AIA Chapters Go to Washington
Last week, leaders from AIA Chapters across the US visited their respective congressional delegations in Washington, DC, to advocate for issues important to architects, including the profession’s critical work on climate and equity, as well as two architecture-related bills that are under consideration. AIA Massachusetts leadership visited staff for Senators Warren and Markey, as well as staff from Representatives Trahan, Neal, Moulton, McGovern, Keating, Lynch, and Democratic Whip Katherine Clark’s offices. Regrettably, staff from Representative Pressley’s and Representative Auchincloss’ offices were unavailable.
In addition to discussing the BSA's work addressing equity and climate issues in the built environment, the AIA Massachusetts delegates advocated for two bills on behalf of the AIA: the Democracy in Design Act and the Resilient AMERICA Act. The Democracy in Design Act is a bipartisan measure that would prevent future Administrations from mandating one architectural design style for federal buildings and courthouses across the country. This measure would ensure a style-neutral position that would respect the country’s regional differences and encourage American architectural innovation. The bill was drafted in response to former President Trump’s executive order mandating classical architecture for all federal buildings and courthouses, which was rescinded by President Biden.
The Resilient AMERICA Act passed the House of Representatives last year, but did not make it through the Senate and will be reintroduced shortly. The bipartisan legislation would significantly improve the federal government’s ability to prepare communities for future natural disaster events by providing Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) funding to advance pre-disaster mitigation, as well as the adoption and implementation of resilient building codes. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only half of the US jurisdictions (including Massachusetts) have adopted hazard resistant building codes, and according to the National Institute of Building Sciences, adopting the latest building codes and standards saves $11 for every $1 invested in post-disaster recovery.