by Rick Bell FAIA Executive Director AIA New York
The “FitNation” exhibition on view earlier this year at the AIA New York Chapter’s Center for Architecture can now be seen at the American Institute of Architects National Headquarters at 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, located just to the left of the White House. Projects from across the U.S. are displayed in the building’s “social gallery,” and will be seen by all those attending the upcoming AIA Board meeting in December. The National Component supported the nationwide dissemination of the exhibit, which presents more than 30 examples of how design contributes to more physical activity in daily life, with the goal of reducing the obesity rates and the corollary public health epidemics linked to a sedentary lifestyle.
Robert Ivy, FAIA, chief executive officer of the AIA, notes, “Enhanced public health through good design affects a multitude of levels: from the design of a single classroom, to the composition of neighborhoods, to the infrastructure that binds together entire cities.” A recent meeting of the AIA Design & Health Leadership Group (ADHLG) took advantage of the exhibition being on hand. Chaired by Bill Roschen, FAIA, chair of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, the ADHLG is focusing on the broad interconnection between design and health policy. Among the participants in the discussion were Dick Jackson, MD, MPH, Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles; Ernie Hutton, Assoc. AIA, FAICP, Principal at Hutton Associates, and Co-chair of the AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee; Daniel S. Friedman, FAIA, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington, Jessyca Henderson, AIA, Director of Sustainability Advocacy at AIA, and Suzanna Kelley, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Managing Director of Strategic Alliances + Initiatives at AIA.
A short 1.4-mile bike ride away, AIA|DC runs an extremely active District Architecture Center located in a storefront at 421 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC. On Saturday, 11.23.13, the AIA|DC Active Design Committee sponsored a bike tour following a discussion led by Harriet Tregoning, director of the Washington, DC Office of Planning, on the recent improvements DC has made to improve the safety and accessibility of active transportation. Led by the Toole Design Group, the bike tour highlighted recent improvements downtown, and addressed issues related to public health through active transportation. The bike tour concluded at AIA National Headquarters, where participants were able to explore the “FitNation exhibition.” In the District, Capital Bikeshare now has 300 stations with some 2,500 bicycles. The closest location to AIA National is on 19th Street, NW, and E Street, NW, less than two blocks away.
“FitNation” has been on view in Birmingham, Bismarck, and Fargo, and will soon be seen in Columbus, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, and Tulsa. For more information about the exhibition, curated by Emily Abruzzo, AIA, contact AIANY Exhibitions Director Berit Hoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.