• 2012 Conference: Connecting People and Place
    Association of Architecture Organizations

Alex Gilliam/Public Workshop, conference attendees participate in the Build It! Workshop, 2011, Philadelphia. Photo: Alex Gilliam.

The 2012 Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) Conference is the largest annual gathering of educators and not-for-profit (arts and culture) professionals dedicated to engaging the public on issues of architecture and design. This year's meeting takes place in Dallas, Texas, from November 8 -10, 2012, attracting an international audience of approximately 300 participants. Through keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and mobile tours in the community, attendees investigate how communities are strengthened through design. In addition to big picture thinking, organizational development skills are addressed in several operations areas, such as architecture tours, exhibitions, lectures, and public programs, along with K-12 design education.

The 2012 Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) Conference opens (November 8) with a public lecture by landscape architect James Burnett. The lecture is presented by the Dallas Architecture Forum.

Burnett founded the Office of James Burnett in 1989 and has dedicated his career to creating meaningful spaces that challenge the conventional boundaries of landscape architecture. To date, he has received over 60 state and national design awards for projects consistently cited for innovation in design. No stranger to collaboration, Burnett regularly works with highly-regarded architects, engineers, planners, artists, doctors, scientists, and specialists to develop projects that truly represent the vision of the client. His work includes the design of master plans, corporate campuses, academic landscapes, cultural and civic institutions, health and wellness facilities, urban parks, and other complex urban projects. In 2004, Burnett was elected to the American Society of Landscape Architects' Council of Fellows, the highest honor the professional society bestows on its members.

Drawing from his knowledge as an architect and prior work experience in New York City government, Rick Bell helps lead the largest and oldest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In 2003, AIANY opened its Center for Architecture storefront space in lower Manhattan, which has since been a hot-bed of activity for public engagement and industry collaboration, including its recent hit program Fit City—now gaining national traction as a viable tool for addressing obesity through city design.

A native of Dallas, Greg Brown has worked in the city's arts sector for almost 20 years. Before joining DCFA, he was managing director of the American Film Institute's Dallas International Film Festival, which presented 200+ screenings annually over ten days throughout central Dallas and grew to become one of the largest film festivals in the Southwest. Prior to the Festival, Brown was managing director of the Meadows School at Southern Methodist University, where he played an instrumental role in the opening of the Meadows Museum in 2001.

The Dallas Architecture Forum is a regular collaborator with many universities and cultural organizations throughout Texas, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the University of Texas at Austin, presenting events focusing on architecture and urban planning. Prior to working in the cultural arena, Nate Eudaly held several executive positions in the health care insurance industry, most recently as chief financial officer of the Southwest Region for Aetna, Inc. His volunteer commitments have included board responsibilities at the Fort Worth Civic Orchestra (as past board president) and the Family Place, the largest domestic violence prevention agency in Dallas.

Coming to AAF in 2002 after a long career in public service in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, president and CEO Ron Bogle has helped guide AAF's evolution as a powerful voice on national design issues, including topics as varied as better school design, sustainable communities, and the training of top government leaders through the flagship Mayors' Institute on City Design program.

Under Margie O'Driscoll's direction, the Center for Architecture + Design launched the largest architecture festival in the United States, Architecture + the City. In 2009, O'Driscoll was voted Executive of the Year by the AIA Council of Component Executives. Previous to joining AIA in San Francisco, O'Driscoll was director of Cultural Affairs for San Francisco, and director of Special Projects at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, a private family-foundation supporting community projects throughout San Francisco.

Under Lynn Osmond's leadership, the Chicago Architecture Foundation has developed into a premier Chicago cultural institution, offering a comprehensive program of tours, exhibitions, lectures, special events, and adult and youth education programs, and serving an annual audience of more than 500,000 visitors. Osmond received the Chicago Woman’s Achievement Award from the Chicago Alliance for Women, and, in 2005, became an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. Present volunteer commitments include an appointment from the Chicago Mayor's Office to chair the Toronto Sister Cities Committee.

The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) is a member-based network that connects architectural organizations around the world dedicated to enhancing public dialogue about architecture and the built environment.