American Institute Of Architects Has An Amazing History

     The American Institute of Architects was founded in the late 1800’s. It was then called the New York Society of Architects. There were 13 original members, and no other architect was permitted to join in its infancy. However, knowing that more people would equal more voices, several months late another dozen architects were able to join the organization. The organization was known for promoting the profession of architecture from the standpoint of a private contractor. With the price of labor rising, many cities wanted to have their own architects on staff in order to save money. This is one of the many fights the New York Society of Architects engaged in.

By the 1900’s, architects from across America heard of the New York organization and desired to join. An outstanding architect from Philadelphia, Thomas Walter, caused the New York Society of Architects to open its doors to architects around America. The New York society was happy to have Thomas Walter in their organization. They knew of the great work he performed throughout America.

Thomas Walter managed to change the name of the organization from the New York Society of Architects to the American Institute of Architects. Walter knew removing New York would remove the notion that an architect had to reside in New York to be part of the organization. All of the original architects agreed to have the name changed after Walter explained how they could charge a membership fee, which would help further the organization. Thomas Walter also suggested the organization promote architecture as an art in addition to a profession. Walter knew many art organizations were springing up at that time, and there was a lot of new government funding programs available or organizations that were based in the arts.

Architects today find it amazing that the American Institute of Architects is located on New York Avenue in Washington, D.C. The American Institute of Architects is credited with the building of thousands of structures in America and the rebuilding of entire cities. Unless paid by a private individual, all the work the institute does for the government is free of charge. They do this so the government will continue to observe architecture as an art instead of just a profession. The institute’s goal is to think of the next generation of architects and help them understand the importance of keeping architecture known as a form of art in America.

Back to Top