A'17 Kicks Off 3-Day Event


A’17, the American Institute of Architects’ Conference on Architecture, is underway at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando and will go through Saturday (April 29).

The event is billed as full of “fast-paced, hard-hitting ideas, inspiration, education, networking and innovation from some of the industry-leading architects, firms and building product manufacturers.”

Conference-goers can expect three days of seminars, speakers, awards, tours and networking opportunities, as well as A’17’s party, which this year is boasting Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band.


Former First Lady Michelle Obama kicks off the conference at 12:50 p.m. today (April 27) in Hall C. She is expected to talk about initiatives she championed while former President Barack Obama was in office, such as “Joining Forces,” which called on all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities, and “Reach Higher,” aimed to inspire young people across America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school.

AIA’s keynote roster also features a number of leading lights of architecture—including 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate Alejandro Aravena and MASS Design Group co-founder Michael Murphy. Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, an expert in professional body language, will also address the attendees.

Networking & Activities

There are over 60 tours in which attendees can explore Orlando’s architecture. Some highlights include:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Child of the Sun: Campus at Florida Southern College,
  • A Celebration of Artistry: Tiffany and Polasek in Winter Park,
  • From Phosphate Mine to Back Nine, and
  • The 2017 New American Home and Great American Remodel.

The conference also boasts 40 networking opportunities, including dozens of alumni events. Receptions for both first-time attendees and new AIA members, as well as the Emerging Professionals Party, College of Fellows Investiture Ceremony and honors and an awards celebration.

The Expo

Nearly 800 building product manufacturers will have booths, galleries and displays ready for conference-goers to explore the newest in products and technologies.

A’17 touts that “The Architecture Expo isn’t just an exhibit hall—it’s also a temporary built environment packed with solutions that will impact your practice into the future.”

With over 170,000 sq. ft. of expo space, there’s a lot of ground to cover in the three-day span. Expo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

A number of products are also making their debut at the conference.


While more than 30 workshops were held Wednesday (April 26), the 170+ seminars are split up into almost a dozen different tracks so that attendees can get the most out of an education best suited for their professional lives. The tracks include:

  • Pro Series: Designed for experienced architects and firm owners, featuring three powerful sessions led by award-winning business leaders. Explore alternate business models and ways to address your clients’ unique needs.
  • Energy Collection: Explore the latest developments in high-performance homes, energy modeling, climate-specific strategies and net-zero.
  • Health Collection: How visionary architects and designers are using design to promote physical, social and environmental well-being.
  • Materials Collection: Materials selection and solutions and how these decisions impact form, function, inhabitant health and the environment.
  • Resilience Collection: What’s new in resilient design, sustainable projects, regenerative futures and next-generation approaches to designing communities.
  • Global Collection: Continental challenges, international design trends and region-specific codes and standards.
  • Research Collection: Research that’s defining the built environment including building performance, large-scale systems, sustainability and more.
  • Small Firm Practitioners Collection: Business development and risk management, marketing, emerging trends and new products.
  • Young Professionals Collection: Impressive lineup of sessions by leading architects and firms, plus get pro tips on getting licensed.
  • First-timers Collection: Handpicked collection of tours, seminars, workshops and social events to make the most out of a first AIA conference.
  • Academics Collection: Workplace meets school space on educational innovation and cutting-edge design for digital, physical, K-12 and college education.

For more information, visit conferenceonarchitecture.com.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architecture; Awards and honors; Building Envelope; Color + Design; Conferences; Design build; Education; North America

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