Bill Bates, Marlin Drive West, is the new national vice president of the American Institute of Architects. Bates was elected president of AIA Pittsburgh in 1988, and served two terms as president of AIA Pennsylvania. He helped organize the 1988 Remaking Cities Conference in Pittsburgh, of which Prince Charles served as honorary chair, and a second conference in 2013. Bates, Eat’n Park’s vice president of real estate, designed the African Heritage Classroom at the University of Pittsburgh.
His Royal Highness is committed to the advancement of equity and quality in the built environment and recognized the common challenges confronting rust belt cities in the UK and US. He was astute, curious and very knowledgeable about the issues. Meanwhile, the security around his visit was quite rigorous and his staff preplanned every minute of the visit.
Did you always want to be an architect? Did you build stuff with Lincoln Logs or Legos when you were a kid?
I didn’t decide to pursue architecture until my senior year of high school when an engineering college recruiter from Mt. Lebanon suggested that I consider it. Legos weren’t available in the US then, but I did have something similar called “American Bricks.” I also enjoyed drawing and building model cars and planes.
What’s your favorite building in Pittsburgh? Elsewhere? In Pittsburgh,
I like Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse. Anywhere, I like Wright’s Fallingwater.
When you visit someone’s home or office, do you find yourself thinking “I could have done this better”?
Architects are so attuned to design that it is only natural to visualize different possibilities. Of course I have similar thoughts when I revisit my own projects.