Beyond the Boardroom: Chapter Visits Five and Six

Last Thursday evening, on our sixth chapter visit, TxA President-elect Michael Malone, AIA, and I met with AIA Austin. The meeting was held in a beautiful home designed by James LaRue, AIA, and it was hosted by the homeowners and AIA Austin President Philip Keil, AIA.

In each set of chapter visits — this is my fourth time around the state with a president-elect of TxA — certain phrases in the presentation begin to resonate with me. With Michael, it’s his comment that “Life is in session!” He makes the point that we need to be working at our best on whatever project is in front of us.

Michael Malone, AIA

"Life is in session!" President-elect Michael Malone, AIA, addresses AIA Austin members during the recent chapter visit. – photos by Julie Pizzo Wood

That’s a worthy challenge in any endeavor — whether you’re an architect and striving to provide the best solution (even if the client doesn’t care), a staff member for an association, or a fresh graduate in a brand new position. This approach is not too far removed from the idea of Carpe diem (“seize the day). Often, we get too caught up in day-to-day obstacles or impediments to the tasks at hand. It’s good to be reminded that we need to be looking for positive ways to create new opportunities and building new connections.

And chapter visits always provide a great forum for making connections. Last night, I learned more about the excellent work that the Young Architects Forum is doing on the national level. I was also introduced to AIA Austin’s “DesignVoice” program, which may result in interesting collaborations between this chapter and others throughout the state.

AIA Austin Chapter Meeting

The meeting was held in a beautiful space designed by James LaRue, AIA – photo by Julie Pizzo Wood

So far, Michael and I have visited the Brazos, Lubbock, Southeast Texas, Amarillo, and Corpus Christi chapters, and in several of the visits, we’ve toured projects that are reminders of the many unique architectural jewels that can be found across the state.

Last week, we visited AIA Corpus Christi, and I’d like to give a “shout-out” to President Connie Rivera, AIA, who arranged for the visit to take place at the Art Museum of South Texas (designed by Philip Johnson, with an addition by Ricardo Legorreta). 

Art Museum of South Texas

Watergarden & Art Museum of South Texas via flickr; imagematters1

This was a magnificent setting — and we had a better than usual turnout. The Corpus Christi chapter has always been most welcoming — the setting just made our meeting exponentially better! We look forward to many more chapter visits over the coming months.