Organizational anniversaries can be a unique opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, celebrate our accomplishments, and to consider where we’d like to go in the future. From simple reflection to parties and programs, here’s a look at how a few members of the AAO community have commemorated these important milestones.
The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design marked its 30th anniversary this year by reflecting on the evolution of its curatorial stance over the years, and continuing to instigate dialogue on design and the built environment through public programming, exhibitions, publications and community events. The well-known ForumFest, an annual fundraising event held this year on November 4, will celebrate the Forum’s anniversary and honor the organization’s impact over the last 30 years.
Architecture Foundation of Oregon celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013 at their largest fundraiser, the Honored Citizen Dinner, where they reflected and celebrated with representatives from Oregon’s AEC industry.
In honor of Boston By Foot’s 40th anniversary last year, the city of Boston declared May 1, 2016 as Boston By Foot Day. To celebrate, the architectural walking tour organization threw a festive bash at the Sam Adams brewery with hundreds of its volunteers, members, and supporters. In November, BBF held its annual Awards Reception at the historic Omni Parker Hotel where they premiered a documentary on the history of BBF, created by one of its docents, also a filmmaker. Says Boston By Foot Executive Director Samantha Nelson, “Our 40th anniversary gave us plenty of reasons to celebrate and share our profound gratitude for the people, places and passion that make Boston By Foot so special.”
The Dallas Architecture Forum celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with a special “20/20” theme that reflected on the region’s progress over the last twenty years, while also challenging members to continue improving the urban fabric of North Texas going forward. The Forum presented symposia on design and affordable housing, held special events where they dialogued with leading Dallas-area architects and other professionals about their work, and continued their award-winning lecture series.
This year marked not just the sesquicentennial the Boston Society of Architects/AIA, but also significant milestones for the organization’s publication, ArchitectureBoston; the popular annual KidsBuild program; and BSA Space, the BSA’s center for architecture and design. The organization celebrated its history while turning its gaze turns toward the future with a special year-long timeline exhibition, focusing on the BSA’s accomplishments in design excellence over the past 150 years. Additionally, each week throughout the year the BSA has published a new essay from a leader or ally of the organization on its website. Finally, to commemorate the BSA’s contribution to the city’s architecture and design community, Boston City Hall and the Governor’s Office of Massachusetts proclaimed June 21, 2017 as the Boston Society of Architects Day.
The Seattle Architecture Foundation marked its 35th anniversary in 2016 with a monumental event: moving into its new Center for Architecture and Design, a dynamic public space for exhibits, programs, and conversations that explore design’s role in shaping cities. Executive Director Stacy Segal explained that the move encouraged the organization to look more closely at ways to expand their work, and to explore innovative ways to deliver on their mission in the future.
Iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home Fallingwater marked its 75th anniversary in 2011 with an especially robust slate of programming including symposia (Private Domains / Public Displays: The Modern House Interpreted) and exhibitions (Fallingwater en Perspectiva, a collection of works by Spanish painter Felix de la Concha). In addition, the organization celebrated with community and supporters at its festive 75th anniversary Gala; hosted a design competition (New Cottages at Fallingwater); and launched a major new book: Fallingwater at 75, edited by director Lynda Waggoner, that brought together a collection of essays discussing the home and its legacy.
Open House London celebrated its silver anniversary this year with its biggest-ever weekend, including over 800 buildings, places, walks and talks across every London borough. The weekend was launched with a keynote speech by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in front of 250 guests in the City Hall’s top floor living room. The event was marked by a 2 meter high gherkin birthday cake, ceremoniously sliced by the mayor, founder Victoria Thornton and director Rory Olcayto. The evening was topped off with themed catering by architectural foodies Bopass & Parr—their concrete chipolatas, inspired by the bush-hammered concrete facades of the Barbican—were delicious!
The Chicago Architecture Foundation turned 50 years old on April 16, 2016. To mark the occasion, CAF held a free daylong birthday bash with the community, including tours, films, lectures, and build events modeled after the popular “Late at RIBA” series. Throughout the year, CAF launched a number of special initiatives it developed as “gifts to the city,” including authoring a new urban planning text for teachers and teens entitled No Small Plans, as well as a community design exhibition called “50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards,” that asked the local architecture community to pose design ideas for improving livability in every Chicago neighborhood.
Photo courtesy Boston Society of Architects/AIA.