August 16, 2018
PHOTO: Photo: Will Wright

From the desk of Will Wright, Honorary AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs


Is your architecture firm passionate about helping to solve our housing crisis?

Then register by August 21st to compete in the LA Homelessness Challenge, which will award $400,000 for proposals offering innovative service models for people experiencing homelessness in LA County.

And register by September 5th to compete in the Housing Innovation Challenge, which will award $4.5 million from the Measure H Housing Innovation Fund “for creative and scalable permanent housing solutions”. The County will also soon release another $12 million in grants later this Autumn. Stay tuned!

Is your architecture firm doing something cool to expand mobility options? Or looking at getting around town in an innovative way? If so, then apply here to compete in the LA New Mobility Challenge of 2018. The deadline is September 17th.

And lastly, the Port of LA has announced a new development opportunity for the 12-acre site of the Cabrillo Way Marina. Read about the prospective here and then reach out to some of your developer clients and explore opportunities to joint-venture in response to the Port of LA’s soon to be released RFQ.


On Friday, August 11th, I met with Ken Bernstein, Renee Dake Wilson and the Department of City Planning’s Urban Design Studio at Los Angeles City Hall to discuss what design guidelines, planning procedures and incentives will need to be established to help facilitate a more effective process to adaptively repurpose existing parking structures into other uses (housing, workplace, live/work, commercial, urban farming, light-manufacturing, etc.). Or even just converting existing parking structures into automated parking facilities to increase capacity and efficiency.

Later that day, I met with Annie Williams (Psomas), Ryan Aubry (Greenland USA), Brian Falls (Palisades) and Suzanne Ekerling Fitzmorris (USC Lusk Center for Real Estate) to talk shop and share insight about current trends in real estate development here in Los Angeles.

Rounding out the afternoon, I met with Alexandra Anderson (Director of Business Development, LeFroy Brooks) to explore their showroom on Beverly and brainstorm ideas and opportunities to further integrate LeFroy Brooks into AIA|LA’s programs and initiatives. One idea that emerged was to explore the feasibility of organizing a roundtable discussion with other product manufacturers to share “stories” about each brand’s manufacturing process, the supply chain and the overall “cradle to cradle” narrative from a material resource and sustainability point of view.

On Monday, August 13th, as a member of the County of Los Angeles Quality and Productivity Commission I heard proposals from numerous county departments competing for a million dollars in grants from our Productivity Investment Fund which the commission invests in pilot-projects and emerging programs and initiatives that are charged with achieving “creative strategies for the enhancement of service delivery, the Improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of operations, and cost savings and revenue generation opportunities”.

As a member of the commission, and as an employee of AIA|LA, I have the rare opportunity to share feedback that is fundamentally shaped from a point of view heavily influenced by the core principals of design excellence and the values of the architecture profession.

Later that day, I had a meeting with Lauren Ahkiam (Director, Water Project, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy) to discuss an opportunity to partner on a roundtable discussion about the County of LA Clean Water Measure which will be on the ballot for the November 6th election. If the measure passes, it will levy a tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable space” on private property, which will provide nearly $300 million annually to fund the construction, operation, and maintenance of projects that collect, clean and conserve stormwater.

If you’re interested in participating in such a roundtable, please connect with me so we can coordinate further details.


From AIA California Council

Governor Brown recently signed legislation to extend the sunset date on the law that allows architect, engineering and land surveying firms to organize as Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP).

The AIA California Council and ACEC California jointly sponsored the legislation, SB 920, by Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres).

Only five professions in California are allowed to organize as LLPs: architects, engineers, land surveyors, accountants and attorneys. The law for architects, engineers and land surveyors included a sunset date of January 1, 2019, meaning the law would expire at the end of this year if SB 920 was not introduced, passed and signed. SB 920 extends the sunset date by seven years, to January 1, 2026, and passed the Legislature without a single “No” vote.

Most importantly, SB 920 extends the sunset date without increasing the level of professional liability insurance LLPs are required to carry. Architectural LLPs are required to carry professional liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 to $5,000,000, depending on the size of the firm. Engineers and land surveyors are required to carry at least $2,000,000 to $5,000,000. The AIACC and ACEC California were confident the LLP law would be extended. Our main objective was to extend the law without an increase in the required professional liability insurance coverage. To accomplish this we worked with two large insurers to obtain claims data that allowed us to successfully argue the current insurance requirement was adequate and did not need to be increased.

The LLP is a viable option for many architectural firms, and the AIACC is pleased to be able to preserve that option for the architectural profession.

Written by:
Mark Christian, Hon. AIACC – Director of Government Relations, AIA California Council


From AIA National

Protecting the health, safety and welfare of building occupants is fundamental to what architects do. Over the course of almost two decades, architects have worked with school communities across the country in response to repeated acts of deadly violence targeting students and educators. Architects feel a deep responsibility to contribute to solutions on this troubling issue. We’re committed to working with all concerned stakeholders and every level of government, on both sides of the aisle, to keep our children safe.

As architects, we believe that schools are intended to be communities and should be planned without sacrificing the inherent positive qualities of the school environments we all desire for our children. We know there is no one-size-fits-all design solution to school safety. School design must adapt to differing and evolving community concerns, support student health and safety, and create productive learning environments, all while respecting stretched school budgets.

Architects address social, psychological, economic, and environmental factors in building design. Architects believe that innovative architectural design solutions can keep learners and learning central to the decision-making process in designing safe schools. As the professional association of architects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) supports architects and their communities by dedicating resources and expertise in the following ways:

AIA will lead efforts at the local, state and federal levels of government to update school design guidelines. Architects can offer strategies designed to avert and restrict violence while preserving open learning environments that can positively influence student behavior and create more connected, open school communities. Achieving this critical balance in schools requires the development of best practice design standards and guidelines. AIA commits to advising on best practices and to monitor their effectiveness. AIA will work collaboratively with all levels of government to ensure they are adopted and followed.

AIA will support collaborative and continuing education to achieve safe school design.  The AIA will continue to engage in activities to better inform its members and leaders in the community of the many design options and avenues available for school officials to access. AIA will aggregate and disseminate school safety best practices by engaging its members, Knowledge Communities, and chapters across the country.  AIA will conduct grassroots efforts to educate state and local government officials on the importance of implementing safe school design in their communities.

AIA will strive to make safe school design eligible for federal grants. AIA will spearhead the formation of a multi-stakeholder coalition to support a bipartisan effort that makes architectural and design services for schools an allowable use of funds within existing federal funding and grants.

AIA will establish a federal clearinghouse on school design. AIA is pursuing federal public policy to establish a repository of architectural and design resources that is accessible by educational officials, architects and other design professionals to inform the design of safe, productive learning environments.

Much of the public debate about school safety has focused on access to firearms and mental health services. Neither approach to solving school violence has progressed much over many
years despite all-too-frequent tragedies. Architects can improve school safety through the power of design now.

By design, innovative learning environments address the need for contemporary learners to work peacefully, collaboratively and safely. To design and build the new schools we need and to retrofit existing schools requires significant support and resources that go beyond just the architecture, engineering and construction communities. The AIA urgently calls on all policymakers and stakeholders to work with school communities to safeguard students and teachers while keeping schools positive places of learning and growth.

For more information about AIA’s initiatives to shape school design policies PLEASE CLICK HERE.



Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
American Institute of Architects- Los Angeles Chapter

3780 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 701
Los Angeles, CA 90010

(o) (213) 639-0764