The East Coast Welcomes Back AIA Convention & Expo


Thursday, May 15 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday, May 16 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 17 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

After five years away from the east coast, the American Institute of Architects makes its way back during the 2008 AIA Conference and Expo in Boston. Offering an easy reach to architects within its large metro area, Boston also presents plenty of historical architecture to tour during the show.

Tours give attendees live interaction with architecture and are in demand at each convention. “Going to a different city means we have all new tours. We have over 200 tours at this year’s show. These tours are important to our members because it’s another way to learn besides sitting in a classroom,” says Christopher Gribbs, Associate AIA, senior director, convention, AIA.

As always, a main element of the AIA convention is its educational content. Attendees have the option of half-day and full-day workshops, tours and classes in exhibit booths for continuing education credit. “We don’t repeat a course — it’s all fresh and new for this year. The presenters are new and the direction is new,” Gribbs says.

The number of exhibitors is down but the size of exhibit space is up meaning more companies are buying more space to display their products. This year’s show will feature 766 exhibitors and 205,000 net sq. ft. of space.

New this year is the online tool, Map Your Show. This allows attendees to look up exhibitors ahead of time and create a schedule to guarantee the most efficient experience walking the show floor. To use this tool visit, click on the attendees tab and then AIA Expo2008.

One key to finding products in demand is to remember that some products are organized by pavilion. There is a kitchen and bath pavilion, metal, software, and stone/tile pavilions. The expo used to have a green pavilion but with the growing number of green products available it would be too hard to lump them into one location.

AIA strives to provide its members with a successful and worthwhile show. “After each conference, we do a survey of those who attended to find out how the show went. We also ask people who didn’t go, why they didn’t attend and what would drive them to the show,” Gribbs says.

For members who don’t plan to take part in education or tours, their admission to the Expo is free. For more information on the 2008 AIA Convention and Expo visit