The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has a very long history. Founded in the year 1857 in New York by thirteen architects who wanted to promote the scientific aspect and practice of the architects involved, the AIA was home to some of the best architects of their day including: Richard Upjohn, Henry Dudley, Leopold Eidlitz, Jacob Wrey Mould, and John Welch. Richard Upjohn served as the first president of the AIA. Originally AIA was founded and based in New York and called the New York Society Of Architects. The founders of AIA quickly realized that they we’re going to outgrow just being confined as a New York organization as more architects across the nation wanted to join.
AIA expanded their membership to include sixteen more architects. The AIA then filed paperwork for incorporation and as suggested changed to their current name. In another important act of legislation,the members of the AIA provided bylaws for the organization and groundwork for the true structure to the profession of architects. Up until the founding of the AIA, anyone could claim to be a professional architect. By the 1880’s there were local AIA branches in eleven different cities across the nation.
In present times, the AIA has over 90,000 members and has moved their headquarters to Washington DC. AIA is an all encompassing organization that offers structure and guidelines to today’s architects. The AIA have strict guidelines for members and is resided over by a Board of Directors. The AIA employs 300 persons for the day to day running of affairs and is heavily involved in the regulatory affairs and legislative process involved in the building of cities and infrastructure related to affordable housing for this nation’s residents. AIA supports it’s members with resources such as contract examples, educational support, and chances at additional professional development.
AIA works towards building a good foundation for future architects by offering professional development courses and the means to study for the Architect Registration Exam. AIA has locations across the nation, but also tries to provide a good, strong base across local communities. To read more about the history and see what is next for the AIA, please click here.