The American Institute of Architects is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession and improve its public image, including through public tours, such as the AIA Los Angeles chapter's Home Tour featuring residences designed by David Randall Hertz in Venice, California and others. The AIA also works with other members of the design and construction team to help coordinate the building industry.The AIA is currently headed by Robert Ivy, FAIA as EVP/Chief Executive Officer and Thomas V. Vonier, FAIA as AIA President.HistoryThe American Institute of Architects was founded in New York City in 1857 by a group of 13 architects to "promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members" and "elevate the standing of the profession." This initial group included Charles Babcock, Henry W. Cleaveland, Henry Dudley, Leopold Eidlitz, Edward Gardiner, Richard Morris Hunt, Fred A. Petersen, Jacob Wrey Mould, John Welch, Richard M. Upjohn and Joseph C. Wells, with Richard Upjohn serving as the first president. They met on February 23, 1857 and decided to invite 16 other prominent architects to join them, including Alexander Jackson Davis, Thomas U. Walter, and Calvert Vaux. Prior to their establishment of the AIA, anyone could claim to be an architect, as there were no schools of architecture or architectural licensing laws in the United States.