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Designing for Impact

The theme for last month's American Institute of Architect's (AIA) National Convention was Impact. During the days spent in Atlanta, there was a lot of discussion about the impact of architecture and design, while also sharing the stories of the architects who are designing the buildings.

AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, noted that architects have the ability to impact the health and well being of people around the world. Robert Ivy, FAIA, EVP, CEO of AIA, added that architects change the world for the better. While great design doesn't have to be iconic; he said it can be humble. Great architecture doesn't have to tower over you; it can be all around you; and it can transform the way you see the world.

All buildings, both big and small, have an impact on world around it. While the impact may seem small, such as designing a new office building, it can still have an impact on the people who to go work there every day.

Other projects can seem to have a more profound impact on the community as a whole. For example, this month's building profile is the new Cedar Rapids Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After the floods that swallowed much of the town, including the library, in 2008, the city reinvested in its downtown by building a new library that serves as a centerpiece for the community. The library offers more than just books, but also a place for members of the community to come together.

While the community may be smaller, the new Mariposa Hall at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College in Los Angeles underwent a redesign that transformed the building. Known formerly as the Learning Resource Center, the building's renovation was done out of necessity, and by redesigning how the building connects with its surroundings, it also improves the functionality and efficiency of the building that is the campus' centerpiece.

So, how are you designing buildings and creating spaces that impact the environment and those in it? We would love to hear your stories and the projects you are designing.


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