2020 Year in Review
2020 was a year of challenge, transition, and achievement. Together, AIA members navigated a once-in-a-century global health crisis that reordered how we live, work, and learn. We persevered through one of the worst economic recessions in modern memory and, against the backdrop of a polarized nation, helped our communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m proud of the way AIA members joined together to meet this moment.
We’ve reaffirmed our commitment to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in our organization, our profession, and the built environment—taking action to make this essential mission an organization wide focus in the same way climate change is a fundamental priority.
Building on the pivotal decision in 2019 to pursue climate action with renewed urgency, 2020 was the year we released a landmark Climate Action Plan, updated the Framework for Design Excellence, and achieved new records under the 2030 Commitment.
As the challenges and uncertainty of 2020 continue into 2021, we’ve fundamentally changed the way we operate, for the better. The shift, nearly overnight, to operating virtually has accelerated trends we knew were coming. In the process, it’s made our profession and our organization even more collaborative, nimble, and green. The adaptations we’ve implemented toward greater collaboration and agility only strengthen our capacity to turn policy aspirations into action.
The architect’s duty to secure health, safety, and welfare has never been more urgent. Despite the historic challenges of 2020, architects are fulfilling that duty and providing leadership that demonstrates the power of design.
Robert Ivy, FAIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer
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Promoting sustainability and resilience
America’s architects have a leading role to play in humanity’s collective call to climate action—from reducing carbon emissions through building design and informed product selection to spurring energy efficient renovation and retrofits, from advocating public policy to supporting renewable energy use in buildings. AIA is marshaling its resources so that architects can embrace their critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Climate Action Plan
The publication of AIA’s Climate Action Plan is a landmark event. Developed over the course of one year and based on input from the full spectrum of AIA’s membership, the plan provides guidance to help architects achieve progress under three overarching goals: mitigating the sources of climate change, adapting to the impacts, and catalyzing action in the profession.
Framework for Design Excellence
Partnering with organizations to achieve AIA’s climate goals will be critical, and so are AIA’s education, resources, and practical tools.
The Framework for Design Excellence is one of these tools. The 10 principles build upon a legacy of sustainability spearheaded by the Committee on the Environment (COTE) and are designed to be accessible to every architect, every client, and every project. They were updated in 2020 to draw clearer connections to our intended impact: a zero-carbon, equitable, healthy, and resilient built environment.
2020 COTE® Top Ten awards: Highlights
- 7 firms received a COTE Top Ten award for the first time, while one firm notched three winning projects
- Reflecting a strong focus on carbon, winners included:
- 50% of recipients submitted actual energy metrics
- 80% of recipient projects tracked recycled content
- 60% of recipient projects collected material ingredient disclosure documents