2009 AIA Convention Preview

Dates and Hours

Wed., April 29
Preconvention workshops
Educational tours
Dining by Design

Thurs., April 30
Show floor open 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fri., May 1
Show floor open 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sat., May 2
Show floor open 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Visit aiaconvention.com for more information.

The American Institute of Architects holds its 2009 Convention in San Francisco April 29 through May 2 — a locale that ranks second on its members’ list of preferences right after New York City. Aside from the appealing location, AIA is focusing on offering valuable content, tours and classes at attractive prices.

AIA adds a handful of new opportunities for members at this year’s convention, two of which affect the pricing for member registration. “We created a member one-day pass that we hope will help the local folks who can’t afford to attend except for one day. They don’t have to pay the whole registration fee,” says Christopher Gribbs, Associate AIA, managing director, convention. In addition, AIA members receive a 5 percent discount on registration by typing the word “member” into the online registration application.

Keeping the residential architect in consideration, AIA enhances its home tours by adding audio accompaniment in the form of podcasts. “When you sign up for the tour, you receive an MP3 player. You go to the houses and listen on the headset. [Members] swipe their cards for credit [for taking the tour],” Gribbs says.

As always, education is a large part of the attraction to the AIA Convention. Paying attention to new code requirements, AIA is offering classes to meet new demand. “There is a new sustainable design requirement for AIA members. They need a number of hours to maintain membership status. We have some programs that offer credits for that new requirement,” Gribbs says. “California is proposing a new ADA requirement for continuing education and we offer a number of courses that might fulfill that requirement.”

The theme of this year’s convention is, “The power of diversity, practice in a complex world.” Gribbs clarifies that the theme reflects the diversity of practice, not race or gender. “Theme sessions focus on working in a global practice, practice in a complex world and the emerging voices of practice. Usually you have an hour for a themed session with one person who speaks. This year [the emerging voices of practice session] will have 15 people speaking. It will have a rapid-fire, four-minute [per speaker] format,” he adds.

Attendees will also be able to choose from an increased number of credit courses as more than 400 events are offered in four days. “[Attendees] can choose from keynote speakers, classroom settings of 60- or 90-minute, and two-hour sessions, sunrise sessions, exhibit credits and tours. Besides the destination of the show, education is important — people come to the convention for the education first so we make sure it stays good,” Gribbs adds.

As of press time, the AIA was tracking ahead of last year in regard to the number of exhibitors and hopes to exceed more than 850 total.