April 29, 2019 / President's Letters

May 2019 President's Letter – Love, Loss, and What We Built

As it is for many people, Notre Dame was the first building I visited on my first trip abroad. I was on my way to Africa—not Europe—and I had a long layover in Paris, so I hopped on the Metro and went straight to the Cathedral. Watching it go up in flames two weeks ago was heart wrenching. The universal anguish felt as the fire consumed Notre Dame reminds us what we architects know so well already: that buildings matter; that they root the core of our collective identity; that they mark significant passages of time for our existence together; that they are touchstones for individual milestones; and that they are loved in our hearts.
The Baltimore Architecture Foundation exists to support all of our love and enthusiasm for our buildings. What’s more, the BAF encourages people to explore Baltimore architecture, to be mindful of the area’s history, to recognize its architectural heritage and appreciate its design innovations. My personal BAF favorite is the Love Letters to Baltimore Buildings that provides a forum for any one of us to pen an ode to our most beloved building in Baltimore. Like many people, I found myself sketching and writing, trying to pull particular memories of Notre Dame: the vibrant colors from the rose windows, the hushed shadows, the brooding, solemn statues, the cold stone flooring, and the never-ending columns. What I remember most fondly was how cosmopolitan it was. An urban building, knit into the heart of the city, on the tip of an island, at the foot of a bridge, in the middle of a river, teeming with visitors from all around the globe.
In spite of this sad news, there is a lot to be happy and excited about at AIA Baltimore this spring. We’re having record-breaking attendance at our chapter events, so please keep coming! The board of directors, chapter staff, and the committees work hard and diligently to bring quality programming to our membership. The calendar this May includes a lot of free events that won’t take a big commitment to join. The BAF’s tradition of free brown bag lunchtime presentations continues this spring, so if you are feeling blue about the status of architecture past, present, and future, please bring your lunch and join us for free lectures followed by critical discussions that explore how local firms, design practitioners, and allied organizations are putting into practice their passion for the built environment. (AIA CEUs are eligible for self-reporting).
There is still time to enter the 2019 AIA and BAF Design Competition – Edge: Harbor and City. Late registration is still open. And don’t forget to purchase your tickets now for next month’s annual golf outing, now combined with the BAF Golf Outing and including plenty of fun for golfers and non-golfers alike.
We hope to see you this month as we all celebrate our architecture together.
Warm regards,

Suzanne Frasier, FAIA
Morgan State University School of Architecture + Planning