A Farewell Conversation with Robert Ivy FAIA


Architecture is changing. The delivery and the practice of architecture is changing. As architecture evolves into a complex, integrative practice how can architects embrace their new role as master orchestrators?

Welcome to the inaugural season of Architecture 5 10 20! I’m your host, Guy Geier, Managing Partner of FXCollaborative Architects in New York. Guests from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences related to the built environment will come to share their thought leadership. Our conversations will start with understanding how they arrived at what they’re doing now. More importantly, we will focus on discussing their vision for the future, looking out 5, 10 and 20 years.

Today, we’re joined by former American Institute of Architects (AIA) Executive Vice President and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. Prior to his tenure at AIA, Robert was Vice President and Editorial Director of McGraw Hill Construction, and Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Record Magazine. Over his 11 years at the AIA, Robert has transformed the organization’s technological infrastructure, and increased efficiency in its governance. Above all, his commitment to public engagement cemented the architect’s role as leader in climate change, sustainability and social issues.

Listen to Robert explain why architects make America in more ways than one. While a director of AIA, Robert became a pivotal contributor to communicating the conditions of architects carrying out their work, and working on transformation within the architecture field. He uses real experiences and studies to illustrate recent trends. Robert discusses climate action, racial inequity, and social justice through the lens of architecture. Through this discussion, Robert expands on why changes surrounding social issues can enhance the work done by architects overall.

Robert’s insights touch on working with all levels of government, developing new professional and training cultures, designing built environments to advance the human condition and adapting the field to more modern times. Learn why the perception of the architect is evolving from cult genius working individually to a collaborative design team leader in this conversation with Robert.

Time stamps:

[01:56] – Robert Ivy shares his decision to pursue working at AIA, and explains his original priority after joining as the director.

[04:26] – What is the overall public view of architects?

[06:12] – Robert talks about communicating the stories of architects and architecture to educate the general public.

[07:31] – Robert says that AIA became more capable of taking affirmative, positive, strong actions.

[09:13] – Why can having a larger board of directors hinder true, honest dialogue? Robert shares the approach used to adapt the board.

[11:19] – What is a Strategic Council?

[14:06] – Robert talks about advancements in managing environmental data in relation to architecture.

[15:37] – What is it like working closely with the government on architectural affairs?

[17:02] – Lobbying and protecting the architecture field is part of working with all levels of the government.

[18:44] – Architecture is done by teams in collective effort. How can there be more leadership that is empathetic of teams?

[20:52] – Robert expresses his perspective of the training to prepare students for the real world. Is it about the education of architects or the culture of the architecture field?

[23:40] – Robert shares one of the highlights of his career that he is proud of.

[26:24] – Does Robert have any encouraging or supportive words for AIA’s new CEO, Lakisha Woods?

[28:53] – There is a tremendous need to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the architecture field.

[31:10] – Different communities experience various roadblocks in pursuing an architecture career. What are Robert’s thoughts on this friction in architecture?

[33:09] – Listen to Robert’s advice for architects pursuing a career, and mastering the craft.


Guy Geier

Guy Geier FAIA, FIIDA, LEED is Managing Partner of FXCollaborative and host of the architecture 5 10 20 podcast.

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