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AIA’s DesignDC ’07: Leading Design*

*Architects, designers, engineers, contractors and other Washington-area professionals with an eye for design headed to DesignDC 2007 on the 18th of July to discuss the theory, trends, tools, and technology needed to ensure and maintain industry leadership. This three-day, peer-to-peer, interactive conference and exhibit offered unparalleled access to cutting-edge information—delivered by some of design’s most visionary practitioners—and exposure to tomorrow’s building products and services available today. Plus, with the design community getting greener every day, this year’s event addressed environmental issues that impact all of us. Mary Fitch, AICP, Executive Director of the AIA’s Washington Chapter provided gbNYC with the following account of the event.

July 18- DesignDC ’07 Opening Night

A whole year of work comes down to this. Bruce Mau (image above), the author and designer of Massive Change and our opening speaker, is delayed at LaGuardia. Put him on the train, we recommend, and Bruce discovers the wonder of traveling by train along the eastern seaboard. I’ll never fly again!” he tells me after his adventure in the Acela Quiet car. His opening lecture encourages us all to think about connections—sustainability is not a single solution but rather “distributed problem solving.” There are so many people all over the world working to make many, many small changes and that is the key thing to Massive Change—it’s making the connections so that all those little changes can add up to make a big difference. The discussion continues with Bruce over sashimi at Sushi Taro in downtown Washington. Our group ends up closing the place down.

July 19

More than 600 people are milling about the Ronald Reagan Center and D.C. is ready to learn about green design and much more. Everyone copes with last minute schedule changes and reports back that all the conference sessions have been valuable. “No clunkers,” as architect Roxanne Edwards says. Our vendors are pleased with the turnout and we give away many door prizes that they generously donated. Our drawing was rather comical as there were too many tickets, so there was a lot of banter as I went through ten or more tickets to give away each item.

July 20

Today we gave away the I-phone! Crawford Horne, an architect with the U.S. Army was the winner. A tour of D.C.’s new Newseum lasts more than two hours and tour goers arrive back at the Center hungry, but elated at what a great tour they had. Zipcar was incredibly generous in allowing us to use about fifteen of their vehicles in order to shuttle our tour goers through the July heat. Two classes on green roofs prove very popular and Martin Moeller’s lecture on the Green House exhibit at the National Building Museum sets an attendance record. All in all, it was a great conference and we’ll definitely be back next year!

Editor’s Note- the Green House exhibit will be coming to Morristown, New Jersey from January 8 through May 4 of next year.

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