The American Institute of Architects is an organization for professional architects. Founded in New York in 1857 with 13 architects, the mission of the organization is to elevate the profession’s standing and promote its members scientific and practical perfection. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C. the AIA provides government advocacy, community redevelopment, education and public outreach in order to support the profession as well as improve its public image. Working with other design and construction team members, the AIA helps to coordinate the building industry.
Before the founding of the AIA, the United States had no schools of architecture and there were no architectural licensing laws. That meant anyone could say they were an architect. Initially called the New York Society of Architects, the name later became the American Institute of Architects. In the 1860s architects from cities throughout the United States began asking to join. There were AIA chapters in Washington, D.C., Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Rhode Island, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Albany by the 1880s. The AIA had over 300 chapters as of 2008.
Robert Ivy, FAIA is the AIA’s current CEO and executive vice president. Ivy was named ‘Master Architect’ by the prestigious national architecture fraternity Alpha Rho Chi. In the 100-year history of the fraternity, only 7 architects have received this honor. The signature accomplishments of Robert Ivy as CEO of AIA includes streamlining the governance of the AIA to improve its decision-making, launching a public awareness campaign that has won awards and creating a digital-first technology infrastructure. His is currently helping architects address pressing issues like public health, climate change and sustainability.
Prior to taking a leadership position with the AIA, Robert Ivy was Architectural Record’s editor-in-chief. During his time there, he helped the publication become the most popular architectural journal worldwide. With IVY editing the magazine, it won a whole host of awards and accolades for its writing, photographs, layouts and the meaningful topics it covered. Robert Ivy also worked as a critic for several publications all across the country. He also held a leadership position at Dean/Dale, Dean & Ivy. Ivy was also on the panel which decided the National Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial should be designed by architect Frank Gehry.
Robert Ivy won the 2009 Crain Award, the highest recognition the American Business Media gives to an individual. In 1998, he was given the business excellence award by McGraw-Hill and he has won many other publishing industry awards and distinctions. A Design Futures Council Senior Fellow, Robert Ivy wrote what experts consider the definitive biography of famed architect Fay Jones. Ivy’s award-winning book is called ‘Fay Jones: Architect’. Robert Ivy frequently speaks about architecture’s role in everyday life.