The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Architects Foundation today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with architecture firm HOK under which HOK will facilitate focus group activities in partnership with the AIA’s Design and Health Research Consortium, which works to advance revolutionary, university-led research in the area of design and health.

Under the agreement, the AIA and HOK will work with the consortium on its key priority – identifying and developing practice-focused opportunities for funded research, publications and tools in the area of design and public health. The goal of the collaboration is to help members conduct research that can be translated into practice by architects and be beneficial to people.

“HOK is a bridge to the client community,” said Suzanna Kelley, FAIA, AIA’s Managing Director of Strategic Alliances and Initiatives. “This first collaboration with the private sector is designed to inform consortium members what their ultimate client – the public – needs from their groundbreaking basic research into how design can help improve public well-being.”

The new partnership will leverage HOK’s global network of architects and clients to support translation of existing research—and build the case for more practice-focused research going forward. Findings from the focus groups will be documented and used to help the Consortium universities direct their health research towards a more targeted, client-based approach. The goal of this new partnership is to help Consortium teams further understand how research can be used in architectural practice, and to further the conversation with the Consortium’s public health partners. Focus groups will occur for the next year, concluding in May of 2017.

“HOK is delighted to partner with the AIA Design and Health Research Consortium to help premier academic research institutions translate their groundbreaking research on the impact of design on human and community health into professional practice,” said Anica Landreneau, Associate AIA, LEED AP, HOK’s director of sustainable design. “We look forward to facilitating focus groups for these institutions and our multidisciplinary design partners in architecture, interiors, landscape, planning and engineering—as well as our clients—in the effort to focus the next generation of research on this important issue. HOK and the AIA seek to promote the understanding and application of critical ideas, research outcomes and evidence that sustainable design truly will improve human health and wellness, in addition to ecological health.”

The focus groups will occur at or near the Consortium universities (full list can be found here). These meetings will document the findings of these important conversations. The partnership with HOK provides the AIA and the Foundation with a unique opportunity to engage a respected architectural firm with significant reach on a domestic and global scale. It also helps the AIA fulfill its primary mission of facilitating holistic, synchronous and multi-scale solutions that can empower its members to address a wide range of areas connecting design and public health.

The memorandum of understanding calls for the parties to document and summarize focus group feedback for a broader audience, including the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the Consortium Network and participants. The agreement also calls for establishing a process for providing AIA Continuing Education for architect members at each focus group event.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

About the Architects Foundation
The Architects Foundation preserves, honors and advances excellence in design for the benefit of the public. As a nonprofit philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects, the Architects Foundation is the preeminent voice and advocate for architecture and design in America. The Architects Foundation is dedicated to the belief that good design is good for all and plays an essential role in transforming lives and building a better world.

About HOK
HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. Through a network of 24 offices worldwide, HOK provides design excellence and innovation to create places that enrich people’s lives and help clients succeed. DesignIntelligence consistently ranks HOK as a leader in sustainable, high-performance design and technology innovation.


About the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture

ACSA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The school membership in ACSA has grown from 10 charter members to over 250 schools in several membership categories. These include full membership for all accredited programs in the United States and government-sanctioned schools in Canada, candidate membership for schools seeking accreditation, and affiliate membership for schools for two-year and international programs. Through these schools, over 5,000 architecture faculty members are represented. In addition, over 500 supporting members composed of architecture firms, product associations and individuals add to the breadth of interest and support of ACSA goals. Visit www.acsa-arch.org.