Discussion: View Thread

Architect of the Capitol

  • 1.  Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-28-2019 07:23
    How does everyone feel about Brett Blanton being the nominee for Architect of the Capitol? He is not a licensed architect so would he not be in violation of license and practice laws if he uses the title “architect”?

    Guy Geier FAIA, FIIDA, LEED
    Managing Partner
    FXCollaborative Architects LLP
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    ggeier@fxcollaborative.com


  • 2.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 17:20
    Now there's a good topic!  I am personally very offended by this choice. I think the AIA should loudly protest this appointment.

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    Jeanne Jackson FAIA
    VCBO Architecture
    Salt Lake City UT
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 17:48

    Apply to change the name to FMOC (Facilities Manager of the Capitol.

    James J Sanders Architect FAIA

     






  • 4.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 19:15
    Of course the Architect of the Capitol should be an registered architect.  How did this happen?
    We need to protest this appointment.
    Jan Wampler
    Jan Wampler, FAIA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA
    Markborough Endowed Professor, USF
    Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, MIT
    Jan Wampler Studio  Architecture/Urban Design
    Office 617 253 7904
    Cell     617 763 4908
    wampler@mit.edu

     

     






  • 5.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 23:08
    Agreed!

    Steve Parker, FAIA, LEED AP

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  • 6.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-01-2020 12:02
    This is so consistent with this administration's disregard for any sense of either legal or historic precedent when it comes to how our federal government work.

    I believe a very small percentage of the American public knows about the illegality of using the term, "Architect," when one is not registered. 

    I respectively suggest the College of Fellows join the AIA in:

    1. writing an op-ed piece to both the New York Times and Washington Post expressing our strong objection to this appointment.
    2. writing to editors of ARCHITECT and ARCHITECTURAL RECORD to write editorials  expressing our strong objection to this appointment.
    3. pursuing our legislative staff to begin to explore a modification to the federal law and regulations that dictates this appointment.  Make this a focus of "Archite






  • 7.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-01-2020 15:09
    Let’s be clear, Architect of the Capitol is the title for a position and for an agency. The position has been held by many over the years and both the position and agency names have also changed several times.

    So, my point if the top position were Executive Director, would you still require a licensed architect?

    In the Federal government and other agencies such as the AOC, many position titles include the word architect or engineer but state laws (and AIA) rules do not apply.

    Back to my point, the most important issue in selecting a new agency head is his/her experience in this arena.


    Baird M Smith, FAIA




  • 8.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-01-2020 18:44
    Baird,
    Thank you for the clarification. I am willing to discuss with others on a possible course of action, but I am a realist in terms of success, especially in the current political climate.
    Ed

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 9.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-02-2020 17:38
    All,

    It appears it is too late to start a formal protest:

    https://www.aoc.gov/news/senate-confirms-12th-architect-capitol

    Mr. Blanton has already been confirmed by the US Senate as the 12th Architect of the Capitol. Perhaps we should at least consider making him an Hon-AIA member and engage him with the Institute.

    Steven

    Steven L Spurlock, FAIA, LEED AP
    Principal

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  • 10.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-02-2020 18:57
    Steven,
    That is a good idea. We should engage with him once he is sworn in.
    Ed

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 11.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-02-2020 19:11
    Wow, I see no reason we should make him a Hon. AIA.
    Instead we should make the government and the public understand we are a strong profession.  Which is clear many do not know but instead
     know  about star architects, not the thousands that serve their clients.  Those architects work hard to bring the building in on budget, on time and keep the roof from leaking.
    Jan Wampler

    ------------------------------
    Jan Wampler FAIA
    Jamaica Plain MA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-02-2020 19:20
    I also do not think that making him Hon. AIA is appropriate. That should be reserved for those who have contributed to our profession and/or our organization. Reaching out? - YES. Working to require the position to actually be held by an Architect in the future? - YES. Bestowing an Hon. AIA only because of the position held? - NO.

    Roberta Jorgensen, FAIA
    Communitas Architects, Inc.
    Paso Robles, CA




  • 13.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 06:06
    I agree with Roberta. 

    Sent from my iPhone





  • 14.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 19:02

    This person seems qualified other than the issue of the formal title.  Rather than simply complain about it, why not have the AIA contact this new person as a colleague and professional engineer and discuss the matter openly with him for suggestions to resolve this conflict over time.  If he is ethical which we should assume for now, maybe it's better to work from within the federal organization to shift the title etc.  Someone brought up the Surgeon General is a physician and licensed. That's a noted distinction that should be addressed.  

    I would appreciate an architect in the role as well, but architects will be working with this man as a leader for projects and he might see the awkwardness of the situation.  It's in his best interest to advocate for a title change and explain the legal issue to the federal government.  I think just suggesting architects are the only ones qualified for large infrastructure projects is interesting position but ultimately ineffective.  I too would be concerned that "sour grapes" puts our profession as a whole at a disadvantage when negotiating fee for service with this federal office.  


    think big picture here! 



    ------------------------------
    Molly Scanlon, PhD, FAIA, FACHA
    Coronado CA
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 09:19

    Agreed

     

    Gerard F.X. "Guy" Geier II, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP
    Managing Partner, FXCollaborative Architects LLP
    2018 President, AIANY
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  • 16.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 10:49
    I agree with Jan and Gerard - why would we condone this appointment by making this person an honorary member?! - and btw, in response to an earlier comment regarding whether DC even requires licensure - why yes it does!...look it up on ncarb.org....

    ------------------------------
    Jeanne Jackson FAIA
    VCBO Architecture
    Salt Lake City UT
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-01-2020 15:13
    Happy New Year....again to everyone.

    In regards to Anthony's comments, here are my thoughts -

    Yes, the current Administration shows no regard for law, regulation or precedent - while some is justified, the mass majority is aimed towards a return to the Gilded Age in terms of capitalism run amok with little regard for others.

    As to the American public, we as a profession have done a poor job of what we do to protect public health and safety.  That is on all of us.

    The proposed actions 1 and 2 will simply sing to the choir - you'll get a day of comments and that's about it. They have some use to at least put our concerns in public forums (beyond this discussion board).

    Action 3 is what is needed if the consensus opinion is to write into law the requirement that the Architect of the Capitol MUST be a licensed architect. As to educating the current Congress, that is a major task.  In the current climate of politics, there is only one currency that talks - $$$$$.  Even if AIA and associated professionals get a bill through the House, it is likely to sit in the Senate - the senator who oversees that committee has a great deal of pull and more than likely is not going to change his mind.

    As far as FATG, we can recommend courses of action for National to take up.  In an election year with the specter of an impeachment trial looming, this would be an extremely difficult task to undertake - members' focus is on re-election.  

    Let's discuss later this week.   






  • 18.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 17:21

    Incredible! No, the Architect of the Capitol surely must be a licensed architect. I think the AIA should formally object.

     

    D. Kirk Hamilton, PhD, FAIA, FACHA, FCCM, EDAC

    Julie & Craig Beale Endowed Professor of Health Facility Design

    College of Architecture, Texas A&M University

    Founding Co-Editor, Health Environments Research & Design

    Design Impacts Health – Research Improves Design

     






  • 19.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 23:12
    Given that The District of Columbia is not actually a state (its motto is "taxation without representation"), it seems likely that there is no state licensing board to to complain to anyway.  While there may be many things to object to in this administration, this issue doesn't seem worth an uproar, especially given the history of those who came before, and the experience of the current nominee.

    ------------------------------
    Andrew Labov FAIA
    CO Architects
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 17:31
    The Architect of the Capitol should be a licensed architect.  I agree that the AIA should take a formal stand objecting to this nominee.

    Philip Castillo FAIA
    Executive Vice President
    JAHN Architecture Inc.
    pcastillo@jahn-us.com

    ------------------------------
    Philip Castillo FAIA
    Executive Vice President
    JAHN Architecture Inc
    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 18:09

    If true - would this be the first person who is not an Architect to be installed in the role? This indeed would be inconsistent with the appropriate use of the title Architect

    LISA LAMKIN, FAIA

    PRINCIPAL

    LEED AP BD+C

     

    BROWN REYNOLDS WATFORD ARCHITECTS

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  • 22.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 18:38
    I am surprised and dismayed to hear about this nomination. The tilte alone implies that the office is to be held by a truly licensed architect by Federal and State laws. Will they change the title of the Office to "The Designer of the Capitol"? What can the AIA do about this?

    ------------------------------
    Umberto Dindo FAIA,
    Firm Owner/Architect
    Dindo Architect PC
    New York NY
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 21:35

    That is outrageous and the AIA should formally protest immediately. 

    Roberta Jorgensen FAIA
    Communitas Architects, Inc.
    Paso Robles, CA 



    ------------------------------
    Roberta Jorgensen FAIA
    President
    Communitas Architects, Inc.
    Paso Robles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-30-2019 23:19
    OK everyone....some thoughts....
    1.  If you go to the AOC site and look under Architects of the Capitol, you will see that while the last three holders of the office and the first four holders were architects, there were several who were not architects - there was also a couple of substantial time gaps where there was no holder of that job. There is no statutory requirement that the holder of the office has to be a licensed architect.
    2.  The AOC is really a very high visibility facilities management job - even given the high visibility and historic significance of the Capitol and other buildings, it is still very much facilities management.  I saw Mr. Blanton's resume and read his Congressional testimony - for what the job really requires, he is immeasurably qualified.
    3.  Mr. Blanton has already had a confirmation hearing in the Senate earlier in December - he will probably be confirmed within a month (give or take an impeachment trial, when no other legislative business can take place).  Any effort to derail the confirmation is probably futile at this point.
    4.  Even though one of our members went through the entire vetting process and made the final three, the Senate chair of the committee was partial to engineers from the beginning - a Senate committee chair is a hard row to get past.
    5.  We can certainly raise the issue to AIA National as part of an overarching strategy for AIA to advocate for public architecture, both practitioners and practice.

    FYI - I am a member of the 2020 AIA Federal Architecture Task Group, whose charter is to advocate for issues regarding public practice for AIA to take forward as both legislative and policy initiatives.  As another suggestion, this may be worth a resolution for the General Session at A'20, sponsored by the College of Fellows.  Let's continue the discussion.

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    Edmond Gauvreau, FAIA
    Washington, DC
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  • 25.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 07:27
    Thank you for providing this background
    the course of action you recommend is wise

    ------------------------------
    Lisa Lamkin FAIA
    Principal
    Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, Inc.
    Dallas TX
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-01-2020 17:37

    They should use the title:  Construction Manager (CM) of the Capitol as it's more indicative of the role.

    Lisa C. Sachs, FAIA, FCMAA


    Lisa C. Sachs, FAIA, FCMAA, CCM
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    CCORPUSA.COM | Building Value Through Expertise
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  • 27.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-02-2020 07:17
    Colleagues:
    Just checked the Senate’s records - Mr. Blanton was confirmed as Architect of the Capitol by voice vote on December 19. Too late to mount any campaign against his confirmation. Suggest we work with AIA National to start an education campaign with Congress, particularly those members who sit on the committees responsible for AOC. The fix has to be a legislative one - the last one involving AOC was when the position was made a 10-year term position in the mid 1990s.

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 28.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 07:38
    Thank you for the background. Perhaps the position should have a different title.

    Guy Geier FAIA, FIIDA, LEED
    Managing Partner
    FXCollaborative Architects LLP
    646.292.8120 p
    917.596.8224 m
    ggeier@fxcollaborative.com




  • 29.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 09:23
    Lisa:  Thanks for your kind words.  Just trying to enlighten everyone - had a rumble seat view to the process over the past year.

    Guy:  Thank you as well - not sure a name change would do much.  in the early 1900s, the title was "Superintendent of the Capitol Buildings and Grounds", until the title of AOC was re-established in 1921.  Also, from 1829 until the 1860s, there was no AOC - the then Commissioner of Public Buildings was responsible for the facilities.  "Superintendent of the Capitol" is shorter and more accurate, but not nearly as interesting.  Time for a name contest?  

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    Edmond Gauvreau, FAIA
    Washington, DC
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  • 30.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 11:31
    The name should be changed if the position is not filled by an Architect. Period.

    As we all know very well, it is illegal to call oneself an Architect in all jurisdictions if not licensed.  Too bad our organizations and the people involved in this selection failed to make this fact clear to our ignorant legislators.  I first got involved in advocacy the last time there was a threat to fill this position with someone who was not an architect.  Thankfully, the AIA was a stronger advocate for us then and we had the privilege of having Stephen Ayers, FAIA, appointed to the position.  I know that what he accomplished in his time as the AOC, including the desperately needed repair of the Capitol dome, could not have happened without his skills, knowledge, and credentials.

    Please don't excuse this sham of an appointment process.

    ------------------------------
    Jeanne Jackson FAIA
    VCBO Architecture
    Salt Lake City UT
    ------------------------------



  • 31.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 17:33
    The AOC does not need to be a licensed architect. I’ve worked with the organization for years and can confirm they have a very distinguished staff. I believe something like 1600 professionals and another several thousand in the trades. It is the ultimate design/ build organization. The head of it is a political appointee who has 100 senators and 435 Congress men and women as clients. Remember, all 435 are up for election every two years and could change offices. It is a very prestige job, of one nightmare after another. The AOC has millions and millions of dollars in construction every year, on some of the finest historic buildings in America. The best man or woman should be picked for the job.

    Baird M Smith, FAIA




  • 32.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 18:35
    Change it to COC - Conservator of the Capital

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    Charles Higueras FAIA
    Project Manager
    Department of Public Works
    San Francisco CA
    ------------------------------



  • 33.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 20:41
    Conservator of the Capital May be the best name I've heard yet if it is not to always be an architect. 

    Sent from my iPhone





  • 34.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 17:35
    Ed,

    Great response, thank you.

    Robin.

    Robin M. Ellerthorpe, FAIA
    312.375.7274





  • 35.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 17:58
    Ed, many thanks for your recent addition to this discussion board topic. I would add that the AIA did provide a short list of Architect Candidates to Congress, all of whom were not shortlisted. For us, it is as unthinkable as choosing a Surgeon General who was not a DOCTOR!

    If there is a Resolution in the works for A'20, I would be happy to lend my name to it.

    ------------------------------
    Edward Vance, FAIA
    Founder & CEO
    EV&A Architects, Inc.
    Las Vegas NV
    ------------------------------



  • 36.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-01-2020 12:21
    Thanks to Edmond for his informative e-mail about the Architect of the Capitol.

    As a  a member of the 2020 AIA Federal Architecture Task Group, whose charter is to advocate for issues regarding public practice for AIA to take forward as both legislative and policy initiatives I urge you to pursue how the federal legislation regarding this very important, public position can be amended  to REQUIRE a REGISTERED ARCHITECT hold this position.

    I believe strongly ... as you suggest ... that it is  worth a resolution for the General Session at A'20, sponsored by the College of Fellows.  

    I submit that the Architect of the Capitol is one of the most public positions that an architect holds and we can not afford to accept that a non-architect may hold it.   What credentials govern the  Surgeon General of the Country?  Has a non-physician ever held this position?

    I submit this issue is a timely one to educate this Senate ... if that is even possible ... in what defines the architectural and engineering professions.

    Willing to help in any way I can.

    Happy New Year.
    Ciao,
    Tony Costello, FAIA





  • 37.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 10:23
    I agree. He should not use the title architect. I don't even think he should be appointed to that position.

    ------------------------------
    T. Jerry Lominack FAIA
    Architect
    Lominack Kolman Smith Architects
    Savannah GA
    ------------------------------



  • 38.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 10:40

    I don't know him but it is indemic, and yet still wrong, that the Architect of the Capitol is not, indeed, an architect.

    Melinda Pearson, FAIA

     

     






  • 39.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 13:15

    If he is now the nominee, it seems like it's not too late for AIA to act.

     

    574032414@29012013-03BF   Jerry Lominack, FAIA, NCARB

    Lominack Kolman Smith Architects

    Creative Environments Through Responsive & Responsible Design

     

    301 W. Broughton Street

    Post Office Box 1587

    Savannah, Georgia 31402

    912.232.5561 x. 8108  fax 912.232.5562

     






  • 40.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 12-31-2019 13:18

    Guy,

    Based on my understanding of most U.S. Practice Acts, you are absolutely correct.

    This looks like a job for the Institute.

     

    John Ehrig

    Member of the Florida

    Board of Architects and Interior Designers

     

     

    JOHN P. EHRIG, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP  |  Vice President, CASE Project Manager


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  • 41.  RE: Architect of the Capitol

    Posted 01-03-2020 18:38
    let's try to inject sensibility upon the occasion of a new Chief Exec elected to office

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    Charles Higueras FAIA
    Project Manager
    Department of Public Works
    San Francisco CA
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  • 42.  RE: Architect of the Capitol