Lester Korzilius; FAIA
Candidate for AIA Secretary 2024-6
I come from a background as a practicing architect. I see several key areas where the AIA and the AIA Secretary can make a positive difference.
• Promote the value of architecture to the wider public and our client base. This will help us increase remuneration to the profession.
• Recognize, promote, and value broader career paths within the architecture profession.
• Engage and involve younger and mid-career architects within the AIA.
• Strengthen and enhance the knowledge infrastructure within the AIA to learn and share best practices from our colleagues, improve our practices, and increase the inherent skills and value of our practices.
• Improve communication between National and the chapters and offer support on issues such as licensure, status of interior designers, and procurement methods and fees.
As Secretary, I will help develop and leverage the AIA brand as the mechanism to achieve the above goals. As a long-time practicing architect, I have a deep understanding of the issues, opportunities, and constraints surrounding our profession.
Lester Korzilius is a practicing architect with considerable international experience. He is a Director with John McAslan + Partners with responsibilities including the redesign of New York's Penn Station as consultants to the JV team and a large multi-use development in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Lester serves on the AIA Strategic Council having focused on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion and now focusing on how the value of architecture can be communicated to our clients and the public. He also serves on the AIA National’s Secretary Advisory Council. Lester is a Past President of AIA International and he was subsequently the Task Force chairperson responsible for the recent formation of AIA Southeast Asia, AIA South Korea, AIA Taipei, and soon AIA Latin America, to be followed by AIA Africa. He is an active mentor through several AIA mentorship programs. Lester is a Past President of AIA United Kingdom and past co-chair of the AIA New York Professional Practice Committee and the AIA New York Public Architects Committee. He is a member of AIA United Kingdom and AIA New York.
Lester was a main board director and co-owner of EllisWilliams Architects. He was previously a Project Director with Foster & Partners and YRM and had his own practice for ten years in New York. Lester trained with John Lautner, Paul Rudolph, Herman Hertzberger, and Richard Rogers.
Lester holds four Masters degrees and is a PhD candidate at the University of Leeds focusing on the intersections of art and architecture.
Case Study 1
Creating a Home for 'Unassigned Members'
First as Secretary, then as Vice-President and subsequently President of AIA International, with members in 100 countries, I developed a structure to serve AIA members not served by the 7 international chapters. This started with regular networking calls with ‘Unassigned Members’, followed by the creation of ‘Country Representatives’ which now number nearly 30, who are involved with colleagues in their respective countries in symposia and conferences hosted by AIA International. This in turn has led to the creation of several international Sections in Taipei, South Korea, and Southeast Asia, with Latin America and Africa in process.
Case Study 2
Virtual International Annual Conference
As AIA International President I realized that with the geographic spread of our membership, many members weren’t participating sufficiently in the AIA. In addition to an annual in-person conference, we created an annual ‘virtual conference’ that has participation from around the world. In its first year of operation (during the pandemic), it had more registered attendees than attended the AIA National convention that was held virtually that year.
Case Study 3
Central Knowledge Repository
As a final example, at AIA International I spearheaded the creation of a central repository for the online lectures and seminars prepared by the 7 international chapters and Country Representatives. The content, built up over several years, is outstanding, and is available on-demand free of charge. AIA International manages the CES quizzes and reporting. It is an outstanding example of harnessing the innate knowledge and experience of our colleagues and leveraging outwards to the benefit of the profession.