In February, four members of the Congress of Residential Architecture (CORA) released a position paper urging change within the profession. Since then, the paper has been circulating electronically and has undergone several revisions based on peer feedback. As of April 21, it had garnered 243 signatures, and authors David Andreozzi, AIA, Duo Dickinson, AIA, Jeremiah Eck, FAIA, and Michael Griffith, SARA, are hoping for more endorsements in the coming months. They’ve written a resolution based on the paper, to be presented at a meeting on Saturday, June 12, at the AIA National Convention in Miami.
The four architects came together out of frustration with what they describe in the paper’s preamble as the profession’s “long-term drift away from social relevance and public credibility.” Notes Dickinson, “This is not a list of demands; it’s a statement of concerns. This is about a generational change that has pushed our profession further and further away from relevance.” He and his co-authors say the economic downturn propelled them into action, but that the underlying issues they address existed well before the fall of Lehman Brothers. “A lot of these things have been simmering for a lot of years,” Eck points out. CORA’s founding mission statement was first published in May 2004 in this magazine, and the organization has been a partner with residential architect’s Reinvention Symposium since the conference began also in 2004.
The paper’s “Call to Action” section lists eight specific goals, among them a shift to schools and NCARB as the exclusive arbiters of continuing education units. It also requests the inclusion of “legal status equivalent to LEED accreditation” as part of licensure. Another stated goal tackles the issue of architectural education, calling for accredited schools to expand their base curricula by requiring mentoring, internships, and hands-on building experience. And the authors also call for the AIA and its local chapters to “recognize residential architecture as a unique discipline.” (To read the entire paper, click here, and to read the online discussion and comments, click here.)
The authors have gathered an impressive list of signatures, some from leading residential architects such as CORA founding counselors Dale Mulfinger, FAIA and James Estes, FAIA, as well as Wayne Good, FAIA. “I signed it right away,” says Good, of Good Architecture in Annapolis, Md. “The problems they outlined have been evolving slowly for a long time, and have come into focus like a 2x4 upside the head.” The AIA’s Central Valley chapter in California also has agreed to officially support the paper, particularly the eight listed goals. “We think those are valid points that need to be discussed,” says Bruce Monighan, AIA, the Central Valley chapter’s vice president/president elect.