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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture AIAS Meeting

AIAS Meeting for the First Time in Spokane

By Daniel Estep, CEA Intern

For the first time, WSU will host the regional conference for the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS).

The conference, set for March 29-April 1 in Spokane, will be focused on the adaptive reuse of buildings.

“It is a very relevant concept today,” said Jason Wong, senior WSU architecture student. “As far as the economy, not many new buildings are being built today. If we can find a way to reuse existing buildings we can save a lot of resources and energy.”

The process of redesigning and reusing buildings is much different than constructing a new building, Wong said.

One of the reasons the conference is taking place in Spokane is because of its abundance of historical buildings.

With adaptive reuse of buildings, designers must work within the existing structural parameters of the building, Wong said. Many buildings that are on the national historic register, in particular, present a tough challenge because architects can’t easily modify them.

“With historic preservation you need to keep windows looking historic, even if you replace it with a new window,” Wong said. “We must think creatively about accomplishing our goal of renovating the building while maintaining the building’s history.”

The event will include an open house, which allows students to network and meet industry professionals. The conference will also feature keynote speakers and tours dealing with preservation and reuse. The event provides an opportunity to showcase Spokane.

AIAS is one of five organizations of architecture in the United States aimed at helping advance the art and science of the professional architecture field. It is also the only student organization. The WSU chapter is part of the organization’s western region, which covers 12 states and includes 36 chapters. Regional conferences are held twice a year in the fall and spring.

The conference usually brings in about 200 students from more than 30 chapters, Wong said. The WSU chapter of AIAS has about 45 members.

American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) logo