The recent goings-on at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have had the feel of a sporting match, with past presidents lobbing complaints of alleged financial mismanagement, impropriety with the most recent College of Fellows vote, declining staff morale, and nepotism under the leadership of executive vice president and CEO Lakisha Ann Woods. The AIA board of directors shot back with a letter of support for her, which read, in part, “Ms. Woods has demonstrated unwavering dedication and commitment to advancing the mission and values of AIA, and we fully support her leadership.”

The statement was released on June 11, just after the 2024 AIA Conference in Washington, D.C., wrapped. News of the controversy was on everyone’s lips at the annual event, during which The Architect’s Newspaper first reported the news, followed by a scathing Bloomberg article detailing the allegations, as well as those in a wrongful-termination and defamation lawsuit by former AIA chief counsel Terrence Ona. There is much to investigate.

As summer arrives, and several major tournaments, including the Olympic Games in Paris, begin, we at RECORD make way for less serious matters—actual sports. Per usual, I will be fiercely rooting for the Azzurri in the 2024 European Cup, which kicks off as I write this. Let’s just hope that the notoriously inconsistent Italian team—from one soccer tournament to the next, it can go from winning it all to not even qualifying—advances past the group stage by the time this issue comes out!

Of course, the thrill of sports goes beyond patriotism or local pride in a team. It’s also big business. And the designs for the stadiums and ballparks that house these competitive activities need to accommodate much more than just a soccer pitch, tennis court, football field, or baseball diamond. In RECORD’s most recent Top 300 ranking of architectural firms by revenue, Populous, the Kansas City–headquartered firm that emerged from the sports division of HOK to become a giant in designing events venues, this year broke through the top 10, moving up the list from the 17th to the ninth spot (surpassing HOK), with $390 million in reported revenue—a whopping 74 percent increase from last year, at a time when many firms’ billings are soft.

Soccer powerhouse Real Madrid is betting big on architecture—a reported $1.27 billion on a stadium transformation that is featured on our cover. But when it comes to the Spanish national team at Euro Cup—I’ll be betting against them.

As for the jostling at the AIA, it is not a mere game. The tumult there had been simmering for months and is unlikely to end with a single statement. Whatever may potentially be served up next should be handled with urgency and transparency.