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The Growing Need for Resilience

In case you needed any more evidence that resiliency and resilient design are the topics of the minute, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has shown that it's heading into 2015 with resilient design as one of its main concerns.

In December, AIA released revised position statements on environmental responsibility, reiterating the importance of responsible stewardship of the Earth and carbon neutrality by 2030, while adding two new sections on material health and resilience. The material health statement acknowledges the potential impact of building materials on human health and the environment, while emphasizing that the material life cycle should be part of architects' decision making. Material health will be a topic that we will be tackling in next month's issue.

In the meantime, the new position statement on resilience acknowledges that climate change is increasing pressures on the built environment and calls on architects to design building that can respond to these pressures:

Buildings and communities are subjected to destructive forces from fire, storms, earthquakes, flooding, and even intentional attack. The challenges facing the built environment are evolving with climate change, environmental degradation, and population growth. Architects have a responsibility to design a resilient environment that can more successfully adapt to natural conditions and that can more readily absorb and recover from adverse events. The AIA supports policies, programs, and practices that promote adaptable and resilient buildings and communities.

In this month's Special Feature, Metal Architecture reached out to five experts in resilient design to discuss the topic and how metal construction and metal products can fit into the design of these resilient buildings.

In addition to AIA's revised position statements, prior to President Obama's State of the Union address in January, AIA announced its legislative agenda for the 114th Congress that includes insurances that new generations of architects design a resilient future for America. On the topic of resilience, AIA wants to advance policies helping communities to prepare and respond for the challenges they face, including supporting legislation to spur states to adopt better building codes, enacting national Good Samaritan legislation and promoting resiliency planning in communities.

And finally, the American Institute of Architects Foundation (AIAF) recently launched a new exhibit, "Rebuild by Design," which highlights 10 innovative solutions to enhance coastal resiliency. The ideas were created through a government-sponsored design competition in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, last year the Department of Housing and Urban Design allocated $930 million to begin implementing seven of the 10 projects in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The exhibit opened on Jan. 21 and is being hosted at AIA Headquarters, 1735 New York Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.

Resiliency and resilient design aren't going away anytime soon. What is your firm doing to address these very important topics?

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