Lots of networking opportunities slated for ArchEx 2023

If you’re like most people, conferences are as much about continuing education sessions as they are about continuing the conversation—whatever conversation that is. Architecture Exchange East (Nov. 1-3, Richmond) features more than a few opportunities to network that you won’t want to miss, especially since there are so many conversations worth having these days—some critical, some fun, but all inspiring. 

Grab the proverbial cup of joe with colleagues and friends at separate networking events ArchEx. On Nov. 2, you can kick the day off with your choice of coffee receptions at 8:00 a.m., one hosted by the Virginia Historic Resources Committee, one hosted by the Committee on the Environment, one co-hosted by Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and VANOMA, and one hosted by the Emerging Professionals. Later that day at Connections, AIA Virginia will host a cocktail party in the Expo Hall at 4:15 p.m. to celebrate architects, allies, exhibitors, and partners. If you’re returning on Nov. 3, which you’ll obviously want to, you can get a head start with an 8:00 a.m. networking coffee, sponsored by AIA Virginia. 

ArchEx also features a series of vital roundtable discussions this year. Three, happening simultaneously, are keyed to firm size, and will raise questions and concerns (not to mention experiences) commonly found at small, medium, and large firms. Those kick off at 9:00 a.m. on Nov. 2. Three more, happening simultaneously, are keyed to career stages for attendees to find the right fit or even to find the next stage to aspire to.Those kick off at 10:30 a.m., also on Nov. 2.

Interested? It’s not too late to register now!

Three takes on innovation at ArchEx 2023 in November 

Everyone knows what innovation means, but ask ten people to offer a definition and you’ll get nearly as many versions. Technology will surely be a common thread, since it has come to be almost synonymous with the “i” word, but its root—novus—means new, which is a much broader dragnet for architects when they think about making claims about their innovative design or processes.

Architecture Exchange East (Nov. 1-3) has doubled down on what’s new about innovation with sessions about connectivity, technological or otherwise. Here are three takes on a contested word that you’ll want to check out if you’re also interested in doubling down on your firm’s future.

This year, Manoj Dalaya, FAIA, co-founder and president of KGD Architecture (and subject of an Inform interview last year), will talk about connecting a complicated program and stringent security requirements for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Arlington with the need to create an open and modern workplace. The result? A luminous office that offers a range of open and secure work environments. For a place built on secrets, the IDA is a remarkably airy and welcoming place. Michele Amt, AIA who directs VMDO’s sustainability efforts, has another take on innovation—how to transform both the culture and practice of her firm to embrace what she calls “radical transparency,” align design decisions with sustainability goals, and leverage data to advance project outcomes. (She was also part of a roundup earlier this year of impressions published by Inform on Architecture 2030’s CARE calculator for carbon savings.) 

Speaking of digital tools, this wouldn’t be a preview of sessions on innovation without a word about technology. T.J. Meehan, AIA, VP of Technology Solutions for CADD Microsystems, will be on-hand at ArchEx this year to talk about what’s beyond your BIM workflow using Revit and how to meet client needs for facilities management—long after the punch list has been completed and the backbone of a project’s promise to, say, reduce operational carbon or be generally efficient. Best of all, says Meehan, it’s a revenue stream you can consider, not to mention a value-add for the project.

Innovation comes in lots of flavors, and this is far from an exhaustive account of what’s on tap at ArchEx this year. Find out more about these sessions and others, and register today for ArchEx.

Michelle Amt, AIA: Radical Transparency (Or, How To Transform the Industry And Your Practice)
Thinking about signing on to the 2030 Commitment but you’re nervous about hitting the target on schedule? Have you been reporting for a few years but you can’t seem to move the needle on your percent reduction? Wondering how you compare to others in the same boat? Join us for a deep dive on how the 2030 Commitment can transform how you practice—even if you’re not hitting your targets–with VMDO Architects. Through their embrace of radical transparency, this session will shed light on how this forward-thinking firm leverages tools like the AIA’s Design Data Exchange (DDX) to align design decisions with sustainability goals, setting   new standards for accountability and industry transformation. Learn about the challenges and benefits of this approach, and discover how it’s reshaping VMDO’s firm culture, enhancing their projects’ impact, and charting a more sustainable future for architectural design.

Manoj Dalaya, FAIA: Connection, Cognitions, And Balance Through Design
What is the importance of a connected and engaging workplace from the owner’s perspective in a hybrid setting? How can the architect lead the dialogue between the Owner and Consultants to shape a modern workplace? This is a case study of a new headquarters serving 1000 employees for the Institute for Defense Analyses. The client answers the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis which is technical, and data-driven. The focus on art, lighting, and wellness is a counterpoint to the data-driven, high-security culture, providing relief and amplifying the capacity of the employees to achieve their mission.

T.J. Meehan, AIA: Additional Revenue Streams For Your Firm From A BIM Process
As a firm, you need to constantly stay ahead of your competition by providing more value. If you have already adopted a BIM workflow using Revit, there are several services you could provide to meet their needs. More and more owners are utilizing the models generated during design to manage their facilities, so how can you – with little more effort – provide models that assist owners with their FM goals and do so without fundamentally changing your business structure or requiring large investments in staff or technology. We will review specific steps you can take with your models and related processes to help owners meet their FM goals and how you may be able to not only add value to help set yourself apart from your competition, but also how you may be able to monetize these services.

ArchEx will deliver on networking, “serendipity,” and a new night for Visions

By William Richards

If you’re lining up your Q4 commitments, put Architecture Exchange East 2023 (Nov. 1-3) on your radar in Richmond. You’re not going to want to miss it this year, says AIA Virginia’s Executive Vice President Paul Battaglia, AIA, thanks to new networking opportunities and a new night for Visions for Architecture. “ArchEx is about accelerating your learning by offering some very unique experiences to forge stronger connections to your colleagues,” says Battaglia, “and we are stronger together as a design and construction community, which has never been more important than now—in today’s economy at this critical time for the environment.” The main thing for the annual convention, he says in this exclusive interview, is about being open to what’s next—and there’s only one way to find out what that might mean.

What’s your baseline for understanding ArchEx in 2023? Why is going to be an important event?

People can get their learning credits in lots of places—and that’s just a fact. But, what’s also a fact is that you can’t get them in quite the same way as you can at ArchEx. It’s one of the things that excites me as a member. If you practice architecture in Virginia, if you teach design in Virginia, and if you supply architects with products and services, this is really the only place you’re going to strengthen your position as a design thinker on behalf of your business. Or, even just on behalf of yourself, frankly.

OK, Paul, but you are the Executive Vice President of AIA Virginia. Aren’t you supposed to say that?

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t, but I have to tell you that I really believe architects, educators, product manufacturers, and AEC industry insiders in Virginia are really looking for something different—and I believe ArchEx is going to deliver. Registration opens next month and we’re really excited to let people know about it.

ArchEx is about remembering what a convening force design can be. We’re going to double down on our expo floor and really make that hive of activity a driver of networking.

ArchEx is also about providing a platform for cutting edge research and practice to flourish. The sessions we’re considering this year are really top notch. I can’t really tell you about them now—not yet—but I’m really pleased with how timely they are for this place and time in Virginia’s scene, and how compelling they are for any time, really—and that’s about finding those threads that knit together the work across generations and also the incredibly diverse markets across the state.

I think I hear you saying that ArchEx isn’t just for one type of person. Is that right?

Yes, and what strikes me is the range of things that architects are interested in doing—and what they have done, certainly—but what they are trying to get into, riding that edge of their experience and wondering what’s possible with this product on the expo floor or that talk they just heard in a packed room.

When I think back over all the years I’ve attended, the best times were the unpredictable times—the serendipity of sessions or conversations that lead down a road you hadn’t anticipated. Sometimes that happens in the lobby when I’m looking at a project exhibit. Sometimes it’s an off-handed comment made by someone next to me in a session. Sometimes it leads to a contract. Sometimes it leads to a new job. 

I think there are a lot of people interested in that kind of serendipity. 

What are some of the ways you’re considering that inclusive chance for everyone to find the next thing?

ArchEx is about a dialogue across experiences. We have members who have been practicing for 30 years who are really passionate about making a positive difference for their firms and for the next generation of architects. We have members who are hard-charging graduates who are on a licensure path—sacrificing a lot of their time to pass their exams—and ArchEx has to be there for them, too, offering ways to enrich that experience. It also has to offer them ways to network, too, and forge those relationships that really make a difference in the long term.

What’s one of the things that you’re changing this year?

We’re moving Visions to Thursday night, too, instead of on the final day of the convention because we want it to be a more inclusive event. I think a lot of people in the past wondered about the benefit of tacking on that extra night—on a weekend, to boot—and so by moving Visions up in the conference to Thursday, we feel we can bring more people together to celebrate their colleagues. 

Whether it’s Visions or not, everything we’re doing this year is meant to bring people together and remind them that this is an opportunity for them to fulfill their goals. It’s also an opportunity for them to find new goals. For me that’s about being open to possibility, and it’s a really good time to be open to possibility in Virginia architecture right now. 

Registration for Architecture Exchange East begins in just a few weeks! Stay tuned and follow AIA Virginia on Facebook and Instagram to be among the first to know when registration opens.

Architecture Exchange East

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference. This year, it takes place (mostly) virtually from Nov. 1–5, 2021. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore a broad theme.

Monday, Nov. 1 [VIRTUAL]

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Women in Design @ Architecture Exchange East
 [3.5 AIA LU]
Free  with a suggested donation to AIA Virginia’s Hampton University Scholarship Fund Campaign. Donate online or text GIVE or DONATE to (202) 410-2150

4-5 p.m.
Emerging Leaders in Architecture @ Architecture Exchange East
 [1.0 AIA LU]
Free  with a suggested donation to AIA Virginia’s Hampton University Scholarship Fund Campaign. Donate online or text GIVE or DONATE to (202) 410-2150

Architecture Exchange East

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference. This year, it takes place (mostly) virtually from Nov. 1–5, 2021. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore a broad theme.

Wednesday, Nov. 3 [VIRTUAL]

1-2 p.m.
Keynote Address: Jonathan Moody, AIA
 [1.0 AIA LU | HSW]

2:15-3:15 p.m.
Speed Networking
 [1.0 AIA LU]
Free. Four $100 prizes will be given away to Speed Networking attendees.

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Keynote Address: Zena Howard, FAIA
 [1.0 AIA LU]

4:45-6 p.m.
AIA Virginia’s Annual Meeting of the Membership

Register online.

Architecture Exchange East

ArchEx is AIA Virginia’s annual conference. This year, it takes place (mostly) virtually from Nov. 1–5, 2021. The program is curated to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to explore a broad theme.

Thursday, Nov. 4 [VIRTUAL]

3-5:15 p.m.
Making Space: Designing for Inclusion
 [2.0 AIA LU | HSW]
featuring Chris Downey, AIA, Magda Mostafa, Derrick Behm-Josa, and Janice Majewski.

Register online.