George H. Miller, FAIA, partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners LLP, was inaugurated as the 86th president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) during ceremonies held on December 4th. He succeeds Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, and will represent the more than 86,000 AIA members in the coming year. Miller was elected at the AIA 2008 annual convention in Boston, and has served as AIA first vice president this past year.
His inaugural speech highlighted the need to elevate the voice of architects in their communities and to enhance the public's understanding of the value of design. His term will be highlighted by the theme, "Design Matters" as a way to draw attention to the core values of design - beauty, sustainability, health, safety and productivity. He also called on AIA members to focus their efforts on designing better schools, affordable housing, mass transportation and sustainable communities to foster better public health.
"The challenges of the 21st century will not lend themselves to the old way of thinking," Miller said. "Design should not merely be thought of as a tool, but as a collaborative process that offers opportunities for all of us - client and the public, architect and engineer, elected officials and community organizers - to pull together to address the challenges of our time."
He added, "The current economic conditions have had widespread repercussions on the architecture profession, but it is important to remember that design offers solutions to many of the challenges facing our infrastructure and communities nationwide. The AIA is committed to driving positive change through the power of design."
After graduating with a BArch from Penn State University, Miller joined I.M. Pei & Partners (now called Pei Cobb Freed & Partners) in 1975. Notable projects include: the Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the National Constitution Center (Philadelphia) and the headquarters of ABN-AMRO Bank (Amsterdam). He is currently working on the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC. Miller has also served as president of the AIA New York chapter (2003), New York regional director (2003-06) and chaired the 2007 Board Community Committee and the AIA150 Oversight Task Force.