The AIA, formally known as New York Society of Architects, is a professional body for architects in the United States founded by a group of 13 architects in New York City in 1857. The organization aims to improve the reputation of the profession as well as promote the perfection in the delivery by its members. Before the creation of the organization, anyone could call himself an architect. This was because there were no architectural schools or licensing laws for architecture in the US. The first president of the organization was Richard Upjohn.
The 12 original members invited 16 other reputable architects to join them. Due to requests by architects from other parts of the country to be included in the organization, chapters were formed in other parts of the country by the 1800s, such as in Baltimore, Boston, Rhode Island, Albany, and San Francisco. There were over 300 chapters as at 2008. The organization headquarters is in Washington D.C.
Currently, the organization is made up of more than 90,000 members. The AIA has different level of membership that spans architects practicing in the United States to architects that have been with the organization for more than 15 years.
The organization is governed by a board of directors with more than 200 full-time employees. It uses its huge membership to influence government decisions that affect its members and the profession.
In 2011, Robert Ivy was named the CEO of the American Institute of Architects. Ivy holds a Bachelor degree in English from Sewanee: The University of the South and a Masters in Architecture from Tulane University. Robert Ivy has contributed tremendously to the field of architecture going by his degree in English. He was the Editor-in-Chief of an architectural magazine, Architectural Record, in 1996. Under his leadership, the magazine received several awards, including the Premier Magazine Journalism Award. Till date, the magazine has won 26 Jesse H. Neal Awards and 7 Ozzies.
Robert Ivy was awarded the Crain Award in 2009. This is the highest recognition for individuals by the American Business Media. In 1998, he was awarded the McGraw-Hill Award for Management Excellence.
The National Architecture Fraternity, Alpha Rho Chi, in a unanimous vote named Robert Ivy as a Master Architect, a designation he shares with iconic architects such as John Wellborn Root and Dr. Nathan Clifford Ricker. He is the only architect to have been selected for the award in the 21st century.
Fay Jones, Robert Ivy’s biography, was published in 2001 and is currently in its third edition.