On Friday, September 30th, Tom and his wife, Adrienne Montare, executive director of AIA SC, presented to a full house at the AIA South Atlantic Region conference on the Columbia Design League, an organization they founded twenty years ago when they moved to Columbia from New York City.  The presentation covered the history of CDL and included video of the organization’s annual fundraiser, Runaway Runway.  The Columbia Design League, an affiliate organization of the Columbia Museum of Art since 2001, sponsors lectures, activities and competitions aimed at promoting design awareness and design excellence in the community.  Below is the session abstract for the AIA SAR conference:

“When Adrienne Montare, AIA, and Tom Savory, AIA, relocated to Columbia, SC, from New York City in 1996, they recognized that, while their new home boasted a vibrant creative scene, there was no natural place for architects to engage the community.  Having been active with the Architectural League of New York, they appreciated the importance of dialogue between architects and the broader public, and sensed that Columbia was on the cusp of growth.  They believed it was a critical time to bring their community together around design issues, and knew that architects were uniquely positioned to provide the necessary leadership.  Reaching out to a variety of community leaders, they created the Columbia Design League, a forum for lectures, events and activism.  Embracing all design disciplines, CDL places architecture in context, making it accessible, encouraging participation from those who might otherwise stay disengaged.  Presenters span the gamut from prosthetic tattoo artists to acclaimed architects, mayors presenting their master plans and skateboard park designers.  Signature events like Play With Your City provide fun, dynamic ways for all to participate in urban design.  The CDL story is a case study for how architects can organize their communities to embrace and demand high-quality growth.”