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March 29-April 1
AIAS regional meeting held in Spokane for the first time
Monday, Mar. 26, 2012
By Daniel Estep, WSU College of Engineering and Architecture intern
SPOKANE, Wash. - For the first time, Washington State University will host the regional conference for the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). Set for March 29-April 1 at WSU Spokane, it will focus on the adaptive reuse of buildings.
"It is a very relevant concept today,” said Jason Wong, senior WSU architecture student. With the slow 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.”
One of the reasons the conference will take place in Spokane is because of the city’s abundance of historical buildings. The event provides an opportunity to showcase Spokane and its architecture.
The event will include an open house to allow students to network and meet industry professionals. The conference will feature keynote speakers and tours dealing with preservation and reuse.
The conference usually brings in about 200 students from more than 30 chapters, Wong said. The WSU chapter of AIAS has about 45 members.
The process of redesigning and reusing buildings is much different than constructing new, Wong said.
With adaptive reuse, designers must work within the existing structural parameters of the building, he 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 a window 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.”
AIAS is one of five organizations – and the only student organization - in the United States aimed at advancing the art and science of the professional architecture field. The WSU chapter is part of the organization’s western region, which covers 12 states and includes 36 chapters. Regional conferences are held in the fall and spring.