ASAE Honors the Power of Architects

AIA Pennsylvania has been recognized with an American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) “Power of A (association)” Gold Award, the association industry’s highest honor, for community support and engagement. These awards celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of associations who work tirelessly to solve problems and strengthen lives, the workforce, the economy, and the world.

ASAE President and CEO Susan Robertson, CAE, shared her accolades and enthusiasm for the enduring power of associations. “Congratulations to AIA Pennsylvania on being named among the very best organizations that go above and beyond their tax-exempt purpose to improve society and our quality of life in America and abroad. This has been a very trying year for associations, but even amid a months-long pandemic, associations are proving that positive change can happen. More than ever, the Power of Associations is on full display in this year’s award-winning programs, providing tangible evidence that associations will help lead the way toward economic and societal recovery in the months ahead.”

The honor is a testament to the power of another “A”: architects. Starting in 2018, AIA Pennsylvania members’ combined expertise led the New Cumberland Borough Council through a series of meetings and workshops to engage residents of the small town just outside the Pennsylvania state capital, to envision their rural downtown business district revitalization. As part of this “Design for Better” initiative, member leaders from across the state connected to learn and share best practice approaches for assisting communities with securing revitalization funding and grants for phased design interventions. Beyond hosting community design workshops, AIA Pennsylvania members developed and prioritized design concepts, provided graphic documentation, and presented the ideas to the broader community over a period of 6 months. The concepts developed through the process included activating Market Square, painting a Directional Mural, transforming an alley into a Theatre Pocket Park, and reclaiming the west shore of the Susquehanna River for a Riverwalk. 

Kirk Stoner, Director of Planning for Cumberland County, notes how AIA Pennsylvania members’ range of skillsets laid the groundwork to spark the revitalization of the borough’s business district. “Successful revitalization efforts mesh public input, market feasibility, and aesthetic enhancements to establish a vision of ‘what could be’ for a given community. AIA Pennsylvania’s urban design charrette for New Cumberland’s downtown provides the professional expertise required to transform public aspirations into real, visual improvements in the future. The design charrette engages residents and architects in a collaborative process aimed at creating the future as both parties work together to determine what the future should be and then cooperatively design it. The resulting product has immediate public buy-in and professional integrity. Residents are actively engaged in the design process and know that the final product represents their wishes and desires. Likewise, concepts created during the planning process have the professional seal of approval, ensuring that what the community has imagined is feasible and not just a wish.”

Re-cap the story of the New Cumberland “Design for Better” initiative in the documentary short below

Special thanks to the members, volunteers, and partners that gave their time and talents to envision a new future for New Cumberland.

Pictured above left to right: Elysia Mikkelsen, AIA; Andrey Grove; Chris Dawson, AIA; Bob Kelly, AIA; Thomas Bank, AIA; Jeff Goldstein, FAIA; Darius Hopkins

AIA Pennsylvania Design for Better project team including:

  • Chris Dawson, AIA
  • Andrey Grove
  • Darius Hopkins
  • Rob Jones, Assoc. AIA
  • Sara Sweeney
  • James White, Assoc. AIA 

AIA Pennsylvania Strategic Council leaders and Design/Blueprint for Better champions:

  • Robert (Bob) Kelly AIA, IDSA
  • Jeff Pastva, AIA

AIA Pennsylvania members and leaders:

  • Thomas Bank, AIA
  • Jeff Goldstein, FAIA
  • Elysia Mikkelsen, AIA
  • Marc Stauffer, AIA

New Cumberland Borough Council and revitalization leaders:

  • Michelle Brummer, AICP
  • Don Kibler

AIA Pennsylvania Team and Partners:

  • Anthony Potter, Esq., AIA Pennsylvania General Counsel
  • Stephen Swarney, AIA Pennsylvania Executive Director
  • Amal Mahrouki, AIA Pennsylvania Director of Legislative Affairs
  • Olivia Perry, AIA Pennsylvania Director of Communications
  • Michelle McKenna, AIA Pennsylvania Membership and Marketing Coordinator
  • Glenn Ibberson, Documentary Videographer

Addition AIA Honors from ASAE

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) received a 2020 “Power of A (association)” Silver Award for the “Communities by Design” program and was also recently recognized as one of the “100 Associations That Will Save the World” for the response to coronavirus.