The American Institute of Architects was formed in 1857 by a group of 13 architects in the city of New York seeking to elevate the standing of the profession. Since then, the organization has spread its reach across the country to cater to all architects and other professionals affiliated to architecture. Headquartered in Washington D.C., the organization has more than 90,000 members who fit into five categories: architect members, associate members, international associate members, emeritus members and allied members. The last group of members is made up of professionals such as engineers and planners who form part of the building and design community. Additionally, architects who have made contributions of national significance to architecture can be promoted to the AIA College of Fellows. Approximately 2% of members have made it to this level.

Involvement of Women

Given that architecture is still a male-dominated field, the AIA has been working tirelessly to increase the number of female architects in the profession. It does this by sponsoring female architects in continuing education experiences so that they can maintain their licensure. The AIA has through the years nominated female architects to serve on several boards and continues to uphold the participation of women in the profession. The involvement of more women in the profession has led to a new emphasis on the collaboration of architects, graphic artists, landscape specialists, and fabric designers.

Honors and Awards Programs

The AIA runs an honors and awards programs to recognize the work of individuals and organizations in the field of architecture. The institute’s honors for professional achievement include Young Architects Award, Associates Award, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, Collaborative Achievement Award, Thomas Jefferson Awards for Public Architecture, and the Edward C. Kemper Award. The institute’s honors program is made up of the AIA Gold Medal, Architecture Firm Award, and AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. The institute also runs other awards that recognize the work of architects in new and restoration projects across the world.


The American Institute of Architects runs The Magazine of the American Institute of Architects which highlights architectural projects, technology and products in architecture, the different facets of working in architecture and runs an awards program for architectural professionals, among many others. By signing up for a newsletter from the magazine, you can get all this information and more. To further engage those interested in architecture and already existing members, the institute is on social media platforms such as Facebook where it interacts with those interested in its work. The presence of the Institute on social media is helping it meet its goals for advocacy, information, and community in the field of architecture. Learn more: