Clark D. Manus, FAIA, President
Ron Solomon Copyright Clark D. Manus, FAIA, President

The economy has tanked and taken housing with it. Yet even in this environment, architects who practice design are adapting every day to the challenges of a punishing market. They’re finding new ways to deliver what they’ve always done: provide real and lasting value to their clients while pushing the boundaries of creativity. In many areas—building materials, new construction techniques, manufactured housing, technology, green design, and more—they lead the profession. And your AIA is committed at every level to hearing the expanding discourse.

Some readers may think the AIA is all about big firms. Not true. That’s why the institute and many AIA chapters support housing committees. These committees are a place for architects to share knowledge of best practices and support innovation, especially when it comes to the most challenging issues of our time—such as health, an aging population, affordable housing, transportation, and sustainability, among a growing list.

Yes, the most immediate issue is jobs. Here, too, the AIA is engaged 24/7 with government at all levels to free up credit, support small businesses, provide tax incentives, and rebuild our nation’s critical infrastructure. Those are just some of the ways the AIA’s advocacy efforts are working for you.

And have you had a chance to look at the latest AIA Contract Documents software release, such as the B107–2010 agreement between developer-builder and architect for single-family project prototypes, or the B109–2010, which deals with details and challenges related to multifamily residential development? These documents were created by teams of lawyers and architects familiar with the unique challenges of residential design.

That’s an introduction to how the AIA works on behalf of architects like you—knowledge sharing, advocacy, promotion of the value of the profession, contract documents, and much more. What can the AIA learn from you, the readers of residential architect? A lot.

No professional relationship is more intimate than that between residential architects and the clients who commission them. No practice is more open to experimentation and innovation.

The new AIA/Hanley Wood partnership, which begins with this issue, is a great opportunity for all of us to become better acquainted. We’ve achieved a lot on our own. Imagine what we can do together to build more productive, livable, and sustainable communities. That’s what we’ll be exploring in the months ahead.