One of the hallmarks of any successful architect is the ability to choose projects. Great architects routinely say, “no,” until cajoled or courted into saying, “yes.” The one commission I regret not being involved with offers a pithy, one-line commentary on me, my character, and the general state of business years ago.
In an active, even affluent year of my practice, I said, “no,” to the renovation and revitalization of a historic church. My platter as an architect was groaning with commissions after a period of relative drought. I agonized and fretted, then, filled with self-righteousness (how appropriate), told the church building committee overseeing the renovation of its campus that I couldn’t accept their offer because my company could not do it justice. Another architect quickly got the job, and every time I ride by the only project I ever turned down, to this day I get hives. So much for greatness.
— Robert Ivy, FAIA, is the EVP/Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Prior to joining the AIA, Ivy was Vice-President & Editorial Director of McGraw-Hill Construction and Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Record, where he also oversaw 16 print and 17 digital publications.