One on One with the CEO of American Institute of Arts

The American Institute of Arts (AIA) has been in existence since 1857. Many people, however, are not very familiar with what exactly the institution does. Robert Ivy is the current CEO and has served in that position since February 2011. AIA is a professional body that is mandated by the federal government to train, advice the public on matters related to construction and design as well as issue operating licenses to qualified members. AIA currently has over 87,000 members all over the country according to CEO Robert Ivy. The institution has its Headquarters in Washington DC as well as offices in every state. Follow Robert Ivy on Twitter for more updates

Since joining AIA, Robert Ivy has transformed the institution and is constantly concerned about how Architects can be more useful outside their profession. Ivy believes that Architecture can be used in different areas of life other than the construction and design industry. In the recent months, AIA has been on a mission to partner with sectors which are not closely related to architecture. When asked why the institution had taken that direction, the soft-spoken CEO pointed out that there was a need for architects to deviate from the usual way of doing things. He holds the opinion that architects can be useful in other areas such as disaster relief solutions as well as improving health.

Robert Ivy went to Tulane University. He is a registered architect and has once worked as a magazine editor and corporate executive. He recently caught up with SmartPlanet’s Joo Kim in an interview. View Robert Ivy’s profile at Tulane School of Architecture

SmartPlanet: Can you explain the relationship between architecture and public health?

Robert Ivy: well, the design has played a major role in our public health throughout history. When you walk around, you see beautifully designed buildings and parks. That is the work of architecture.

SmartPlanet: Can architecture directly affect public Health?

Robert Ivy: Architecture can affect the rate of a community’s non-communicable diseases. Buildings around the city and outside can be designed in such a way that they promote exercise. For example, they can ensure there are areas where people can easily walk upstairs or downstairs without necessarily using lifts.

SmartPlanet: It is as if AIA is looking to collaborate with sectors unrelated to architecture, what’s your take on that?

Robert Ivy: Yes you are right. In the past few years, we have been trying to get out of the architecture box. We are encouraging architects across the country to embrace diversity and get involved in other fields. We think that kind of approach will bring about numerous positive changes in our institution. More info here:


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