How Robert Ivy Became An Advocate For Good Design

Robert Ivy is the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Institute of Architects. He was born and raised in Columbus, Mississipi. After graduating from high school he attended Sewanee University in Tennessee and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. He then attended Tulane University and earned a master’s degree in architecture. He now lives in Washington, D.C. since that is where the AIA is headquartered.

For 15 years, from 1981 to 1996, Robert Ivy worked at the architectural firm Dean/Dale, Dean & Ivy. He was a principal of this company also served as a critic for many national publications about architecture. His writing led to him being hired by McGraw-Hill Construction Media in 1996. He served as both a vice president and editorial director. While he edited many publications put out by this company the most prestigious magazine in the industry, Architectural Record, was a key focus of his. Other publications he edited were Constructor, Sweets, Greensource: The Magazine of Sustainable Design, and others.

Robert Ivy has been honored a few times by professional organizations in the architectural industry. Among these was American Business Media presenting him with their Crain Award in 2009. This is this organization’s highest distinction. In 1998 he was given the McGraw-Hill Award for Management Excellence. Perhaps his biggest honor occurred in 2010 when the architecture fraternity Alpha Rho Chi named as a “Master Architect”. The vote was unanimous and he is one of just seven people to earn this designation since this fraternity formed in 1917. The award was given to him due to his effective communication about why good design should be valued.

In 1992, Robert Ivy published Fay Jones: Architect. E. Fay Jones was one of the giants of the American architectural industry. He had apprenticed with the celebrated Frank Lloyd Wright in 1990 he won the AIA Gold Medal which is the AIAs highest honor. Robert Ivy’s book is considered the definite biography of him and his work.

Writing for Huffpost a number of times, Robert Ivy has often said that good design has a dramatic effect on the health of the people who live and work in the building. As the CEO of the AIA, he pushed for architects to always take health into account when designing a building or creating infrastructure in a city. He has said that bad design has led to bad health such as the fact that over 35% of Americans are now obese.

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