Recently, we sponsored our two architectural associates Shona Bose and Dion Serra to fly to Las Vegas for the much-anticipated AIA 2019 National Conference. This year’s theme, “Blueprint for A Better Future,” explored topics such as Sustainability in Design as well as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As the largest architecture convention in the nation, the A’19 offers over 750 exhibitors as well as 500 sessions, tours and networking opportunities.
The attendee count this year climbed to over 30,000–with a list of keynote speakers including notable influencers like Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani headlining. Learning opportunities are boundless as attendees were able to take advantage of opportunities for hands-on learning at the many workshops offered as well as connect with architects and developers from all over the nation.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to connect with so many women leaders in architecture,” said Shona, who is a committee member on McGranahan’s Diversity and Inclusion Board. Conference attendees included women industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and other influential figures from many different backgrounds–several whom Shona connected with personally as an Indian-American woman in Architecture. “The people I have met here and the workshops I joined all left a huge impact on my perception of architecture and inspired me to continue to invest in my professional development.”
Among the 500 sessions offered, A’19 also gave attendees the opportunity to peek at new technology emerging in the industry. One of Shona’s favorite workshops include “Future of AI in Architecture,” which explored the utilization of machine learning in architectural design. She also had a chance to demo holographic sensory lenses as one of the emerging tools in A/E/C among other high-tech solutions that challenge traditional methods of approaching design. The lenses not only allowed users to view building models in a true-to-scale perspective, but also provided them the ability to walk through the rooms and halls of said models in real size while simultaneously maintaining awareness of their physical surroundings in the real world. Such intricate tools may soon revolutionize countless factors such as how architects access their own ability to design to how firms work with clients in the next upcoming decades.
Another A’19 favorite included “Leadership Skills: Taking It to the Next Level,” which Dion had the opportunity to explore alongside innovative peers. As a creative who enjoyed diving into in-depth topics and discussions, the workshops provided a collaborative space for Dion to immerse himself in sharing new ideas with other industry professionals.
“There seems to be a session for every person’s interest,” said Dion. “There’s so much to learn.”
Each workshop inspired thoughtful conversations–whether in designing safer schools or discovering ways to improve sustainability efforts. This year’s theme of “Blueprint for A Better Future” also allowed for more discussion on increasing inclusivity and broadening the circle to invite new voices to contribute.
Our values include cultivating a culture of learning, so it was thrilling to witness Dion and Shona explore new ways to design solutions and grow their connections at the A’19. Our goal is to be involved in the combined efforts toward sustainability, diversity, inclusion – and above all – invest in each member of our team and set them up for success.