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.
The next domestic conference is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19 thru Sunday, October 23 in Los Angeles. An international conference is not planned for 2022 or 2023.
When in 1968 the then President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Robert Durham, FAIA, extended an invitation to the executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney M. Young, Jr., to deliver the keynote address at AIA's annual National Convention, that year held in Portland, Oregon, he probably thought to do the sensible thing in a year of national race tension and international turmoil.
Young was no architect but a HCU trained sociologist and a MIT trained electrical engineer. He became leader of the Urban League in 1961 at the young age of 40, and had transformed a small frequently conservative organization into a leading civil rights organization. Young was no stranger to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, promoting a domestic Marshall Plan to overcome the grave inequities that plagued America already then.
The well known Young cut a stately figure on the stage of the convention and wasted no time at all to come to the point that AIA was poorly integrated. After just a bit more than 60 words he said this:
Can any life be accepted? This paper advocate that, through design, it is possible to provide spaces of tolerance that welcome diversities. Through a variety of academic and professional projects, we reflect on intolerance and test whether design can be used to create spatial and social experiences supporting better lives for city residents.
While designers should feel a responsibility to contribute creatively to this fundamental time in history, they have, at the very least, the obligation of being involved intellectually.