Committee on Design

 View Only

Community HTML

Via Aequalitas

Quick Links

Who we are

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.

2024 COD Conferences


April 3-7 | 21c Hotel | Bentonville and Eureka Springs.

Connecting Cultures, Catalyzing Change: Northwest Arkansas in the Ozarks video


Thu, Oct 17 - Sat, Oct 26, 2024
Sao Paulo > Brasilia > Rio de Janerio.  Registration will open in early May.

2024 Sponsorships

Download the prospectus for Arkansas and Brazil opportunities.

2023 COD Conferences

Last year, COD held two domestic design conferences investigating The Authenticity of Place.  The first conference was held in New Orleans, LA.  View the short video of the venue tours and download the conference program book. The second conference was held in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, September 21-24, 2023. Download the Minneapolis guidebook and view the conference video

  • 1.  Health and the Built Environment: A Paradigm Shift

    Posted 03-11-2024 09:37 AM

    It is time for a paradigm shift in our approach to the design of built environment. As most people spend more than 90% of their lives in and about the built environment i.e., architecture, we need to address the human health and wellbeing as the central mission of all architecture. It is not enough to only address health issues in healing environments but we need to understand our responsibility as the architects of the de facto human environment which has replaced the natural environment. 

    Over 3.5 billion years life's biological rhythms have evolve in direct response to the natural environmental conditions. The built environment in which we spend most of our living hours, now, differs from the natural environment with consequential impact on our health and overall wellbeing. As architect we need to be familiar with physiological impact of the designed environment and design for health optimization.  

    Now, I know well, that we are alway dealing with extremely critical issues which need our attention but we must understand that at the heart of all those issues, the main goal should be human condition. Today we are occupied with carbon footprint, energy efficiency, sustainability, and more but if we lose sight of the central mission of architecture we have no business calling ourselves architects. I am not saying the issues above are not worthy of our attention, on the contrary, I want to emphasize that what we do at the end is for human habitation on Earth and not some abstract notion of carbon for carbon sake. Look, Earth will live with or without us but we are the vulnerable subjects in need of certain environmental conditions.  

    So, please join me in this conversation to explore the conditions which can optimize the built environment for better mental and physiological health, performance, and wellbeing. 

    Ali Heshmati AIA
    Henning Larsen Architects
    24.06.07 AIA24 - COD content

  • 2.  RE: Health and the Built Environment: A Paradigm Shift

    Posted 03-12-2024 06:35 PM

    Mar 2024 - With respect, in my experience truly good and worthy architects have been doing exactly this for the duration of my career (i.e., began in early 1970's, registered in 1974).  We were mentored and guided, and the ethics of 'healthy' design was emphasized. Perhaps there is need for more discussion of this in schools (however, I doubt it - professors and students discuss this often).  I fear this is yet another 'let's talk about it' item that will fight for air in an already over-crowded arena where talking is valued above action.  I regret the possible record-scratch here but in my current experience and opinion there is far too much 'talk' these days instead of good solid practice action in offices.  Thank you. 

    Scott Braley FAIA

    24.06.07 AIA24 - COD content

  • 3.  RE: Health and the Built Environment: A Paradigm Shift

    Posted 03-18-2024 05:27 PM

    It appears you and I are similar in length of experience. I obtained my license in 1971.  As a former Dean, I must say that I agree with you. Of course there has always been criticism of schools not fully preparing students for practice and depending on firms that hire to complete the job of teaching. I did however include in the curriculum at UT Knoxville following the founding dean, Bill Lacy and his connection with Rice University. A great idea he brought to Tennessee was to give students credit for two semesters, including summer, actually working in an office with a licensed architect with that architect grading the students effort and results. One of my faculty, D.K.Ruth took a position at Auburn and initiated Auburn's Rural Studio with Sam Mockbee, a top architect. I think that  is proving that an actual design-build effort is truly effective in teaching how to get things done and done creatively and very well. I have heard of schools that are following Auburn and I hope they are succeeding. I think too many schools still don't do enough about this
    So I must agree with your main point: Just talking about it will not do, especially when it includes so much that is not relevant enough, and much of that talk is a rerun of things well known for a long time but re-worded badly.  If there is any 
    brainwashing to be done, it only should be about the necessity of getting well designed work implemented properly, not nonsense!  

    24.06.07 AIA24 - COD content