Formative Beginnings: A History of the AIAS


Illinois Institute of Technology


The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) at the Illinois Institute of Technology has a long history dating back to its original charter as a Student Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1953. My curiosity as a leader of the present day organization sparked a vast research effort that would transcend the legacy of IIT’s chapter and work to unearth a national history. Goals through the ongoing research are not only to unearth a history but also to discover the relation between supplemental experience and architectural education; working to define the importance of the integration of both into a holistic educational experience. The AIAS has served as the official voice of architecture students for 56 years and championed the message of empowering the student voice; influences of the organization are clearly seen in the evolution of architectural education but there lacks clear documentation. The production of a large-scale archeological hunt for information works to properly document the historical legacy of the AIAS and expand comprehensively the institutional memory of the organization for future members, leaders, and students of architecture.