At Optima, our love for the practice and art of architecture runs deep. As a way to connect with and participate in the greater architecture community, our architects are active members of the American Institute of Architects, widely known as AIA. An extensive resource and network for the architectural profession, the organization has a lengthy history than spans over 160 years.
In 1857, thirteen architects met in the New York office of Richard Upjohn, a British-American architect famous for his Gothic Revival churches. The architects convened to discuss how to elevate the standing of the profession. With his influential background, Upjohn was a natural leader and the first president of AIA, serving the organization until 1876. Prior to the establishment of AIA, anyone could claim to be an architect due to lack of schools and licensing laws within the United States. AIA set out to elevate the standing of architecture as a profession and work together towards advancement in the industry. By 1876, AIA launched their first official chapter in New York, closely followed by Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston.
Although founded in New York, AIA moved their headquarters to Washington, DC by 1898. From Daniel Burnham to Frank Lloyd Wright to Mies van der Rohe, the vast number of members within AIA’s lifespan have changed the built landscape of America. Since its founding, AIA has created standards of excellence, advocacy, education and social change, and continues to do so today.
Now, AIA has over 260+ chapters across the globe, with over 94,000 members worldwide. AIA members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to reassure clients, the public and colleagues of their dedication to the highest standards in professional practice. David Hovey Sr. has earned the title of Fellow, FAIA, AIA’s highest membership honor for those that have exhibited exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. David Hovey Jr.’s work has also been recognized by AIA numerous times, including a National AIA Award, AIA Distinguished Building Award, AIA Honor Awards, AIA Innovation Award, and AIA Divine Detail Awards from AIA Chicago and AIA Phoenix. His prefabricated system has been described by AIA jurors as the future of American housing.
A prestigious membership organization with deep roots and wide-reaching influence, the American Institute of Architects continues to promote the architectural profession, ensuring its successful, longevity and inspiration — and it is something that we are honored to be a part of.