Envisioning the Firm of the Future

Kyle Palzer is the AIA North Central States Region Associate Director (RAD) for 2018 & 2019.  As such he serves on the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) which is comprised of 29 non-licensed AIA members from across the country.  The NAC and the YAF (Young Architects Forum – 29 recently licensed AIA members) come together once a year for a Joint Annual Meeting, which took place in Phoenix, AZ February 8-10th 2018.


It was a pleasure to join fellow Emerging Professionals from across the country to envision what the future of the architecture profession might look like.  However, the meeting went beyond just planning, by beginning to develop concepts and ways in which to implement and effect change.

The National Associates Committee is focused on making new headways in four areas over the next year; Future Practice, Advocacy, Mentorship, and Research.  For the upcoming year I will be a part of the Future Practice Workgroup, which seeks to develop a Firm Culture Document similar to the Studio Culture Document created by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in December 2000.

In order to implement such a document, my workgroup will first draft an Emerging Professional Position Statement, which seeks to envision what the future associate member will want and need to be successful in the profession 15 years down the road.  As firm environments continue to change, and the ways in which we interact, and work evolve, there is a need to adapt to these changes.  This is beneficial not just for firms to retain talent, but to remain competitive with other fields.  If architecture fails to adapt to these changing working styles, many may see a profession that remains rooted in the past, when in fact quite the opposite needs to happen, as it is the role of the architect to always be looking forward into the future.

By expressing the needs of associate members now and forecasting what future needs may be, our goal is to make these aware to the broader architecture community and within the AIA.  In order to help facilitate this, we desire to advocate for change by working with the AIA Equity in Architecture Commission to develop a survey to begin to understand what changes are occurring.  Hopefully this data can be used to improve benefits, work environments and improve flexibility across the profession, and identify where more progress may be needed.

I’m looking forward to future conversations regarding this topic within my workgroup over the next year and continuing to represent the North Central States Associate’s nationally for the remainder of my appointment.

In mid-March Kyle and Kelly Martinez, AIA will be representing Kodet at the annual AIA Grassroots Conference in San Diego.  Kyle will be a voice for the North Central States to continue this discussion nationally, and Kelly will be representing AIA Minnesota’s Architecture in the Schools Committee to learn about national initiatives that could be implemented locally.