March 5, 2024 / President's Letters

President’s Letter: March 2024

Dear Members,

As we step into March, historically a time of natural transition, we find ourselves surrounded by a myriad of opportunities that your AIA has recently completed or is about to put on.  I encourage you to embrace these opportunities when they come up, for they often lead to paths of growth and fulfillment.

Reflecting on a few of recent events I attended, I had the pleasure of speaking about my own journey to the profession for a class at Morgan State University, describing to the students another way to licensure and the practice of Architecture. If you can come to a class such as this, I find it inspiring to hear their stories as well, and to provide a bit of mentorship. Additionally, I recently had the pleasure to meet our current AIA President Kimberly Dowdell, AIA. She took time to meet with our Executive Director, Lauren Bostic Hill, our President-Elect, Madhuri Subramaniam, AIA, and myself. Kimberly heard our strategic concerns that we are working on at AIA Baltimore and told us about her slogan of ‘More in ‘24’. This covered her advocating to cities and local institutions around the nation about the Chief Architect position as well as fair pay for what we do.

Finally, I just returned from the 2024 AIA Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The Leadership Summit is a conference built upon advocacy and leadership. AIA encourages volunteer leaders, including chapter Presidents, Presidents-elect, and Directors, to attend an advocacy day on Capitol Hill in D.C. as well as sessions to help understand what other chapters are doing, how they are doing it, and to bring back ideas for our local chapter. This year, we focused our advocacy message on three issues:


  • The Democracy in Design Act, which will codify a community process for designing all federal buildings as opposed to requiring a specific architectural style.  As we know one particular style does not fit all locations or communities – that is a top down approach that the AIA is opposing. Instead, we advocate to give a voice to those local communities in determining what is appropriate for them.
  • The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act. This Act affects thousands of architectural firms in terms of how to support R+D at architectural firms, increase the amount of affordable housing units by increasing the funding and lowering the bond financing requirements.
  • Lastly, we asked our representatives to reach out to the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) to ask for a clarification on the capped 6% fee for A/E services on non military public projects and have them only apply it to a ‘Cost plus Fee’ contract. The current law has been applied in an inconsistent manner and instead should follow the Brooks Act which established a qualification based selection approach for services.


Advocacy at the local, state, and national levels plays a crucial role in shaping the future of our profession. I ask members to reach out to their representatives and contact them about these issues. Whether it’s advocating for fair regulations, promoting sustainable design practices, or championing diversity and inclusion, our collective voice has the power to enact meaningful change.

Looking ahead, let us keep our eyes open for the opportunities that await us. For events in March, I recommend members attend the Health and Wellness Showcase and encourage our colleagues about to take the ARE’s to attend AIA Baltimore Study Sessions. I know that those study sessions helped me in completing more than a couple of the exams. Perhaps it’s a new project that aligns perfectly with our expertise, or a chance encounter that sparks a brilliant idea. Let’s approach each day with a mindset of openness and readiness to capitalize on these moments of potential.

Let’s commit ourselves to being advocates for our profession, lending our voices and expertise to advance the cause of architecture, while taking advantage of all that the AIA and your AIA Baltimore Chapter offers. Wishing you all a month filled with abundance, growth, and opportunities aplenty.


Warm regards,


Ryan Jordan Pfarr
2024 AIA Baltimore President


P.S. Timely, AIA 24 the Conference of Architecture and Design registration just went live. It’s in DC this year, hope to see you there!  Check it out.