• 2017 Design Matters Conference
    Sep 14, 2017 to Sep 16, 2017
    Association of Architecture Organizations

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter addresses the audience during a public symposium at AAO's Design in Action conference, 2011, Philadelphia. Photo: Mark Garvin

The Design Matters Conference, presented by the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO), is the largest annual gathering of educators and not-for-profit professionals dedicated to engaging the public on issues of architecture and design. The 2017 meeting takes place in Chicago, Illinois, where it will attract an international audience for its 300 participants, timed to coincide with the opening weekend of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Through keynote lectures, breakout sessions, and mobile tours in the community, attendees will investigate how communities are strengthened through design. In addition to big-picture thinking, technical and organizational development skills are addressed in several operations areas, such as architectural tours, exhibitions, lectures, and public programming.

John Comazzi is director of the undergraduate degree program in architecture at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. He received his BS in architecture from the University of Virginia and his MArch and MS in architectural history and theory from the University of Michigan. Before joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2006, Comazzi taught at the University of Michigan. He has practiced architecture at planning firms in the Washington, DC, area and the state of Michigan, and was a founding partner of Design-CRED in Minnesota, established in 2006. His areas of research and scholarship focus on architectural photography, design theory and criticism, design-build, and active learning environments for PK–12 education. He is the author of the first monograph on the life and career of Balthazar Korab, one of the most prolific and celebrated architecture photographers of the modern era, Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012).

Peter Murray is a British writer who has made a career in architectural communications and surface design. He trained as an architect and was editor of Building Design and RIBA Journal before launching Blueprint Magazine in 1983. He has curated a number of major architectural exhibitions and is chairman of the communications consultancy, Wordsearch. Murray is the founder of both New London Architecture and the London Festival of Architecture, and is the author of several books, including The Saga of Sydney Opera House and A Passion to Build. He is also a visiting professor at IE University in Madrid and honorable secretary of the Bedford Park Society.

Lynn Osmond is the president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Under her leadership, CAF has developed into a premier Chicago cultural institution, offering a comprehensive program of tours, exhibitions, lectures, special events, and adult and youth education programs, serving an annual audience of 640,000 visitors. Osmond is a past recipient of the Chicago Women of Achievement Award from the Chicago Alliance for Women, and, in 2005, she became an Honorary Member of The American Institute of Architects. Her present volunteer commitments include an appointment from the Chicago Mayor's Office to chair the Toronto Sister Cities Committee.

Dora Epstein Jones, executive director, came to the A+D Museum after serving several years as coordinator of general studies at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. A prolific author, curator, and editor, Epstein Jones holds a PhD in architectural history, theory, and criticism, as well as an MA in urban planning, both from the University of California, Los Angeles. A fellow of the Council of Learned Societies and an advisory board member for the Getty Research Institute’s Architecture Archive, Esptein Jones brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to AAO's community of architectural organizations.

The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) is a member-based network that connects the many organizations around the world dedicated to enhancing public dialogue about architecture and design. Founded in 2009, AAO promotes innovation and best practices by facilitating knowledge sharing among its members, partner organizations, and interested individuals. AAO organizes conferences and workshops, provides professional development opportunities, supports the creation of new architectural organizations, and serves as a communication network for our members.