Hello Friends and Colleagues! Now that we’ve made it to the second quarter of 2021 I wanted to share a few thoughts about AIA Utah and how we are doing. We selected April 8 as a day to celebrate the 100 Year Centennial of AIA Utah, I hope you enjoyed the celebration. We have established our theme for the year — “Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate!” The theme, which is directly related to our strategic goals for the year has already acted as a framework for all of our meetings and events in a meaningful way. We have made great connections to groups outside of the AIA and are having meaningful conversations to the benefit of the profession. We continue to collaborate with groups such as DFCM, Salt Lake City, UCFA, and our State and Federal Legislature to solve community problems and to show them through our service who architects are and what we do. In order to celebrate our 100th year properly, we have established a planning committee for the 2021 Utah Conference and have already announced that AIA National President Peter Exley, FAIA will be joining us as a keynote speaker. The conference will be held in hybrid format (part in person and part digital) the week of September 20-24. We are also planning a golf tournament event and member celebration in September. All of the AIA committees have already been very busy this year and we shared an update on those in our Town Hall Meeting held on February 26. Please checkout out the link to that meeting on the chapter’s YouTube page.
Now to share a few thoughts moving forward. I think society as a whole misunderstands architects and the role that we can play in finding solutions to complex problems. We need to continue making efforts so that our combined voice and experience can be heard in critical ongoing discussions related to Climate Action and Equitable design. These are two key issues that currently are the focus of AIA, and we are bringing these issues home to our local chapter and finding ways to get the message out. I believe as we make connections to clients, building users, and our community stake holders we can collaborate with them using the power of design to shape our communities for the better, driving our projects to be more sustainable, our communities more livable, and more accessible to all. It is a great time to be an architect and to be able to face these challenges and opportunities head on. I know that AIA Utah is well positioned and is full of amazing and talented members which will be up for the challenge. I have already seen a lot of you in action and it has been an honor to work with you!
Let me share a quick story in closing. On February 18, I watched with amazement as the NASA Perseverance Rover landed on the surface of Mars. Like all rovers before it there is a window of time called “the seven minutes of terror” during landing where there is no communication and no control of what will happen. The NASA team has to anticipate all the design work needed months or years in advance of that seven minute moment and solve every problem to be able to have a picture perfect landing. For the first time ever, they were able to give us some photos showing the landing and we got a great photo of the parachute. It was curious to me, the design that was selected for the parachute seemed strange and random, but later I found that this design held a hidden message using binary code. The message included is the motto of the Perseverance Mission, “Dare mighty things.” To some landing this Rover on Mars would be considered impossible, but somewhere along the way many people “dared mighty things” to connect, collaborate and work together to make it happen. I think this same message can be applied to everything we do as architects. We have set the bar high for ourselves and to some it may seem impossible, but I know as we move forward we can “dare mighty things” and bring to pass all of the goals of our profession to guide community decisions with clarify, to improve our planet, and to improve our society as a whole.