President’s Letter

2019 Presidents Letter

Looking back on 2018, I am struck by the breadth of what our 350-member chapter continues to accomplish each year: continuing education, exhibitions, lectures, building tours, government outreach, design awards, intern development, disaster relief, (and parties) to name a few, I am proud that AIA Birmingham’s offerings rival those found in much larger cities and that our membership has the diversity, critical mass and vitality to make a difference.

Last year, the AIA launched Blueprint for Better, a national campaign to raise the public’s awareness of what architects do to make our communities better – more engaging, safe, and resilient. At its core, the blueprint calls for architects to strengthen relationships with their cities, towns, and communities. It’s gratifying to know that AIA Birmingham has already spent years developing robust community connections that have become stronger and more extensive each year. Expanding our public influence requires us to fully utilize the talents of everyone within the profession and to inspire upcoming generations to become architects. Our chapter is addressing this need.

One of the chapter’s newer and most active committees, Women in Architecture, focuses on the accomplishments and challenges of women in the profession: one of 2018’s highlights was the Women in Architecture exhibit and reception. Other members are currently sharing their experiences and resources to help architects licensed in other countries obtain registration in our state. The Emerging Professional committee provides ARE support and other programming for interns in a social venue. Through our affiliation with the Alabama Center for Architecture, our members support outreach programs for elementary and high school children, as well as college scholarships.

All of this would not be possible without your membership, the dozens of architects volunteering their time, our enterprising executive director, and her staff. Thanks to everyone for their efforts!

We are service organization and are always looking for ways to add to the value to your membership – we encourage your feedback and suggestions.

I hope to see you in 2019: you can look forward to events that have become AIA Birmingham traditions as well as some surprises. In the meantime, check out our rapidly growing social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I look forward to another year of fellowship, learning and service as President of this chapter.


Richard F. Simonton, AIA