The next day officially kicked off the convention. Three keynote speakers, the student design competition, and a variety of breakout sessions await. The first keynote speaker was Yen Ong, Principal at 5G Studios out of Dallas. He had an incredible story about succeeding against all odds and becoming one of the premier design studios in the world in a very short amount of time.
The next session for me was “The Aural Landscape”, which provided insight into a forgotten aspect of architecture. The biggest takeaway for me was that, in general, our spaces are too loud and open office situations really need to have a designed white noise system to provide acoustical isolation.
The next session was a breakout session titled “Achieving Outstanding Design: College of Fellows + Young Architects + Associates”. The panel consisted of 5 panelist with a varying range of experience as well as being not licensed all the way up to FAIA. I found it fascinating to see the varying answers based on the size of firm the panelist worked for. Night and day difference. This stood out to me probably more than most because I have worked in small, medium, and large corporate firms. To sum up the session: Good Design Matters.
The next session was a breakout session titled “Infrastructure: Framework for Well-Being”. The session was about BNIM’s opportunity to transform a vacant building in Kansas City into their new office. The project ultimately was not completed, but much knowledge was gained in the arena of high performance design. They spoke as much about their office culture and beliefs as the project itself. Here is one slide about their values for the project:
Up next has to be one of my favorite places in Manhattan yet, Varsity Doughnuts, located in “Aggieville” (the college student “downtown”). It is a small food truck tucked in the back of an alley, complete with movies being projected on the alley walls. I had the Mac ‘N Cheese(with bacon!) and the Bacon Bomb. Ridiculous. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
From there we went to one of the random bars, just like you would find in any college town. Nothing really to write home about. That was it for the evening.
The next morning I packed my things and went to the AIA CSR business meeting. In the meeting we talked about a variety of things and voted on the next CSR RAD. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Meeting adjourned.
Lunch ended up being at Taco Lucha, which is a Luchadores themed mexican restaurant. Good food here, even better margaritas.
With that, it was time to make the gorgeous, long drive home.
So to sum it all up, attending conferences like the AIA CSR are vital to my growth and development as an architect. The value is in learning from those outside your circles and some of the best in the nation, networking with like-minded, talented individuals across the central states, exploring the local establishments(I am a strong proponent of local businesses, if you couldn’t tell), and seeing parts of the country first-hand that I might not otherwise experience. Sometimes learning is more than just earning continuing education credits.