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Wisconsin Architect Magazine
Wisconsin Architect E-News Archive: January 2006

America Likes Architects

According to a new nationwide poll conducted by the AIA, 83% of voters have a favorable impression of architects. Of the 13 occupational groups included in the survey, architects had the lowest negative rating (4%) and ranked in the top popularity tier, following grade school teachers (93%), medical doctors (92%), police officers (90%) and accountants (86%). The poll revealed strong support for qualifications-based selection (QBS), with 80% of voters believing that architects and engineers should be selected based on qualifications, rather than low bid, for public building projects.

Capitol Hill Visits

AIA Wisconsin leaders from all four corners of the state will be heading to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 9 for meetings with members of Wisconsin 's congressional delegation. Government "Advocacy Day" is part of the AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference for state and local AIA component leaders from around the country. Issues that will be discussed include federal legislation to allow association health insurance plans for small business and to provide enhanced tax incentives for community revitalization, historic preservation, affordable housing and sustainable energy-efficient buildings.

Plugged In

In addition to state and local component officers, a number of other AIA Wisconsin members will be participating in national AIA meetings held in conjunction with Grassroots Conference in DC. Daniel Sisel, Assoc. AIA, Milwaukee , will be representing the North Central Region at the National Associates Committee meeting. Michael Eberle, AIA, Middleton, is the liaison for the North Central States on the Young Architects Forum. Karen Plunkett Muenster, AIA, River Hills, chair of the International Committee, and Martin Sell, AIA, Juneau, member of the Design-Build advisory group, will be participating in AIA Knowledge Community meetings. Russell LaFrombois, AIA, Whitefish Bay, will be representing Wisconsin at the State IDP Coordinators conference.

AIA150 Wisconsin

The AIA150 "Blueprint for America " is an initiative in which AIA members will collaborate with fellow citizens, local officials and other professionals to create a shared vision for improving the livability of their communities, whether it involves a single neighborhood or broader regional view. For more information on AIA150 and the Blueprint for America initiative, please visit: . For AIA Southwest Wisconsin, AIA150 "Champion" Kelly Thompson-Frater, AIA, Madison , is working with members, city planning officials and neighborhood leaders to coordinate a design charette to build consensus on a vision for revitalizing the Allied Drive area. AIA Southeast Wisconsin AIA150 "Champion" John Holz, AIA, Whitefish Bay, is hosting a kickoff meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1, at Plunkett Raysich Architects to discuss the scope and schedule for an ambitious affordable housing initiative. Please contact AIA Wisconsin to learn how you can participate in an AIA150 initiative in your Chapter.

WHEDA – Fee Limits

As part of the process for allocating low income housing tax credits, the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) application limits architectural fees (including design and supervision services) to $3,000 per unit for new construction and $3,500 per unit for rehabilitation. AIA Wisconsin is interested in determining whether members are finding these arbitrary dollar limits problematic for particular types of projects (e.g. rehabilitation projects involving major façade work, underground parking, commercial/retail mix, etc.). Depending on your feedback and suggestions, AIA Wisconsin may ask WHEDA to consider changes as it reviews and updates its Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). Please send your comments and recommendations to the AIA Wisconsin office.

AIA Photo Competition

AIA St. Louis is coordinating the 2006 AIA Photography Competition. The top 15 entries will be exhibited at the 2006 AIA National Convention in Los Angeles. Images for the 2008 Engagement Calendar (approximately 52 images) will be selected from all submitted entries and will include the 15 award winners. Entries must be postmarked by March 15 .

Statute of Repose & Supreme Court

Wisconsin 's statute of repose for improvements to real property, section 893.89 of the Wisconsin Statutes , protects architects from long-tail of liability associated with the design and construction of building projects. AIA Wisconsin worked with a coalition of design and construction industry organizations to get the current ten-year statute of repose enacted in 1994. It provides the most basic and fundamental liability protection by barring legal action after ten years from the date of substantial completion. The statute of repose has survived several court challenges over the years; but it is being challenged once again in Mair v. Trollhaugen Ski Resort , a case that has been appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. AIA Wisconsin has joined the Wisconsin Builders Association, Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin to have Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek file a "friend of the court" brief on our behalf. The brief will outline how the statute of repose barring legal action ten years following substantial completion of a building project trumps Wisconsin 's safe-place statute for public buildings.

Economic Loss Doctrine – Amicus Brief

In another important case, 1325 North Van Buren, LLC v. T-3 Group, Ltd. , the Wisconsin Supreme Court is reviewing how the "economic loss doctrine" may apply to professional services provided in conjunction with a construction project where a sophisticated contractual relationship exists. The case involves a construction manager who used an AIA contract document, but it has broad implications for Wisconsin's design and construction industry. AIA Wisconsin has joined ACEC of Wisconsin to have Siesennop & Sullivan file an amicus brief on our behalf. This "friend of the court" brief will argue that owners, architects, engineers and contractors who enter into sophisticated contracts, such as AIA contracts, should not have to risk exposure to lawsuits brought under tort law for only economic losses, i.e. unrelated to any bodily injury or other property damage. Contract law should apply to such legal situations.


The 2006 AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo, commUNITY, will be held on May 10 & 11 at Monona Terrace in Madison. Convention Chair, Dave Ewanowski, AIA, Madison, and his fellow Convention Committee members have assembled an outstanding program of speakers, seminars and special events to complement the Building Products Expo. National AIA President Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, is the featured Awards Luncheon speaker. Keynote speakers will be Joel Hirschhorn, author of Sprawl Kills and former director of environment, energy and natural resources at the National Governors Association, and Jorge Silvetti, award-winning architect and professor of architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Watch your inbox and mailbox for Convention details and registration materials.

2006 Leadership Directory

AIA Wisconsin is fortunate to have members willing to volunteer their time and talents to guide the AIA at the local, state and national levels. Please contact AIA Wisconsin if you are interested in receiving the 2006 leadership directory of the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors, local AIA Chapter officers, AIA Regional Directors and state committee contacts.

Professional Affiliate Representative

Abby Vogen, Oconomowoc, has been appointed as a Professional Affiliate Representative on the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors. Her two-year term runs through 2007. Vogen is a senior project manager with the Energy Center of Wisconsin, where she leads the organization's commercial daylighting and high performance building design and operation programs. She manages the ECW's non-residential and new construction efficiency efforts, speaking nationally on daylighting design and sustainable building practices.

Design Awards

The Design Awards Committee invites your participation in the 2006 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards program. The deadline for entering your projects is January 20. Entry binders are due by no later than February 15. The 2006 Design Awards will be announced and presented at a special awards celebration on May 10 at Monona Terrace in Madison.

Golden Award

A. James Gersich, AIA, Fitchburg , has been selected by the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors to receive the 2006 Golden Award. The award will be presented at a special awards luncheon on May 10 at the AIA Wisconsin Convention & Expo in Madison. The Golden Award is the highest honor that AIA Wisconsin can bestow upon a member architect. It is awarded in recognition of distinguished leadership and service to AIA Wisconsin and the profession over an extended period of time.

AIA Contract Documents

In late 2005, the AIA introduced six new contract documents. These include two new agreements and four new scope of service documents for use with owner-architect agreements. You can purchase these widely recognized industry standard documents through AIA Wisconsin's website.

People & Places

Mary Houle Richter, AIA, Mequon , has joined The Kubala Washatko Architects. Larry D. Sommerfeld, AIA, Chippewa Falls , has joined Ayres Associates. Timothy G. Carlson, AIA, Appleton, has joined Martenson & Eisele, Inc. Robert P. Yuhas, AIA, Racine, has joined Planning Design Build, Inc. Groth Design Group has appointed Todd A. Ovard, AIA, Cedarburg, as a project manager and has opened a Madison office at 8517 Excelsior Dr., Ste. 113; phone: ( 608 ) 828 - 1222. Dorene Dohler Schink, Assoc. AIA, Middleton, has joined Knothe & Bruce Architects LLC. Gregory T. Baum, AIA, Delafield, has become a LEED accredited professional.

Member Action

Please welcome the following new members who joined AIA Wisconsin between December 16, 2005 through January 13, 2006: Todd M. Bushmaker, AIA, Green Bay (NE); Derek Dyson, Student, La Crescent, MN (NW); Alexis M. Elliott-Townsend, Assoc. AIA, De Pere (NE); Alex Fronk, Student, Onalaska (NW); D. Levi Frost, Student, Warrens (NW); Mindy Gile, Student, Banger (NW); Debra Hyde, Professional Affiliate, Juneau (SW); Brian Imhoff, Professional Affiliate, Stoughton (SW); Linzi Jirsa, Student, LaCrosse (NW); Duane M. Johnson, Assoc. AIA, Madison (SW); Derrick Joy, Student, Eastman (NW); Tom Kelly, Professional Affiliate, Silver Lake (SE); Pauline S. Kleinke, Professional Affiliate, Brookfield, (SE); Andrew Moon, Professional Affiliate, Baraboo (SW); Errin Nondorf, Student, LaCrosse (NW); Todd A. Ovard, AIA, Cedarburg (SE); James W. Pankratz, AIA, Burlington (SE); Andrew L. Parker, Student, Necedah (NW); Jane Phillips, Professional Affiliate, Madison (SW); Bryce Rohrer, Student, Brownsville, MN (NW); Ben Rothmeyer, Student, LaCrosse (NW); Darren Schedivy, Student, LaCrosse (NW); David J. Strachota, AIA, Grafton (SE); John Vanderwall, Professional Affiliate, Butler (SE); David G. Wolterstorff, AIA, Saint Paul, MN (NW) and Elisabeth M. Wruck, Student, Cashton (NW).

Kudos to Mentors!

January is mentoring month. Over 35 AIA Wisconsin members have stepped forward to be mentors for architecture students, architectural interns, young architects and other emerging professionals. If you haven't already, why not volunteer to make a difference in someone's career . . . it could be your own! To be included in the AIA Wisconsin mentor database, please send email with contact information to AIA Wisconsin. Thank you!

Future Fellows of Wisconsin

All AIA members in Wisconsin have the potential to be recognized and advanced to the AIA College of Fellows. AIA Southwest Wisconsin is sponsoring a special informational program on the Fellowship nomination process at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10, in Madison. This is a unique opportunity to learn the steps involved and start planning for your nomination. Please click on the program listing above for details. Background information and answers to frequently asked questions also are available on the AIA website..

Wisconsin Architects Foundation

The Wisconsin Architects Foundation was founded in 1953 to build a better Wisconsin through architectural education. The WAF Board of Directors has approved a scholarship and grant budget of $25,720 for the current 2005-06 fiscal year. Tax-deductible contributions by members like you make these valuable WAF scholarship and grant programs possible. Please invest in the future of your profession by sending a generous contribution to: Wisconsin Architects Foundation, 321 S. Hamilton Street, Madison, WI 53703 . Thank you!

The Last Word

"Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises." [Demosthenes]

"God gives us relatives; thank God, we can choose our friends." [American architect Addison Mizner, 1872-1933]

"Architecture is the art of how to waste space." [Philip Johnson, FAIA, 1907-2005, TIME , January 2006]

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