PA Symposium at AIA24: Public Architecture: Dignity, Enterprise, Vigor, Stability

When:  Jun 5, 2024 from 08:30 AM to 05:15 PM (ET)
Associated with  Public Architects Committee

PA Symposium at AIA24: Public Architecture: Dignity, Enterprise, Vigor, Stability

Full conference registrants, $99; Symposium only, $249.

The Public Architecture Symposium, held in conjunction with the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design 2024 in Washington, DC, will examine how public policies impact communities and the architects at multiple scales.  Today’s architects juggle multiple responsibilities - designing and building for safety, affordability, wellness, sustainability, and resilience - while adapting to rapid changes in business practices and the global economy.  The symposium, organized by the Public Architects Committee, will gather experts working on public architecture projects and programs to share their knowledge and best practices for implementing and developing public policies aimed at the adaptation, regeneration and repair of our built environment.

The theme of the Symposium was inspired by the GSA Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture as articulated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1962 Report to the President by the Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Office Space:

“The design of Federal office buildings, particularly those to be located in the nation’s capital, must meet a two-fold requirement. First, it must provide efficient and economical facilities for the use of Government agencies. Second, it must provide visual testimony to the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American Government.”

Learning Objectives

LO#1   Develop a solid understanding of the role that public architects play at various levels of government – federal, state, municipal, institutional and private - and the importance of their work for the public health, welfare, life safety and design excellence in the communities where they practice.

LO#2   Be informed on how a variety of international federal, state, municipal and/or institutional policy requirements drive creative strategies for sustainability, resiliency and decarbonization. 

LO#3   Make the case for adaptive reuse and historic preservation in the context of limited capital budgets, the challenges posed by climate change, and the imperative to develop a circular economy.

LO#4   Gain tools, information and knowledge to collaborate and lead within your organization, and to advance your professional success in support of the public good.

Program Agenda

9:00-10:00 am 
Principles Into Practice: Celebrating 30 Years of GSA Design Excellence

In 1994, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) established the Design Excellence Program to better fulfill the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture. In the 30 years since the program's launch, federal teams and their private-sector collaborators have used the Guiding Principles to assess the design quality of individual GSA projects. "Principles Into Practice" celebrates the three-decade anniversary of the Design Excellence Program, as well as the versatility of the 1962 document on which the program is founded. Panelists will reflect on why it has endured as a benchmark of quality, even as the Design Excellence Program's purview expanded from ground-up courthouses to land ports of entry, building modernizations, and workplace interiors. They will further discuss how the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture have accommodated changing standards in security, sustainability, and landscape urbanism—and how its points are being interpreted to support recently emerging trends like decarbonization and participatory design.


Charles Hardy, AIA
Chief Architect
GSA Public Building Service

Julie Snow, FAIA
Founding Principal
Snow Kreilich Architects

Grant Marani, AIA
Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Inverting the Decision Driver in Worldwide Diplomatic Resiliency Policy

Resiliency has been a forefront consideration for the US State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) for years, with policy dictating LEED certification minimums, adaptive reuse strategy, and vulnerability reduction methodology application across the State Department’s 26,000+ diplomatic facilities in more than 170 countries globally. As the catastrophic effects of natural hazards intensify planet-wide, OBO identified the need for a more comprehensive framework sophisticated enough to encapsulate the high level of divergence across geographic hazards while simultaneously standardizing resiliency criteria application for diplomatic facilities of varying scales. OBO’s Climate Security & Resilience program is leveraging combined architectural and engineering expertise to develop standard metrics intended to enhance the resilience of U.S. diplomatic missions. The metrics will be tested in two regions that present high risk levels: La Paz, Bolivia, where there is exposure to earthquakes and landslides and Chennai, India, where coastal geography and flat terrain present flood risk.


Paul Phillips, AIA, LEED AP

David Keller, PE, LEED AP
U.S. Department of State

Dr. Cassandra Smith, PhD
U.S. Department of State

Mark Miller, PE

GSA Leading the Way to Decarbonization

From an embodied carbon standpoint, it’s often said that the most sustainable building is the one that already exists. But is that necessarily true, particularly for buildings that require significant repairs to meet current standards? Designers with HOK and Trivers Associates faced this challenge when modernizing the Frank E. Moss Courthouse in Salt Lake City. The century-old masonry building lies within the active fault zone and needed a full seismic retrofit to meet current building codes. Yet even with significant new steel bracing and concrete sheer walls, the renovated building reduces embodied carbon by 59% (compared to a replacement building) and will use 50% less energy and 30% less water than typical buildings of its size and scale. The design team will share lessons learned from the Moss Courthouse renovation that can apply to other historic refurbishments and modernization projects in this interactive session focused on embodied carbon and electrification.


Erin Holcombe, AIA
Project Manager
US General Services Administration

Allison Johnson, AIA

Barb Kerlin-Anderson, AIA

Claire Moore

Adaptive Reuse and Future-Forward Thinking for Public Service Delivery

Pueblo County, Colorado, established in 1961, has its history and identity based in the railroad and steel industries, which are responsible for the community’s vigorous work ethic and diverse cultural heritage. Today, Pueblo County is a hub of industry, arts, and renewable energy. We are LEED for Cities Gold Certified, our steel mill is the first solar-powered mill in the country, and one of the region’s largest coal power plants is being decommissioned by 2030 in lieu of over 500MW of utility-grade solar. Pueblo County Government and its services to citizens is ever-changing, and space to provide those services has changed to suit the needs of the community. This session will explain how we coordinate for resiliency and sustainability, practice adaptive reuse of buildings, from operating our main administration out of an Historic 111 year-old Beaux Arts Courthouse, to our goal of constructing the first net-zero jail in the country.


Weston C. Burrer, AIA
Staff Architect
Pueblo County Government

Documenting and Preserving undiscovered Modern icons on the American Campus

In the nation's capital, come learn how the 117th U.S. Congress, through its passage of the 2022 and 2023 Consolidated Appropriation Acts, has  ensured the rightful recognition and preservation of previously undiscovered architectural gems of the Modern Movement that characterize the American college campus of the last century. Get acquainted with how one federal agency's multi-million dollar grant program has been able to effectively ensure preservation of Mid-Century Modern, Brutalist and  International style learning and research facilities that may otherwise not have been saved. Hear  from and how academic, federal and state officials coordinated efforts to successfully facilitate this unique program for the public benefit and outreach.


Phillip W Neuberg, FAIA
Federal Preservation Officer
National Institute of Standards & Technology

Why Architects in Government Matter

Governments at all levels spend billions of dollars each year on major capital projects, yet there is a lack of architects in government who oversee and ensure these projects are built to the highest standards. Civic projects often occur once in a lifetime and need to be built to last as they are for the people and represent the best of civilization. Through a diverse panel discussion, we will present the many roles the Architect in government can play, whether it be project manager, review boards, designers, and/or functioning in the official role of city architect.

Principal Architect and Bureau Manager
San Francisco Department of Public Works

Paul Woolford, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP
Senior Principal | Design Principal

Rona G Rothenberg, FAIA, DBIA, PMP, SAME

Robert L Ooley, FAIA


Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Allen Y. Lew Place NW
Room 207 B
Washington, DC 20001
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