“Driving positive change through the power of design.”

On February 23, 1857, 13 architects met in Richard Upjohn’s office to form what would become The American Institute of Architects. The group included H. W. Cleaveland, Henry Dudley, Leopold Eidlitz, Edward Gardiner, Richard Morris Hunt, J. Wrey Mould, Fred A. Peterson, J. M. Priest, John Welch, and Joseph C. Wells, as well as Upjohn’s son Richard and son-in-law Charles Babcock. The group sought to create an architecture organization that would “promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members” and “elevate the standing of the profession.”

Until this point, anyone who wished to call him or herself an architect could do so. This included masons, carpenters, bricklayers, and other members of the building trades. No schools of architecture or architectural licensing laws existed to shape the calling. The first steps of this small group of 13 were to change the profession of architecture in the United States profoundly.

At their meeting, the founding members decided to invite 16 other architects, including A. J. Davis, Thomas U. Walter, and Calvert Vaux, to the second meeting on March 10, 1857. A draft constitution and bylaws were read there, and the only change made was to the name of the organization, at that time the New York Society of Architects. Thomas U. Walter, a well-known Philadelphia practitioner, suggested The American Institute of Architects.

Over time, membership in the AIA has grown from the original 29 members in 1857, to 11,500 in 1957, to 72,000 in 2003. From the beginning, membership in the Institute was to be limited to practicing architects. Provisions were made to allow associate members to join, as well as honorary members and honorary corresponding members (architects from other countries). Today, the AIA has four membership classifications: AIA (licensed architects), Associate AIA (interns, academics, non-licensed architects), FAIA (Fellows of the AIA), and AIA Emeritus (retired licensed architects).

Today, through education, government advocacy, community redevelopment and public outreach activities, the AIA works toward a public environment that is responsive to the people it serves while representing the professional interests of America’s architects. In close concert with other members of the design and construction team, the AIA also works to fulfill its commitment to help coordinate the building industry. As members of the AIA, more than 72,000 licensed architects and associated professionals express their commitment to quality design and livability in our built environment.

Mission Statement

The American Institute of Architects is the voice of the architectural profession and a resource for its members in service to society.

Sustainability Position Statement: AIA Georgia is committed to providing the necessary leadership and resources to help inform and educate our membership so that they can fully embrace their role in creating a sustainable built environment and consequently empower them to inspire their clients and the entire construction industry.

Vision Statement

The American Institute of Architects: Driving positive change through the power of design.

Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct

Members of The American Institute of Architects are dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence. This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct states guidelines for the conduct of Members in fulfilling those obligations. The Code is arranged in three tiers of statements: Canons, Ethical Standards, and Rules of Conduct.