American Institute of Architects Gallery


Editorial Review

The American Institute of Architects building hosts artwork on its first and second floors, and in its library. Exhibitions in the main building usually relate to architecture or design, change about once a month and are often by a single artist. Past shows have included geometric paintings by Anil Revri, photographs of AIA Honor Award-winning structures, paintings of Southern buildings by Cindy Blair and a show of models and photographs of the Kremlin.

The downstairs lobby is flooded with light from the southwest-facing glass wall, which looks out at the back yard of the Octagon Museum. The upstairs is cozier, with mushroom-shaped seats. Exhibitions are sponsored by the American Architectural Foundation -- founded in 1942 by the AIA as "a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to cultivating the understanding of the power of architecture." Works are for sale directly from the artists; catalogues are available at the front desk.

The library's shows, usually by an individual artist, are arranged around the bookstacks and sometimes include sculpture in addition to paintings and drawings. Recent exhibits have included: abstract art by Jack Martinelli; watercolors by Richard James Vitullo, an AIA member; photographs of Frank Lloyd Wright houses; and photographs of local architects' work. The pieces here also are usually for sale by the artist -- ask for prices at the desk.

Another building highlight is the comprehensive AIA bookstore, which carries technical books, art books, books on architecture and design, posters, jewelry, postcards, notebooks, cards and puzzles -- enough of everything to give the National Building Museum stiff competition in the "best museum bookstore" category.

-- John Poole