Robert E. Gramann, FAIA, Chairman Emeritus, GBBN Architects

Looking back at your time leading AIA Cincinnati, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

Well, 1977 is a long time ago, but many of the challenges of chapter recruitment and retention remain the same today. Recruit and retain the young and the old (mature). We had a group we called the young guns! Many are practicing today. Our vision was based on a new strategic plan focused on excitement, chapter growth, programs, leadership development, and getting everyone involved! It worked!

We began planning for the national AIA Convention Cincinnati 1980 and began the development of the AIA Foundation.

In your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the field of architecture?

“TECHNOLOGY HAS ANNIHILATED TRADITIONS.” Designing, drawing, writing, building, communicating, and many more have positively changed our personal and professional lives.

Looking ahead, what is the biggest challenge facing architects working today?

We must differentiate ourselves and our role in the design and construction process in the eyes of our clients. Design is the GLUE holding us together, we must lead creatively and innovate. This is the tip of the iceberg – don’t be afraid, embrace change, be the change leader.

How has AIA membership benefited you?

Thanks to very supportive leadership at GBBN Architects, I was encouraged to get involved. I became an AIA JUNKIE which made me a better professional and leader. That was very beneficial to our firm and my other community activities. My AIA involvement as a leader at local, state, and national was invaluable. It enabled me to travel with my family, partners, and friends. Those relationships over time have led to wonderful friendships, contacts, and commissions.

What advice would you give to a recent architecture graduate?

  • Ask yourself: What do you want to be recognized for? What is your individual strategic plan? The long view. How am I going to improve myself this year?
  • Verbal communication is a skill you must develop. Stay Flexible and Adaptable.
  • Be a “work-a-like-it not a workaholic.” Do GREAT work, have FUN!
  • Focus on relationships, projects will follow.
  • You are what you think you are!
  • Keep your priorities straight, GOD, FAMILY, then WORK.
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