Center for Practice
Smart resources for your practice
The architectural profession, and the firms and organizations that employ architects, are changing, with new business models, services, and subject matter expertise emerging. With significant shifts in working conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of climate change, and equity issues in the built environment, our profession must be active and thoughtful in addressing these changes.
With this in mind, the AIA Center for Practice (CFP) Advisors revisited the CFP charter and roadmap in order to craft a new strategic plan and vision for the CFP over the next three years. Their work in revisiting the mission and goals was oriented toward prioritizing the work of the AIA around the established practice and prosperity measures.
The revised Center for Practice Strategic Plan will serve as the guiding principles for the CFP Advisors from 2022 through 2024.
Firm prosperity was a key tenet of the AIA’s 2016–2020 Strategic Plan. In the advancement of that work, at the end of 2016, a concept for an AIA Center for Practice was approved and in 2017, two consulting fellows were hired to conduct research and advise on a proposed direction for AIA’s practice and prosperity work. Working with a group of Advisors, the fellows provided a report out of their collective work to the AIA Board in 2018. The Board approved the establishment of a standing Center for Practice advisory body, thus affirming the importance of firm-related prosperity to the AIA.
Vision for the future
Three themes emerged through the work of the CFP Advisors throughout 2021—access, benchmarks, and foresight. These three goal areas align with each other and will help AIA to foster thriving and prosperous practices—both today and in the future. With access to the resources, tools, and programs around the business of architecture, practices can more easily find success. With benchmarks, firms can evaluate their progress across varied dimensions, evaluate their progress against peers, and improve. And with foresight, they can eye the conditions that may affect their future.
Mission, goals, & actions
AIA Center for Practice: Fostering architecture practices and their employees to thrive and prosper.
Provide centralized access to curated information, professional tools, and programs to help firms thrive.
- Ensure architect resources on the AIA website provides clear, centralized access to AIA's content related to professional practice. Content should be searchable by key words, identified by content type (article, video, forum, survey, etc.), and accessible through a customizable dashboard-like interface.
- Advance new practice resource content & projects, including launch of digital professional practice resources and new best practices on the AIA website.
Provide benchmarking tools for firms to have context concerning financial and cultural performance.
- Provide adaptable benchmarking tools with capacity to sort by peer and category including on the AIA website.
- Create methods of firm engagement. (See the Firm Roundtable Toolkit on AIA Component Connect and live at A'22.)
Facilitate sharing of foresight trends affecting the future of practice.
- Share foresight & hindsight information (practice trends, supply chain, and innovations) in various formats. Promote throughout the AIA. See the YAF Summit 30.
- Engage ideas with practice-related member groups (such as the Young Architects Forum (YAF), AIA Knowledge Communities (KCs), and the AIA Strategic Council) and make knowledge connections.
Technology, Culture, & the Future of the Architectural Firm
Understanding the trends of technology adoption in architecture firms requires an end-to-end view into the business of design. Firm leaders can no longer assume that technology in practice refers to CAD, BIM, AR, VR, XR, drones, and project management/ERP systems. There’s more to the story that must be considered for many firms to grow and thrive.
Business Opportunities & Sustainability Trends Amidst a Pandemic
Architects' Guide to Business Continuity
An all new and timely resource that provides guidance for reducing vulnerability so firms can remain open despite disruptions.