The American Institute of Architects (AIA), a professional organization has a focus on the world of architecture and architects. The group offers its members and interested parties public outreach in support of architecture, community redevelopment, government advocacy and education. The group also works with other architectural and engineering disciplines, along with building contractors to coordinate the building industry. Robert Ivy is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organization. One of the most significant pieces of architecture is the Octagon House located in Washington, D.C. and built in 1880. It is owned by the AIA.
The organization was established in 1857 in New York City. The initial goal was to promote the scientific and practical perfection of the members and bring greater exposure to the group as well as enhance the standing of the profession. The founding group included 13 architects and the first order of business was to invite other prominent architects to join their ranks. Before the formation of the AIA an individual could claim to be an architect just by saying so. There were no governing rules or regulations for the profession or even formal education and licensing laws for the profession were non-existent.
The original name of the group was the New York Society of Architects. The name was later changed to the American Society of Architects. The AIA filed papers to incorporate and signed the first official AIA constitution. As the group developed the goals and mission, they amended their constitution to better fit the function of the group. In addition to New York, architects in other cities around the country were asked to join the AIA and by 1880, chapters were established in several cities including Washington, D.C., St. Louis, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore and Albany.
With headquarters in Washington, D.C., the organization boasts more than 300 chapters. In the mid-1960’s the AIA held a design competition to choose an architect for a new headquarters building to be located in Washington, D.C. The group selected TAC (the Architects Collaborative) to redesign the building after the winning design was not approved by the US Commission of the Fine Arts. In 1973, the building was renamed to celebrate the 150 the anniversary of the organization.
Robert Ivy earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English from Sewanee: The University of the South and a Masters of Architecture degree from Tulane University. He was a principal at Dean & Ivy and Dean/Dale, as well as a critic for many national publications in the architectural industry and fields influenced by architects. Robert Ivy also took on challenges with the Architectural Record, a prominent industry publication. Under his leadership, the publication won several journalistic awards.
Robert Ivy became the CEO and Executive Vice President of the AIA in 2011 and immediately began to bring greater recognition and prominence to the group. To date, his greatest accomplishments are to bring improved design making, more effective technical and digital technology to the group and award winning publications.