Wednesday - December 7, 2016
The Great Debate
Years ago, I had the unique opportunity as a student to witness a debate between two giants of 20th Century architecture, regarding the nature of change and how it should best occur. The debaters were Charles W. Moore, FAIA of Moore Grover Harper and Nathaniel Owings, FAIA, partner with the legendary firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. The venue was in a small meeting room at the Texas state architect’s convention in San Antonio and the time was the early 1970’s when the turmoil of the ‘60’s and the Viet Nam War were both winding down due to general exhaustion in the American psyche. The spectacle of Watergate had not yet occurred.
Nathanial A. Owings, FAIA
Charles W. Moore, FAIA
The Owings-Moore debate was civil and apolitical in terms of ‘Right vs. Left’. It still got heated at times because even famous 1970’s ‘starchitects’ could get worked up about things relating less to window details or pediments and rather about a philosophical vision of the future. Nat Owings expressed his theory, capricious or not, that in order to improve things, one must tear everything down and start anew. This was interesting coming from an architect whose word-famous firm designed glass and steel towers for many corporate clients. Charles Moore, the historicist, took the position that incremental change was the best route for progress. Keep what has been proven of value through time and build upon it. He seemed truly alarmed by Owings’ image of “a Phoenix rising from the ashes” from which transfiguring change would hopefully create a better world.
The memory of this argument came to mind just after the recent election when it seems that uncertainty and confusion ruled the aftermath. I was certainly surprised (“shocked”) along with many, many fellow architects who grasped for meaning in the results and now wondered what the future may bring. That shock and confusion was translated into rage expressed by many of our brother and sister professionals reacting to the now-infamous message from AIA National CEO, Robert Ivy, FAIA congratulating the new President-Elect and extending a hand of cooperation on future projects from which we, as architects, might as well benefit. Quite a few vocal AIA members considered this an early capitulation to a politician whose pronouncements and past behavior did not seem to bode well for us or the public interest in general. The ‘business-side’ of architecture seemed to be AIA’s only concern. Of course, the people had spoken (through the Electoral College) and we are told that the election was for ‘Change’. What kind of transformative change has the country chosen? Is it the incremental change that preserves advancements we’ve made as a civil society under the Constitution over two centuries or will a single-party government tear down the house and start all over again, re-using some materials but leaving out much that we architects, with the public interest in mind, are most passionate about? National has subsequently taken steps to reassure us that AIA will not compromise the values which extend beyond just promoting the business of architecture. We must still advocate for ethical design and equitable business practices, support laws that protect the natural environment, and advance our economy. We can best do this collectively and on a national scale through our premier professional organization, regardless of who is president and which party holds the reins of government. The debate within AIA, spurred by the catharsis of a national election surprise, has even made more evident the full range of values and the real mission of AIA. These will guide us into the coming 2017 session of the New Mexico Legislature when critical decisions will be made by our political leaders faced with a weak state economy and current public deficit. Please help us when we call upon you to lend your voice in promoting or opposing proposed legislation which impacts not only our profession, but also the interests of the citizens of New Mexico. This is where architects turn words into action.
Goodbye and Hello
While I will remain on the board as Past-President for 2017, this is my final message as 2016 Chapter President. I thank the dedicated AIA-NM board members and our Executive Director, Jean Gibson for the tremendous support given me throughout the year. I greatly appreciate the efforts, especially of those who drive from Las Cruces and Santa Fe to Albuquerque to attend in-person meetings. I also want to thank chapter members who responded to the survey distributed to the membership this past fall and especially those who contacted me directly to express an idea or to inform us of an issue that might merit attention. As the AIA’s statewide component, it is our main mission to advocate for the profession and it takes you, the members to provide the critical force which makes all things happen. If you have an interest in the statewide advocacy that AIA-NM does, by all means, get involved!
Finally, I am happy to welcome Barbara Felix, AIA into the President’s chair this coming January. Barbara, as President-Elect enters this position after already exhibiting tremendous imagination, insight and energy on the 2016 board. She has been the prime force behind the 2016 New Mexico Grassroots event which I hope many members attend this coming Friday, December 6th. We wish her best of luck and a great start to the coming year!
You may contact me anytime by e-mail at email@example.com.
Andre A. Larroque, AIA
President, AIA New Mexico
The Chair of the AIA New Mexico nominating committee Robert Williams, AIA New Mexico Immediate Past President, is pleased to announce the following candidates for election to a position as an officer on the AIA New Mexico Board of Directors for the year 2017 –
President Elect – Stephen Alano
Secretary – Marie Shaver Holloway
Treasurer – James D. Vorenberg
The current President-Elect Barbara Felix will assume the 2017 presidency and current President Andre A. Larroque will serve as Immediate Past President on the Board.
Election of the officers will be held at the AIA New Mexico Board Meeting, Saturday, December 10th, 2016, 9:00 a.m. at the offices of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, 7601 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque. AIA New Mexico board meetings are open to the public and all AIA members are welcome to attend.
It’s not too late to register and attend the inaugural advocacy conference and panel discussion being held on Friday, December 9th. This is an excellent opportunity to hear about what AIA NM has been doing in the field of advocacy, the benefits of having architects voices heard at all levels of government, and to discuss how architects can work together to improve our visibility and effectiveness in molding public policy. All that and 2.5 LU/HSW!
Friday, December 9th conference (2.5 LU/HSW) – 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm.
$45 for AIA NM members, $75 for non-members
Deadline for registration has been extended to midnight, Thursday, Dec. 8th.
In person at -
Associated Contractors of NM, 6135 Edith NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107
By webinar in Santa Fe -
AIA Santa Fe Office, 444 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, NM 87501
By webinar in Las Cruces -
ASA Architects, 201 N. Alameda, Las Cruces, NM 88004
AIA New Mexico is pleased to announce that back issues of New Mexico Architecture (NMA) are now accessible on the web in digital form. New Mexico Architecture appeared bi-monthly between 1959 and 1991 and served as the official publication of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The magazine was intended to be a communications medium for members, and also a vehicle to establish a close relationship between the architects of New Mexico and the public.
While AIA New Mexico still maintains copyright, hard copies have been archived at both Zimmerman Library and the SA&P library on the UNM main campus. Through our efforts and the generous assistance of UNM, the magazines were digitized this year and the first few issues have been placed on the digital depository web site maintained by the university. The entire NMA collection will soon be loaded and accessible. The Digital Repository is considered to be an overall superior publishing platform, providing much broader exposure to NMA and the rest of UNM’s open journal collection. For example, Digital Repository will be optimized for discovery on Google & Google Scholar, and the system is now part of the Digital Commons Network (http://network.bepress.com/), a larger consortium of scholarly repositories across the US.
New Mexico Architecture can be accessed directly through the following link: http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nma.
AIA-NM wishes to express its thanks to the individuals at the University of New Mexico whose assistance helped to make this project a reality:
Michael T. Kelly, Associate Dean, Scholarly Resources, Special Collections and The Center for Southwest Research, UNM Zimmerman Library.
Kevin J. Comerford, Director, Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communications, UNM Zimmerman Library.
Amy S. Jackson, Performing & Digital Arts Librarian, UNM Fine Arts & Design Library.