Category Archives: Young Architects Forum

Event: NJIT Design Showcase

NJIT Design Showcase

April 9, 2015

AIA-NJ Endowed Lecturers will be Jesse Reiser, AIA (bio) and Nanako Umemoto. Look them up! (Click here.) They will be talking about their global practice and recent large-scale projects globally and I think specifically in Asia.

Check the NJIT Design Showcase website for more details.

How to “Engage” Emerging Professionals 101

Recently, you may have heard about the AIA Repositioning effort.  One of its initiatives is to improve “engaging emerging professionals.” First and foremost, if you do not know what an emerging professional is, welcome to the club. According to the AIA, emerging professionals (EPs) are students, interns and the recently licensed architects in the first decade of practice.  To most architects, this equates to anyone they consider a potential employee. That said one of the biggest flaws with this mentality is that architects approach engagement with EPs as they would a job interview.  This is a missed opportunity to create a dialogue with someone an architect should consider their collaborative colleague albeit that that he or she is also their employee.

As such here are the do’s and don’ts on how architects should engage emerging professionals:

  • Do not ask about licensure unless the EP mentions it first. Some professionals do not intend on getting licensed and that is perfectly okay! Licensure is important to those on the path to becoming an architect but not everyone needs to be an architect to enjoy architecture. Do ask if they are enjoying what they are doing.
  • When talking to students, do not ask them how their studio project is going. You might as well be asking them how they are doing and then expecting a lengthy explanation of what ails them. What architects should ask is “what are you learning from this semester”.
  • Don’t ask the EP if they know Revit. That is equivalent to an EP asking an architect if they are still hand drafting! We exist in a time in the field where every 3-5 years major changes are made to either how someone is licensed or interns, what tools are used to design buildings, and what economic condition one enters into the field. Instead try asking them if they are getting the most from the tools they are using or from their work experience.
  • Don’t assume an EP knows about every event offered by the AIA just because they are on social media and connected to the Internet. The communication path sometimes skips telling EPs about important details regarding events or the process involved. Members of the AIA who have attended multiple events numerous times know what to do and what to expect; they might forget about this first time attending. Do invite EPs to events in person and offer to escort them and introduce them to others. Even offering to meet them and drive them to the event can reduce some nerves.
  • If an architect is looking at an EP as a potential employee or if they are just interested in what they are saying, don’t ask the EP to send you their resume, instead ask them to BRING you their resume and meet them at your office. Remember that inviting an EP to the office, even if it’s not for the purpose of employment, allows EPs to experience another atmosphere without leaving their current position.
  • The worst thing an architect can do is treat an EP like a child. Just because the term “emerging” is used does not mean that EPs have not already found their voice or already developed the knowledge of an architect. Mentorship is not parenthood! Do instill knowledge, help EPs when they ask, but never scold them for the paths they choose. They are adults, not children.

Of course, this process is a two way street. Emerging Professionals should always treat any professional with the same respect that they wish to receive and should follow through with any commitment that they extend. Furthermore, emerging professionals should also make the effort and engage licensed architects.

Emerging professionals should not be the focus of the AIA Repositioning. Rather, they just need to be included in these efforts and valued like any other member.

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region


[email protected] | @AIANJRAD

metamorphAIAsis- Emerging Leaders

metamorpAIAsis image

The Intern Development Program (IDP) prepares future architects for the requirements of our profession. However, it is through the AIA that the Leaders of Architecture are made.

Every day we listen to advocacy for the profession. When you open AutoCAD each morning, when you point a major design flaw in a project and even now by reading this article, you are advocating for architecture!

It is easy for us to talk about architecture. What is not easy is talking about architects. Furthermore, it is even harder to talk about yourself. Buildings are stagnant, they are what they are. We can classify buildings by period, style, and recall a number of facts that would impress your college history professors. But can you talk about yourself in the same way, with the same passion, as you can your favorite building? If your answer is no, then you should consider becoming more involved in the AIA and its programs.

One simple problem for emerging professionals is the fact that we are not architects; how can you speak for something you are not. Let’s forget the term architect for the moment (as that is an entire lengthy discussion in itself), and replace it with the term Leader. What the AIA is good at accomplishing is evoking passion for what you do and passion is what inspires leadership. There are no state laws that prevent you from calling yourself a Leader!

As a 2nd time attendee of the annual Grassroots Leadership Conference held in D.C., I have noticed a drastic change between 1st time attendees and those who return. During my 1st conference, I followed my local chapter and only sat next to somebody I knew. What I missed was the wealth of information and mentorship every person in that room possesses. When I had the opportunity to attend the conference again, I was not shy about asking people to share their knowledge with me!

In hopes of inspiring you, I will begin my conversation with you by instilling some knowledge…

Let’s reimagine this quote by Louis Kahn where the Brick is not your building, but it is YOU!

And if you think of Brick, for instance,
and you say to Brick,
“What do you want Brick?”
And Brick says to you
“I like an Arch.”
And if you say to Brick
“Look, arches are expensive,
and I can use a concrete lentil over you.
What do you think of that?”
Brick says:
“… I like an Arch””

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region


[email protected] | @AIANJRAD

Robert Ivy, FAIA at NJIT: “What You Do Matters”

Robert Ivy PhotoRobert Ivy, FAIA, EVP/CEO of the American Institute of Architects recently spoke during an NJIT career services event:


The event had members from the National Council of Registration Boards (NCARB),  NJ State Board of Architects and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to talk to and answer questions about the ARE and IDP process.

Mr. Ivy’s discussion was intended to explain why one would get licensed, and what their career path might look like.   However, as the talk progressed, it became more and more clear that not only was this sound advice for students of architecture, but they were also inspirational words of wisdom for the seasoned practitioner, and others in the public realm as well.

You can (and should) watch the full video of Mr. Ivy’s talk by clicking here (it is only 7:40 long), but the following are a few notable quotes:

– “The good news is that we are in an economy now that is picking up.”

– “Architectural firms faced a loss of 40% of their revenues; 28% of their workforce.”

– “The indicators are up and things look better.”

– “McGraw-Hill reported that there will be a shortage of architects in the very near future, perhaps as early as 2014.”

– “The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) has been on the rise for the first time since 2008.”

– “The wave is rising. You can ride the wave.”

– “What you do matters.”

– “The temptation is to say that I am waiting for the real thing to happen – the real me to emerge. The real you is happening right this minute. It resides in the opportunities you take.”

– “Hard work, desire, passion, execution, getting it done.”

– “You can find all sorts of rationales for why you shouldn’t do something. You can find better rationales for why you should.”

Smart Design Focus of AIA-NJ & NJIT Symposium


What Constitutes “Smart Design” To Be Focus of Free AIANJ Fall Symposium



Anyone interested in the worlds of architecture and design won’t want to miss the upcoming, free annual AIANJ Fall Symposium in Weston Hall, Summit and Warren streets, home of NJIT’sCollege of Architecture and Design (COAD). The event, set for March 6, 2013 from 4- 8 p.m. is a wonderful opportunity to hear fascinating debates among seasoned architects, designers and educators as they discuss questions like what is smart design while examining the ongoing technological transformation of the design disciplines.

The event should be easy to reach either via public transportation on NJ Transit Electric Light Rail (NJIT/Warren Street Station) or by car. Street parking should be available. Food may be purchased from vendors in the NJIT Campus Center.

“It is generally accepted that the history of innovation has relied heavily on technological advancements of the military,” explained event co-organizer Rhett Russo, associate professor at COAD. “However, equally significant contributions also belong to the history of architecture. The material procurement, maritime transport of stone, surveying and machinery necessary to build the great pyramids, as well many other significant structures, relies upon a robust network of distributed Intelligence, that seeks to overcome the lack of knowledge, time, space, and tools that are commonly available.”

Another question to be discussed: What constitutes design?

“Design has expanded exponentially at both ends of the spectrum,” said Matt Burgermaster, event co-organizer and assistant professor at COAD. “Design redefines both the large and the small to reveal unprecedented opportunities for innovation ranging from the global to the Nano-scale. How are architects and designers situating their work within these distribution networks? How do they innovate in this context? How have new approaches to business and logistics altered the way they conceptualize, construct and interact with our environment. These are some of the questions we will pose and hopefully answer.”

Speakers include the following COAD faculty members: Professor Glenn Goldman, FAIA + IIDA, Director, COAD School of Art and Design; Associate professors Keith Krumwiede and Richard Garber; Assistant professors Martina Decker, Taro Narahara, Jesse LeCavalierBrooks Atwood and Andrzej Zarzycki.


March 6, 4:00pm – 8:00 pm
NJIT School of Architecture, Weston Lecture Hall

Please RSVP – (973_ 596-3080

AIANJ Symp 2103 save the date

AIAS NJIT Northeast Fall Quad Conference

An Open Letter from the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
Northeast Fall Quad Conference

This coming fall, the American Institute of Architecture Students at NJIT (AIAS NJIT) is excited to be hosting the Northeast Fall Quad Conference held amongst AIAS chapters and professional architects for a weekend on October 18-21, 2012. Our theme for the conference is Revitalizing Cities: Newark, like many industrial cities in the Northeast USA, was once a booming city but it experienced racial tensions and subsequent urban downfall. However, because of its rich history and culture, Newark has become a major renaissance city yearning for revitalization. Like many other cities looking to be revitalized, what roles can architects and architecture play in this rebirth? Student leaders and professional will come together for the love of architecture to discuss and impact a city, our society and profession.

We have established ourselves as a non-profit chapter and a professional organization dedicated to connecting students and professionals, and making the voice and work of architecture students more prominent within the field. Your assistance will allow our chapter to put together a quality conference that will allow our guests to attend lectures with prominent keynote speakers, participating in workshops, exploring the wonderful places that Newark and surround cities has to offer, and of course, having fun.

As Co-Chairs of AIAS NJIT Quad Conference, we wish to formally invite you to be a sponsor at our event. Please look at the information regarding sponsorship levels here on our website. Your firm/company/product will benefit greatly with any package you choose. If we all work together, the 2012 Northeast Fall Quad Conference will be a success and impact the relevance of architects and architecture.

We are grateful for your kind consideration and we look forward to your participation.


Vicky Tran
AIAS NJIT Quad Co-Chair
[email protected]
Kamilyn Longmore
AIAS NJIT Quad Co-Chair
[email protected]

The Future of Architectural Education

In preparation for the NAAB’s 2013 ARC (Accreditation Review Conference) the AIA developed a survey to help quantify the emerging trends uncovered in their research at the ACSA Annual Meeting, AIA Grassroots, and AIA National Convention. The survey can be found by clicking  here:

The AIA asks that you take five minutes to complete this survey in support of this effort. They also request that you help broadcast this link to any others that you think might be interested in contributing to this conversation on the future of education and the profession. The survey will be open until August 12th.

Thank you for your help, and participation.

Jerome L. Eben, AIA
Regional Director, AIA New Jersey

Young Architects at 2012 AIA National Convention

The AIA National Convention is a great place for architecture students, intern architects, and young architects to network with each other and learn from industry experts. Stop by the Emerging Professionals Lounge, sponsored byKaplan Architecture Education, at this year’s convention.

Candidates for National Office will also engage with emerging professionals at the Emerging Professionals Lounge on Thursday, May 17, 2012, at 1:00pm. View National Candidates’ responses to questions from emerging professionals.


Convention Highlights for Young Architects:

View a list of Young Architect Events and Sessions >

Emerging Voices: Repositioning Architecture TweetUp & Chat >

Emerging Professionals Reception >


Emerging Professionals are Paying it Forward by Developing Mentorship NOW Program

The AIA New Jersey Emerging Professionals Committee is developing a mentorship program to facilitate interaction between professionals of all career stages.  Mentorship is an essential feature of the development of an architect’s career. The form of mentorship has changed considerably over time, from its beginnings as an apprenticeship, to the current environment, with limitless possible types of mentoring relationships.

The program – Mentorship NOW – utilizes today’s technology such as social media and promotes interpersonal communication to develop career relationships.  Learning through mentorship has evolved from a narrow path to a complex range of possibilities.  This organized program streamlines the current process into a more productive form of mentorship relevant to interns and students today, that can also benefit seasoned professionals.

The technical component of the Mentorship NOW program is the online database. This database allows program participants to log pertinent information and interests. This information will help  assemble groups with similar interests within similar geographic areas of the state.

Mentoring groups will have four levels of professionals including emerging professionals, mid-level licensed, mid-level unlicensed, and seasoned professionals.  Emerging professionals will include students, IDP interns, ARE candidates, and Young Architect Forum members licensed up to 10 years.  Fellows will be invited to participate, with the goal of one per group.  Mentoring through cross-generational communication will facilitate bridging the gap between different experience levels.  Groups will be assembled based on information provided in applications.

As a supplement to the small mentoring groups, the committee will plan bimonthly educational seminars where all are invited, featuring presentations given by professionals in other fields. Mentorship NOW will add educational seminars as another member benefit. One goal of these interdisciplinary seminars is to foster interest in alternative career paths for architects, which is a growing minority of the associate membership, as people deal creatively with the recession by inventing their own jobs. For those members on a traditional career path, the seminars will provide a refreshing point of view by informing attendees on topics not usually emphasized in current practice.

Mentorship NOW will be accepting applications in Spring 2012.  The program is being organized by AIA NJ Emerging Professionals Committee which includes a Chairperson from each section, state IDP Coordinator, state Chairperson, Regional Associate Director, YAF Liason and Associate AIA members.  If you are interested becoming involved in the planning committee, please contact either Clair Wholean [email protected] or John Cwikla [email protected]

As AIA national has recently made support of Emerging Professionals a strategic priority, now is the time to foster their development and welcome them into the Institute here at home in New Jersey.

Clair Wholean, AIA, NCARB, LEED GA
Regional Associate Director 2011-2012
John Cwikla, AIA
Treasurer, AIA Newark & Suburban
Emerging Professionals Chair, AIA NJ

Architectural Intern or Architectural Designer: What’s the Difference?

By David Del Vecchio, AIA, Chair, AIA/NJ Legislative & Government Affairs Committee

A recent discussion on LinkedIn asked whether anyone claiming twelve years of experience working in the field of architecture can call themselves “architectural designer”. I gave this subject much thought, and while I sympathize with graduates pursuing their licenses (or not, for whatever reason) I had this to say.

The suggestion that an unlicensed person with twelve years (or any amount of years) of experience should be allowed to call themselves an “architectural designer” is clearly counter to current AIA Public Policy which reserves the use of the term “architect” or its derivative forms to those who are licensed as architects, and provides a limited exception for interns with an accredited degree in architecture. The policy on the “Use of the Title Architect and its Derivatives” says,

The AIA supports protecting the public by reserving the use of the term “architect” and its derivative forms to those individuals licensed as architects. In addition, the AIA supports the use of “architectural intern” or “intern architect” for graduates of NAAB-accredited degree programs.

Further it is contrary to most, if not all, state statutes that prohibit the use of the title or even the words “architect, architectural, or architecture” in describing one’s qualifications or title. While the guidelines are very specific as to which terms are permissible, some confusion may arise when NCARB tells interns that,

“A person currently employed under the responsible control of an architect and who maintains in good standing a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Record may use the title “intern architect” or “architectural intern” in conjunction with his/her current employment, but may not engage in the practice of architecture except to the extent that such practice is excepted from the requirement of registration.”

Some believe that this should then allow them to also call themselves “architectural designer”. But the difference between the terms “architectural intern” and “architectural designer” is significant, the former implying that an individual has obtained the necessary educational requirements for licensure (an NAAB-accredited degree) and it actively enrolled in an acceptable internship program (NCARB’s IDP program); the latter does not necessarily imply either.

NCARB fails to explain to those enrolling in the IDP program that state regulations may prohibit the use of terms beyond what the NCARB and NAAB guidelines suggest may be appropriate. It is up to each intern to check their local laws for themselves before they use any term that may mislead a member of the public to believe they are qualified to take responsibilities beyond their licensure status.

In some states, like New Jersey, every regulated professional has an obligation to report suspected violations of the law, including the use of restricted titles. Members of the AIA New Jersey Legislative and Government Affairs Committee recently wrote an article educating our members about that responsibility, and about how to recognize, document, and report instances of illegal practice.

Most state regulatory boards rely on the licensed professionals to police themselves. They will not actively seek out instances of unlicensed practice. Whether this is due to insufficient resources, a lack of any budget to perform what most architects may think is exactly what the board was created to do (using a portion of their biennial licensing fees), or a lack of the proper language in the enabling legislation, is not certain to this author. So without an active and concerted effort by every architect to control our own profession, we often become our own worst enemy.

It seems most interns don’t truly appreciate what is at stake or even what it means to be a regulated professional. It’s not about what you “get”, it’s about what responsibility the law allows you to take on in order to safeguard the public.

The endless conversation in which we all engage about the use of restricted titles by those not entitled by law to use them does serious damage to our long range efforts to curtail illegal and unlicensed practice by interior designers, home inspectors, and other registered professionals practicing outside their expertise, as well as home contractors providing construction documents, energy auditors who suggest improvements rather than merely quantifying an existing condition, LEEDap’s without a license stepping all over an architect’s responsible control of a project …well, you get my drift. The list is endless.

How can we advocate for tighter restrictions on what we define as the practice of architecture if we allow unlicensed graduates of architecture programs to use the term “architect” prematurely? It becomes impossible to make a reasoned argument that our title affords any level of protection to the public users of the buildings we design. Until you pass the A.R.E. or otherwise obtain a license, your credentials simply do not meet the minimum threshold established by law necessary to call yourself an architect.

By the way, the “right to practice” is really the “right to be held accountable to the public for protecting their health, safety and welfare”, or in other words “the right to be sued for screwing up”. It is not a license to print money, that’s for sure.

[Space here does not permit me to touch on the whole subject of “software architects”, but I will say that the arguments I’ve heard are specious at best. Creators of computer software are not involved in the design of buildings, any more than the Lawn Doctor is performing open heart surgery. Maybe that could be the topic for another article in the future.]

Allowing the use of the term architect in any form by someone who has not yet obtained a license makes it increasingly difficult to expand the purview of the profession in states that don’t require a licensed professional to design many buildings, based on their use or size. At a time when home design and the renovation of commercial buildings, for example, become increasingly more complex, as technology advances, and as security and energy concerns move to the top of the public conscience, a diminution of the criteria for allowing the design of any building results in the public being afforded less protection than when buildings were built more simply, when energy was cheap, back in a time before building codes were first adopted on a state-wide basis during the second or third quarter of the last century.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could argue that a single family home is less “architecture” than is a Wal-Mart or a McDonalds. Yet most homes in this country are built without the direct involvement of a licensed architect, merely because some regulation was passed decades ago, clearly without the public’s true interest in mind.

Those seeking licensure should be shouting to change those laws in their state, if they really believe that the license they seek means anything beyond being able to use the term “architect” in their title. Everyone who lives, works, plays or prays in any building should be afforded the same level of protection from incompetent design and illegal practice.

This is not an exclusive club to which we architects belong. It’s not like the old days when you had to be born to the correct family, have a ton of money, gone to the “right” school or have gained entry into the right circle of high society in order to successfully practice architecture. Anybody who works hard to get the correct five-year degree, then undergoes the proper internship for at least three years, and then successfully passes the right examination will have the right to practice architecture by sending in their application and fees to their state registration board.


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