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AIA Columbus Center for ArchitectureOctober 09, 2008
In July, 2008, AIA Columbus organized a Task Force to study the idea of an AIA Columbus Center for Architecture (CFA). The Task for met several times over the summer, completing its work in September.
Centers for Architecture have recently opened in Philadelphia, Portland, Austin, and Houston; others are about to open in North Carolina and Dallas, and others have existed for many years in Chicago, Seattle and New York. While size, cost, and program vary in detail, they all have in common the goal of creating a home for architecture in their city, of creating an exciting place for both members and the public, a place for exhibits, receptions, chapter meetings, and community outreach, as well as creating a home for the chapter’s day to day business.
The Task Force articulated the mission and goals for the CFA and the advantages of partnering with other like-minded organizations, defined a program and budget, proposed a schedule, and set direction for implementation.
- Visibility of Architecture & Design
- A Place to serve our members and the design community
- Outreach to the Community
- A Resource for both Members & Public for knowledge about architecture
Mission StatementTo increase visibility of architecture and design, serve the members of AIA Columbus and the design
community, and to provide an outlet for community outreach, education, and resources.
PartnersThe nature of our partner relationships should be decided as the first step in the implementation process. The Columbus Architecture Foundation is a natural partner in this enterprise; it is “housed” at AIA Columbus, and as a 501C-3, it is eligible to obtain grants. In current planning, no other potential partners occupy space in the Center for Architecture, as defined in the Program below.
Required programs of the space:
- Reception/Gallery/Meeting Space
- Resource Area/Library
- Storage – include chairs
Qualities of the CFA Space:
- Cool, crisp, cutting edge in design
- Flexible – the main space needs to entertain a variety of events from chapter meetings,
- educational forums, exhibits, and receptions.
- Sustainable – the AIA CFA must “walk the walk”
- Coffee Shop/Bar
- Active Design Studio Space...
- Classroom Space – See Meeting space above
- Outside space/Sculpture Garden –desired, not imperative
- Town Hall/Meeting Space – See Meeting space above
There was a good deal of disagreement among the Task Force about the best location for the CFA. Some were adamant that the Center be located Downtown both for symbolic reasons – DT is the center of our city – and practical reasons – DT is the center of government, finance, and business of our region.
Others were adamant that the Center be located in the Short North because it is more exciting and has constant and lively street traffic. This decision hinges partly on who is our audience and how best to reach them. Some believe that the audience is business leaders and politicians, the next generation of leaders and decision makers, (not city politicians) more than the general public. Whatever the location, we want to foster an appreciation for what we do in the next generation of leaders.
Location is an open question which will gain clarity during the site search phase of the Implementation Process. In any case, the following location requirements were articulated:
- Vibrant neighborhood – plenty of foot traffic of the audience type we desire
- On or near public transportation routes
- Parking close by
- Bike Rack close by
- Street frontage
- Flexibility of the space
- Plumbing or access to plumbing in the space
- High ceilings – loft-like
- Parking close by
The Implementation Committee will be Chaired by Andrew Rosenthal and Yanitza Brongers. Others from the Task Force may join the committee, but the Executive Director will notify the membership of the Committee. It is expected that this will be an intensely focused and time-consuming, but short lived, commitment. The Committee will work closely with the Board, and its work should be complete by the May 2009 Board meeting.
Define the relationships with the potential partners. Solidity agreements.
If any of the partners wish to join AIA in occupying the space, the committee should seek Board
approval of any agreements.
Modify the program and budget plan accordingly.
Site search – using criteria outlined above. The committee must present at least 3 proposals to
the Board for selection. The proposals should include a location map, a block plan of the
proposed building showing the space proposed for the CFA, a budget, and full disclosure of any
relationships between committee members and building owners or real estate professionals
associated with each specific proposal.
The Board shall select the site, after which the Committee shall organize a design competition
open to all Columbus Chapter AIA members or member firms. Members of the Implementation
Committee may enter the competition since the entrants’ identities will be withheld from the jury.
The Committee’s work is complete. The Board will appoint an owner’s representative from a list of volunteers and will contract with the Competition winner to provide architectural services for the project, for a fee.