Since February 2011 architect Robert Ivy has been the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the AIA (American Institute of Architects). His organization represents the architecture profession to both the public and government. Member of the AIA uphold the highest standards of this profession. The AIA is based in Washington, D.C.
Prior to heading the AIA he had worked for McGraw-Hill Companies for 15 years as an editor in chief and vice president. He also worked as an architect for 15 years at Dean/Dale, Dean & Ivy in Jackson, Mississipi. He also wrote a highly acclaimed book in 2001 called “Fay Jones: Architect”. This book is considered the definitive book about this famous architect who was mentored by Frank Lloyd Wright.
As the head of the AIA, Robert Ivy encourages architects to collaborate with other professionals well outside of their industry, such as software programmers. He says that good design can make a very positive difference in many areas such as improving people’s health and helping out after disasters, natural and otherwise. In 2011 Robert Ivy committed the AIA to a 10-year plan which is designed to improve sustainability, public health, and resiliency in urban areas to such natural disasters as earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes.
Robert Ivy once talked in an interview about how architecture has been vital in regards to public health. One example he cited was that it took architects to drain the swamps where Washington D.C. was built. He says that most people think of Central Park in New York City as primarily a recreational space. He says the real reason this park was established was to improve the health of the people living in this city. He says the trend in architecture in the modern era is to focus on how architects can help people lead healthier lives, such as not building elevators in the buildings the design so that people need to use the stairs.
Another focus of Robert Ivy is to prepare architects to deal with climate change. Climate change is going to affect every city but cities on the coast are going to have to deal with rising ocean levels. He says that it is going to take great architects to deal with this issue so that some cities don’t end up essentially underwater. This is particularly an issue in Florida which could see much of Southern Florida ending up flooded.