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The Committee on Design (COD) was founded to promote design excellence among members of the AIA, the broader design community, and the public at large, both nationally and internationally.

Announcement: 2021 COD Conferences

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the AIA Committee on Design leadership voted to cancel the 2021 Denver conference and postpone the international conference to 2022. Next year's conference dates will be posted once available.

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  • 1.  Architect

    Posted 09-10-2020 12:28 PM
    Dear Colleagues, can we please get together and enforce our title act to protect the use of ARCHITECT.  For years, it was ours.  If you were searching for a job and put in Architect, it came up with our positions, designing and creating the built environment.  Now, all it is Tech positions.  They hijacked our title over the past decade!  

    Thanks for the support.
    Christina Shampton, Associate AIA, NCIDQ 
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  • 2.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-11-2020 05:37 PM
    Totally agree. Even worse when it is used as in the 'architect of the world's demise' or something like that. Grrrr.

    Judith Repp AIA
    Evergreen CO

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  • 3.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-11-2020 06:33 PM
    I have brought this up at CE seminars in Texas as far back as 15 years ago only to hear that "well its a common term in the digital world and we won't win there". When the term is googled, its by and large correct except the first source starts with "Cheap Architects....", so, there is one of our dilemmas. There are other examples of some process in software design being "architected"; whatever that means. It would have been better if the digital industry had coined what they do as digital framework design or digital plumbing, but I suppose the Professional Plumbing Organizations would have immediately objected and won. We can also look to Seinfeld's George Constanza calling himself an "Architect". Society likes the concept and the designation it carries and like many things in our society, has determined it has a right to appropriate it. People who create things no matter what it is want to be known as architects and society wants to accept it.That is the big challenge for AIA to overcome.

    David Negrete AIA
    Negrete & Kolar Architects LLP
    Austin TX

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  • 4.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-11-2020 07:14 PM
    My guess is that it isn't possible to keep people from using composite titles like "software architect" where it's clear that they are not offering to provide services that are legally required to be provided by a registered architect. Of course, it's a different issue if someone claims to be an "architect" without being registered since that word, standing by itself, has a protected legal meaning. 

    I'm also registered in the UK and I get two or three press releases a month from from the Architects Registration Board about actions they have taken against architects who haven't performed adequately or people who have held themselves out as architects without being registered. Here's one:

    They do much more policing (and publicizing of their actions) than registration boards I know of in this country. 

    John Hayes, FAIA

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  • 5.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-11-2020 08:26 PM
    Failing to protect "Architect" was a failure.

    Eduardo Valiente, President
    Valiente Architect LLC
    Temple Terrace FL

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  • 6.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-11-2020 08:54 PM

    I don't disagree with you Twenty years or more ago, when I told someone I was an Architect, their response was, Oh, software or hardware?!   Granted this was in Silicon Valley (of the shadow of death) but I'm afraid the ship has sailed. 

    What's personally more maddening to me is when it is used in a political context where someone is described as the architect of some policy or measure, generally something god awfully inhumane or indecent.
    Take care and practice safe living. 

    Eugene Ely AIA Emeritus, LEED AP
    San Jose, CA

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  • 7.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-12-2020 01:07 PM
    Christina's question is about etymology. Would the courts decide that the Greek root "tekton" is exclusively a term for a builder of physical structures?

    Ignacio Correa-Ortiz AIA, Denver CO

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  • 8.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-12-2020 01:12 PM
    WeII if you ever found an honest "originalist " they might!

    Eugene Ely AIA Emeritus, LEED AP
    San Jose, CA

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  • 9.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-14-2020 08:52 AM
    Yes! Although I thought that was what the AIA would be all about - seems to be distracted....I flagged several AIA Jobs Board posts asking for IT “Architects”....

    Steven Turnipseed AIA

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  • 10.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-15-2020 05:51 PM

    State of Louisiana statute (RS:37:146-1) includes the limitation of using the word architect or any derivation thereof to be used only by duly licensed individuals.


    I suspect it would need to be a state or local law, not under the prevue of the AIA, exception made by our South Louisiana AIA many years ago and becoming state law.




    Robert E. Barras, AIA


    Lafayette, LA 70503

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  • 11.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-15-2020 06:41 PM
    There was a similar discussion on an NCARB website about three years ago. The Executive Director of the North Carolina Registration Board said:

    "Software, IT, financial and even sandwich architects are completely within the law to use the title. Regarding Landscape Architects - 83A-12 gives them permission to use the title. It would be like the Medical Board going after the Rug Doctor"


    "most states, don't have jurisdiction to "crack down" on use of the title outside of the context of the construction of buildings."

    See the whole discussion at 

    It started as a discussion of titles for unregistered staff in design firms but soon turned to a discussion of the use of the "architect" title by people in other fields. 

    John Hayes FAIA
    Sent from my iPad

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  • 12.  RE: Architect

    Posted 09-15-2020 06:37 PM
    The use of the "Architect" title by those who create software, develop a policy or create any endeavor is irritating at best, infuriating at worst. I spent more that 20 years on the California Architects Board's Professional Qualifications Committee. One of my fellow Principals at our firm in San Francisco would clip every article that came across his desk when the "architect" title was misappropriated, circled it in red and leave it on my desk with a nice request that I bring to the attention of the Architect's Board. Each year the Professional Qualifications Committee would meet with a Deputy Attorney General of the State to discuss issues of concern. Each year I would raise the issue of misuse of the title. The Deputy AG would listen politely, other Committee members would echo my concerns and we would be assured the AG's office would look into the issue. A few weeks would go by and the Board's Executive Director would get a lovely letter from the AG's office. After thanking us for raising the title issue, the AG's opinion usually came down to this: while misuse of the title "architect" was not legal, it was unlikely someone would misconstrue someone designing software or a policy to be capable of designing a building. As a result it was unlikely to be a public risk of software architects trying to design buildings. This was distinct from "designers", interior designers, contractors or others offering or performing building design services. At the end of the day the AG's office felt they had bigger issues to deal with than chasing software architects. 

    As I have talked about the title issue with other AIA leaders from around the country over the years they had experienced similar discussions with enforcement entities. While it upsets us that the title is often misapplied to individuals who are "designing" something I've concluded that we're not going to get much support to stop the practice. For my part, I've chosen to take it as a sign of pride, everyone who "creates" wants the prestige associated with being an "architect". Now when I see an "architect of the policy" reference in an article I chuckle and say "Another person who wishes they were an architect"....... And have another sip of coffee. I also spend a little more time trying to explain to friends and acquaintances what is we actually do and the proper use of the title. There's never enough public education on that front.

    Resilience, climate change, zero carbon, diversity, inclusion, social justice, pandemic architects we have a lot of issues on our plate.  These are issues we can have significant positive impacts on the profession, society, our planet and the future. Plus we have businesses and projects to tend. Yes, the proper use of the title is important but compared to those other issue how much energy should we spend arguing against its misuse?

    RK Stewart FAIA
    2007 AIA President

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