The American Institute of Architects was founded in 1857 and is currently headquartered in Washington D.C. The main goal of the organization is to promote the use of architecture throughout the United States. The group also works hard to maintain high standards for its ninety-six thousand members and keep a positive public image of the industry as a whole.
First and foremost there are five levels of membership in this organization. The first level is called Architect Members. This allows members to practice architecture with the help of a licensing authority in the United States. The second level of members is called the Associate Members. These are folks that are working with an authority to help them master the craft of architecture and are not licensed. The third level is called International Associate Members. These are members of the organization that hold a valid architecture license outside of the United States, depending on which country they are from. the fourth level of members in this group are called Emeritus Members. These are members that have one of three things. First, they are sixty-five years old or older. Second, the member has been part of the organization for fifteen consecutive years or finally, the member has been deemed no longer worthy to work in the profession. The final level in this group is called Allied Members. These are folks that belong to the group because their profession in one way or another is related to architecture. Examples of people belonging to this group are landscape architects, engineers, architectural planners, and high ranking staff from other building and design related industries.
While the organization continues to thrive in some areas the organization could look to enlisting more women to the AIA. Even though the world of architecture has been dominated by men in recent years, women are starting to break through the glass ceiling when it comes to assumptions about who can do architecture. One such example in the industry is Yen Ha of New York. She is one of the top architects at Front Studio Architects. While women have made strides in the world of architecture the percentage of women in the field and other positions in the industry has hardly budged from twenty-four percent.
The American Institute of Architects has been a male-dominated industry but women are catching up. It is becoming a more even playing field for all involved.