AIA Michigan 
April  2017

Champion the profession. Nurture our chapters. Build Michigan better. 
President's Message

Today marked the closing of " The Architectural Imagination " exhibit at Detroit's MOCAD gallery, which was a re-presentation of the exhibit from the U.S. Pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, Italy last summer. (The architecture version of the Biennale.) The show "presents drawings, models, and videos of 12 speculative architecture projects designed for specific sites in Detroit but with  far-reaching applications for cities around the world." If you missed the show you can see some of the work at .   I am guessing that most of you at least heard about the exhibit, which garnered a fair amount of discussion in Michigan, and most of that commentary was negative, including some very strong statements such as those posted on .

One would expect an exhibition of this caliber, which was sponsored by many significant institutions including the AIA, would in fact have the power to inspire our imagination. And one could hope that it might have celebrated some of the innovative work that is actually happening here. However, many Detroiters both inside and outside the design community found the work to be less than inspiring and blatantly disconnected from its supposed context, both in terms of the relevance of the proposals, and the cursory involvement of the local community in the process. A potent African proverb of sorts comes to mind, which I heard referenced often in relation to the show: "Anything about us, without us, is not for us." Many who responded in this way may not have even seen the work, and may have been responding primarily to the fact that Detroiters were not invited to the table, but based on my own first hand review of the exhibition, that skepticism was well founded. 

For starters, much of the work was not particularly visionary, but the main flaw in the conception of the show was the pretense that it was about Detroit in the first place. My education as an architect placed great value on developing a deep understanding of a place as an essential component of a thoughtful design process. Many of us have been taught that both the particularities of place, and the values and aspirations of the local stakeholders we serve are key building blocks for true innovation. Although the exhibition claims to "emphasize the importance and value of the architectural imagination in shaping forms and spaces into exciting future possibilities for all Detroit citizens," the lack of real understanding of the place, its culture, or its people is obvious to those who know the project sites well. And in that regard, I was disappointed that an exhibit with global exposure that had the potential to capture the public's imagination about the power of great design instead devalues the real potential of our work in favor of formal gymnastics that have almost nothing to do with Detroit's future.
Will Wittig, AIA

Executive Director's Message
Cathy Headshot
The AIA Michigan Design & Honor Awards reception will be hosted at  The Rooster Tail in  Detroit on June 16.
How to Effectively Talk About Architecture with Clients and the Public
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We still need AIA Mentors for the AIA Michigan mentoring network. If you are interested, please contact Evelyn Dougherty -
Cathy Mosley, Hon. Aff. AIAMI

Emerging Professionals Corner
Sami Szeszulski, 
Assoc. AIA
Last month, at the AIA  Grassroots Leadership Conference, the AIA announced the release of a  new position paper  on titling for professionals pursuing licensure (formerly known as "interns"). While "intern" is still supported as an appropriate term for students working in an architectural office while pursuing a degree, AIA has chosen to support the use of the titles "architectural associate" and "design professional" when referring to those holding a NAAB-accredited degree, if they are working in a firm and pursuing licensure. 

While I commend the AIA and those directly involved with this process on their efforts, and for seeing the value the re-titling brings to individuals working in the profession, it is ultimately up to us to instigate the change in our own firm culture. Unfortunately, issues still exist with the new titles AIA has recommended. The use of the term "associate" may cause confusion within some existing firm structures, and the term "professional" implies licensure or registration. Furthermore, the use of "architectural" or any other variations to the word "architect" when referring to unlicensed individuals can be problematic due to legal restrictions on the word. Because of these issues with the AIA supported nomenclature, as well as standard resistance to change, I foresee some reluctance to move away from the term "intern" within the culture of firms and the profession. 

As associate members, this issue is crucial for us, as it dictates what our job titles are and how we are recognized by our profession and our colleagues. It is up to us to advocate within our firms to, at the very least, move away from the use of the title "intern" and find what works best within out firm culture to define our role and recognizes our commitment to the profession. The AIA supported titles are unfortunately no more than guidelines at this point, but important guidelines that express the intent of respectfully recognizing the value of those of us who represent the future generation of licensed architects. 

AIA Flint Scholarship
The American Institute of Architects- Flint Chapter is pleased to announce it has established a scholarship for graduating high school seniors pursuing an education and career in architecture, as well as for continuing college students enrolled in an architecture program. To download an application and further required criteria and details please visit
The AIA Flint Architecture Scholarship Fund was established to encourage and assist students graduating from high schools in the Flint Chapter region (Genesee, Shiawassee, and Lapeer Counties ) and existing college students to pursue a professional degree in architecture at a college or university with a NAAB accredited architecture program, or an associate degree in architectural technology.  The fund is administered by the AIA Flint Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  Read More

Monthly Highlights

AIA Michigan Honor Awards 2017
Call for Entries
Click Here for more information
Submissions due March 23, 2017


New Members!
Members who joined, rejoined or transferred to AIA Michigan in March!


Ali M. Beydoun, Assoc. AIA
Cody M. Carew, AIA
Adam Clark, Assoc. AIA
Meaghan Markiewicz, Assoc. AIA
Ryan Mason, Assoc. AIA
Jeremy Mizak, Assoc. AIA
Paul Van Der Kolk, AIA
Christopher L. Weir, Assoc. AIA
Beth York, AIA
Kevin Tuchowski, AIA

Welcome to AIA Michigan and we look forward to meeting you at future events!!
In This Issue
AIAU is a place for architects to learn and earn continuing education credits.
Upcoming Events!

AIA Convention
April 27-29, 2017
SGN 2017 Annual Meeting
Westin St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
June 14-16, 2017
AIA Michigan Honor Awards
The Rooster Tail - Detroit
June 16, 2017

SpeakUp 2017
The Curtis Hotel
Denver, CO
July 19 -21, 2017

Contact the Staff

Cathy Mosley, Hon. Aff. AIAMI
Executive Director of AIA Michigan: 
Events and Programming, Finances, Communications, Membership, Government Affairs, Sponsorship
Evelyn Dougherty, Hon. Aff. AIAMI
Events Director: Event Planning and Registration, Documents, 
Continuing Education, Membership, Job Board
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