The Japan Institute of Architects

Message from JIA President

Reliable architect, reliable JIA

The Japan institute of Architects (JIA) was founded in 1987, but its origins date back to 1886. The institute has inherited the aspirations of its predecessors, who since the early Meiji era have laid the foundations of modern Japan and devoted their energies to the development of society. However, the environment surrounding architecture has changed dramatically in recent years, and the image of architects is also changing. The corona pandemic in addition to the SDGs and carbon net zeros has changed our relationships and standards of everyday activity. The level of value society expects from architecture have changed significantly, Architects are required to respond quickly and accurately to these changes, but they are also trained to overcome difficult challenges with a wealth of ideas. It is precisely these time that architects are to be required, trusted, and relied upon.
The Japan Institute of Architects (JIA), is a professional association with objective to realize a better social environment by supporting architects who are trusted by society and who carry out design activities for the public good. Our slogan is “Reliable architect, reliable JIA”.

Reliable architect

The Ohmi merchants’ family motto is ‘sampo yoshi’ (good for the customer, good for oneself and good for the community). This is an ideology states that the secret of sustainable business is not to pursue profits between the customer and oneself, but to act with the public interest in mind. This is in line with the SDGs. Architects are in the same hospitality industry as doctors and lawyers: we are commissioned by a client, enter into a contract, carry out our work, realize the client’s wishes and receive remuneration. Contractually, it is only a bilateral relationship, but in the case of architects, we go beyond the scope of the contract and think about ‘public good’ while carrying out our work. Every architect has their own areas of interest, such as urban development, landscape, aesthetics, creation of local values and culture, conservation and regeneration, the environment for the next generation, decarbonisation, etc., but it can be said that we are always thinking about the ‘public good’ part of our work in the process of realizing our clients’ requirements. Design practice is a compulsory subject for architects in the school education process. Rather than simply formulating design requirements as they are, architects train to come up with socially relevant concepts and explain their solutions clearly, thereby acquiring the ability to relate architecture to society and to make proposals. Architects are imprinted with this ‘public good’ perspective and work with the public interest in mind. We are also constantly striving for self-improvement, accumulating knowledge and experience in our respective fields, and improving our awareness and sensitivity. Architects who do what is good for the world have in fact achieved excellent results in our local communities. Architects who practice “seken-yoshi” (community good) are easy to talk to, offer unexpected ideas and solutions, and are a reliable presence in the community. We are recognized, trusted and proud to be a reliable presence in the local community.

Reliable JIA

As the President, I will lead the JIA Japan Institute of Architects to be a professional association that supports its members in their activities in the community as a reliable architect.

  • 1. Enhance the network archives where members can easily obtain and exchange the information they need in the course of their work.
  • 2. Enhance seminars, lectures and archives to help members in their self-improvement.
  • 3. National conferences and committees act as a forum for sharing awareness of issues among members, exchanging views and interacting with each other. We will continue with these activities.
  • 4. I consider our website and public relations activities aimed at the general public to be important issues. These are to be improved swiftly, focusing on public relations activities. I believe that the JIA should support architects who have made great contributions to their local communities. We should publicize them, increase their visibility, gain their trust and develop their activities. In turn, this visibility will improve the working environment of we architects.

The society is changing dramatically, and expectations of architects are also changing dramatically. I will make every effort to enhance the supports of JIA, a professional association that is attractive and trusted by its member. Our objective is to support architects to adapt sensitively to these dramatic changes, so that they are the reliable architect.

The 13 th President
of the Japan Institute of ArchitectsNaomi Sato