As summer fades, a "back-to-school" spirit infuses the rising season with a fresh sense of purpose and enthusiasm. What better time to reconnect with peers and reimmerse oneself in one's chosen field of practice? To help, there are many architecture and design-focused events, exhibitions, lectures, or conferences scheduled during the next three months. Here are just a few to add to your calendar:

  • Now through Nov. 14, Montclair, N.J.—Exhibition: Everywhere Is the Best Seat. The latest edition in architect and composer Christopher Janney's "Urban Musical Instruments" series, this sound-and-light installation invites visitor interaction. Waving a hand in front of the many hand prints on any of the installation's 30 columns produces a variety of melodic tones and environmental sounds, which change depending on the time of day and activity within the space. The interactive installation is on display in the amphitheater of Montclair State University's Alexander Kasser Theater and operates 24/7.
  • Now through Nov. 28, Richmond, Va.—Exhibition: American Ruins. Featuring nearly 50 infrared photographs captured by photographer Arthur Drooker for his book of the same name, American Ruins records American architectural treasures that are being reclaimed by nature. Each of the photographs depict the remains of 25 crumbling historic sites that represent the country's geographic and architectural diversity, two located in Virginia. American Ruins is part of the Dominion Exhibition Series at the Virginia Center for Architecture.
  • Sept.17, Austin—Seminar: "Energy Modeling, a Design Tool." During Austin Energy Green Building's upcoming seminar, attendees will review several major energy simulation tools and learn about design integration of building performance simulation. Also, local experts will discuss the process of developing the design criteria for Guadalupe Saldana, an affordable, net-zero energy residential subdivision. The seminar runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All Austin Energy green building seminars are held at the Lower Colorado River Authority Dalchau Service Center. To attend, click here.
  • Sept. 20, Washington, D.C.—"Spotlight on Design: Warren T. Byrd, FASLA." From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the National Building Museum will host a lecture by Warren T. Byrd Jr., FASLA, founding principal of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architecture, as part of its Spotlight on Design series. Byrd will discuss the firm's work, including the St. Louis Citygarden and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. This program also is part of the AIA/DC chapter's Architecture Weekweaetxdyvaydzcwq, and attendees are eligible for 1.5 AIA and ASLA continuing education credits. Click here to purchase tickets.
  • Sept. 22-24, Chicago—Architecture for Change Summit 2010. Architects, developers, and affordable housing activists will gather at the University of Illinois at Chicago to address the affordable housing crisis. Attendees will hear about the work of nationally recognized affordable housing design advocates, and learn about how conventional housing development practices and policies impede affordable, appropriate, and sustainable housing design. The summit is organized by the university's City Design Center, LL Consulting, and the National Public Housing Museum. Click here to view the program schedule and to register.
  • Sept.23-24, New York—AIA Women's Leadership Development Summit. Each year the summit focuses on helping women practitioners of architecture identify and develop their skills to further their careers and realize their potential. This year's summit, held at New York's Desmond Tutu Center, will offer presentations and seminars on skill development, diversity in leadership, alternative career paths, transitioning to positions of leadership, and creating mentorship networks. The Women in Architecture and Design ATHENA Awards also will be presented during the summit. Click here to register.
  • Sept. 23 (virtual event)—Webinar: "Risk Management for Architects." The AIA Practice Management Knowledge Community will kick off a new free webinar series with this in-depth look at the four nontechnical factors involved in more than 80 percent of the professional liability claims made against designers and architects. Presented by XL Design Professional, the webinar will discuss ways for architects to anticipate and reduce their exposure to potential claims. Register for the webinar.
  • Sept. 25, Raleigh, N.C.—TMH Modern 2010 House Tour. Triangle Modernist Houses will hold its 14th annual tour of modernist houses in North Carolina's Triangle area, which is home to the third largest concentration of modernist residences in America. This professionally organized architectural tour runs from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will grant participants rare access to eight private residences and one office building. Photography is allowed. Ticket-holders must use the provided shuttle buses, which will arrive at each house every nine minutes. Space is limited; visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/2010 for house information and to purchase tickets.
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 2, San Francisco—West Coast Green. The annual conference on green innovation for the built environment will be held at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center, along with a showcase of new and emerging sustainable products and technologies. The event offers numerous educational and networking opportunities and will feature speakers William McDonough, Michelle Kaufmann, and Panama Bartholomy. Register at www.westcoastgreen.com.
  • Oct. 1-4, Austin—AIA|CRAN 2010 Symposium. The Custom Residential Architects' Network of the AIA will hold its third annual conference at Austin's Hilton Hotel Downtown. In addition to the AIA Austin Homes Tour, the symposium will include several timely sessions and discussions, such as "The End of Stick Built?", "BIM: Is It Prime Time Yet?", and a roundtable on "Successful Business Strategies," as well as a keynote delivered by residential architect's editorial director, Claire Conroy. Register at www.aiacran.org.  
  • Oct. 2, Northeast region—Northeast Sustainable Energy Association 2010 Green Buildings Open House. NESEA's annual Green Buildings Open House offers participants in 10 states—from Maine to Pennsylvania—an inside look at homes and businesses that have made energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. More than 500 green buildings were open to visitors during the 2009 event. Many of the host sites were designed or built by NESEA members. To find open house sites near your location, visit www.nesea.org/greenbuildings/.
  • Oct. 7, New York—AIA New York Chapter Heritage Ball and Party@theCenter. Held to celebrate New York's architectural heritage and its tradition of design excellence, the AIA New York Chapter's annual black-tie event supports the chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation. The Heritage Ball will be held at Chelsea Piers, Pier Sixty. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m.; dinner starts at 7:30 p.m. All Heritage Ball attendees are given complimentary entrance to the official after-party, the Party@theCenter, held from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.  at the Center for Architecture. Click here to purchase tickets to either event.
  • Oct. 7-9,Boston—NOMA 2010 International Conference and Exposition. The Boston Chapter of the National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA) will host the national organization's 38th annual conference at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. In addition to networking opportunities, the conference will offer a variety of seminars on topics ranging from the recovery of New Orleans and Haiti to the ways in which technology changes architectural practice to learning from the Bauhaus and reimagining your own practice. The pre-conference lecture will be delivered by Phil Freelon and David Adjaye, winners of the Smithsonian Institution commission for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Student and professional design competitions and a variety of other special events also will be held. Visit www.nomaconference.com.
  • Oct. 9-17, New York—Cooper-Hewitt National Design Week. The Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt Museum hosts National Design Week, an educational initiative that offers free admission to all museum visitors and granting access to a series of public programs. Programs include the National Design Awards Gala and announcement of the winner of the People's Design Award, as well as a Teen Design Fair, and several panel discussions. Visit the National Design Week website for program information and awards gala ticket purchases.  
  • Oct.12-15, Washington, D.C.—Urban Land Institute 2010 Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo. Prominent guest speakers, industry experts, and knowledgeable panelists presenting at ULI's annual fall meeting this year will share strategies, current land-use trends, and opportunities in today's market. Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the event includes numerous educational sessions offering insights into industry trends and developments, mobile workshops, special interest tours, and networking events. Visit www.ulifall.org for complete program details and to register.
  • Oct. 14-16, San Antonio—Texas Society of Architects|AIA 2010 Convention and Design Products and Ideas Expo. The Texas Society of Architects|AIA will hold its 71st annual convention at San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, offering three days of educational sessions, project and place tours, new product information, and networking opportunities for architects and other design professionals. Program and registration information is available here.
  • Nov. 17-19, Chicago—Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Greenbuild 2010 will offer a wide array of educational sessions for architects, builders, consultants, LEED professionals, and others involved in green building, including off-site training opportunities and LEED workshops. On Nov. 16 and 17, the Affordable Housing Summit will be held, providing a variety of educational sessions and project charettes for leaders in the green affordable housing segment. Also taking place this year during the conference is the Residential Summit (Nov. 18), offering 15 educational sessions specifically developed for residential professionals covering topics such as building science, marketing, production homes, and multifamily construction. Visit www.greenbuildexpo.com for the conference program and registration information.