Building 7 Resolution at AIA Convention

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. As you might imagine some are simple resolutions of appreciation, honoring groups who have contributed their time and energy to organizing the event.

One of the resolutions that has been presented in past business meetings is on the agenda for consideration again this year. No, I don’t mean one of the appreciation resolutions, of which there are six. This is a resolution regarding a very serious matter relating to an event that many would like to forget. But there are quite a few inquisitive architects who feel it is a civic duty as registered design professionals to be a voice for leadership on an issue they believe remains to be adequately explained.

It has been almost 15 years since a 47-story high rise building known as WT 7 (World Trade Center Building 7) collapsed symmetrically in what some say was less than 7 seconds at 5:20 pm on the afternoon on September 11, 2001. This was many hours after the tragedy of that morning, when the twin towers came down. Many knowledgeable building experts have questioned the official explanation regarding Building 7, and some concerned professionals are still pursuing the mystery. At least 51 architects have sponsored this resolution and are asking the AIA Board of Directors to support the idea of a new investigation in an attempt to clear up contradictory and omitted information, using the highest standards of science-based investigation and analysis.

I thought it would be worthwhile to share the text of the initial paragraphs of the resolution in this month’s Forum. It is quite lengthy. (The entire text is in the AIA 2016 Delegate Information book, which can be accessed through the Resource page on the AIANH website: It is Resolution 16-3.)

Title: Investigation of the Total Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. Sponsors: Daniel Barnum, FAIA and fifty members of the Institute intent to adopt a Position Statement in support of a new investigation into the total collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11, 2001.

“WHEREAS, according to the AIA Public Policies and Position Statements, architects are professionally obligated to use their knowledge, skill, and experience to engage in civic life; and
WHEREAS, World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7), a 47-story, steel-framed high-rise building, suffered a total collapse at 5:20 PM on the afternoon of September 11, 2001; and
WHEREAS, the cause of the collapse of WTC 7 has become the subject of vigorous public debate, such that establishing the true cause of the collapse of WTC 7 is of great civic importance; and
WHEREAS, prior to and since September 11, 2001, no steel-framed high-rise building has ever suffered a total collapse, except buildings demolished through the procedure known as controlled demolition; and
WHEREAS, the collapse of WTC 7 exemplified many of the signature features of controlled demolition, including:
Sudden onset: The roofline of WTC 7 went from being stationary to being in free fall in approximately one half-second.
Rapidity: The roofline of WTC 7 fell to the ground in less than seven seconds.
Free fall: For 2.25 seconds, or a third of its descent, WTC 7 fell at the rate of gravity over a distance of eight stories, meaning that the lower structure of the building provided no resistance whatsoever.
Symmetry: WTC 7 fell directly downward through what had been the path of greatest resistance, with the debris deposited mostly inside the building’s footprint.
Explosions and window breakage: Video shows vertical sequences of explosions and window breakage running up the north face of WTC 7 as it began to collapse.
Dismemberment: The steel frame of WTC 7 was almost entirely dismembered.
Totality: The entire structure of WTC 7 collapsed to the ground, leaving no sections of the building standing; and…”
More paragraphs follow in the remaining text of the resolution (too long to print here)
And the final text of the resolution reads as follows: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the AIA Board of Directors shall commence the process to adopt a Position Statement, to be published in the AIA Directory of Public Policies and Position Statements, stating both:The AIA’s belief that incidents involving the catastrophic failure of buildings and other structures must be investigated using the highest standards of science-based investigation and analysis; and The AIA’s support for a new investigation into the total collapse of WTC 7.”

I thought it was important to share this information with the AIANH membership because I am curious what some of you may think about whether the AIA national organization should support this resolution. Yes, it is much easier to let this matter go, than to support a new investigation. And I understand that has been the course of the AIA vote in previous years, and may likely be the result this year too. If you have thoughts you would like to share on the matter, please email me using the AIANH email address, office@

Note: The Resolution failed at the AIA Convention.

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