Newsletter | March 2022
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AAO meetings: design education, public programs, and more

April 14, 9am CDT
Join AAO's Architecture + Design Education Network (A+DEN) for a virtual meet-and-greet with the education team from arc en rêve centre d’architecture in Bordeaux. Learn about their creative takes on K-12 design ed, including an inflatable ephemeral architecture workshop, an urban planning game with 300 wooden building models, student debates on local buildings, and more. Free and open to all.

May 12, 6pm CDT

Save the date for a free, virtual AAO Partner Program with the Chicago Architecture Center. Charles Birnbaum, president, CEO, and founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, will present a lecture on Frederick Law Olmsted’s career as a designer, planner, educator, reformer, advocate, activist, inventor, innovator, and enduring influencer. Registration to open soon.

Wrap-up from the February 18 AAO Public Programs Network Call
Attendees shared stories about trying various virtual and hybrid program formats during the pandemic. The group discussed techniques to keep virtual audiences engaged, like pre-recorded short videos from speakers followed by live Q&A sessions. The Chicago Architecture Center team was in the process of conducting a survey of members' opinions about attending programs in the COVID-19 era.

If you missed the call, contact AAO Executive Director Michael Wood for more information.

News from the AAO Network

  • We are sad to report that long-time AAO member PlayBuild experienced a fire on March 14 that badly damaged their office, classroom space, and collection of building toys and teaching materials. Please consider supporting PlayBuild's GoFundMe campaign to hire a recovery project manager for this volunteer-run nonprofit that provides design education for low-income youth in New Orleans.
  • The Chicago Architecture Center announced that after 25 years of service, President & CEO Lynn Osmond will depart in April to lead Choose Chicago, the city's convention and visitors' bureau.
  • Congratulations to AAO member Graciela Carrillo for receiving the 2022 AIA Young Architects Award.
  • It's always great to see AAO members working together: The Society of Architectural Historians is hosting tours of Fallingwater and the Heinz Architectural Center at CMOA as part of the SAH 2022 Annual International Conference. Another collaboration example: Graham Foundation funded a collection of entries to SAH Archipedia that "underscores the diversity of American narratives embodied by our buildings and our communities."

Fresh approaches to common architecture organization goals

Reaching new audiences - The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation launched the "New Angle: Voices" podcast, hosted by Cynthia Kracuer, produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange. The podcast draws from the wealth of information in the BWAF Pioneering Women of American Architecture database. Creative media partnerships, like collaborating with 99% Invisible, expand reach.

Changing the narrative - SPUR's online exhibition Re-Envisioning the Guadalupe River Park presents years of research in an accessible manner. With interactive text and imagery, the ability to skim highlights or dive deeper, and the opportunity for viewers to respond, this thoughtfully-designed web project aims to start meaningful conversations about issues central to San Jose's urban landscape.

Creating lasting change - Diversity in Design Collaborative, founded last year by MillerKnoll and currently led by Todd Palmer (former director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial), brings together 30 partner companies like Gap and Adobe to support the next generation of Black designers with funding and professional development opportunities.

Engaging the community - Van Alen Institute is the program designer of Beyond Granite, a two-year initiative funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create commemorative works that elevate underrepresented stories. In-depth community engagement will determine the themes for a series of temporary installations on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Cultural organizations as community infrastructure

We find the annual trends report from the Center for the Future of Museums to provide some interesting points to ponder for architecture and design organizations. 

TrendsWatch 2022: Museums as Community Infrastructure, published by the American Alliance of Museums, posits that museums are essential to building community strength and resilience based on their contributions in these five areas:
  • Education for our children
  • Livable communities for our elders
  • Mental health
  • Emergency response in the face of disasters
  • A human-centered culture of sustainability
Browse the report for critical questions and a framework for action that may be relevant for your organization.

Jobs & Opportunities

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