On November 15, members of AIA Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter had the unique opportunity to meet and participate in a dialogue with a distinguished panel of local architects. Bob Breslin, Barry Brobst, Tom Farmer, Larry Greene, John Michael and Bob Spillman gathered to participate in a moderated panel discussion of their lives and practice. For the majority of the group, this was their first gathering in over a decade and the chemistry was apparent from the first. The group congregated at the head table and led a lively discussion throughout dinner before attentively listening to the legislative update presented by AIA Pennsylvania staff.
The annual legislative update presented a concise recounting of the issues facing the profession and provided a nice segue to the panel discussion. Juxtaposed with the sometimes gloomy economic and legislative news, the panel presented an inspiring and entertaining retrospective of their careers. As each gentleman reminisced on topics from the role of the AIA to their most memorable projects, it was clear that the people they met and worked with held primacy in their careers. Clearly, good design is central to the work of each architect and relationships fostered along the way are critical to the realization of their vision. When asked how they maintained a creative spark over their career each architect resoundingly stated that they gained energy and inspiration through mentoring and teaching.
The evening closed with each Architect offering advice to aspiring architects. The panel was in agreement that passion and integrity are essential traits of the architect. One panel member quipped that, “even with the misery; you have to love the misery that goes with it.” Passion carries the architect forward through prosperity and adversity, and integrity allows them to do it with dignity and honor.
In both word and deed, these extraordinary gentlemen are outstanding representatives to the practice of architecture. The camaraderie evident amongst the group is an incredible inspiration to those in attendance and should serve as a model to current and aspiring architects.
AIA Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Expert Panel from left: Tom Farmer, AIA; Barry Brobst, AIA; Larry Greene, AIA; Bob Spillman, FAIA; Bob Breslin, AIA; John Michael, AIA