The architect’s headquarters must be redesigned to face climate change, equity and collaboration

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WASHINGTON, April 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Trustees schematic design plans disclosed today to completely renovate its national headquarters to be a model of sustainability, fairness and collaboration.

“AIA’s headquarters should serve as an expression of the value architects bring and align with the values ​​we stand for as a profession,” said AIA 2022 President. Dan Hart, ISP. “We have a responsibility to redesign this iconic building to the highest standards of sustainability, resilience and equity. By demonstrating the powerful role design can play in improving our communities, we can show how take the necessary steps to move the needle on climate action and to make the built environment healthier and safer for future generations.To effectively advocate for these changes, we must start by taking action ourselves.

AIA owns its corporate headquarters, located at 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC—since 1973. The Brutalist-style building has undergone limited changes since it was first occupied by the organization. Most of its equipment is original, including two gas boilers; its exterior walls have virtually no insulation; and the windows are single glazed. The current design also presents challenges in convening members and staff, hinders collaboration, and inhibits current AIA business practices.

“Given the current state of our headquarters, we cannot afford not to make this critical investment in the future of our organization and the profession,” said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer. Lakisha Ann Woods. “By transforming our office, we will significantly reduce our carbon footprint and operational costs while ensuring we have the physical space capabilities to meet our future needs. I look forward to welcoming our members, staff and our community in our renewed space once the renovation is complete.”

Following the AIAs Design Excellence Frameworkwhich represents the defining principles of elevated design in the 21st century, the redesign of the head office, led by San Franciscoarchitectural firm EHDD— update inefficient systems, reduce energy consumption and incorporate energy saving measures. In addition, the design will completely decarbonize the building operationally through new building materials and energy efficiency measures; elimination of all fossil fuels; and the use of renewable energies.

Overall, it’s expected to save 58% in energy consumption – based on pre-pandemic usage – with the addition of a high-performance exterior or envelope with shading of the windows and power generation; double-glazed anti-bird windows; and an R-40 roof. The two gas boilers will be replaced by seven electric air-source heat pumps on the roof. In addition, high-efficiency lighting will be added as well as solar panels on the roof. Through various system updates, the building is aiming for LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum status and will meet the energy consumption targets set by The AIA 2030 Commitment.

The building’s interiors will model design solutions that create an equitable, inspiring, and innovative workplace and gathering place for AIA members, volunteers, staff, and the community. Overall, the design eliminates hierarchical spaces, including making executive areas more accessible and creating spaces where the board can meet in a visible, transparent, and democratic way to advocate for the profession.

“We are transforming the home of AIA to better reflect AIA today and as it evolves into the future,” said partner EHDD Rebecca Sharkey, AIA. “We engaged with a wide range of stakeholder groups, including future architects for their ideas, to explore a diversity of priorities and experiences. The new design envisions a holistic new vision that will be welcoming , inspiring and engaging; a bold new symbol of AIA values.”

Sharkey added, “This will be one of the first fully decarbonized major retrofits in the United States. The embodied and operational carbon of the retrofit will be fully accounted for and demonstrate a cost-effective path to meeting the AIA’s carbon goal. 2030 Commitment”.

The AIA engaged six students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in a unique internship program as part of the design process. Students helped inform the design and envision a post-COVID workplace of the future.

More details on the renovation of the AIA building can be found at The AIA website.

Media contact: Matt Tinder, [email protected]

SOURCE American Institute of Architects

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