Convention cochair Tim Hickman says part of the gathering includes training, but there’s also lots of discussion.
“We talk about the status of architecture and the status of design. And our focus this year is really looking to the center of the country — which is sometimes ignored by the media — to the great design that is happening sort of between the Rockies and the Mississippi River here in the center of the county,” Hickman says. He says the middle part of the country gets overlooked when it comes to design.
“I think that there’s the thought, especially as it relates to design, there’s a thought sometimes that the coasts are the generators of ideas,” according to Hickman. “There’s also I think no matter where you live, bringing the expert in from outside is always a tempting thing, the expert must know more.”
Hickman says a lot of architecture around the country is now focused on sustainability and clarity, and he says the architects in this region fit right in with those ideas and is getting attention.
“In the midwest, we sort of have a straightforwardness. We don’t tend to think that style is the most important thing and we try to install in a straightforward way. Which is one of the reasons I think that midwestern architecture is getting a lot of recognition,” Hickman says.
He says people find the midwestern approach refreshing. Hickman says most people think architecture is about making buildings look good, but he says safe design is a key factor in everything.
“There’s a temptation when you talk about architecture to think about big flashy projects,” Hickman says, “but the reality is architects are designing the fabric of our cities. So, we are designing the majority of buildings that you may enter in your day.”
He admits the architects in this part of the country know they face a lot of challenges in their designs when it comes to preparing for a climate that has a lot of changes.”Sometimes we fantasize about living the Bay Area where they don’t have any mosquitoes and it’s kind of temperate year round. We have to deal with total temperature swings of over 100 degrees in a given year — which does give us some special technical challenges,” Hickman says. Around 12-hundred architects are attend the convention today and tomorrow in Des Moines.
The Convention will be held October 15-16 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines.