Originally founded by 13 architects in 1857, The American Institute of Architects (AIA), has been operating since 1857. The AIA makes its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The AIA notes that it has 90 thousand members and 260 distinct chapters located internationally.
AIA’s mantra is to promote the standards and principles of the architectural milieu by being of service to its members. The AIA strives to provide resources for its members in order to be preeminent at their jobs. Robert Ivy, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer at AIA, believes in advising fellow architects on specific issues. Mr. Ivy guides them to study outside their field of work and to focus on subjects like the public health, sustainability, and efficiency. AIA is one of the most influential architectural group in the world.
Robert Ivy yearns for a future where architects and designers, who produce new concepts and structures, will focus on solving or neutralizing the deleterious issues involving ineffective designs. Ivy further suggested that modern architects start addressing key issues involving the public health by using design and architecture methods.
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Ivy insists profusely on the idea that architecture and design can directly influence many different areas of health and sustainability in a virtuous way. Whether that architect or designer is addressing a building solution for an area in a city or suburb to lessen the impact of natural disasters, or improving certain areas of the public health, Ivy supports a non-traditional philosophy for AIA.
When asked about which examples from the past were focused on the public health, Ivy argued that there have been historical design endeavors of the past that addressed these concerns. Some of these projects go back to the founding of the Nation’s Capital, in Washington, D.C. The original architects ended up draining the swamps that made up the D.C. area in the 1700s. Ivy also noted that Olmsted’s design for Central Park, New York, focused on cutting out the blight and the substandard housing that was included on that part of the original property in New York. Frederick Olmsted was a social conscious architect and critic who lived during the 19th century.
Ivy received a Masters of Architecture from Tulane University in 1979 and a bachelor’s degree in English at Sewanee: The University of the South. Ivy was born in Louisiana. Ivy serves on the advisory boards of four different architectural schools, Mississippi State, Tulane, Auburn, and Tongji University located in Shanghai, China.