My Journey through the AIA Conference on Architecture

Samantha Parr

Intern Architect

July 30, 2018

This year, TURNERBATSON blessed me with the opportunity to attend the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City. I was able to join with architects from all over the country in lectures focused on making the world better by design. I had an amazing time and learned about some interesting topics:

Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center: The Rebirth of an Icon

Architects need to design with the future in mind. This icon was set in the jet age and designed for planes that held 150-200 passengers. Unfortunately, it became obsolete due to advancements in technology and was left vacant for more than a decade. TWA will now be accompanied by a hotel, restaurants, conference center, and observation deck:

  • Fun Fact: The iconic wings of the Flight Center’s concrete shell was supported on only four columns, and the three day pour took place during a hurricane.

From Young Female Designers to Firm Leaders: The Boston Experiment

The Girl UNinterrupted Project is an experiment that served three functions. It “offered a manual to young designers on how to jump-start careers, it provided firm leaders with an understanding of young designers’ struggles, and it offered suggestions for creating an office culture that is equitable and maximizes talent.”

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My Main Takeaways:

  • Don’t be a bystander.
  • We’re the ones making the world, it should look like us.
  • Equality vs. Equity – Equality is treating everyone the same. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful.

Saving History: Landmarks Preservation in NYC

 Without the tangible remnants of the past, we can’t plan the future. Because of this, designers should approach all projects as if they are in a historic district. TURNERBATSON is currently practicing this approach through the design and redevelopment of a better downtown Trussville.

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TURNERBATSON Architecture AIA Conference 2Managing Uncertainty: New Project Planning Guide for Owners and Architects

The AIA Roundtable has created a “Project Planning Guide” that has tools and data to help identify ways to assist clients in anticipating major uncertainty factors and establishing budgets.

  • Meet with clients at the beginning of a project to discuss what is likely to happen and know how you’ll move forward if certain issues arise.
  • Assemble the whole project team as early as possible and provide strong, consistent leadership within the owner and designer’s organization.
  • Communication is key. Completely define project goals and requirements so that everyone involved understands their role.

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Setting the Stage for Positive Outcomes: 3 Ways to Structure a Sustainability Design Charrette 

Think differently: instead of trying to make something “less bad,” ask yourself “what does good look like?” One of the best practices for putting together a charrette is to throw open the doors to many individuals (team, users, builders, community).

  • Think beyond yourselves.
  • Edit goals throughout the project but keep the final spirit the same. Think about your goals every day and celebrate when they are achieved.
  • Plan more meetings at the beginning of a project – not the end. Ask others what their takeaways are to be sure you’re really hearing each other.

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For more information on the architects, designers, presenters, and topics, please visit: