2014 AIA Honorary Membership

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Margie O'Driscoll, Hon. AIA | Notes of Interest


Since 2002, Margie O’Driscoll has served as executive director of AIA San Francisco, one of the largest and busiest AIA components in the nation. In fact, AIA San Francisco is known for its creative programming, and this is in no small part due to O’Driscoll’s contributions. Among the component’s best-known programs is the “ARE Pact,” an initiative to encourage emerging professionals as they prepare for the Architect Registration Examination. Participants pay a $1,000 registration fee and receive study materials, a study group, and AIA staff support. If a participant takes (not necessarily passes) all seven of the ARE exams, the registration fee is refunded, and he or she receives a free AIA membership.

To raise the profile of architecture beyond the confines of the profession, O’Driscoll has also developed partnerships and programs for broader audiences. There is, of course, the wildly successful podcast “99% Invisible,” which is one of the most popular iTunes downloads and started out as a joint project of KALW public radio and AIA San Francisco. O’Driscoll was also the mastermind behind “Architecture and the City,” a month-long festival that draws 15,000 people to 50 events every September. “UnBuilt San Francisco,” the 2013 festival theme, gathered architects, planners, community groups, and city officials to explore unbuilt possibilities for public spaces. Exhibits associated with the theme generated the kind of thoughtful dialogue about architecture that O’Driscoll is so adept at promoting. And in topics such as net-zero design, gender disparity in the design community, and health-promoting design, she has found other opportunities for programs and critical conversations.

When AIA San Francisco decided to redesign its office space, O’Driscoll led efforts to create the San Francisco Center for Architecture + Design, which has gathered a broad base of allied organizations under the chapter’s roof (literally) and increased community access to the profession and to the AIA. Also an active presence at the national level, O’Driscoll is a founding member of the Association of Architecture Organizations and has served twice on the National CACE Executive Committee, holding positions of Secretary and Vice President.

Photo Credit

  • © Margie O'Driscoll

Margie O'Driscoll, Hon. AIA

Location: San Francisco

2014 AIA Honorary Membership Jury

  • Charles Schreckenberger, AIA, Chair
  • Braun & Steidl Architects Inc.
  • Akron
  • Torrey Stanley Carlton, Hon. AIA
  • AIA San Antonio
  • San Antonio
  • Eric R. Hoffman, AIA
  • Washington University in Saint Louis
  • St. Louis

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