March Newsletter

Reflections on Modernism Week 2024

AIA California Desert

AIA California Desert Chapter Shines at Modernism Week 2024

Dear AIA California Desert Chapter Members and Subscribers,

From February 15-25, the vibrant city of Palm Springs transformed into a hub of design enthusiasts and architecture lovers, all converging to celebrate the timeless allure of mid-century modern design during Modernism Week.

Our AIA California Desert chapter participated in making this event unforgettable. With an unwavering commitment to our cores, the chapter actively participated in a myriad of events that captivated audiences and showcased the beauty of mid-century and modern architecture.

The week included off with insightful lectures where our chapter members shared their expertise and passion for design. These lectures not only provided valuable insights into the principles of mid-century and modern design but also fostered a sense of community among attendees.

One of the highlights was the series of stunning architectural tours organized where our chapter had a remarkable involvement. Atendees had the opportunity to explore iconic mid-century modern homes and buildings as well as presensent day Homes, gaining a deeper understanding of the design philosophy that has left an indelible legacy on Palm Springs and beyond.

As the courtains draw to a close on this chapter of Modernism Week, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our chapter members for their dedication and enthusiasm. Your contribution added an extra layer of brilliance to an already fabulous week, and we are proud to have been represented by such a dynamic and passionate group.

But the excitement doesn't end here! Mark your calendars for the next rendezvous – Modernism Week- October 2024, scheduled for October 24-27, where our chapter will have another important participation. Save the date and get ready for another immersive experience celebrating the best of mid-century modern design.

Let's continue to explore, appreciate, and celebrate the magic of mid-century modern design together. See you there!

Modernism Week- October
2024 AIA Leadership Summit Highlights

Highlights from the 2024 AIA Leadership Summit:

Event Overview: The AIA Leadership Summit, held from February 27 to March 1 in Washington DC, brought together over 600 attendees, including Executive Directors, Presidents, and Board Members from AIA chapters across the United States and internationally.

Purpose: The summit served as the premier advocacy and leadership training event for AIA chapter leaders, aiming to help them maximize their leadership potential in their chapters, communities, and the architecture profession.

Advocacy Day: On March 28, AIA California Desert, along with AIA Long Beach/South Bay and AIA Inland California, participated in Advocacy Day. We visited the congressional offices of Rep. Young Kim and Rep. Ken Calvert to discuss three important issues, including the Democracy in Design Act, which addresses the mandate on classical and traditional architecture for federal buildings.

Networking Opportunities: AIA California Desert had the chance to network with peers facing similar opportunities and challenges. The experience was described as impressive, inspiring, powerful, informative, and educational, bringing back valuable leadership and skills to their chapter.

Summit Sessions: The summit sessions covered various topics, including managing member expectations, engaging the new generation of architects, and navigating challenges. Artificial Intelligence (AI). The "AI/AIA: Surviving or Thriving" session emphasized the transformative potential of AI in the architectural profession.

Chief Architect Inclusion: AIA is advocating for the inclusion of the Chief Architect figure in city halls across communities. The Chief Architect would serve as a key advisor to mayors and city managers, providing architectural expertise where it is currently lacking. This initiative aims to revive a role that was once common in many U.S. cities.

Proposed Member Categories: AIA is revising and introducing changes to the member category schedule, including the addition of the "Senior Associate AIA" category. This change is expected to bring more value to members, with a modernized category schedule that enhances member engagement.

Overall, the 2024 AIA Leadership Summit was a significant and enriching experience, providing a platform for collaboration, learning, and advocacy within the architecture profession.

Democracy in Design
Fee Limits for Federal Contracts
Tax Relief for American Families and Workers
AI/AIA Suviving or Thriving

2024 Design Awards Call For Submissions!

Kawish Court

2022 Honor Awards

o2 Architecture

Lance O'Donnell AIA

AIA California Desert Past President

2024  Design Awards Submiital Details and Registration Click Here

2024 Clare Henry Day, FAIA, AIAIC Design Awards

Dear AIA California Desert Members,

It's that exciting time again! We are thrilled to announce the upcoming 2024 Clare Henry Day, FAIA, AIAIC Design Awards in collaboration with our esteemed neighbors from AIA Inland California. This prestigious event, held every two years, serves as a platform to recognize and celebrate outstanding architectural achievements within our communities.

Important Dates:

  • Design Awards Submissions Open: March 15, 2024
  • Entries Due: May 31, 2024
  • Awards Program: July 10, 2024

Call for Submissions:

We invite all AIA California Desert Chapter members to join in this tradition by submitting your projects for consideration. Whether your work is located inside or outside of our chapter boundaries, we want to showcase the talent and innovation of our members.

Furthermore, we extend this invitation to our colleagues from other chapters/components who work within the AIAIC and AIACDC chapter boundaries. Non-AIA members passionate about architecture are also welcome to submit their projects.

How to Submit:

Detailed submission guidelines will be made available upon the opening of submissions on March 15, 2024. Be sure to mark your calendars and prepare to share your exceptional work with the architectural community.

Let's keep the tradition alive by making this year's 2024 Clare Henry Day, FAIA, AIAIC Design Awards a testament to the outstanding talent within our chapters.

We look forward to seeing the incredible projects that will shape this year's awards program!

AIA California Desert Events

Something To Chew On

Location : o2 Architecture

1089 N Palm Canyon Dr, Suite B Palm Springs, CA 92262

Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2024

Time: 12:00 PM

Event Category: Lunch and Learn

Cost: Free

Engineered Wood: A Carbon Solution

Our built environment has an enormous impact on the natural environment. The materials we choose to build with will determine if this impact is positive or negative. This course will cover how wood products can be instrumental in driving down embodied carbon for new construction, in all sorts of applications and building types.


AIA CES: 1 LU-HSW: Approved

This course will cover how engineered wood can be instrumental in driving down embodied

carbon reducing the global warming potential for new construction. Attendees will gain an

understanding of:


  • The increasing importance of embodied carbon
  • Timber’s role in building the carbon neutral future
  • Engineered wood products and solutions
  • Taking environmental benefit further with engineered wood

Something to Chew On

Office (and BARchitect Crawl)

First Stop: Ashley and Vance Engenieering, Inc

73255 El Paseo, Suite 12, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Second Stop: Gregory Architects

73200 El Paseo, Suite 2B, Palm Desert, CA 92260

After the Offices Tours Let's grab a drink at a nearby bar spot in El Paseo, Location TBD.

Office (and BAR-chitect Crawl)

Greetings AIA CD members,

The official opening of the "season" in February was an exciting whirlwind indeed!

With over 120,000 architectural enthusiasts flooding into the Coachella Valley to attend over 350 Modernism Week events, you can't help but embrace the mid-century architecture vibes and be proud of where we live in this unparalleled mid-century jewel box. There's no place like it. (And it's my personal favorite time to bring out my vintage clothing...okay, if you know me, you know I do that all year!) 

Three personal favorite Modernism Week moments to share with you:

  • Attending a lecture by Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani about the reconstruction of the Aluminaire House right here in Palm Springs. These two professors from NYIT have spent their careers preserving and ultimately finding a permanent home for the 1930 designed Frey prototype house. Some fun facts...The Aluminaire House was designed by Albert Frey in 7 days, built in 10 days. It was toured by 130,000 people in one week at the 1931 Architectural League Show in NY. The admission price was 75 cents.
  • I was incredibly proud to have so many of our AIA California Desert members actively leading Modernism Week events. From Students at COD showcasing their "Tiny House Design", to restorations of mid-century gems, to neighborhood tours of homes just to name a few. The highlight for me was attending Mark Daniels' (MWDA) lecture. The lecture hall was packed, so many great residential projects...and he's funny too! I learned that Mark is from an army family and moved all over the country when he was growing up. When asked where he is "from", his response is "I am from America." I love that!
  • And last, but not least, a Modernism Week social with AIA Inland California. A quick trip to the Palm Springs Architecture and Design Center for the Frey Exhibit: Inventive Modernist, followed by a cocktail meetup at the Drift Hotel (designed by our AIA CD member and past president - Lance O'Donnell o2 Architects). Looking forward to more combined events with our AIA neighbors from Inland CA!

That's a good segway to remind everyone to submit your projects for the 2024 Design Awards. Portal to submit is open and closes May 31st. Let's get a good showing for the July 10th Gala Awards!



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