The American Institute of Architects has been a staple among the architecture community since its inception in 1857. The AIA has had a storied and impressive history that was built from a foundation as solid as the ones designed by the architectures populating it.
In New York City in 1857, 13 architects decided to pool their collective talents in order to “promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members”. Meaning that they wanted to create a group that would strengthen the discipline of architecture all around, as well as provide resources to each other by way of experience, talent, and innovation. By working together they became greater than the sum of their parts, thus forming the AIA.
Though the AIA started with only 13 humble architects, it grew quickly, as 16 other members quickly got on board. Before the AIA, there were no rules and regulations to govern architecture, no standards, so anyone could claim to be an architect, even if they had no prior qualifications, training, or experience. By creating a governing body, the AIA improved the overall standard of architecture as a whole, something the current CEO of AIA, Robert Ivy still works on to this day.
Today the AIA has over 90,000 licensed architects under their wing, and they remain vigilant in ensuring that all members adhere to a strict set of ethics and guidelines, both personally and professionally to help maintain the highest level of integrity and quality in all architectural practices of its members. This is no small task, that is why it requires a talented overseer like Robert Ivy, one with experience and influence in a number of networks to help keep these standards in place.
The AIA is no small institution, the organization itself employs over 200 people full-time, all working to help keep standards and regulations in place, as well as make sure that each member operate with the utmost dedication to quality of craftsmanship. The AIA also uses its many members to help influence and keep an eye on legislation that would affect the architect profession as a whole.
Before the AIA, architects lived in a kind of lawless state where there was little to no regulation or standards, but today, thanks to talented and disciplined men like Robert Ivy, the AIA continues to provide the support necessary to protect and improve professionals working in architecture all over the USA.