Seventy-five Years Strong in 2009, the Annual AIA Minnesota Convention Sustains its Success
For the 75th consecutive year, AIA Minnesota will host its convention. “Sustaining a successful large-scale convention of this kind is no minor feat,” says AIA Minnesota Executive Vice President Beverly Hauschild-Baron, Hon. AIA (pictured at right). And she should know, she’s led over 30 of AIA Minnesota’s conventions. She credits the format used to create the convention and strong member involvement in the planning as critical key elements.
In the convention’s earlier days, they were held at various hotels in the Twin Cities area and lasted one to two days. In the eighties, the convention was moved to the venue it continues to be held in today – the Minneapolis Convention Center – with programs spanning four days. “Geography has helped us maintain our consistently high member attendance,” notes Hauschild-Baron, “with 1,600 of our 2,200 members in the Twin Cities area, it eliminates the cost for overnight accommodations. Our members who work in the downtown area also find it convenient to come and go as they like to programs over the course of the four day convention.”
Michelle Mongeon-Allen, AIA, JLG Architects (pictured at right) is this year’s Convention Committee Chair. She has challenged the committee to address head-on the many new issues faced for the 2009 convention. “The reality is that significantly fewer architects and exhibitors can afford the convention this year,” said Mongeon-Allen. “We have focused on networking activities during the exhibit hall, connecting members more to AIA Minnesota activities and volunteer opportunities within our community (Citizen Architect), and providing unemployed members with reduced registration or scholarships if they volunteer to help during convention.” We hope by taking these proactive measures, as well as choosing local speakers and cutting out some additional perks (receptions, lunches, etc.), we can still put on a great convention and generate the revenue necessary to maintain the quality of our existing programs.
There has always been an optimism and forward-thinking message about the annual convention theme. This year’s theme, Converge | Emerge represents the opportunity for architects to come together to hone their uniquely valuable skill sets and emerge as a stronger profession. In the recent past, architects might have been too busy to look ahead, set a new direction, or share expertise with community. The current economic climate places heightened value in relationships and involvement outside of practice.
What's in a Theme?
Behind the scenes of the convention that draws over 1,500 AIA Minnesota members each year, is the planning and efforts of members and staff through the Convention Programs Committee and Convention Committee.
The Convention Programs Committee carefully selects topics and speakers while balancing out what local interests might be as well as attracting speakers of a national caliber. They also look at continuing education needs among tracks including design, materials and systems, practice, leadership and ethics, profession, residential, urban design, preservation, sustainable design and technology. The Convention Committee starts up in May of each year. With 20 plus members, it is meant to be a diverse representation of our members with associate and allied members all offering insight on trends, technology, and learning. This group’s discussion leads to a theme for each year’s convention that helps focus our message, set goals and create a common thread among programs and the exhibit hall.
Michelle Mongeon-Allen, AIA, JLG Architects is this year’s Convention Committee Chair. Shehas challenged the committee to address head-on the many new issues faced for the 2009 convention, namely the economy. It’s led to more outreach and networking activities during the exhibit hall, connecting members more to AIA Minnesota activities and volunteer opportunities within our community and providing unemployed members with reduced registration or scholarships.
These discussions informed this year’s theme: Converge | Emerge. There has always been an optimism and forward-thinking message about the annual convention theme. This year is no different. 2009’s theme represents the opportunity for architects to come together to hone their uniquely valuable skill sets and emerge as a stronger profession.
Below are some previous convention themes and graphics. Since 1987, Rubin Cordaro Design has consulted with us on the graphics (images below, courtesy of Rubin Cordaro).
1973 Minnesota: Limited Quantity Available
1981 Architecture – Who Cares?
1985 Off the Wall
1993 Dreaming, Teaming & Scheming in the 90’s
2001 Substance, Setting + Solutions
2006 In The Mix