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Virtual trade shows, conferences and online education are a new reality for old-time traditionalists in the traditional building practice. Most of us prefer the engagement and intimacy of in-person events but I haven’t been to one in over a year. Like the school kids attending virtual classes, our on-screen attention spans are getting short. Screen fatigue is a new occupational hazard.

Notwithstanding, last year’s Traditional Building Conference Series virtual edition attracted over 3,000 attendees who watched video seminars, downloaded technical data and followed along with Materials and Methods installation demonstrations. In collaboration with the American Institute of Architects, The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and members of the Association of Preservation Technology International, Traditional Building Conference attendee/registrants earned over 45 Continuing Education Units throughout the year.

The education offered a diverse mix of topics: biophilic design; the restoration of Eero Saarinen’s Birdcage in Milwaukee; the restoration of the Colosseum in Rome; masonry pointing and mortar replication; historic window restoration; clay tile color matching; the neuroscience of architecture; ethno-preservation; storm window energy ratings and installation and period- kitchen design.

The Eero Saarinen-designed Bird Cage staircase was restored using Pilkington Spacia™ vacuum insulated glazing. (Courtesy Pilkington)

The Eero Saarinen-designed Bird Cage staircase was restored using Pilkington Spacia™ vacuum insulated glazing. (Courtesy Pilkington)

None of us are sure when we’ll be able to convene safely again in interesting venues. Last year, April events were postponed until June, June events postponed until October. This turned out to be wishful thinking. By fall 2020, everything in person was canceled. We never imagined being socially distanced for this long.

So, we make the best of it, by upping our game to deliver a quality Traditional Building Materials and Methods curriculum, with great presenters, on a reliable, interactive virtual event platform. This is our new reality……

Until December 2021, when the Traditional Building Conference plans an in-person event in historic Coral Gables Florida. There, we’ll take architectural walking tours of Vizcaya, the Fairchild Botanical Gardens and the well-planned city of Coral Gables. The weather will be warm, your AIA CEUs will be due, we’ll stay outside as much as possible and once again celebrate the camaraderie among our traditional building brethren.

Vizcaya: north Villa facade from the garden. (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike)

Vizcaya: north Villa facade from the garden. (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike)

In the meantime, we’ll launch an all-new Traditional Building Virtual Conference in May 2021. Over the course of five days, 2-3 hours per day, we’ll offer education worth 11.75 AIA CEUs. Watch for information on the speakers and topics, coming soon.

Last fall’s Traditional Building Virtual Conference is available on demand. Participants who registered for the live event in November still have full access to the education and can earn extra CEUs. New registrants can log-in to learn and earn 11.75 AIA Health/Safety/Welfare units. Architects must pass an exam to earn credit for the on-demand seminars.

Traditional Building Virtual Conference sponsors underwrite this education throughout the year and play an important role in the Materials and Methods curriculum. These dedicated suppliers provide solutions via the TBVC on-demand experience with virtual displays, videos and interaction: Marvin; Ludowici; Allied; Pilkington; Crown Point Cabinetry and Historical Arts and Casting.

Go to to register for the Traditional Building Virtual Conference on-demand or email Carolyn Walsh For education and CEU information contact Judy Hayward

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