ARCHITECT is counting down the month leading up to the big 2014 AIA National Convention, this year being held in Chicago on June 26-28. Each day leading up to the Wednesday pre-convention (but still busy) day before the main show opens, we're going to post a new thing you should do while there, should do before you pack your things and head there, or something cool that the great windy host city has to offer.

Only 1 More Day to Go ...


Visit us at ARCHITECT Live
We'll be at the AIA National Convention, covering all of the goings on, attending all of the parties, and dropping in on all of the sessions too. 

But we will also be putting on a show of our own. Stephen Chung, AIA, will once again be our master of ceremonies for our Architect Live booth. We'll be showcasing the best interviews and the best presentations all three days, just as we've been doing for the past few years. 

So come on by and check it out.

You can get the entire schedule for all of our programming here

So stop by and hang out. We can't wait to see you.

2 Days to Go ...


Time to Vote!
Attending the AIA National Convention means more than a nice trip, a chance to see old friends and colleagues, a chance to earn those last few Learning Units you've been missing, and an opportunity to hear some inspiring speeches. It also means that it's time to fulfill your duty as an AIA member. It's time to vote!!!

But don't go into the polling area blind. Know your candidates as well as you can first. To assist you in this endeavor, ARCHITECT has conducted a series of interviews with all of the candidates for national office. Check out all of the links below:

Here's what the eight candidates running for the top three AIA positions said about their goals for office and what they think the Institute can provide for current and future members. 

Meet the two candidates running for the office of secretary

Meet the three candidates running for vice president

And meet the three candidates running for first vice president/president-elect.

3 Days to Go ...

Credit: Daymon Gardner


Architecture Firm Award
Mere days after the death of founding principal Alan Eskew, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple were honored by the AIA with the 2014 Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor given to an architecture firm each year. For this dynamic firm, it is validation for their hard work and loyalty to their native city of New Orleans, and how much the firm has contributed to rebuilding the city and improving it since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. We sent author Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson to understand the importance of the firm to its city, and what it does now that a lot of the rebuilding is complete. Read her story here.

Want to learn more about Eskew+Dumez+Ripple while in Chicago at Convention? And even earn 1.5 Learning Units doing so? Then attend learning session TH217, Thursday from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Room S401. Here EDR will present their recent and past work and give insights into their organization.

4 Days to Go ...


Twenty-Five Year Award
This year's AIA Twenty-Five Year Award went to the DC Metro, the spectacular, vaulted-station public transit system of our nation's capital, designed by Harry Weese. We tasked Lawrence Biemiller with getting to the bottom of why it is such an important project. You can read that here.

Want to learn more about this landmark project while at Convention, and earn a Learning Unit doing so? Then attend learning session FR113, Friday at 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. in Room S403. At this session, members of the design team will tell the story of the design and how the client relationships affected the end result. A member of the jury will also provide additional insights.

5 Days to Go ...

Credit: Lawrence Anderson


AIA Gold Medal
Julia Morgan, designer of the Hearst Castle among many other projects, is the 2014 AIA Gold Medal recipient. She's the first woman to ever win the prestigious award. Because of Morgan's work in various styles, and her shunning of social movements and self-promotion, it took a long time for the architect to receive the recognition that is her due. But her Beaux-Arts & Crafts blend of Classical and Bay Area styles, writes Christopher Hawthorne for our June issue cover story, is certainly worthy of praise.

6 Days to Go ...


Other AIA Awards
Each year, the AIA presents a handful of other important awards to emerging young architects, leaders in diversity and education, and important members of the architecture and design community: the Young Architects Award, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, the Topaz Medallion, the Edward C. Kemper Award, the Thomas Jefferson Awards for Public Architecture, the Associates Award, and the Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement.

You can earn Learning Units while you learn more about a couple of these while at Convention too. The Topaz Medallion Symposium will talk about the future of architecture education and how schools should adapt for the future. It is being held on Friday at 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Room S504. Honoring non-architects who help to forward the profession is the purpose of the Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement, which will be given out at an hour-and-a-half long session on Friday, also at 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., in Room S103C.

7 Days to Go ...

Credit: Scott Frances


Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture and Regional & Urban Design
This year, the AIA award 9 projects with Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture and 6 projects with Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design. Learn more about each, via a quote from the client and a comment from the awards jury here for the Interior Architecture winners and here for the Regional & Urban Design winners.

If you want to know more about all of the winning Interior Architecture projects, you can visit the AIA Honors & Awards booth on the show floor, Booth 2227, on Friday at 11:30 a.m. to see a presentation of the winning projects.If you want to know more about all of the winning Regional & Urban Design projects, you can visit the AIA Honors & Awards booth on the show floor, Booth 2227, on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to see a presentation of the winning projects.

8 Days to Go ...

Credit: Iwan Baan


Institute Honor Awards for Architecture
This year, the AIA award 11 projects with Institute Honor Awards for Architecture. Learn more about each, via a quote from the client and a comment from the awards jury here.

If you want to know more about all of the winning projects, and earn a Learning Unit in the process while at Convention, attend the learning session "Institute Honor Awards for Architecture: Defining the Qualities of Excellence in Design" being held in Room S106 on Thursday morning at 7 a.m. You can also visit the AIA Honors & Awards booth on the show floor, Booth 2227, on Thursday at 2 p.m. to see a presentation of the winning projects.

9 Days to Go ...


Frank Lloyd Wright Laurent House
A Frank Lloyd Wright–designed house that the architect called his “little gem” opened to the public as a museum earlier this month. Located about two hours outside of Chicago in Rockford, Ill., the Laurent House is the only building that Wright designed for a person with a physical disability and is one that the architect considered one of the greatest designs in his career. Currently, the Laurent House hosts tours on the first and last weekend of each month, so you can visit on June 28 and 29. Group tours are available by reservation.

Tours depart from:

Midway Village Museum
6799 Guilford Rd.
Rockford, Ill.
Google Map

10 Days to Go ...


AIA Housing Awards and the AIA/HUD Secretary Awards
The AIA honors the best housing projects (single-family and multifamily projects) each year. This year, the Institute's jury chose 10 projects in three categories: one- and two-family custom housing, multifamily housing, and special housing. No winners were chosen in a fourth category, one- and two-family production housing. Read about them all here.

The AIA Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community also partners with the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This year, this partnership resulted in four recipients for this year’s AIA/HUD Secretary Awards. The categories of the program include Excellence in Affordable Housing Design, Creating Community Connection Award, Community-Informed Design Award and, the Housing Accessibility/Alan J. Rothman Award. Read about them all here.

Better yet, see all of the winners and a presentation of all of the winning projects at Convention. On the morning of Saturday, June 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we'll be honoring the winners of these programs at our ARCHITECT Live set, Booth 4333 on the convention floor. Come join us.

11 Days to Go ...


Residential Architect Design Awards
This year, we selected 26 winning residential projects in 11 categories ranging from small outbuildings and houses under 3,000 square feet to large affordable housing projects and luxurious houses larger than 3,000 square feet in size. You can see all of the winners here.

You can also see a live presentation of all of the awards and winners at our ARCHITECT Live set, Booth 4333 on the convention floor. Join us the morning of  Saturday, June 28, at 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

12 Days to Go ...

Credit: Bill Timmerman


COTE Top Ten
Each year, the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) picks their Top Ten most sustainable projects of the year. Recently, they've added a COTE Plus eleventh as well, culled from past Top Ten winning projects that have performed even better than expected. We've been covering the program and have lots of stories, extensive coverage of all of this year's projects, and profiles of the firms involved. Find all of that here.

And if you want to earn 1.5 Learning Units at convention by hearing more about these green projects, then head to Room N227 on Thursday, June 26, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. At this session, COTE Top Ten winners will presented with an overview of their sustainability goals and features, illustrated with comments from the jury.

13 Days to Go ...

Credit: Steve Hall


The Underside of Aqua
At 83 stories, Jeanne Gang’s breakout project, the Aqua Tower, is tall by almost any standards. But because the high-rise is tucked amid a cluster of towers just north of Millennium Park, finding a good vantage point isn’t as straightforward as one might suppose. Fans of the project should make the quick, three block detour to Lake Shore East Park, which Aqua adjoins. And don’t miss one of the project’s most overlooked gracenotes, the concrete public stair linking the park with street level above.

The Aqua Tower
225 N. Columbus Dr.
Google map

Lake Shore East Park
Google map

14 Days to Go ...

Credit: Courtesy Plant Chicago


Meat-Packing No More
During roughly the last decade of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, Chicago made a serious bid to become the greenest city in America, and sustainability entrepreneurs continue to tap the considerable local support network. One compelling case in point is a net-zero food-production pilot, located in a 93,500-square-foot former meatpacking plant that is called, somewhat poetically, The Plant. On top of the core fish- and hydroponic farming effort, an anaerobic digester will consume 27 tons of food waste each day, capturing methane gas to power the facility when it is up and running (supposedly in 2016).

The Plant
1400 West 46th Street
Google map

15 Days to Go ...

Credit: Eric Nordstrom


Artifacts R Us
If you want to take home a piece of Chicago architecture, but worry that the Robie House won’t fit in the overhead bin, pay a visit to Urban Remains, Architectural Artifacts, or Architech Gallery. The latter offers period drawings and prints by Daniel Burnham, Bertrand Goldberg, and other luminaries. At Urban Remains and Architectural Artifacts, you can purchase fragments of metal, terra-cotta, and glass salvaged from erstwhile landmarks.

Architech Gallery
730 North Franklin Street
Google map

Urban Remains
1850 West Grand Avenue
Google map

Architectural Artifacts
4325 North Ravenswood Avenue
Google map

16 Days to Go ...


Hey, Batter Batter
The White Sox will be in Toronto during the convention, but the Cubs are hosting the Reds on Wednesday the 25th and the Nationals on the 26th, 27th, and 28th (the 28th is a doubleheader). So there are plenty of chances to sample the franks at one of Major League Baseball’s last remaining historic stadiums, Wrigley Field, which was designed by Zachary Taylor Davis and opened in 1914. (The franchise itself dates to 1870, when it was known as the Chicago White Stockings). If you can’t make a game, the Cubs also offer daily tours of the stadium.

Wrigley Field
1060 West Addison Street

17 Days to Go ...


Design Goods
The highest of Chicago’s high-design design stores has to be Luminaire, in the River North neighborhood. It occupies three floors of an old warehouse, and does so with all the self-confidence of a contemporary art gallery: Furniture and objects are displayed on white-painted pedestals, against exposed brick walls and concrete floors. The prices are self-confident as well, ranging from $98 wood-and-fluorescent-acrylic boxes by Takumi Shimamura to Fernando and Humberto Campana’s five-figure Boa sofa, a knot of stuffed velvet tubes.

Luminaire
301 West Superior Street

Google map

18 Days to Go ...


Guten Appetit!
For the best Weiner Schnitzel west of the Rhine, book a table at the Berghoff. Established in 1898 as a beer hall that served free corned beef sandwiches, the business survived Prohibition by expanding its food service. Upon repeal, the the City of Chicago granted liquor license Number One to the Berghoff, but the wood-paneled German restaurant stayed in business, in its landmark location a couple blocks west of the Art Institute.

The Berghoff
17 West Adams Street

Google map

19 Days to Go ...

Credit: Ryan Guenther


Going to Graceland
In Chicago, even the dead get good architecture, and none more so than the denizens of Graceland Cemetery on the city’s North Side. The subject of a derisive poem by Carl Sandberg, the 119-acre spread is home to some of Chicago’s richest and most famous dead people, from film critic Roger Ebert to meat packer Philip Danforth Armour. Lots of architects are buried here as well, among them Louis Sullivan, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marion Mahoney Griffin, and Bruce Goff. Don’t miss the two mausolea Sullivan designed, or the sculptures by Lorado Taft and Daniel Chester French.

Graceland Cemetery
4001 North Clark Street

Google map

20 Days to Go ...

Credit: dcaiga.blogspot.com


A Post-Modern Moment
Stanley Tigerman of Tigerman McCurry Architects is the undisputed dean of Chicago architecture. There are many contenders for his best local building, but the most well-loved has to be the Anti-Cruelty Society, with its Basset Hound cut-out façade and shop windows full of adoptable animals. The building opened in 1981, and in 2011 Interactive Design Architects replaced the original aluminum siding with terra-cotta and louvers to give the critters some shade.

21 Days to Go ...

Credit: Mary Anne Enriquez


Sweeping Views and Local Controversy
“Visit” the much-disputed construction site at Wolf Point—a strip of land where the north, south, and main branches of the Chicago River come together—to watch the first of three bKL towers rise and to catch a unique view of downtown Chicago. Among the structures on display: the curved, reflective glass façade of KPF’s 333 West Wacker building, Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, GAP&W’s Merchandise Mart, Chicago architect Herbert Hugh Riddle’s Mather Tower, Adrian Smith’s Trump tower, and more. Local fact: The Y-shape formed by the meeting of the river branches at Wolf Point is purposefully translated visually on imagery across the city, which you’ll be hard-pressed not to spot once you know what to look for.

Wolf Point
River North, Chicago, IL

Google Map

22 Days to Go ...

Credit: Courtesy the Renaissance Society


The South Side: Renaissance Contemporary
Tucked into the attic of Cobb Hall at the University of Chicago is one of the nation’s premier kunsthallen, the Renaissance Society. Founded in 1915 and led by curators Solveig Øvstebø and Hamza Walker, the society presents whip-smart exhibitions of work by leading contemporary artists. Currently on: an installation by British artist Christina Mackie of found and made objects in several media, all linked by the theme of color. Through June 29.

The Renaissance Society
5811 South Ellis Avenue

23 Days to Go ...

Credit: Ali Eminov


The South Side: Collegiate Gothic
There’s lots to see at the University of Chicago, in the South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park. There’s the original Victorian Gothic campus architecture by luminaries such as Henry Ives Cobb and Bertram Goodhue; midcentury marvels including projects by Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and a Henry Moore bronze mushroom cloud commemorating the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, which Enrico Fermi set off in a lab tucked under the seats of the football stadium; and a host of buildings by contemporary architects such as Rafael Viñoly, FAIA; Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA; Ricardo Legorreta; and Joe Valerio, FAIA.

University of Chicago
5801 South Ellis Avenue

24 Days to Go ...

Credit: Jack Delano, courtesy LOC


Shave and a Haircut
For a true old-school Chicago experience, with a strong dose of architectural history, make an appointment at the Metropolitan Barber Shop. It’s the real deal, with the big chairs, striped pole, and combs in jars of blue disinfectant. It’s also located on the ground floor of the Monadnock Building, so if you’re running early you can stroll the marble-lined ground floor corridor from Burnham & Root’s 1891 stacked-masonry block on the north to Holabird & Roche’s 1893 metal-frame extension on the south.

Monadnock Building
53 West Jackson Boulevard

25 Days to Go ...

Credit: Courtesy the Auditorium Theater


For Access, Ask Nicely
Chicago being the land of a thousand landmarks, architectural tourists quickly learn that not every significant building in town is publicly accessible. But don’t be dismayed. Many lobby guards will allow you to take a quick look around, if you look presentable and ask nicely. And some institutions go to considerable lengths to be welcoming. The Roosevelt University website even has a DIY tour guide of Louis Sullivan’s Auditorium Building, an 1889 gem that now serves as the main building on the school’s downtown campus.

Auditorium Building
430 South Michigan Avenue

26 Days to Go ...

Credit: Alexander Eisenschmidt


Chicago 102
Just in time for convention, the Art Institute is offering an advanced, conceptual course in Chicago architecture. The exhibition "Chicagoisms: The City as Catalyst for Architectural Innovation" suggests five defining principles that have driven design and development in the Second City, such as “Ambition Overcomes Nature” and “Technology Makes Spectacle.” Through Jan. 4, 2015.

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue

27 Days to Go ...


Chicago 101
Every visit to Chicago ought to begin with a Chicago Architecture Foundation tour. The riverboat cruise is arguably the most popular offering, but the foundation’s highly trained docents lead groups all over the city, using practically every mode of transportation: boat, bike, trolley, bus, “L” train, Segway, or your own two feet.

Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 South Michigan Avenue

28 Days to Go ...


Last day for Advance registration pricing.
Want to save about 30 percent? Then sign up today before the Advance pricing period ends. If you plan on going for the entire show, then this is the deal you don't want to miss. Starting tomorrow, you get the same discount as you would for just showing up, which is, to say, no discount.

So, sign up today, save yourself a few bucks and get at least one thing off your desk for the day. Then you can move on to the fun part, planning out what you're going to do in Chicago.

29 Days to Go ...


Start planning your convention week.
The schedule for the preconvention day and the three days that follow is already up online here. It's an interactive list of all of the speeches and sessions—click on each one to learn more, such as how much it costs to attend, how many Learning Units you get for it, and what special categories the credits fulfill. 

You can't attend everything, so it's time to start narrowing the scope of your trip.

30 Days to Go ...


Have you registered yet?
There are only three more days (counting today) to register to attend the Convention at the Advance prices. You already missed out on the low, low early bird prices (sorry, bub), but you can still shave some money off your bill by signing up very soon. Savings over the full admission price range from $50 for an AIA member for the full time to $85 for a nonmember (at a much higher amount, of course).

Also, if you decide to become a new member of the AIA before June 28, you get to attend for free. And as another amazing membership perk, you'll get a free subscription to the official magazine of the American Institute of Architects, the most incredible architecture magazine out there, chock full of the best in new projects, tech, business, and more. (But, admittedly, we're a little biased on that last part.)