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AIA History – Books and Articles

Brief history of the AIA web page

AIA150 Rolling History, a series of articles covering each decade of the AIA’s 150-year history, written by former AIA archivist Tony Wrenn, Hon. AIA, and published in AIArchitect during 2005-2007, along with related historical articles by other authors, in celebration of the 150th anniversary


1857-1866: A Beginning


Richard Upjohn: The Foundation of the Institute


1867-1876: The Second Decade


Beginning Chapters: The Birth of the AIA Family


1877-1886: Westward and Upward


1887-1896: A Decade of Outreach, Inclusiveness, and Internationalism


Women and Women Architects in the 1890s


1897-1906: The AIA Moves to and Changes Washington


The Institute’s Influence on Legislative Policy


1907-1908: At 50, the AIA Conceives the Gold Medal, Receives Roosevelt’s Gratitude


Spinning a Golden Webb


1909-1917: The Institute Comes of Age in the Nation’s Capital


1917-1926: A New Power Structure: World War I, Pageantry, and the Power of the Press


1927-1936: A Decade of Depression and Perseverance


1937-1946: The AIA in Its Ninth Decade


1947-1956: Wright Recognition, White House Renovation, AIA Closes on 100


1957-1966: The Tenth Decade


UAW President Bathed in Applause at the AIA Centennial Convention


1967-1976: New HQ and a New Age Take Center Stage


A New Home for the AIA in 1973; A Greener Home in 2007


Diversity and the Profession: Take II


‘The Vietnam Situation Is Hell’: The AIA’s Internal Struggle over the War in Southeast Asia


1977-1986: Activism and Capital-A Architecture are Alive at the AIA


1987-1996: Technology, Diversity, and Expansion

The A.I.A.’s First Hundred Years, by Henry H. Saylor, FAIA, published as a special issue of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects in May 1957 for the AIA’s centennial

Building the Culture of the Architects’ Professional Society: 150 Years of the American Institute of Architects, by James Scheeler, FAIA, and Andrew Brodie Smith, introductory essay for the AIA Issues Database project

Education of Architects: The Grand Central School of Architecture, by Andrew Brodie Smith, essay based on the AIA Issues Database

Original AIA Constitution of 1857

R. Randall Vosbeck, FAIA, A Legacy of Leadership: Presidents of the AIA, 1857-2007 (Washington, DC: The American Institute of Architects, 2008)

Richard Guy Wilson, The AIA Gold Medal (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984), discusses the history of the AIA Gold Medal and its recipients 1907-1983

Architects in Historic Preservation: The Formal Role of the AIA, 1890-1990, a report of the AIA’s Committee on Historic Resources in celebration of the centennial of its founding. A companion volume is Pioneers in Preservation: Biographical Sketches of Architects Prominent in the Field Before World War II

“Chapter 2: History of the AIA Documents,” by Alan B. Stover, Esq., AIA, in The American Institute of Architects, Official Guide to the 2007 AIA Contract Documents (published by John Wiley & Sons for the American Institute of Architects, 2009), pp. 12-37, gives the history of the AIA’s contract documents program from 1860 to 2007. The first AIA contract document (1888), the first set of Standard Documents of the AIA (1911), and the Second Edition of the Standard Documents (1915), are available online. For a detailed look at how the documents of 1950 compared with earlier years, see A Circular of Information Concerning the Fifth Edition of the Standard Documents Including an Historical Review of the Origin and Development of the Documents, by William Stanley Parker, published by the AIA in 1950.

For the past three decades, the American Institute of Architects has conducted periodic surveys of its member firms. The purpose of these surveys is to document emerging trends in the practice of architecture and assess how they interact with economic trends and technological developments. Past editions of the AIA Firm Survey provide a statistical picture of the business of architecture over time. Firm Surveys were done in 1979 (copy not available), 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1997, 2000-02, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2014. For more information on the 2014 AIA Firm Survey, see the AIA’s Economics and Market Research page at

Women’s status in the profession of architecture became an AIA concern in the 1970s. In response to Resolution number two at the 1973 Convention, the AIA, through the Women in Architecture Task Force, conducted a survey on the status of women in the architectural profession. The results of this survey were reported to the Board in May of 1974 and made available at the 1974 Convention. Subsequently, an analysis of the survey results was made and problem areas for the profession were identified; all of these items were included in the February 1975 Report on the Status of Women in the Architectural Profession. The Board of Directors approved the report in March 1975 and directed the Women in Architecture Task Force to develop an Affirmative Action Plan for implementation over a four-year period, 1976-1979. The development of this Affirmative Action Plan for the Integration of Women in the Architectural Profession was completed at the end of 1975, with at which time the Task Force concluded its formal activities. The Task Force’s successor was the Women In Architecture Committee. The WIA Committee published a 1983 AIA Survey of Membership: The Status of Women in the Profession, with an update in 1985.


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