portland in the spring!