A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure to join over 20,000 colleagues at the AIA’s A’18 Conference on Architecture in New York City. This year’s conference, while mostly centered at the Javits Center, was spread through many venues across Manhatten and the larger city. While construction to the Javits Center forced AIA into this model, the institute did an excellent job turning this problem into an opportunity. With many sessions at venues around the city, Conference on Architecture was integrated into its host city in a way I have never experienced in the three prior conferences (Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia) I have attended. While not without its challenges, the star of A’18 undoubtedly was New York City itself.
Highlights from the conference itself include:
Day Two’s Keynote by BIG’s CEO Sheela Sorgaard on the business of architecture. This session also included short talks from Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and James Polshek (who was being honored with the AIA Gold Medal this year). Both days keynotes were at the stunning and famed Radio City Music Hall.
A session on Empathy In Architecture which included Nader Tehrani of NAADAA (design architects of the under construction The Beacon in downtown Cleveland). This session touched on the importance of good contracts; how, when and why to say no; and knowing one’s values as a designer.
The AIA Small Project Practitioner 2018 Small Project design awards
Attending AIA’s national business meeting which included multiple resolutions addressing issues of diversity and equity in the profession. Arch Record has a good summary as well.
Being in NYC, I left ample time in my schedule for self-guided architectural tourism. Highlights include:
Legendary Mid-Century towers along Park & Madison Ave including the Seagram Building (Mies and Philip Johnson), Lever House (SOM), and the AT&T Building/550 Madison Ave (Philip Johnson - which I got to catch before it undergoes controversial renovations designed by Snohetta)
The last section to open of the High Line, which weaves adjacent to Hudson Yards. The highlight here was seeing Zaha Hadid’s recently completed 520 West 28th project.
Probably the lowlight of my trip was leaving my cell in a cab, which cost me a good chunk of an afternoon hunting it back down! Never the less, it was a great conference and I look forward to hopefully making it to next year’s A’19 Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas!