The Association of University Architects was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in June 1955. The organization was conceived by university architects who had for many years served as campus planners and felt a need for an organization, which could foster a professional association with people of similar responsibilities. Following the development of the organization, the first annual conference of the Association of University Architects was held at the University of Michigan, in March 1956. At this time, there were twelve members admitted to membership, and the official Constitution and By-laws of the organization were adopted. Since this meeting the organization has grown from its "original dozen" to a membership representing major universities across the United States and Canada.
The history of this society indicates that, wherever challenges are issued and where people of similar backgrounds and professional training perform their services, there is both a desire and real benefit in being able to communicate and exchange ideas with each other. To this end, the purposes of the Association of University Architects are many. Progress and better communication are the watchwords. In establishing the goals of the organization, three points were uppermost:
- To achieve more effective planning of the total physical environment in the field of higher education.
- To improve the design and construction standards of university buildings, recognizing the growing complexity of contemporary academic projects.
- To develop common bonds and establish standards which will insure clarity of communications and render effective the exchange of information between members.
The experience of the membership of the Association of University Architects indicates that a great advantage can, and has, come from the opportunity of frequent exchange of information and the opportunity of meeting, sharing and discussing common problems.
A means of communication has been established within the organization; whereby, a member engaged in a project of any nature can communicate directly or collectively with the Association membership asking for the opportunity to share their experience to receive advice concerning a particular problem. Information thus gained is generally duplicated and sent to the membership. The Association experience indicates that the membership is not only willing but anxious to share their experience and information with fellow colleagues, whether the question is theoretical, a matter of cost comparison, about technical details, or merely a question or workability. The reservoir of knowledge and experience in the Association nearly always yields valuable responses.