Back in September I wrote an article that listed many of the organizations dedicated to helping architects expand their involvement, knowledge, and commitment to sustainable design. One of these groups of concerned professionals was created under the umbrella of our AIA national organization more than 25 years ago. It exists as one of the knowledge committees officially established under the AIA’s structure of committees that focus on particular topics of architectural practice.

Recently I ventured over to Keene State College to help out with a mid-semester design review for one of Bart Sapeta’s studio classes. Many of you may know Bart, but for those of you who don’t, he has been an Associate Professor at Keene State for about eight years now. He is also currently an AIA New Hampshire Board Director, and has been nominated to become our chapter’s Vice President next year. I always enjoy his passion for design and his ability to spark that passion among his students in the Keene State Architecture program.

In last month’s Forum article, I wrote about the numerous organizations and information sources dedicated to helping design and construction professionals step up to a new ‘standard of care’ for the environmental performance of the buildings we design. It’s been an interesting evolution of organizations, and someday I hope to read a long treatise on the history and success stories of the ‘sustainability movement’.

With summer behind us and the fall weather coming on, many of us are programmed by our years of schooling to see this month the beginning of another year of learning. And perhaps we naturally gravitate to our subjects of curiosity and the desire for moving ahead with a better understanding of our pet topics. As in past Septembers, I am happy to say that I often get a mental boost from this season and dive in anew; thank goodness!

Bonnie Kastel

Bonnie Kastel has been selected
as the new Executive Director
for AIA New Hampshire,
to begin October 1.

As some of you may know, the AIA New Hampshire Board of Directors has been busy since late winter with the work of finding a new Executive Director to take on the role in October when Carolyn Isaak retires from the position. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated committee of the Board, we were all able to interview four well-qualified persons from a field of eighteen candidates. Special thanks go out to Shannon Alther AIA, our past, past president who volunteered to follow through as committee chairman and brought us together for the final candidate interviews.

Almost 9,000 Architects attended this year’s AIA National Convention in Philadelphia (and nearly 21,000 people in total). Between speeches, seminars, trade show exhibits, voting, and the business meeting, it was quite a non-stop event. As delegates we elected three Architects to national office to fill the vacancies of first vice president, secretary, and delegate- at-large for the national Board of Directors. I can attest to the quality of leadership that our national organization has attracted.

Each year our Chapter president attends the AIA convention including the Business meeting of our AIA national organization. This May I have the honor of representing our Chapter at the event in Philadelphia May 19-21, and casting the Chapter votes for the candidates for national office, and the various resolutions. I have recently spoken with two of the candidates up for election, and plan to learn more about the others before the event. I have also been reviewing the resolutions which are presented at the business meeting.

Recently you may have heard that the ‘powers that be’ here in NH considered the adoption of the latest edition of the family of ICC building codes, that’s the 2015 editions. The last time we moved forward to new editions of the code was in 2010, when the 2009 versions were adopted, along with several amendments.

Once again we gathered in January to celebrate and honor the firms and individuals who have demonstrated a skillful and thoughtful practice of architecture. I find this event to be a very enjoyable get together, as it brings out about 170 people who have a good time reconnecting with those they haven’t seen for a while. And yes it feels good to share stories and wish each other well.

Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg, TN, as seen from the Parkway
By-pass looking south toward
the Great Smokey Moutains

I recently became visitor 7,600,000-ish to the Great Smoky Mountains over the first week in November of 2015. There are approximately 9,000,000 visitors to the park each year which makes it the most visited National Park in the country, nearly twice as many as any other park in the country. My trip took me to Gatlinburg, TN, considered the “Gateway” to the Great Smoky Mountains.

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