What is Fellowship?
The American Institute of Architects’ highest membership honor, Fellowship, or FAIA, is bestowed for exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. Only 3 percent of AIA members hold the distinction of being designated a Fellow.
Architects who have made significant contributions to the profession and society and who exemplify architectural excellence can be considered for the AIA College of Fellows.
They need to show a measurable level of influence (ripple effect) as a practitioner and a thought leader through: design, technological innovation, education, or service to the profession or society.
Due to the caliber of work required, the judging is rigorous, and the prestige unparalleled. New Fellows are announced each February, and their formal Investiture occurs at AIA’s National Conference.
Architect members who have been in good standing for at least ten years may be nominated either by an AIA component (their Chapter), or by any five Fellows or 10 Architect members in good standing. There is no qualitative difference between a Chapter nomination and a nomination from members-at-large; they are judged equally by the Jury.
Candidates for Fellowship submit their qualifications focused on one of five categories (either by their Chapter or by a group of individual members):
- Design, Urban Design, or Preservation
- Education, Research, Literature, or Practice
- Leadership in the AIA and other related professional organizations
- Public Service, Government, Industry or Organization
- Alternative Career, Volunteer Work with Organizations Not Directly Connected with the Built Environment; or Service to Society
Whether nominated by chapter or by five Fellows or by 10 Architect members in good standing, each nominee is responsible for obtaining a Sponsor and a number of reference letters, developing their own Fellowship submission package, and submitting the required materials online between the time submissions open (usually in late Spring) and the deadline in mid-October.
A candidate for Fellowship must be an AIA architect member who has been in good standing as an Architect member for a total of at least 10 years. The 10 years do not have to be consecutive. Nominees must be currently renewed and have completed their AIA CES requirement of 18 hours (including 12 HSW) for the previous full year. Sponsors and any AIA Architect members who are reference letter writers must also be renewed and current on their CES.
AIA Los Angeles has a dedicated Fellows Nominating & Mentoring Committee, which identifies and nominates Chapter members, and offers individual and group mentoring and critiques of submissions in progress. Nominations occur in the spring and eligible candidates are encouraged to contact staff liaison Steve Tanner, Hon. AIA|LA, at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know of your interest and obtain instructions for what the Committee needs to see in order to make their decision.
For Chapter nominations, AIA|LA’s Fellows Nominating & Mentoring Committee considers both members who have expressed interest in pursuing Fellowship and members identified by the Committee as having a strong possibility of elevation.
The Committee looks at a preliminary package—typically a draft summary statement, a CV, and supporting exhibits—in order to make its nominations. The exact format is determined each year by the current Committee and can be thought of as a more condensed “draft” of an actual submission package.
AIA|LA’s Fellows Nominating and Mentoring Committee provides a resource to support members interested in submitting for Fellowship. Nominees are invited to attend several informational meetings and review sessions where they receive individual and group critiques of their submission in progress.
Several of these meetings are open to all nominees, including those nominated by other Chapters, as well as members interested in submitting in future years. Chapter nominees are also assigned a mentor, with whom they can meet to go over and refine their submission outside of Committee meetings.
Eligible candidates are encouraged to contact staff liaison Steve Tanner, Hon. AIA|LA to let us know of your interest and obtain instructions for next steps.
For general information on the Fellowship process, categories of nomination and Best Examples of successful submissionsare available on the AIA National Website, here.