This is part of a series of blog postings of Schmidt Associates architects’ responses to the American Institute of Architects (AIA)-Indianapolis invitation to write letters to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Architects submitted big or small ideas to improve the urban built environment for Indianapolis and were on display at The Hall during June and July of 2014. Follow our blog to see future posts.

Dear Mayor,

In my recent travels to New York City, I was introduced to an idea that has flourished there, but is part of a larger group of similar ideas deployed around the world. The organization is known as openhousenewyork (OHNY). By its mission, it “is a 501(c)3 organization that promotes a greater appreciation of the city’s built environment; broadens public awareness by exposing diverse audiences to distinctive examples of architecture, engineering and design; educates and inspires discussion of issues of excellence in design, planning and preservation; and showcases outstanding new work as well as structures of historic merit.”

OHNY is one of 23 members of a global network of Open House events, with Chicago being the only other one in the United States. These organizations are about opening doors to provide unique access to explore the built environments of their respective cities in a way that is educational and diverse, not only in terms of programs—but of the audience it welcomes to its events.

Open House events inspire and encourage public education and engagement in the discussion of architecture, design, and cultural heritage. With the links below to the OHNY and Open House Worldwide websites, I encourage you to learn more about the organization as you consider the opportunity to bring this type of successful community program to the City of Indianapolis.

Best regards,

Steven K. Alspaugh, AIA, LEED BD+C
2014 Chair, AIA Committee on Design