The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced it will postpone its upcoming annual conference due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Slated to be held May 14 through 16, the AIA was expecting scores of attendees to arrive in Los Angeles for the Conference on Architecture 2020 but is now considering alternative options.
In a statement, AIA 2020 President Jane Frederick said the decision was made in conjunction with numerous event cancellations and other closures around the United States:
“AIA has been closely monitoring directives from city, county, and state officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization throughout this crisis,” she said. “The health and safety of our members, colleagues, exhibitors, and speakers is paramount and we feel compelled to postpone the annual conference to minimize the risk to our valued participants and partners. By making this decision in advance, we also hope to minimize any stress or inconvenience for our participants and partners.”
The organization said that it’s looking into potentially rescheduling the event and will issue refunds to registrants for now. All exhibitors and sponsors will be able to receive a refund, too, or gain credit for the rescheduled conference this year, or the 2021 event scheduled for Philadelphia.
These details come on the heels of various local AIA chapters deciding to close their doors as well. In Manhattan, the AIA New York and the Center for Architecture shuttered its office and gallery space on Saturday and will remain closed through March 28. On Friday, The Boston Society of Architects announced it too would close off its gallery to the public for 30 days and its office areas until further notice.
Other industry-related events in the United States have been canceled or postponed including the 2020 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference in Chicago, as well as programming at several universities. Speaking of students, last week the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced it would adjust its testing policies due to the global pandemic. NCARB stated it would waive any fees associated with rescheduling the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) through April 30.