I am always asked where are you from – England – but today, I’d like to be asked where are we heading. 

We’re going to be the AIA that tells stories about the value architects bring, like never before. We’ll position ourselves as the leaders solving challenges that face our communities, humanity and the planet.  And AIA will look like the people we serve. 

 As Board Director and Strategic Council member, I’ve spent the past five years working with you. Your stories shape my vision for how I see my role as President.

 We are imagining resilient, affordable homes –

Illya Azaroff’s open-source Hurricane Strong Home is a poster child for resilient architecture. AIA architects have momentum in addressing climate crisis. The AIA Film Challenge featuring Azaroff’s design is one way we communicate our benefit to society. 

We are imagining safer schools –

The Texas Society of Architects lobbied successfully for an architect to serve on their state school safety commission. And AIA is leading the conversation at the US Conference of Mayors summit on school safety. Our mission is to connect AIA members to civic leaders and policy makers and to bring our expertise to communities in need. 

We are imagining a more inclusive profession –

Our colleague Carina Mills of AIA Long Beach/South Bay told me about teacher Jeffrey Jackson’s conduit from high school to benchmark institutions Cal Poly and Sci-Arc. By heightening familiarity in schools about what architects do, Jackson and his local AIA help contribute to a more equitable profession, which is critical to innovative thinking and problem-solving. 

On my first day as president of the AIA, I’ll launch two initiatives: 

Firstly; I will form a task force to address the unsustainable cost of an architectural education. 

Because when we make education accessible and affordable, we’ll nurture our own pipeline of future citizen architects, builders of a resilient, prosperous and healthy future. We’ll also step up with mighty advocacy for the National Design Services Act and K-12 engagement. 

Secondly; I‘ll spearhead our most significant public outreach program ever; 

We’ll ensure the public understands what architects do; We’ll communicate the return on investment we bring to clients;and we’ll embed ourselves into everyday conversations and solidify our influence.

Peter on the stage at the annual business meeting of the American Institute of Architects, June 5, 2019.

I’m Peter Exley, AIA member since 1988. 

 I spend a third of my time at a women-owned practice: the small yet mighty Architecture Is Fun, 2017 AIA Chicago Firm of the Year. A third of my time nurtures next generation architects as an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And a third is in service to the institute;

Formerly as President of AIA Chicago’s 4000 members; 

As Young Architects Forum Board Liaison; 

Currently as Government Advocacy Committee Member and Chair of the Public Outreach Committee — think things like #ilookup, #BlueprintForBetter, and Mayoral partnerships. 


It’s part of my equilibrium to promote and affirm our profession. As President, I’ll be an advocate and a story-teller, committed to working with everyone who benefits the architecture profession. It has been my privilege to engage in this election and to hear your passionate commitment to AIA.


I’m listening to your stories. This is where we’re heading. 

We are imagining what we can do together. 


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