Wow Design Challenge.

Dear Members –

All I can say is Just F’in Wow. What a time. While some are trying to maintain business as usual, I believe slowing down is exactly what the earth is asking me to do – the earth, the virus, the state health officials, the city governments. The other big ask is how to help. This is harder for me. I don’t grow or make food. I’m not a health care worker or a first responder. I am a businessperson who creates places for people to be together.

Now I’m thinking about architecture completely differently. How to create places for people to be apart! An interesting shift in priorities and incredibly relevant. So creatively, this is an amazing time for us. We have work to do as place-makers and as citizens. All of this is brought to you by Coivd-19 and really, by us. We are using up the planet faster than it can re-generate.

I challenge you to be a creator of a new reality and start something now that helps people going forward. Go for it – and I don’t know exactly what “it” is.  But figure it out with no limits to your imagination. Remember being in school when you could design anything?  Even gravity could be overlooked. So, put that young mind back onto your plate this month because you probably have a little extra time. Look for competitions that are world-wide for inspiration and put your brilliant brain to work. We all can’t be first responders, right?  The world relies on second and third responders to create the new course of action.

Is this AIA National’s message? Absolutely. It is the potential for “positive change through the power of design.” Remember that. Do what you can and do it well. Meanwhile, wear masks or scarves on the busy streets now instead of thinking “hey, I feel fine.” The stuff lingers and that’s the new guideline. What if it floats around for 3 hours and you walk right through it? What if you are asymptomatic?  The mask protects others.  It’s not the time to be a rebel – and that’s coming from a rebel.

Okay, my best to all of you out there in your home offices. Get your paycheck and then get to work on something that could make a difference! And let us here at the chapter know if you have something to share, are looking for input, support, feedback, or outreach to the public with your ideas. I’d love to see something F’in Wow.

Mary Dooley, 2020 AIARE President