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AIA Looks Up in Atlanta, finds inspiration

AIA Looks Up in Atlanta, finds inspiration

by TODD STOLARSKI | May 21, 2015

Photo © Architectural Record

Photo © Architectural Record

AIA Atlanta concluded over the weekend, but not before the Gate City of the South’s spring winds blew in thousands of visionary architectural minds, even one man twice elected President of the United States. Grammy award winner and former President Bill Clinton delivered the opening keynote address at the three day-long conference.  You know it's a big deal when Bill Clinton is the opening act. His May 14 speech touched on myriad topics from terrorism to architects avoiding taking the "low-hanging fruit". With hundreds of educational sessions to choose from, exhibit hall vendors as far as the eye could see, and a slew of award winners on hand, led by Architecture2030 founder Edward Mazria, attendees may have come for "the Man from Hope", but they stayed for all the hope and change on display.

Above, Mazria, sans award. Below, Golden boy Safdie.

Above, Mazria, sans award. Below, Golden boy Safdie.

Walking away with the big Edward C. Kemper Award, Brooklyn-born architect Marzria has been a pioneer of the sustainable building movement in his four-decade career. When he established Architecture 2030 nine years ago, he promptly issued a bold challenge to architecture firms worldwide to achieve a sustainable carbon neutrality by 2030 in new buildings and both major renovations through incremental of reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Among other award winners was 2015 AIA Gold Medal recipient Moshe Safdie, an Israel-born, American-Canadian designer who was described by a fellow Gold Medalist as “a responsible and sensitive creator, a solver of problems, a modest but brilliant artist, not as well-recognized or known as he should be, but an example for all architects.” AIA Atlanta also showcased those inspired minds where the sky is not even the limit, one of those men is Chris Downey.

Presented as part of AIA's I Look Up campaign to raise awareness about the architecture profession, the short documentary debuted about Chris Downey, AIA, who lost his sight as a result of a tragic accident during a brain tumor removal surgery. "An Architect's Story" takes a closer a look into the life of one man who is "without sight, but not without vision." 

AIA announced in July it will be launching a contest "challenging filmmakers to create short films that inspire the work to 'Look Up'." To learn more about the I Look Up initiative and Chris Downey's story, head over to ilookup.org.

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