Writing in the midst of the pandemic, we explore many of the ways creative thought and action are used for the enrichment of civic life in Philadelphia, for all citizens, and create our unique urban environment.

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March 18, 2020
Chapter News

AIA Philadelphia Member Focus and Pandemic Response

By Rebecca Johnson

What our staff team at AIA Philadelphia most wants you to know in this moment – in the midst of these unprecedented times – is that our focus remains on you.
AIA Philadelphia is an association that exists to do together, as an architecture community, what individual members and firms cannot do as easily or as well on their own. This purpose very often manifests as convenings – continuing education sessions, committee and knowledge community meetings, leadership trainings, networking gatherings, and events that grow the public’s understanding that architecture is a vital profession that has the power to transform people and communities for the better.

Tomorrow, the Owners’ Roundtable committee is hosting a call on how firms are preparing and responding. I encourage you to join the call if you are able.  If not, we will record the call and place it on our new COVID-19 Resources section on our website. This call is the beginning of a pivot for AIA Philadelphia to develop new resources and virtual programming to best meet the needs of you and your firm. 

Our COVID-19 Resources section on our website is where we will gather useful information for our members and firms. There will be a form on the page for you to add resources and share information you think would be helpful for other members.

Similarly, all AIA Philadelphia committees will continue to meet – albeit virtually and potentially not as often – and will be asked to regularly balance attention to pandemic-related concerns of the profession with attention to their main areas of focus and to our strategic priorities of climate action; equity, diversity and inclusion; building and mentoring the profession; and making architecture accessible, understandable, and highly valued.
If you have additional ideas for how AIA Philadelphia can be helpful to you as a member during this time, do not hesitate to share them. We will consider every idea and respond based on the resources we are able to marshal.
There is significant potential that the pandemic and these near-term shifts away from in-person gatherings will lead to a new normal with unknown impacts on AIA Philadelphia as an organization. We will surely grow our comfort and our understanding of virtual approaches, which will help us better serve members and the public in the long term. However, there are also very real risks, unprecedented in magnitude, in terms of the member-generated and non-dues revenue AIA Philadelphia has relied upon for many years. Know that we are actively scenario planning with these risks in mind.
Beyond all else, please know that we care about each and every one of you. We know that your professional and personal lives are being affected by this situation in ways we can only imagine. As an individual membership organization, we are here to help you achieve your personal definition of career success in the field of architecture – and we value you as a whole person, who is defined by so much more than your career. As you take on new challenges as an individual, spouse, partner, parent, caregiver, neighbor, community member, friend, or as someone who because of age or health condition is at greater risk of contracting the virus, know that we are thinking of you.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay in touch. We are here for you.



Rebecca Johnson
Executive Director
AIA Philadelphia

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