Today is a horn tootin’ sort of day … the sort of day that has been 25 years in the making – although, if I am being honest, the possibility of this day didn’t show up on my radar screen until about I was about 32 years old. In fact, I even talked about this particular day almost 7 years ago in a post titled “The Importance of Setting Goals“.
The acronym “A.I.A.” stands for the American Institute of Architects, a professional organization for architects that offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image. This is an elective organization but if you are a practicing architect, you would be hard pressed to give me a reason why I shouldn’t be a member. If you are an architect, it is YOUR professional organization.
I have been a member for decades and my involvement has ranged from extremely heavy to almost non-existent. Since early on in my career, I’ve been involved in my local and state AIA component, and over the last 15 years I have served and chaired almost every major committee. During this time I’ve met people and made connections that helped shape my early career, and in the years since, have continued to serve me well because almost every job I’ve ever has been through connections I made while serving. In 2009, I was recognized for my efforts and was presented with the AIA Dallas Young Architect of the Year.
Fast forward just eight short years and it’s now 2017 … and from now on, if you receive any correspondence from me, you will see 4 letters following my name:
Robert Borson, FAIA.
The AIA College of Fellows seeks to stimulate a sharing of interests among Fellows, promote the purposes of the institute, advance the profession of architecture, mentor young architects and be of ever-increasing service to society. The College of Fellows, founded in 1952, is composed of members of the Institute who are elected to Fellowship by a jury of their peers. I was recognized and elevated to Fellow for my efforts to make the profession of ever-increasing service to society.
That’s a pretty good reason, right? If you are an architect, you’ll probably admit that this is a big deal. If you’re not an architect, let me just tell you that less than 3% of all AIA architects are ever recognized with this honor.
Okay, so in order to make this post of some sort of value, I thought I would include a couple of pages from my Fellows application. That’s right, you have to apply with your qualifications … and you have to tell them all about yourself so that other Fellows can determine if you’ve made some sort of important and significant impact on the profession on a national level.
This application process is incredibly rigorous, and let me tell you, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. Basically, you have to prove to the review committee that you are the greatest architect that has ever lived and that without you, the profession would surely crumble into ruins. Telling that story is not as easy as it sounds – despite the fact that I like talking about myself, I normally like to make myself look silly because I view myself as an everyman – no better and no worse than anyone else.
Well, hopefully no worse, and I’m not counting structural engineers …
So here are a few pages from my submission:
There is a section where you are supposed to list all the awards and honors you have received. Ermm … the bad news is that I don’t have that many – but the good news is that the ones I do have are pretty good and I am happy to have them.
Next up, I have included an “Exhibit” – which was a sample article from this very site. One of the things that I decided to do with this years application was to reinforce the idea that these articles are digital and read online. They are streams of thoughts and my intention was that all the articles I write are not heavily editorialized but come across as conversations between me and the people reading the post.
To help reinforce the digital nature of this medium, I chose to represent these articles on an iPad. I also decided to show the digital reach these articles have by listing data such as how many times a particular article has been read, the number of cities the article has reached, and how many languages the article has been translated into.
Finally, I also included a small sample of the reader comments from the sampled article (that’s right – you could have made it into my AIA Fellows application).
Next up – analytic data … [weakly] yay?!
Well, there you have it. A bunch of technical data about this website that 99 out of 100 people probably don’t care about …but it’s important in this aspect because “service to society” was a major consideration in my Fellows application. As a result, the global “society” that makes up the readership of this site should absolutely be represented here.
It is roughly nine weeks until I turn 49 years old but I believe my birthday present came early this year.
ps – If you happen to be in Orlando this year for the National AIA convention, please let me know. I’m pretty sure that I am going to put something together on Friday night (April 28th) so that I can take a moment and spend time with all the people who made this possible – which includes you … because without you reading and collaborating with me on these articles, my election to Fellowship would not have been possible. I would very much like it if we could all get together and raise a glass to the power of digital communication and the fellowship of the Life of an Architect community.