• Housing Policy Synergy: What Our Allied Organizations Are Working On
    by Tibby Rothman on June 19, 2024 at 4:46 pm

    Legislative Advocacy //byline Scott Terrell, Director of Government Relations June 19, 2024 With a process that began at the first AIA California Board meeting last year, AIA California renewed its commitment to making an impact in the Housing arena. On that day we heard from leading experts in California housing policy and architects leading on Housing. From there the Board engaged in a workshop on how we, as an organization, could make the biggest impact. That feedback culminated in the creation of a Housing Steering Committee, which took that feedback and, over many months, assembled a Housing Policy Statement that was approved by the Board earlier this year. One of the Housing Steering Committee’s main initial objectives has been to focus on building relationships with and engaging allied organizations within the housing community that are doing great work to advance initiatives that are in line with our policy. Two of those organizations are the Casita Coalition and the Housing Action Coalition. These organizations have both been active in housing policy development for years. This year is no different, as each organization is advancing important legislation. Below are a few of the bills that AIA California is supportive of: Housing Action Coalition Sponsored Bills: Senate Bill 937 (Wiener) will address the financial barriers facing the housing industry by amending two key policy areas: (1) extending the timeline for entitled housing projects (2) changing the fee payment schedule for new housing projects. Extending Housing Entitlements: With a significant number of entitled projects unable to move forward due to financing challenges, the bill would extend all housing entitlements by an additional 24 months. New Fee Payment Schedule: SB 937 would also defer the collection of development fees until project completion. Assembly Bill 2243 (Wicks) amends the language of the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022 (AB 2011, Wicks), which allowed the development of multi-family infill housing in areas zoned for parking, retail, and office. In return for making these housing developments by-right, developers need to provide affordable housing on-site and ensure that the construction workers are paid the prevailing wage. The amendments in AB 2243 help facilitate the implementation of AB 2011 by expanding its geographic applicability and clarifying aspects of the law that are subject to interpretation. Casita Coalition Sponsored Bills: Senate Bill 1077 (Blakespear) will responsibly exempt ADUs and JADUs on qualified sites from the additional permitting requirements and cost of Coastal Development Permits, reducing the time and cost burdens for homeowners willing to add long-term more affordable ADU homes to their properties. Senate Bill 1211 (Skinner) improves flexibility for ADU type and location of ADUs on multifamily properties so the existing site cap allowances can be workable for more properties. We applaud these organizations for their commitment to moving the needle on much-needed housing reforms in California. It truly takes a coalition of individuals and industries dedicated to making an impact on housing reform. For a comprehensive list of all the bills AIA California has taken a position on this year, click here.

  • AIA California Board of Directors Adopted Positions on Legislation
    by Tibby Rothman on June 11, 2024 at 9:00 pm

    Legislative Advocacy //byline Scott Terrell, Director of Government Relations June 11, 2024 The AIA California Board of Directors regularly takes positions on legislation that impacts the profession, whether that impact is positive or negative. During the May 31, 2024 board meeting, the board finalized positions on 38 bills (in addition to the 6 priority bills the Executive Committee formerly took action on). A complete list of the bill positions can be found here. The 2024 Legislative Session saw 2,124 bills introduced. From bills that seek to streamline and make more viable adaptive reuse and accessory dwelling unit projects, to bills that ease CEQA requirements for housing projects, to bills that incentivize new housing creation, to bills that help our state meet its climate goals through addressing embodied carbon in the built environment, the legislation introduced this year saw a continued alignment between the issues legislators are seeking to address and the priorities of AIA California, namely housing and climate action. AIA California staff reviewed all of the bills introduced, pulling out about a hundred bills that were relevant to each of our three legislation review subcommittees, which together equal about 40 AIA CA members: Climate Action, Housing Steering, and Advocacy Advisory. These committees review the legislation assigned to them and make recommendations to the Board. The bills were then reviewed by the Executive Committee before receiving a vote from the Board on official positions. To date, the AIA California, via the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, has voted to take positions on 44 bills. Bills are often amended or changed drastically throughout the legislative process. AIA CA monitors those changes and brings any bills back to the committees and board for review if needed. For a complete list of the positions on bills, click here.

  • In Recognition of the Newly Licensed
    by AIA California on May 30, 2024 at 8:06 pm

    Academy for Emerging Professionals //byline AIA California Staff The path to licensure is a long, arduous journey. The surface is only touched when one graduates from university—there is still the Architecture Experience Program (AXP) to complete; preparation for enduring the seven Architect Registration Examinations (ARE), then of course passing the AREs, all while trying to earn a living as an associate architect. The pomp and circumstance march which traditionally accompanies a graduation ceremony normally signifies the end of a journey. In the case of the architect, it is only the beginning. In honor of those who have endured the process and are now licensed, AIA California would like to take a moment to recognize those who have earned their license: Nicholas Oushakoff, AIA Joseph Diego Corona, AIA Garret Feasel, AIA Chloe Eitzer, Assoc. AIA Julia Weatherspoon, Assoc. AIA Zhao Wen, AIA Garet Ammerman, AIA Marisa Keckeisen, AIA Robert Steel, AIA Weiyi Tan, AIA Jitendra Sawant, AIA Wei-Tse Yuan, AIA Sogol Alesafar, AIA Ji Hao, AIA Courtney Hughes, Assoc. AIA Rebecca Baierwick, Assoc. AIA Ashley Gordon, AIA Philip Schmunk, AIA Jie Sun, AIA Shilpa Nagaraj, AIA Esther Jeong, AIA Kathryn (Katie) Volk, AIA Christopher Van Leeuwen, AIA Sunhwa Son, AIA Samantha Doherty, AIA Shireen Teheranian, AIA Michael Toubi, AIA Saul Archila, AIA Mario Barrientos, AIA Wayne Chevalier, AIA

  • 2024 Special Election: Vice President of Government Relations
    by AIA California on May 29, 2024 at 10:15 pm

    This memorandum serves as the Call for Nominations 30-day notice for the open position of Vice President of Government Relations as required by the AIA CA Rules of the Board.  Due to a resignation, this election is to fill the remaining term of service, ending December 31, 2024. The election for this position will take place during the July 12, 2024 virtual meeting. Vice President of Government Relations Staff Liaison(s):   Scott Terrell, Director of Government Relations Responsibilities: Identify emerging issues affecting the practice of architecture, developing appropriate responses, and referring those responses to other AIA CA programs and committees for appropriate implementation and developing appropriate legislative response. Coordinate activities relating to the state level regulatory outreach. Responsible for the coordination of activities relating to the state level legislative process including the annual Legislative Day in the Districts. Work with staff as liaison to various regulatory agencies including DSA, CAB, HCAI, etc. Chair the Advocacy Advisory Committee to develop responses to legislative initiatives of others as well as proactive efforts on behalf of the profession. Serve as member of the Capitol Forum Board and liaison to the Legislative review subcommittees. Participate in annual review of the Strategic Plan and development of the annual Operating Plan and Budget. Disclaimer No member of the AIA CA Executive Committee shall engage in the endorsement, sponsorship or nomination of any candidate for this position. Important Dates Wednesday, May 29, 2024 Call for Nominations Published Friday, June 28, 2024 Candidate Response Forms and letters of support are due by 12:00PM Pacific Time and will be included in the meeting’s agenda packet. Friday, July 12, 2024 Nominations from the Floor Accepted During the virtual AIA CA Board of Directors meeting by 2/3 vote. Nomination Submittals – General Information Nominees must be AIA CA members in good standing and be able to attend all regularly scheduled Board meetings. Nomination letter(s) from an AIA CA member in good standing, which includes a statement in support of the candidate, must be received on letterhead and submitted via email to mdouet@aiacalifornia.org by 12:00pm on Friday, June 28, 2024. Nominations for any office not received by the posted deadline must be made from the floor (virtually) by 2/3 vote of the AIA CA Board of Directors on Friday, July 12, 2024. Submission Requirements No later than Friday, June 28, 2024 by 12pm Pacific Time, candidates must complete the Candidate Response Form and submit, via email, to mdouet@aiacalifornia.org: A 100-word (maximum) summary of the candidate’s background, education, professional history, and service to the professions. A 200-word (maximum) summary of the candidate’s philosophy, goals, and objectives in serving in this office. Picture (if not a current board member) Elections Procedure: The nominees for the special election will be verified by the AIA CA Secretary/Treasurer, Procedures & Documents Committee, and the AIA CA Executive Assistant.  Candidates for office will give a speech of up to three minutes. For more information on the roles and responsibilities of the open offices, please contact the AIA CA Executive Assistant, Mirna Douet, at (916) 642-1712 or MDouet@aiacalifornia.org.

  • AIA California Named a USGBC CA 2024 Policy Leadership Award Recipient
    by Tibby Rothman on May 29, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    American Institute of Architects California Named a U.S. Green Building Council California 2024 Policy Leadership Award Recipient Organization recognized for driving California’s adoption of embodied carbon limits in its building code, the first state in the nation to do so—taking an essential step to reduce this significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. //byline Contact: Tibby Rothman, Hon. AIA|LA 916.642.1718 trothman@aiacalifornia.org May 29, 2024 2024 AIA California President Winston L. Thorne, AIA, accepts the 2024 USGBC-CA Policy Leadership Award. Image: Courtesy: USGBC-CA. Photo: Lingo Luo (Sacramento, California—May 29, 2024)–The American Institute of Architects California (AIA California) has been awarded a U.S. Green Building Council California (USGBC-CA) 2024 Policy Leadership Award for the organization’s actions that resulted in the State of California being the first state in the nation to adopt standards that limit embodied carbon. AIA CA was recognized along with its partner, the California Building Standards Commission. Buildings Embodied carbon refers to greenhouse gas emissions arising from building materials over their life cycle, which includes manufacture, transportation, installation, maintenance, decommissioning, and disposal. Roughly forty percent of greenhouse gas emissions arise from buildings; reducing embodied as well as the more well-known operational carbon is imperative as the climate crisis continues to escalate. “AIA California hopes that our work addressing the climate crisis will further catalyze elected officials and policymakers to take the urgent steps to address the climate disaster,” said 2024 AIA California President Winston L. Thorne, AIA. “Climate action is an AIA California core value. As the United Nations has noted, July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded. We cannot waste time. As an entity, we will continue to advocate for policies in this area; as individuals, our members will continue to use tools that reduce climate emissions in the construction and operation of buildings.” During the summer of 2023 the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously for two building code changes that limit embodied carbon emissions in the construction, remodel, or adaptive reuse of commercial buildings larger than 100,000 sq feet and school projects over 50,000 sq ft. These changes go into effect on July 1, 2024, statewide. To make these standards possible, the Commission also approved code approaches in the CALGreen code by which architects can achieve these goals: Environmental Products Declaration, Life Cycle Assessment, and Adaptive Reuse; facilitating three different pathways to embodied carbon reduction. “We have awarded AIA California and the Building Standards Commission around this approach to embodied carbon as it sets an important precedent to raise awareness and make a market for a more circular economy in California and beyond,” said USGBC-CA Executive Director Ben Stapleton. The California Building Standards Commission’s 2023 decision was the culmination of AIA California and partner efforts that began in 2019. Partnerships spanned from key state agencies such as the California Building Standards Commission and the Division of the State Architect, who also led the culmination of stakeholders that founded the CALGreen Carbon Reduction Collaborative, to invaluable, expert organizations such as New Buildings Institute, RMI, the Carbon Leadership Forum, Energy Solutions, SF Environment and of course, USGBC California—all of whom were instrumental in supporting and working with AIA California on the code development process. Helming AIA California activities in the initiative were Mike Malinowski, FAIA, AIA California’s Code Consultant, who brought together the many entities required for the exceedingly complex and impactful task. About AIA California AIA California is dedicated to serving its members, and uniting all architecture professionals in the design of a more just, equitable, and resilient future through advocacy, education, and political action. It celebrates more than 75 years of service and, today, is composed of more than 11,000 members across the state.

  • Connecting with California Building Officials
    by AIA California on May 7, 2024 at 6:31 pm

    AIA CA Working for you //byline Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA May 2, 2024 Greetings from the AIA California Office. Advocating on your behalf is what we do at AIA California, and this week, two of our most critical advocacy representatives, Consultant Michael Malinowski, FAIA, and AIA California Director of Government Relations Scott Terrell attended the California Building Officials (CALBO) Annual Conference. Yes, I hear your collective groan; Building and Safety Inspectors aren’t the most popular group of individuals interacting with the architectural profession. How can we make these interactions easier? How can we reduce firm and client money spent on the approval process? How can we better educate building officials across California? And most importantly, how can we lobby for consistent interpretation and inspections? That’s why we were at the CALBO Annual Meeting. In particular, Mike and Scott were on hand to connect with officials regarding two critical areas:  the nation’s first mandatory embodied carbon measure—lodged in CALGreen—and two new compliance paths in the California Existing Building Code intended to increase housing production by reducing barriers to adaptive reuse. AIA California led the effort on both of these initiatives. These code changes, which take effect on July 1, have been made within the regulatory environment, and California Building officials will institute them. Thus, Mike and Scott’s trip and lengthy conversations at CALBO were to facilitate a better understanding of compliance paths and deepen an already initiated partnership with CALBO on educational consistency. While we understand we can’t resolve ongoing pressures for architects obtaining code approvals, AIA California strives through initiatives such as the CALGreen check lists to create clear objective paths to code compliance. These checklists create a single connective pathway used by both architect and building official. (CALBO even recognized and called out the Checklist’s value during their annual meeting earlier this week.) We know this is just a very small part of your interaction with building code officials, but we’re working to advance codes changes beneficial to architects, our communities, and our planet while striving to make sure officials have the information they need to implement them. We know that’s critical to the work in your office, and one more way AIA California is working for you.

  • Five California Community College Students Awarded
    by AIA California on May 7, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    Chester and Diana Widom Architectural Education Scholarships Disparate Group of Students are Connected by Determination to Excel in Architecture //for immediate release Contact: trothman@aiacalifornia.org May 7, 2024 (Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Sacramento, CA.) The California Architectural Foundation (CAF) and American Institute of Architects California are honored to announce the recipients of Chester and Diana Widom Architectural Education Scholarships (Widom Scholarship). Five community college students transferring to four-year institutions have been awarded–each student receiving up to $5000 to help offset the costs of higher education in architecture and design. S “These scholarships are amongst the most meaningful actions the California Architectural Foundation can take to provide a pipeline of talented, qualified next-generation designers for the profession, while also expanding diversity in the field,” said Mary Follenweider, FAIA, President, California Architectural Foundation. “I admire the work of all students awarded this year’s scholarship. And, I am deeply grateful to Chester and Diana Widom for establishing this scholarship to support such deserving students.” 2024 Chester and Diana Widom Architectural Education Scholarship Recipients: $5000 Level Recipients Omorilewa Tayo Ajegbile – Bakersfield College An emigree from Nigeria, Omorilewa Tayo Ajegbile is already recognized as a valued leader by educators. In writing a letter of support, Bakersfield College Professor of Architecture Lidia Torres said she leveraged his experience with Revit–he worked in offices in Lagos prior to immigrating–to inform other students. “I can tell the rest of my students have learned to respect and admire Ty, not just for [his] professionalism, [and] beautiful designs but his willingness to help and teach others,” she wrote in her recommendation letter. These types of qualities were also recognized by the jury who notes Ajegbile’s “high-quality design work, his motivation and his experience.” Nicholas Huynh – City College of San Francisco Named to the Dean’s List for every academic quarter to date, Nicholas Huynh is diligent about producing high-caliber and meaningful architectural drawings, renderings, and physical models. A physical model he produced was selected for exhibition in the gallery of the school’s architecture department. But, in making the award, the Jury looked more expansively at Huynh’s work noting: “It is incredibly creative and out of the box. There is great deal of promise in it.” Juan Garcia – East Los Angeles College Juan Garcia’s academic journey demonstrates termination, tenacity, and his capacity to succeed. Struggling with early education, he left school to support his family; he returned to become an architect, teaching himself to overcome obstacles—a journey the Jury recognizes as well-taken. In bestowing the scholarship, the Jury noted, “The Jury is in awe—appreciative of Garcia’s talent” as well as his “excellent hand-drawing skills.” $2500 Level Recipients Rachel Zuniga – Glendale Community College While the housing crisis has been a focus of the profession, both in terms of core values and the production of housing units, it is already shaping Rachel Zuniga’s perspective of architecture. Influenced by a job in which she interacted with and got to know many people living without shelter–many of whom had experienced traumatic events–her focus is on pursuing Empathic Architectural design, using empathy for the user as the core of the design process. The Jury recognized her commitment to Empathetic Architecture in providing the scholarship and also the “high quality” of her work. one who could use our financial support. Michelle Perez – Glendale Community College Michelle Perez’s journey to architecture began with a cartoon. It “enlightened me with tremendous curiosity on creating a thought-provoking scene with meaning, metaphor, and the possibility of integrating shapes, color, light, and shadow.” A little less than two decades later, the Jury sees the fruition of these early ideas. Describing her current portfolio as “fanciful with work of very high quality. Perez has an aesthetic agenda which shows sophistication.” The 2024 Widom Scholarship Jury was composed of:  Mary Follenweider, FAIA – President, CAF; Jeannie S. Bertolaccini, AIA – CAF Regent & Principal for Ordiz Melby Architects; Debra Gerod, FAIA – CAF Regent & Partner at Gruen Associates; Emily Potts, AIA – Assistant Professor at Sacramento State University; and Ginger Thompson, AIA – AEP COA Vice President & Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture Associate. About The California Architectural Foundation The California Architectural Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting excellence in architecture through scholarships, grants, and educational programs—bridging the gap between the academic and professional worlds. CAF exists to provide a mechanism for members of the AIA and the general public to contribute to an organization with a great benefit to society.

  • Housing and Climate Action Among Priority Bills AIA California Takes Positions On
    by AIA California on May 1, 2024 at 4:15 pm

    Legislative Advocacy //byline Scott Terrell, Director of Government Relations May 1, 2024 Each year, AIA CA takes positions on legislation that impacts the profession, whether that impact could be positive or negative. Due to the nature of the AIA California Board of Directors meeting schedule this year, our three committees that review legislation – the Advocacy Advisory, Housing, and Climate Action – were tasked with identifying any bills that were a priority to weigh in on earlier in the process. There are a number of reasons why these bills were flagged as priority, including: AIA California wants to ask for specific amendments. We do not want to blindside authors with amendment requests at the last minute in the process. The bill aligns with one of our priority areas identified in our various policy statements (i.e. housing and climate action) and it is important that we are active in promoting it. We want to be able to support our allied partners in advancing their priorities that align with ours to further develop those relationships. A legislator’s office has actively reached out to us asking for our support. Using these filters, these committees identified six bills for the AIA California Executive Committee to review and vote on AIA CA’s official positions. These bills include the following: Two bills that seek to provide tools for streamlining adaptive reuse to housing, AB 2909 and AB 2910 by Assemblyman Santiago. The first seeks to expand access to tax incentives for adaptive reuse projects and the second allows local jurisdictions to make adaptive reuse projects more feasible through alternate building regulations. SB 937, by Senator Wiener seeks to aid in the production of new homes by delaying the payment of development fees imposed by a local government until the certificate of occupancy is issued, and extending housing entitlements issued prior to January 1, 2024 and set to expire on or before December 31, 2025 by 24 months. SB 1207, by Senator Dahle would broaden the scope of the Buy Clean California Act to include all insulation types, not just mineral wool board insulation, as it currently does. This will allow “apples-to-apples” comparison of the Global Warm Potential (GWP) of competing insulation products for a particular application. AB 2433 by Assemblymember Quirk-Silva seeks to address lengthy delays in the building permit process by introducing flexibility in fee structures, inspection timelines, and the conditional utilization of private professional services. AB 2243 by Assemblymember Wicks amends the language of the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022 (AB 2011, Wicks). These amendments facilitate the implementation of AB 2011 by expanding its geographic applicability and clarifying aspects of the law that are subject to interpretation. For more information on these bills and AIA CA’s positions click here. The AIA California Board of Directors will be voting to take positions on the remaining recommendations from the legislation review committees at the board meeting on May 31, 2024.

  • American Institute of Architects California announces the Twelfth Architecture at Zero Competition
    by Tibby Rothman on April 23, 2024 at 12:10 am

    The American Institute of Architects California announces the Twelfth Architecture at Zero Competition Participants will design a building on a middle school campus in East Los Angeles, California. //byline Contact: Margie O’Driscoll415.350.9955margie.odriscoll@gmail.com April 23, 2024 Sacramento, California—April 22, 2024.–The American Institute of Architects California (AIA CA) announces the twelfth annual Architecture at Zero a design competition for decarbonization, equity, and resilience, open to students and professionals worldwide. It serves to engage the fields of architecture, design, engineering and planning in the pursuit of sustainable design while also considering the impacts of equity and resilience. The 2024 competition challenge is to design a new building on a middle school campus in East Los Angeles (East LA), California. While the brief is to design the project for the Griffith STEAM Magnet Middle School, Architecture is an ideas competition and not a “real” project. Students and professionals participating in Architecture at Zero will design a new building that will replace relocatable classrooms and is to include science labs, art classroom, maker space, outdoor learning environments, and a teacher workroom. A panel of international experts will select which submitted projects should be recognized. Recognized entries will be awarded $25,000 in total prizes. “The American Institute of Architects California is enthusiastic to collaborate with the Los Angeles Unified School District on this important initiative in keeping with the organization’s commitment to sustainability, equity, and the fostering of future architects,” said AIA California President Winston L. Thorne, AIA. Architecture at Zero strives to generate new, innovative ideas for a decarbonized future, helping California achieve its goal of having all new commercial construction be ZNE by 2030. Competition entries will be juried by international experts including Paul Torcellini, Principal Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Lance Collins, AIA, a Director at Partner Energy; and Allison Williams, FAIA. The competition deadline is December 16, 2024. To learn more, visit www.architectureatzero.com. This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by SCE, SCG and PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. About AIA California AIA California is dedicated to serving its members, and uniting all architecture professionals in the design of a more just, equitable, and resilient future through advocacy, education, and political action. It celebrates more than 75 years of service and, today, is composed of more than 11,000 members across the state.

  • The State Fire Marshall
    by AIA California on April 22, 2024 at 9:12 pm

    AIA CA Working for you //byline Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA April 18, 2024 Does seeing this title in your inbox create stress and anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. We know working in California’s onerous regulatory environment can result in additional time, $, and frustration, and interacting with the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is no exception. As a result of these challenges and a receptiveness from OSFM’s current leadership, AIA California is part of a coalition formed with AGC (General Contractors) and CMAA (Construction Managers) that meets regularly with OSFM’s leadership team with a goal of improving the processes for plan review and approval, and inspection done by the State Fire Marshal. We’ve heard repeatedly how these processes and the culture in which they operate have not been conducive to collaboration, constructive criticism, and continuous improvement. We know, as professionals, you are also committed to improving their work and are engaged in professional development and credentialing in order to improve submissions and field control. And we’re all committed to creating buildings that ensure the safety of occupants and first responders. This working group is making headway – and by all accounts, the culture within OSFM is changing– albeit not as quickly as you might like it to. Organizational change at an agency the size of the OSFM, with offices throughout the entire state, takes time. The senior leadership of this office under the helm of new State Fire Marshal, Daniel Berlant, has been receptive and attentive to the concerns of our industry, and are striving to make changes to improve the culture and processes of this organization. We understand your frustration; we are part of the process to affect change, and we are working on your behalf, advocating for change. Want to help make the case? What’s the one, single thing we can do to reduce your frustration with this agency? I look forward to hearing from you.

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