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Professional Virtue and Citizenship: An Ethical Framing of the AIA
Architecture Conference Proceedings and Presentations
  • Gregory S. Palermo, Iowa State University
Document Type
AIA/Ohio Annual Grassroots
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
Conference Title
AIA/Ohio Annual Grassroots
Conference Date
March 17, 2000
(39.9611755, -82.99879420000002)

This paper proposes that the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a corporate collective of the architectural profession, if it wishes to be more than a professional trade organization speaking to the economic self-interest of its members (and being perceived as such), has available to it two ethical courses to pursue: 1) That of improving the knowledge, skills and judgment of architects – defining and working on the virtues of the architect; and 2) That of participating in public policy decision-making and speaking out with regard to environmental design, whether proposals be public or private. Both of these concepts are embedded in the AIA’s Objects. The reasoning developed here draws parallels between personal professional responsibility and collective responsibility with respect to the essentially ethical condition of architecture as explored in three themes: What Could Be, What Ought to Be, and the Architect's Virtue. When we first make conjectures about a change in the environment, we cast about for what could be, the potential for a good change. Specific design proposals define what ought to be, an ethical imperative of the right thing to do. The architect must possess certain qualities of virtue to merit the title and the responsibility to be one of the leaders in shaping the environment.


This is a proceedings from AIA/Ohio Annual Grassroots, March 17, 2000. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner
Palermo; AIA Ohio
File Format
Citation Information
Gregory S. Palermo. "Professional Virtue and Citizenship: An Ethical Framing of the AIA" Columbus, Ohio(2000)
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