Unless indicated otherwise, all conference sessions and activities take place at BSA Space (290 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210).


Thursday, Sept. 26



PRE-CONFERENCE TOUR: MIT Media Lab & Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Separate Registration Required


PUBLIC LECTURE: The Psychology of Space and the Moving Body
Craig Edward Dykers, Founding Partner, Snøhetta
Co-presented with Boston Society of Architects
. Reception at 5:15pm; Remarks at 6:00pm

Snøhetta practices "the architecture of engagement," writes the late Ada Louise Huxtable. Need evidence? Locals, sunbathers, tourists, lovers, families, and everyone else can’t resist the sloping roof of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet building on the Oslo harborfront. Snøhetta aims to transform Times Square, one of the firm's many current projects, into a place both locals and tourists will enjoy by improving and expanding the pedestrian spaces of NYC’s most famous crossroads. Be inspired by Snøhetta’s mastery for bringing people together through design.
AIA CEU: 1.5. See Registration desk for details.



Stick around after the public program to join fellow conference attendees for food, drinks, and conversation – and terrific views of Boston’s Waterfront!


Friday, Sept. 27



Arrive early to BSA Space for complimentary breakfast and the chance to participate in networking and learning sessions. Friday opportunities include:

Architecture + Design Education Network Meet & Greet
Host: Kelly Lyons, Cranbrook Art Museum

Network with individuals interested in K-12 design education. Come learn what your colleagues have been up to!

Sharing Resources: Institutions Collaborating on Exhibition Development
Host: Kate Marciniec, Boston Children’s Museum

For nearly two decades, the Boston Children’s Museum has participated in the Youth Museum Exhibit Collaborative to advance a travelling exhibitions initiative with several of its peer organizations. They’ve collaborated on 20 exhibits in the past three years alone—and still counting! Join us for a frank discussion about the opportunities, limitations, and challenges of developing and sharing content with other cultural organizations. Learn from the Boston Children’s Museum’s hard won experience and discover which ideas best suit AAO’s growing Exhibitions Network.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant Workshop
Host: Jason Schupbach, Director of Design, National Endowment for the Arts

This session reviews the latest NEA-funded research and grant opportunities of relevance to architectural organizations. Participate in an exploratory, informal conversation about the Endowment's current priorities and how what you do aligns with its objectives. (Note: This session will be offered on both Friday and Saturday morning.)


Plenary sessions begin


OPENING ADDRESS: Re-Learning How to Count: Cultural Organizations & Performance Measurement
Maxwell L. Anderson, Dallas Museum of Art

Museum director Max Anderson will share the latest innovations of the Dallas Museum of Art regarding a new form of visitor engagement: free membership. In the process, he will share how nonprofit arts institutions can be more transparent, better funded, and more successful by rethinking the pseudo-commercial attractions model that has been embraced by cultural institutions over the last generation.


PANEL DISCUSSION: Telling the Story of Your Organization's Impact: From Core Programs to Experimental Initiatives
Liz Barry, Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science

Rosamond Fletcher, Design Trust for Public Space
Kenneth Jones, Salvadori Center

In this session, we get to the heart of the matter by offering cures for your daily program evaluation headaches. Salvadori Center brings us practical examples that illustrate the old catch phrase “measure what you value.” The Design Trust team shares ideas about devising evaluation strategies for new, start-up initiatives or when building relationships with stakeholders new to your organization. In the end, these stories merge as we investigate how organizations can sustain a culture of assessment.


GROUP LUNCH: LEGO® Brick Building Jamboree

Take a break from conference sessions to play with LEGO® bricks! We all know the LEGO Architecture sets that celebrate famous buildings, but did you know the company has been developing a more open-ended tool, LEGO Architecture Studio? Designed for experimenting, LEGO Architecture Studio includes basic bricks and a 272-page guidebook filled with building tips and inspiration. At this hands-on workshop, LEGO reps walk us through a design exercise. We’ll get hands-on with this new product and see how it might play a role in our design programs. We supply the bricks and the food. You supply the imagination.


AFTERNOON WORKSHOP: Connecting Exhibition Content with Everyday Life
Scott Burnham, Strategist, Consultant, Design Director
Polly Carpenter, Learning by Design: Massachusetts

Mary Fichtner, Boston Society of Architects

Eric White, Boston Society of Architects

Our local hosts tell us how the first two years operating BSA Space has changed their work and their attitudes about impact. We will tour its current exhibition, “Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure.” We’ll discuss plans to draw the public into BSA Space, while comparing strategies from other AAO member organizations. And then we'll be led on to a tour out in the surrounding neighborhood. In small teams, we’ll compete to conceive a low-cost urban intervention to extend the exhibition’s learning opportunities beyond the walls of the BSA Space.


FEATURED PRESENTATION: Success! A Fundraising Story
Alice Stryker, Center for Architecture Foundation

Here’s a lesson in swinging for the fences. Fueled by equal parts planning and serendipity, The Center for Architecture Foundation has a success story that will make anyone manning a small fundraising department smile. Score one for the little guys!


Tours courtesy of Boston by Foot and Design Museum Boston
Boston by Foot logo     Design Museum Boston logo

A series of special tours of Boston neighborhoods followed by small group dine-arounds.
Sign up in person at the Conference Registration desk. All tours have limited capacity. First-come, first served.

Galleries Outside Four Walls - Enjoy a tour of Design Museum Boston's Street Seats: Reimagining the Public Bench, an outdoor exhibition of innovative public seating around Boston's Fort Point Channel. The exhibition is the culmination of an international design competition in which designers were able to rethink the humble public bench. See the winning designs and hear from Executive Director, Sam Aquillano, about how Design Museum Boston has successfully become a local cultural staples through its commitment to programming in the public sphere - without a dedicate program space of its own. Along the way he'll point out other interesting places and happenings in Fort Point and the Innovation District. Great learning for those involved with emerging organizations.
Dinner: Lucky's Lounge (355 Congress Street) - A local fave. Great cocktails and upscale bar food. (max: 18 participants)

The Dark Side of Boston - A lesson in urban storytelling, come explore the darker side of Boston's North End with Boston By Foot! This original guided walk through misfortune, malevolence, and murder is based on true historical events that have occurred in Boston. Hear about the scourge of small pox, the Molasses Flood, body snatching, the Brink's Job, and other tales from Boston's checkered past. We hope you join us for a walk on the Dark Side. Crime, disease, death, and disaster... what better way to enjoy a pleasant evening in Boston? See what entertaining tid bits you can pick up to thread through your own organization's architecture tours.
Dinner: Lucca's (226 Hanover Street) - A great Italian restaurant in Boston's great Italian neighborhood. (max: 18 participants)

Villla Victoria - In 1968, a group of predominately Puerto Rican community activists stared down Boston's urban renewal bulldozers and organized to gain control over the development of their neighborhood. Forming IBA - Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, these activists created Villa Victoria (Victory Village), a 435 unit affordable housing community in the city's South End. The development of Villa Victoria is an accomplishment considered to be a seminal moment in the history of affordable housing, civil rights, and community organizing in Boston. In a guided tour with its director, explore this unique project that uses the arts as a community-building tool to increase cultural pride and foster cross-cultural connections.
Dinner: Vejigantes Restaurant (57 West Dedham Street) - The go-to option for authentic Puerto Rican food in Boston. (max: 10 participants)

Beacon Hill Plus - From the golden dome of the State House to the elegant homes of Louisburg Square, this Beacon Hill tour moves along picturesque streets highlighting examples of the architect Charles Bulfinch and his followers. Learn the story of Beacon Hill, from its rural beginnings to the vision of the Mount Vernon Proprietors while walking among this historic collection of Federal and Greek Revival row houses. Enjoy stories of Boston's prominent citizens who have called Beacon Hill their home. Tour provided by Boston By Foot.
Dinner: Scollay Square (21 Beacon Street #1) – Good cocktails and American comfort food at a great location. (max: 18 participants)


Saturday, Sept. 28



Arrive early to BSA Space for complimentary breakfast and the chance to participate in networking and learning sessions. Saturday opportunities include:

K-12 Education: Encouraging Diversity in the Design Profession
Host: Esther Yang, The J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City

In partnership with the Harlem School of the Arts, leadership at the newly established Bond Center at the Spitzer School of Architecture within the City College of New York has been devising a research plan to discover why youth, particularly youth of color, are not exploring design disciplines as a career path. The Bond Center team seeks insights from K-12 educators to help refine its research strategies, so they can understand what barriers need to be confronted to increase the diversity within the discipline of architecture.

Putting Free Design Tools to Work for Your Organization
Host: Katherine Stalker, Chicago Architecture Foundation

Capturing the essence of your organization’s live events and enriching your online content can be a frustrating task, especially when working with limited budgets and aging websites. This nuts-and-bolts session tips you off to some of the more user-friendly free tools available online. Leave ready to try some out new tricks.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant Workshop
Host: Jason Schupbach, Director of Design, National Endowment for the Arts

This session reviews the latest NEA-funded research and grant opportunities of relevance to architectural organizations. Participate in an exploratory, informal conversation about the Endowment's current priorities and how what you do aligns with its objectives. (Note: This session will be offered on both Friday and Saturday morning.)


MORNING WORKSHOP: Smarter Data Collection for Cash-Strapped Organizations
Stephanie D. H. Evergreen, Evergreen Evaluation

What information should your organization collect in order to gain a leading edge with funders? How can your organization gather on-the-go data quickly and easily? Working with real-life stories submitted by AAO Member organizations, Dr. Evergreen will share simple, proven data collection strategies that you can use to increase your organization’s evaluation capacity, better understand your strengths and weaknesses, and demonstrate your organization’s progress on grant applications.


FEATURED ADDRESS: Making Impact: Strategies from Across the Globe
Kent Martinussen, Danish Architecture Centre

Kent Martinussen recently brought together leaders of architecture centers from around the world to discuss how these organizations can be drivers of change. The goal was to help inform the growth of the Danish Architecture Centre as it prepares to move from an 18th-century building to a new facility designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA in 2017. Learn about the DAC's plans and what Kent gleaned from fellow directors about the impact, conditions, and methods of our field.



GROUP LUNCH: Film Screening: Archiculture
Nadine Gerdts, Rhode Island School of Design / Boston Architectural College
Ian Harris, Arbuckle Industries
Ted Landsmark, Boston Architectural College
Benjamin Prosky, Harvard Graduate School of Design

An architect by training, Ian Harris quickly discovered his true calling: documenting and describing the work of architects in order to inspire non-designers. A self-financed project completed in fits and spurts over the past six years, “Archiculture” portrays the design studio as an educational tool and crucible for future designers. The film is a terrific resource for anyone working with adolescents curious about design. A panel discussion following the screening will examine some of the synergies and missing links that might better connect K-12 design education with collegiate training in architecture. Lunch will be provided.
AIA CEU: 1.0. See Registration desk for details.


PANEL DISCUSSION: Architecture Exhibitions: New Models for Collaboration
Christopher Alexander, Getty Research Institute
Rick Bell, AIA New York / Center for Architecture
David van der Leer, Van Alen Institute
Sarah Herda (moderator), Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

In this session, we’ll look at the latest strategies being tested by architectural organizations in an effort to maximize audience reach and invite more active engagement with exhibition visitors. Ultimately, we ask: can architecture organizations find a way to build a better exhibition and achieve greater impact by working together?   


CLOSING SESSION: Best of 2013: High Impact Programs

In this fun and informal conclusion to the conference, a handful of your AAO peers share stories about the most memorable programs—from within our field and beyond—that they attended this year. There’s only one rule: no stories about your own institution. What lessons can we learn from these impactful programs? Head home inspired!



Annual business meeting of the Association of Architecture Organizations. All current AAO Members are invited to participate.