The spread of COVID-19 has had a massive impact on all aspects of life the world over. One of the biggest annual events within the architecture world has been forced to take action amid the on-going Coronavirus crisis, with the announcement of the 2020 Conference of Architecture being postponed until further notice. The event was due to take place between the 14th and the 16th May in Los Angeles, but with the severe disruption, illness, death, and lockdowns in many countries across the world there is no way that the conference could go ahead at this time.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) made the decision, after president Jane Frederick kept a close eye on the outbreaks of COVID-19 in the US, and after taking advice from experts as to what the best approach would be to contain the spread of the virus and prevent people from becoming ill. An event such as this would be a mass gathering with potential for widespread illness should even one single infected person attend.

Jane Frederick said about the conference:

“AIA has been closely monitoring directives from city, county, and state officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization throughout this crisis.”

The postponement of the conference is aimed at putting the safety of AIA members, colleagues, speakers, and exhibitors at the forefront of the decision. The early announcement of the postponement is likely to have been met with a huge sigh of relief by any person planning to attend or take part in an official capacity.

AIA will now explore all options to reschedule the event and offer refunds to those registrants who request them. Measures across the globe continue to tighten in response to the rapid transmission of the Coronavirus, which first appeared in China in January. Most of Europe is currently in complete lockdown, with worldwide sporting events and other specialist attractions and events cancelled or postponed. Universities and colleges are closed, with online teaching provisions for some students, whilst museums, galleries, restaurants, cafés, and everything we think about in our normal daily lives coming to a grinding halt.

The expo and other architecture events this year were seen as an extremely important process in the fight against global warming. It will be interesting to see how life changes in the future once the spread of the disease has been brought under control, and whether we will all have to live in a different way to how we have previously. Architects play an important role in the planning and on-going sustainability of how we live our lives, how we construct urban centres and deliver vital services and goods through infrastructure. Conferences such as the cancelled 2020 Architecture Conference in Los Angeles are where the brightest minds come together to discuss, explore, and look at ways in which everything can be done better. In the current climate however, there is no way that event of this size and magnitude can go ahead in any meaningful way.