2012 AIA-AAJ Conference: An Overview

The American Institute of Architects – Academy of Architecture for Justice (AIA-AAJ) 2012 conference was held Oct. 10-13 in Toronto, only the second time in 30 years in Canada. This year’s theme was Community Dialogue: Architecture for Justice and Renewal and was comprised of a series of sessions selected to motivate and encourage discussion around the opportunity and responsibility we have in building our communities and cities. Our Canadian partners in Justice Architecture shared great projects in the Toronto area. Elizabeth Minnis, AIA, chair of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice Advisory Group, with co-chairs Michael Moxam, OAA, Assoc. AIA and Mark Krapez, OAA, Int. Assoc. AIA, put together an engaging and rich conference program, supported by Kristine Johnson, Don Wertzberger and Bob Boyle, the three track chairs.

There was a uniquely Canadian emphasis in some sessions, featuring justice projects developed using Alternative Finance Procurement (AFP) methods such as Design Build Finance and Maintain (DBFM). Key representatives from successful consulting teams and Infrastructure Ontario, the Province of Ontario’s infrastructure agency, reviewed how the province, through AFP, brought more than $23 billion to market since 2005, delivering nine courthouses and correctional facilities.

Keynote speakers were the Honorable Heather Forster Smith, Chief Justice of Ontario Superior Courts; Blair Toronto Police Chief; and George Baird, the 2012 recipient of the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education.

The AIA-AAJ Knowledge Community has more than 2,000 members throughout the U.S. and Canada, with active components in San Francisco, New York and Boston. The Annual Conference is the primary event to provide educational, enrichment and networking opportunities, provide tours of recent projects in the host city, and celebrate design quality through the annual Justice Facilities Review Awards Banquet.

The focus is on sharing information between members, related professional organizations in the justice field and the public. AAJ activities are managed through the work of eight committees each with a chair and several national members who coordinate through monthly conference calls and meetings at the annual conference. The five-member advisory group oversees and guides the work of the committees and provides the connection to AIA leadership to ensure that AIA policies are followed and that the organization understands the needs of our membership.

All AAJ members are urged to get involved in a committee. In addition to planning the conference and organizing the Justice Facilities Review, there are active committees on sustainability, research, communications, membership and sponsorship.

Save the date for next year’s conference in Portland, Ore. — Sept. 18 to 21, 2013!