Conference Highlights


As we gear up for our Design in Action 2011 conference in Philadelphia, October 9-11, we have written up some further information for you on the speakers and workshop leaders. Please note that these workshops are filling up fast. Sign up now to confirm your spot!

Keynote speaker Teddy Cruz is an architect from San Diego who focuses on the adaptive style of architecture in border communities.

Philadelphia organization Mural Arts combats graffiti through a thriving mural program, with participants often hailing from the local community.

David Ghoogasian uses brain research and his understanding of classroom dynamics as groundwork for engaging listeners, in and out of the classroom.

  Exhibitions: Behind the Scenes


AAO caught up with AIA San Francisco and the Virginia Center for Architecture to discuss Vertical Gardens, a travelling exhibition that included a living wall. Hear their thoughts on why the topic worked for their audiences, and how AIA SF added localized content. Learn about some of the challenges and rewards of installing a living green wall inside a gallery. Read our Q&A, which explores the merits and complications of exhibition sharing.

And, for more insight on how exhibitions come to be, check out this behind-the-scenes MoMA blog that documents the process of organizing the exhibition Talk to Me: Design and Communication between People and Objects.

  Member News


AAO welcomes three new members this month: Anne-Marie Lubenau from Pittsburgh, PA (currently participating in the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard's Graduate School of Design), Erica Rioux Gees from Washington, DC, and Polly Carpenter from Cambridge, MA. Find out more about AAO membership.

Congrats to AIA New York/Center for Architecture on their plans for expansion. We also loved reading "Adorable Kids Design Dream Homes", an interview between children participating in a Center for Architecture Foundation program from online resource, Curbed.

AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design is holding a short film competition based on the theme "Architecture Is...". Submit your entry by September 8.

  Five Ways to Reach Digital Audiences


Want to expand your audience? Mashable provides a list of case studies for dynamic ways cultural non-profits can present themselves online. These creative examples utilize Twitter, Youtube Play, Sparkatour, SCVNGR, and interactive websites. The idea surrounding these examples is to make cultural institutions more accessible to the public by building a voice and starting a discussion. Featured in this bunch is the Philadelphia Mural Art’s Mural Explorer, a digitized gallery of their program’s murals around the city. See the murals in person at our Design in Action conference workshops and tours!

Read the article "Five Ways Museums are Reaching Digital Audiences."

  Design Thinking and Creativity

About 65% of current grade school students will end up in careers that do not yet exist, making innovation in education more important than ever. While employers are seeking creative thinkers, our education system prepares students for an industrial economy. The Smithsonian offers a 'cheat sheet' to help schools foster creativity. 

The documentary Design & Thinking will explore the “the impact design thinking has on the world.” With interviews from Bill Moggridge (Director, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum) and Susan S. Szenasy (Editor in Chief, Metropolis Magazine) and leading designers, the film poses the question “is design thinking a movement that’s here to stay?” Watch the Design & Thinking trailer here.


Job Openings

American Architectural Foundation, Community Mgr. (apply by Aug. 31)

Chicago Architecture Foundation, V.P. of Institutional Advancement

Los Angeles Conservancy, Director of Education

National Trust for Historic Preservation, Director of Cause Marketing

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Curator of Architecture and Design

  Using Social Media for Public Input

The city of San Marcos, TX is using crowdsourcing to gather local input on a new master plan. On an interactive website, residents share what they love about their city and vote on issues. Check out this example of how crowdsourcing can quickly engage the public and generate ideas.

With no time for public forums due to deadline pressures, architect Bing Thom utilized social media – notably Twitter and Facebook – to collect the public's input on specific community needs as well as their thoughts on the preliminary design for a new public library in Surrey, British Columbia. The online forums attracted all ages, and showed the public “how architecture can give hope and be a visible symbol of the aspirations of people.”
Read the Fast Company article on using social media for gathering public comment on designs.

  Park(ing) Day is coming up!

Has anyone in your town participated in Park(ing) Day? This annual, national event is coming up on September 16. It's a unique and simple programming idea: convert parking spots into public spaces for the day. For example, AAO member and 2011 conference local host Community Design Collaborative will create seating out of urban scrap in their parking spot, direct people to Park(ing) Day locations throughout Philadelphia, and host a party to celebrate. 

Across the country, in the city where Park(ing) Day was first started in 2005, AAO member SPUR (San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association) will celebrate Park(ing) Day with a food installation by artists Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari.

  Architecture Debates

In a recent Guardian article Paul Finch – the chairman of the the Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) – celebrates the triumph of modernist style for the 2012 Olympic buildings. This, in turn, has spurred a modernist versus traditionalist debate that has left us thinking: is it or is it not our place, as architecture organizations, to assert opinions on style?

Read The Guardian article where Finch celebrates modern architecture.

Read a modern vs. traditional debate spurred by Finch's comment.

Read this response that questions whether style should determine what is considered good design.

  August Exhibitions Roundup


We've gathered a list of our members' new exhibitions and also threw in a few other architecture and design exhibitions that caught our attention.

In Reclaim Market Street!, AAO member San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) invites the public into the re-design process of the heavily trafficked Market Street. Planners, designers, and historians explore ideas for the area while looking to other major city centers via drawings and film. SPUR is accompanying this exhibition with a series of public events in hope of creating an on-going dialogue.

View our monthly compilation of exhibitions.

Contact the Association of Architecture Organizations to find out the latest news, events, and resources available to our members, or to suggest a newsletter item.

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