Posts tagged with "Diversity Issues":

Placeholder Alt Text

Is Torkwase Dyson's abstract recount of racial violence a missed opportunity?

Torkwase Dyson’s 1919: Black Water, on display at Columbia GSAPP’s Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery through December 14th, is an inscrutable meditation on an incident of racial violence that took place in Chicago on a hot summer’s day in July 1919: the killing of a black 17-year-old named Eugene Williams on a Lake Michigan beachfront by a white man throwing rocks. Represented in the form of abstract paintings, geometric sculptures, and ink drawings, Williams’ story becomes a framing narrative for Dyson’s installations, which combine expressionist, minimalist, process art, and postminimalist elements in the manner of Mark Rothko, Dan Graham, Theaster Gates, or Nari Ward. Dyson describes her projects as “spatial systems that build upon the architectural typologies that people have used to liberate themselves.” But this is not social practice art or urban interventionism. There’s no evident intention to interact with or build a community, educate a group, or communicate a didactic message. As the accompanying exhibition pamphlet discusses in an engaging conversation with architectural historian Mabel O. Wilson, the works are at least partly meant to function as abstract ciphers for the re-imagination of architectural space through black experience. Deciphering that code for practical uses might require an advanced Ivy League degree. Dyson tends to fixate on sites of trauma in black history, seeking the potential for liberation within spaces that otherwise appear to lack all potential for agency: Henry “Box” Brown, who freed himself from enslavement by having himself mailed in a crate to the north, or Samuel Osborne, a janitor at Colby College who earned the school’s dedication by exemplifying an upright moral code. In the case of 1919: Black Water, the redemption emerges from an experience of pleasure-seeking and invention turned tragic: the fabrication of a boat to create a group space of joy, interrupted by racial violence. The story behind the show is compelling. In the summer of 1919, Eugene Williams and his friends had constructed a makeshift raft to carry them to a small island on the shores of Lake Michigan near 25th Street, in between the two unofficially segregated sides of the waterfront. There they were free to swim and play away from the crowds. It was a summer of heightened racial tension: The black population had more than doubled in Chicago during the preceding decade—the beginning of the Great Migration of six million African-Americans from the south. Competition for jobs had intensified at the nearby stockyards at the end of World War I and white supremacists had been increasingly fomenting hatred. The teens had apparently got caught in the middle, accidentally crossing an invisible boundary between the informally segregated areas. A group of white men began throwing rocks at them; as Williams ducked in the water and resurfaced, he was hit in the head, going under and drowning. The police neglected to arrest the rock-thrower, instead arresting a black man following a complaint by a white person. An explosion of violence ensued. In the following week, police killed seven black men; mobs and individual gunmen murdered 16 blacks and 15 whites; more than 500 others suffered from injuries; mobs burned more than 1,000 black families out of their homes. A mass of black string congealed with black acrylic hangs on a wooden bar against a blue background with a geometric abstraction above (Pilot), possibly invoking a blue sky mingling with its reflection in the water, a raft floating on top, a black body bleeding from the head, and maybe, sinking below. Thick black acrylic paint and graphite on canvases suggest a line of polluted water (Just Above and Just Below; Place, Raft, and Drift), and slices of brass bisecting canvases evoke segregated division of space, the surface of the water, and the horizon (Plantationocene; Being-Seeing-Drifting). A few geometric figures appear on canvases that resemble towers or antennae (Hot Cold; Extraction Abstracting). On the gallery floor, shiny black plexiglass tetrahedrons with voids on some sides (Black Shoreline) reference the reflection of the water, which gain energy from the presence of gallery visitors. The absence of figurative representations of Williams, the raft, or the crowds after the drowning—though historical images do appear in the catalog—recalls the protest a few years ago of Dana Schutz’s Open Casket at the Whitney Biennial. Schutz had portrayed the open casket of Emmett Till, a young black teen lynched in an incident of racial terror. His mother insisted on an open casket so everyone could see what was done to her son, producing a shocking image of brutality that spurred the civil rights movement. Did it do violence to his memory to represent his broken body? Was Schutz making common cause or exploiting Till’s suffering? In this case, the inverse question might apply: why isn’t Williams represented more powerfully rather than rendered in abstraction? Is it a missed opportunity not to deploy figurative tools to animate Williams’ story, bring it to light, propel it into the present, deploy it to inform policies, use it for more than personal expression? Or is the freedom to be a black expressionist a worthy end in itself, our desire to see his body exploitative, and art that exhorts politically tedious and doomed to failure anyway? “These systems also consider infrastructure and the environment to create a visual amalgamation that recognizes the ways that black people move through, inhabit, cleave and form space,” Dyson is cited as saying the catalog, describing her nomenclature of representation as “black compositional thought.” Often Dyson uses dancers accompanying installations to animate them with exuberant gestures, and the presence of performers might make this rhetoric seem less overblown. If these works constitute a kind of expressive freedom grounded in black narrative and experience, they operate within the exclusive prison-house of the institutional contemporary art and academic architecture world, its markets, nonprofits, grants, and formalist language games. It’s a project worthy of poststructural critique to seek liberation even within the most repressive situations. As with the collapse of the New Museum’s Ideas City program in the Bronx, it can be challenging to reconcile the sustained intellectual discourse with the urgent, viscerally felt problems of the world: lack of control over space and governance, being unable to afford a place to live or to find adequately paid work, and abstract financial forces determining the fate of your community.
Placeholder Alt Text

Construction industry launches campaign to diversify national workforce

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), a group that represents thousands of construction workers and contracting firms nationwide, is launching a campaign to diversify its predominantly white and male workforce. Stephen Sandherr, the CEO of the AGC, announced his plans to introduce professional construction training to high school students in an attempt to attract more minorities and women to the trade in order to better reflect America’s evolving and increasingly diverse workforce, according to The New York Daily News. According to the AGC, very few minorities and women enter the construction industry due to their lack of familiarity with it, therefore the business is overwhelmingly white and male. By familiarizing high schoolers and college students with vocational training, some of which will be paid for by the AGC itself, the association hopes to boost the diversity of the industry. The group also hopes to attract more skilled workers in general to the stagnant industry, where nearly 80 percent of employers claim to lack experienced or qualified contractors, according to a recent AGC survey. But critics say that this new initiative could prevent poor and minority students from attending college or learning the professional skills necessary to build a business in the trade. While the AGC has launched previous initiatives aimed toward bringing minorities and women into the construction workforce, few have made a substantial impact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women composed about 9 percent of the 2017 U.S. construction workforce, with the number of Asians at 2 percent, African Americans at 6 percent, and Hispanics at almost 30 percent.

The University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning presents Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium: "Institutionalizing Equity: Radically Restructuring Opportunity in Detroit"

“And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Planning Meeting for the Poor People’s Conference Boldly responding to Dr. King’s call for systemic change, a network of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in Detroit is seeking to radically restructure pathways to opportunity in the city’s neighborhoods. Through a first-of-its-kind initiative, a collective of the Kresge Foundation, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, and the University of Michigan will establish a “Cradle-to-Career” campus at Marygrove College on Detroit's Northwest Side. The campus will integrate pre-kindergarten through graduate level programs in an effort to establish a pedagogy of rigor, equity, and social justice at the intersection of public education and neighborhood revitalization in Detroit. As Detroit’s resurgence pushes beyond the boundaries of greater Downtown, a daunting question remains: what about the schools? In conjunction with concentrated public and private investments in the city’s Fitzgerald neighborhood, the Cradle-to-Career initiative signifies the importance of comprehensive community development that acknowledges the place-based nature of residential segregation and systemic disinvestment. With the Kresge Foundation’s $50 million commitment—the largest investment in any single neighborhood in the nation— this partnership seeks to transform access to upward mobility, emphasizing the importance of beginning with Detroit’s youth in an effort to institutionalize equity from the ground up. Opening Remarks: Jonathan Massey, Dean of Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning Michelle Bolofer, Executive Director at Century Forward Michelle Bolofer is a native Detroiter and former educator who grew up just north of the city's Fitzgerald neighborhood. She began her career in education, teaching high school on the south side of Chicago and then returning to the Metro Detroit area as a learning specialist and diversity and inclusion advocate. Prior to starting at Century Forward, Michelle worked as a consultant for a financial and business advisory firm. At Century Forward, Michelle is dedicated to working with a wide range of stakeholders to strengthen the existing environmental, economic and social infrastructure in the community. Michelle holds bachelor's degrees in English and Psychology from the University of Michigan and a a master’s degree in mathematics from Wayne State University. Ja’Net Defell, Lead Developer at IFF Ms. Defell is Lead Developer for IFF’s Michigan office. Reporting directly to the President of IFF’s Social Impact Accelerator group, Ms. Defell is responsible for managing all major IFF-driven real estate development initiatives in the Michigan market. Prior to her current role, Ms. Defell launched IFF’s real estate services group in Michigan and was a Senior Project Manager in IFF’s Chicago office. As Director of Real Estate Services, she managed a team of real estate professionals providing comprehensive consulting and development services to nonprofits in the Detroit metro area. Ms. Defell also managed several foundation-funded initiatives related to quality early childhood education (ECE) facilities and schools in Detroit. Specifically, Ms. Defell actively engaged in the development of the city-wide ECE initiative Hope Starts Here, a 10-year framework to reshape the ECE landscape in Detroit. Ms. Defell holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of Michigan.  She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and LEED Green Associate. Elizabeth Moje, Dean, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education, and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture, University of Michigan School of Education Elizabeth Birr Moje is dean, George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education, and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture in the School of Education. Moje teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in secondary and adolescent literacy, cultural theory, and research methods and was awarded the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize with colleague, Bob Bain, in 2010. A former high school history and biology teacher, Moje’s research examines young people’s navigations of culture, identity, and literacy learning in and out of school in Detroit, Michigan. Moje has published 5 books and numerous articles, and her research projects have been or are currently funded by the National Institutes of Health/NICHD, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, National Science Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, International Reading Association, and the National Academy of Education. Together with several partners, including the Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Kresge Foundation, Moje just announced the School of Education’s participation in the development of a cradle-to-career education system in the Live6 neighborhood of Detroit, on the Marygrove College campus. Denise Powell, Assistant Professor, Marygrove College Dr. Powell is the Assistant Professor of  Early Childhood Education at Marygrove College, and has over 40 years of experience in public education. She has taught several courses, including "Professional Partnerships in Early Childhood Education - Child, Family, School, and Community" and "Designing and Managing Effective Learning Environments" that address the impact of community context on children's early learning and lifetime success. Dr. Powell holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Michigan State University, a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Marygrove College, and a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from Oakland University. She also holds State of Michigan endorsements in the areas of Learning Disabilities and Early Childhood Special Education. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences. Moderator: Harley Etienne, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Taubman College and author of Pushing Back the Gates: Neighborhood Perspectives on University-Driven Revitalization in West Philadelphia.  Sponsored by the U-M Office of Academic and Multicultural Initiatives
Placeholder Alt Text

AIA|LA publishes equity, diversity, and inclusivity best practices guide

The American Institute of Architects' Los Angeles chapter (AIA|LA) has published an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) best practices guide that aims to provide a roadmap for how firms of all sizes can begin to transform themselves into more socially just organizations.  The guide is published as a PDF here and can also be acquired in hardcopy from AIA|LA staff.  The double-sided, tri-fold pamphlet is printed on cardstock to be a handy, easy-to-reference guide durable enough to be kept at one’s desk for long-term use, according to AIA|LA executive director Carlo Caccavale, the major force behind the guide. In terms of its content, the guide is focused on inspiring small but meaningful organizational tweaks that might help usher in an EDI-focused firm culture. To create this resource, Caccavale and AIA|LA executive assistant Kirstin Jensvold-Rumage scoured existing EDI guides published by universities, architecture firms, and other entities in search of a digestible list of incremental policy changes and cultural shifts any architecture firm could undertake.  “The whole idea,” Caccavale explained over telephone, “is to make it easy to read.” The guide is divided up into six categories and includes a section that covers how to mitigate unintentional and implicit bias in hiring, for example. The backside of the guide is split up based on approaches that can be taken by firms of various sizes.  Some of the measures that can be taken by larger firms include:
  • Making an internal commitment to launch a specific role or representative in the firm to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Encouraging 50/50 gender equity by 2020 by promoting gender equity in staff makeup, hiring practices, and project selection.
  • Building and embracing alternate workplace models that foster inclusivity like authoring internal anti-discrimination policies and offering flexible hours and telecommuting to reduce employee turnover.
Some suggestions for smaller firms include:
  • Sponsoring and participating in programs organized by ethnic or cultural minority groups in the field.
  • Participating in EDI trainings hosted by AIA|LA and other approved agencies.
  • Ensuring there is diversity and community representation in architectural renderings, imagery, and presentations.
Through the guide, which was instigated, supported, and approved by the AIA|LA board of directors, AIA|LA also emphasizes its own commitment to “walk the walk” by instilling EDI best practices across its own organization. Specifically, AIA|LA has pledged to increase the representation of ethnic and cultural minorities and women in leadership roles in the organization by 1%—7 people—by 2020. By 2030, the organization hopes to increase the number of minority and female AIA|LA members by another 20 individuals, as well. On top of all this, the organization also hopes to have its general membership better reflect the diversity of the City and County of Los Angeles by 2030. With the guide, AIA|LA is also looking to push how it recognizes and supports cultural diversity and gender parity by folding these objectives into its own advocacy efforts and awards programs.  A few of the planned changes include:
  • Advertising the opening of pre-qualification lists for government contracts to small firms (government contracts are often structured to benefit minority- and women-led organizations).
  • Infusing the organization’s Presidential Awards policy with EDI values as guidelines for the selection process.
  • Organizing college tours of Historic Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to allow firm leaders and hiring teams to see student talent and understand the legitimacy of HBCU architecture programs.
In a press release announcing the guide, AIA|LA President Tania Van Herle said, “The actualization of equity, inclusiveness, and diversity is fundamental to human dignity, leading to opportunity, fully realized careers, and thriving practices.” Van Herle added, “EDI also looks outward—it directly influences our capabilities to serve communities.” Caccavale explained that more changes are in the works from AIA|LA as well, including a possible new merit award that would highlight minority and female talent along the lines of the AIA’s existing Whitney M. Young, Jr. award, which is presented to firms and individuals that engage in socially-meaningful architectural work.  The unveiling of the EDI guide comes as the chapter has steadily increased its efforts to promote cultural, racial, and gender diversity among the ranks of architects and also precedes a set of new rules added to the national AIA organization’s Code of Ethics that relate to issues of sexual harassment, professionalism, and environmental concerns. The Los Angeles chapter launched a Women in Architecture Committee in 2016 to “promote positive change for women in the field of architecture” and has held its EDI-focused Encompass conference since 2017 to help “actualize diversity and inclusiveness to advance the profession.” On September 20, AIA|LA will host the fifth iteration of its POWERFUL event, a symposium to empower women in architecture. The event has grown steadily over the years from a small gathering to a full-on conference packed with panel discussions, keynote speakers, and break-out sessions.  The conference will showcase nearly a dozen speakers, two panel discussions, and 24 lunchtime discussion sessions. Speakers and panelists for the conference include:
  • Pooja Bhagat, principal, Poojabhagat Architects + Planners
  • Raven Hardison, lead designer, Parsons
  • Kerenza Harris, director of design technology, Morphosis Architects
  • Rachel Jordan, architect, CO Architects
  • Elizabeth Mahlow, founding partner, Nous Engineering
  • Elaine Molinar, partner and managing director, Snøhetta
  • Lisa Pauli, design director, R&A Architecture + Design
  • Anne Schopf, design partner, Mahlum Architects
  • Maria Smith, executive creative director, M&C Saatchi
  • Elizabeth Timme, co-founder, LA-Más
  • Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, dean, Woodbury School of Architecture
  • Deborah Weintraub, chief deputy city engineer, City of Los Angeles
Laura Friedman, assistant speaker pro tempore of the California State Assembly and Assembly Member, District 43/Glendale will be the conference’s keynote speaker.  For more information on EDI goals, POWERFUL, and AIA|LA’s other diversity and inclusion initiatives, see the AIA|LA website. 
Placeholder Alt Text

D.C. exhibit chronicles the history of diversity in American architecture

Fifty years ago, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. stood before a crowd of mostly white and male architects as he delivered a historic speech that called out racism and other issues of diversity in the architecture and design industries. Today, the profession has arguably improved thanks to his words and subsequent leaders. A new exhibition, 50 Years After Whitney Young Jr., at the Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C., surveys the legacy of the National Urban League, which Young led for a decade, and his impact on the AIA. Following Young’s exhortation, AIA officials undertook several actions, including launching a task force to support equal opportunities for minority groups, and developing architecture programs to improve living conditions in urban neighborhoods. In 1970, the Diversity Advancement Scholarship was created thanks to a Ford Foundation grant to recognize talented and emerging minority designers. Shortly following Young’s death in 1971, the AIA founded the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award which recognizes architects and organizations who contribute in areas of affordable housing, inclusiveness, or universal access. The Octagon Museum exhibition highlights past recipients of the award, from the inaugural recipient Robert J. Nash, FAIA, who became the first African American architect elected to national AIA office, to the latest recipient, Tamara Eagle Bull, FAIA, who was the first Native American woman to become a licensed US architect. “My dad had wanted to be an architect since he was in high school... His father, a tribal leader, once said, ‘One day, our tribe will be in a position to rebuild and change our situation, and we are going to need architects and lawyers to do it,’” Eagle Bull explained in a 2017 AIA interview. “But when my father went to his non-Native counselor at school, the counselor said, ‘The best you can hope for is to be a teacher.’ So he became a teacher, and had a wonderful career, but he always regretted not becoming an architect.” At her firm, Encompass Architects in Lincoln, Nebraska, Eagle Bull is committed to creating culturally relevant and responsible design for Native American communities. The exhibition also showcases key figures in the fight for diversity within architecture. Alongside Young and Eagle Bull, the list includes Paul R. Williams, FAIA, who was the first black architect in the AIA College of Fellows and defined Southern California Style. Julia Morgan, FAIA, posthumously became the first woman to receive the AIA Gold Medal and used her combined talents within technology and design to further the field. Also included in the exhibit is an introduction to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), which aims at leveling the professional playing field, as well as a profile of Norma Merrick Sklarek, FAIA, who was the first African American woman elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 1980 and received the Whitney Young Award in 2008. 50 Years After Whitney Young Jr. also features a comprehensive timeline starting in 1857 when the AIA was founded in New York City. It follows the AIA's history up to the present era when Pittsburgh architect William J. Bates, FAIA, became the second elected African American AIA president, succeeding Marshall Purnell, FAIA, in 2007. Other highlighted key leaders include Robert R. Taylor, the first academically-trained African American architect, Denise Scott Brown, Hon. FAIA, the first woman to receive the AIA Topaz Medallion, and Gordon Chong, FAIA, the first elected Asian American AIA president. Marci B. Reed, the executive director of the Architects Foundation, noted that both the Diversity Advancement Scholarship Program and the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award help underrepresented minority students to pursue architectural studies and recognize architects and organizations that champion causes of equity and social justice. Reed hopes that the exhibition will “demonstrate the progress we have made since 1968, and how seriously the AIA and the Architects Foundation take Young’s charge today.” 50 Years After Whitney Young Jr. is now on view through November 24 at the Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C. It was organized by the Architects Foundation, a philanthropic partner of the AIA.   50 Years After Whitney Young Jr. On view through November 24, 2018 The Octagon Museum 1799 New York Ave NW Washington, DC 20006 Thursday–Saturday, 1–4pm
Placeholder Alt Text

New NCARB report reveals diversity issues on the path to licensure

The architecture industry has faced difficulties recently with the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion with the rise of the #MeToo movement and harassment allegations, including those against Richard Meier. It seems only timely that the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) released their latest report on diversity in architecture, revealing that attrition along the path to licensure remains significantly higher for non-white individuals. The 2018 NCARB by the Numbers study reported that diversity among licensure candidates and new architects continues to improve over the years, even though the industry traditionally skews white and male. But the data also revealed that improvement in diversity happens mainly in the early career stages. Of non-white candidates who started their NCARB Record in 2008, only 33 percent had completed the requirements for licensure by 2017—15 percent less than their white counterparts. In general, non-white candidates are also 25 percent more likely to not get their license than their white peers, according to the report. The report also noted that while women still remain underrepresented in the industry, gender equity is gradually on the rise. The percentage of all Certificate holders who are women rose to 20 percent, a positive trend that is on its third successive year. Although the report data suggests a shift towards gender and racial equality, progress is slow, and for many in the industry, there still needs a lot more to be done. In light of the #MeToo movement, which has given women a platform to speak up against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, equity has become an increasingly vital subject of discussion. As the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 kicks off, industry professionals are taking the opportunity to raise awareness about these issues. Planned events include a flash mob, workshops on #MeToo, and a resolution requiring ethical and equitable workplaces. The full 2018 NCARB by the Numbers will be released in July.
Placeholder Alt Text

AIA announces 2018 Diversity Recognition Program honorees

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2018 honorees of its Diversity Recognition Program, now in its 10th year. The program seeks to recognize those who have substantially committed to increasing diversity in the field of architecture, as well as those who have challenged the traditional ways of doing things. This year’s honorees are the Maryland-based Architecture, Construction, Engineering Mentor Program (ACE), and the organization, Iowa Women in Architecture (iaWia). The ACE Mentor Program, founded in 1994 in Rockville, Maryland, is a workforce development program created by AEC industry members as a way of getting high school students interested in a career in design or construction. The program supplies students with scholarships, mentorship opportunities, and support as they pursue an education in an AEC field. To date, over 1,000 schools and 9,000 students participate in the program annually, and ACE has awarded over $15 million in grants and scholarships since its founding. Iowa Women in Architecture was co-founded by four women in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2011 as a nonprofit that would support women in architecture and serve as a resource for every stage of the profession. The group’s mission is to increase the visibility of women in design, advocate for women in design fields, and to help advance women to leadership positions. This year’s AIA jurors included:
  • Steven Spurlock, FAIA,
  • Linsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, and
  • Jonathan Penndorf, FAIA
Both honorees will be recognized at the 2018 AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City this June. Past honorees have included AIA San Francisco – Equity by Design (2017) and The Alberti Program: Architecture for Young People (2016).
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are some scholarships and resources for women in architecture

It's no secret that architecture has a diversity problem. Though roughly half of architecture grads are women, women make up only 14 percent of those employed in the architecture and engineering occupations, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (and those in the field still average salaries that are 20 percent less than their male counterparts). While some things are changing as the industry opens its eyes to the wide variety of professionals in the design industries, it's undeniable that still more needs to be done. In celebration of International Women's Day, we've rounded up a list of resources to help support and connect women in architecture, design, and related fields. Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation Founded in 2002 by famed architect Beverly Willis, this organization seeks to increase awareness of women architects throughout history with projects like the Pioneering Women of American Architecture website, while also fostering the next generation of industry voices through initiatives like the Emerging Leaders Program and the Built By Women event series. National Organization of Minority Architects NOMA works to promote diversity in all aspects of the design professions, through community engagement and professional development, with the goal of minimizing the effects of racism in the field. Check with local chapters for opportunities geared toward women minorities in the design professions, including networking meet-ups and lecture series. ArchiteXX This independent, unaffiliated organization for women in architecture, composed of academics and practitioners, seeks to transform the architecture profession by "bridging the academy and practice." Every month, ArchiteXX sends out a list of resources and opportunities specifically of interest to women in academia and practice. Those interested can sign up through their website. Architects Foundation The Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship, which was named in honor late founder of the firm Payette and founder of the AIA's Women's Leadership Summit, is an annual $10,000 award for a woman entering their third year of undergraduate study or beyond. In addition, each recipient is paired with a senior-level mentor from Payette, to help her grow her professional network. AIA While many local AIA chapters offer their own resources for women, the nationwide, Women's Leadership Summit has grown from a grassroots movement to a national phenomenon as the biannual program prepares to celebrate its 10-year anniversary with the 2019 edition. American Planning Association Foundation The American Planning Association Foundation's Judith McManus Price Scholarship offers awards to women, African American, Hispanic, and Native American students currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program approved by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB), with plans to work in the public sector and demonstrated financial need. Scholarships range from $2,000 and $5,000, and application forms will be available in early April for 2018 applications. Association for Women in Architecture + Design AWA+D is a group dedicated to promoting the education and careers of women in the fields of architecture and design. They offer a variety of resources, including foundation offering a fellowship program that grants a women with 10-plus years design experience in Southern California the funding to produce a significant work of publishing or research. National Organization of Women in Construction Each year, the professional organization awards some $25,000 in scholarships (ranging from $500 to $2,500) for undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA in construction-related fields. Houzz Scholarship Program The online design community offers twice-yearly student awards, including the Women in Architecture Scholarship. The $2,500 prize is open to female students studying architecture or architectural engineering with the goal of working in the residential sphere. American Association of University Women With roots dating back to 1881, the AAUW offers a variety of programs promoting education and equity for women and girls. The Selected Professions Fellowships offers grants for those pursuing fields where women's participation has historically been low, including architecture and engineering. What are your favorite resources for women in architecture? Spread the word in the comments. And there's still time to have your voice heard in the AIA 2018 Equity in Design Survey. The online survey closes March 16.
Placeholder Alt Text

UT Austin hires experts on border communities and environmental justice

The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSoA) has announced two new teaching hires as part of the school's ongoing Race and Gender in the Built Environment Initiative. Edna Ledesma has joined as a teaching fellow for the next academic year and Miriam Solis will begin a tenure-track position in the Fall of 2018. This announcement comes on the heels of the university naming Michelle Addington as dean of the school earlier this year, though the initiative pre-dates her tenure at the school. UTSoA is a leader among architecture schools when it comes to diversity, having originated several internal commissions and programs as far back as 2008 to address the growing calls for equitable representation in academia. The school in recent years has announced new academic tracks in Latin American Architecture and expanded the offerings of its Community and Regional Planning program, one of the most robust programs of its kind. In many cases, it is not simply a matter of who the school is hiring, but also what research those scholars bring into the fold and how they contribute to a heterogenous learning environment. Ledesma, who holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Science from Texas A&M University and has two previous graduate degrees in design, focuses on issues related to border communities and the cultural landscape of immigrant populations in Texas. Ledesma’s research formally began in 2013 when she organized a series of design engagements called “dialogos” in the South Texas city of Brownsville. Her work seeks to bridge the gap between communities and city governments to help define the design agency of traditionally under-represented groups. Ledesma noted that she was drawn to this fellowship because of UTSoA’s distinct interdisciplinary approach to design and research, which often allows for cross-pollination among the school's academic programs. Solis will enter her professorship next year with a PhD in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley after completing a Switzer Fellowship for her work in environmental planning. Her research focuses on social and environmental justice related to the development of urban infrastructures, an area of research that she has contributed to through her years of experience in California. One of Solis’ ongoing projects concerns the equitable redevelopment of San Francisco’s wastewater system which has historically negatively impacted African American communities.
Placeholder Alt Text

Work by designers of color celebrated in a new exhibition at the Center for Architecture

Say It Loud: Distinguished Black Designers of NYCOBA | NOMA celebrates the creative work of black architects across the U.S. The exhibition is being held at the Center for Architecture (CFA) in Manhattan and runs through April 1 of this year. Roughly 2,090 licensed architects across the United States are African American, accounting for two percent of the profession. "Moreover, the achievements of these individuals are seldom recognized," said the CFA in a press release. Say it Loud will focus on African American accomplishments in design across New York and the rest of the country. Work from 20 designers including Harlem-based architect Roberta Washington; Mark Gardner, a principal at Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects; and Yolande Daniels, co-founding principal at studioSUMO, will be on display. Student work from NYC students too will be shown along with projects that won the Jumaane Omar Stewart Award and Diversity in the School of Architecture Award. The exhibit is a product of a coalition between the New York Coalition of Black Architects (NYCOBA) and The New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). FXFOWLE are also supporting the exhibition. Further details can be found here.
Placeholder Alt Text

AIA gives $1 million to boost diversity in architecture—but there's a problem

After fielding a blizzard of negative reactions to Robert Ivy's tone-deaf promiseand double apology—to work with President-elect Donald Trump, the AIA is trying to beef up its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the profession. Last week the AIA board of directors announced it will put $1 million towards its Diversity Advancement Scholarship, a fund that aims to improve diversity, inclusion, and equity for people entering the field. The money augments the $1 million the board put towards the AIA Foundation–administered fund in 2013. Unbelievably, the scholarship's description page says, now and today, that it's intended to help architects and planners—specifically black architects and planners—be better equipped to practice in the "inner city," a place where most black people don't even live. To complement the scholarship, the board adopted recommendations of the Equity in Architecture Commission, led by Emily Grandstaff-Rice, senior associate at Boston-based Arrowstreet. In its work, the group identified reasons why marginalized groups, particularly women and people of color, are not adequately represented in the field. The report, which should come out in the first quarter of 2017, includes actionable recommendations to boost diversity and inclusion. “We are years away from true equity within the profession, but the path forward is beginning to take shape,” said Grandstaff-Rice, in a statement. “A seismic shift in architecture is underway, but it will take vigilance and continuous assessment to make equity in design a reality.” These are the three publicly available takeaways from the forthcoming report:
  • Expose children and families to architecture through K–12 Programs, with elements that help underrepresented groups to discover architecture.
  • Develop self-assessment tools to collect data on diversity and inclusion issues in the biannual AIA Firm Survey, and use results to establish best practices.
  • Create and publish best practice guidelines for architectural practices, covering such themes as career progression, work culture, pay equity, and talent recruitment.
Readers, what do you think of these initiatives? Is the AIA's commitment to diversity and inclusion genuine, or is it a close-the-barn-door PR response to #NotMyAIA? Let us know in the comments.
Placeholder Alt Text

UPDATED: Architects continue to denounce AIA, AN has collected outcry here

Architects, architecture firms, and advocacy groups continue to denounce the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and more specifically, AIA CEO Robert Ivy over a tone-deaf post-election memo issued by the figurehead pledging support for President-Elect Donald Trump’s so-called infrastructure initiatives. The memo, which used open-ended language to embrace the candidate’s pledge to embark on a $500 million infrastructure program, has been panned across the field for ignoring the openly racist and climate change-denying rhetoric propagated by the now-incoming administration. UPDATED: AIA pledges to work with Donald Trump, membership recoils. As a result, the statement—which stood in stark contrast to many of the AIA’s own stated social and environmental professional and policy goals—alienated and potentially endangered rank-and-file AIA membership, especially women and members of minority groups. UPDATE: Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the AIA, responds to post-election memo criticism. The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) has been collecting the outpouring of criticism and commentary over the last few days, as wave after wave of individuals, firms, and organizations continue to speak out against the AIA and Ivy, with a growing chorus calling for the CEO’s resignation. Attempts Monday night to quell the backlash have involved a flat-footed apology issued Satruday night as well as a more heartfelt video apology posted online by AIA National president Russ Davidson issued a recorded apology Monday night that has apparently fallen on deaf ears. Watch: Robert Ivy issues second apology for tone-deaf post-election memo See below for a selection of statements collected from comments on our Facebook posts and articles, as well as direct messages to the AN editorial team and public press releases. 
“Dear AIASF Members and Friends, The elected leadership of AIA San Francisco (AIASF) met this afternoon and dedicated a significant portion of its board meeting to discuss the post-election statement issued by Robert Ivy, FAIA, of AIA National, made without our input or knowledge, that purported to speak on behalf of its 89,000 members. As many of you have expressed to us over the past week, this message does not represent the view of our members, nor did it communicate the ethics or core values of the Institute. AIA National has since issued a video apology. AIASF is non-partisan and does not support candidates. We support policies. We would like to reassure our 2,300+ members in the Bay Area that we will continue to advocate for equity, diversity, inclusion, resilience, and for the advancement of the profession, built environment, and success of all citizens on behalf of its members. We remain dedicated to advancing equitable practice in the workplace and the communities we serve. We recognize that our environment and climate are changing, and resilience of the built environment and continued commitment to AIA’s 2030 initiatives are paramount to the continued success of our society. We are San Francisco, and are fortunate to practice in one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world. AIASF will continue to serve as the collective voice of progress, empathy, and inclusion, and urges AIA National to operate with the same considerations when it speaks on behalf of all members. AIASF is our organization – we are comprised of individual members, and our members contribute to our collective strength. We encourage you to reach out and join us with your thoughts – positive, negative, neutral – so that we may collect and share them with AIA National. Our first action is to convene a town hall meeting on December 2 from 3:30 to 5:00 PM at the AIASF headquarters office. With your input, we will craft an action plan designed to continue to affect positive change in our professional association, our community, and the built environment. In addition, please email membervoices@aiasf.org with your suggestions for how this organization can best respond to the challenges facing us as a community. We are here for you, and are committed to addressing your concerns.” #weareAIASF Aaron Jon Hyland, AIA 2016 AIASF President
   
“In the wake of the response by AIA members to AIA CEO Robert Ivy’s post-election statement, the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) would like to reaffirm our core values. Above all, TxA is committed to being the voice for Texas architecture, supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, and sustainable environments. Furthermore, TxA stands behind AIA’s stated Diversity and Inclusion Goals (see below). TxA acknowledges that much of the presidential campaign rhetoric, prior actions, and statements of the president-elect seem to be in contradiction to our core values and those of the AIA. We anticipate learning more about the intentions of the new administration in the coming weeks and months, and will support those policies aligned with our core values and speak out against those which are not. TxA and its membership will continue to promote the design of spaces that serve our communities and are inclusive, as well as continuing to seek greater diversity within the profession, no matter which political party is in the majority. Architects have an important role to play in designing and building a more prosperous, peaceful, and sustainable society for the future. We know architects of all political parties will continue to use their skills and voices to promote the highest ideals of design, as our aging infrastructure is renewed, as well as the ideals of our nation, including life, liberty, and justice for all.
  1. Civil rights The AIA supports the promotion of human and civil rights, the universal respect for human dignity, and the unbiased treatment of all persons in employment, civic, and business transactions.
  2. Diversity The AIA recognizes that diversity is a cultural ethos – a way of thinking or acting that fosters inclusion and enhances our membership, our profession, and the quality of life in our communities. Embracing this culture of diversity, all programs and initiatives of the AIA and its members shall reflect the society that we serve, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or religious practices. The AIA supports the development of policies and programs that endeavor to ensure equal access to professional degrees in architecture for those who are underrepresented in our profession.
- Texas Society of Architects (link to original, full release here)
“Dear AIANY Members, The statement made post-election by AIA National on behalf of you, the largest chapter within its network of 89,000 members, pledged your support to an administration that many strongly denounce. The Board of Directors of AIA New York was not consulted by AIA National leadership prior to their decision to support President-Elect Trump’s yet undefined infrastructure agenda, and we do not condone their statement. The leadership of the New York Chapter would like to reassure our membership and extended community that we reject the violent rhetoric that has pervaded the recent presidential campaign and we oppose any association with it. We believe in inalienable rights, regardless of creed or nation of origin; gender or sexual orientation; language of birth or skin color. Architects, by training, are fundamentally committed to providing shelter and protecting the safety and wellbeing of all people. Civil dialogue, reciprocal respect, and the protection of human rights are essential to this activity and are vital characteristics of the profession. These principles are not only our human values; they underpin the practice of our profession. We believe in equity in design and its benefits to all, especially in the critically needed areas of affordable housing, safe schools, and accessibility. We will continue to espouse fair and ethical business practices throughout the building industry. And, we remain committed to mitigating climate change and protecting New Yorkers from its unavoidable consequences. We are fortunate that the New York Chapter functions in one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world. To this end, AIA New York is committing to increasing programming and exhibitions that promote a more inclusive America and address the needs, concerns and principles of you, our members. We are first and foremost a membership organization, and our members are our strength. As members, your insights will drive our future actions. We want to hear from you. Please email membervoices@aiany.org with your suggestions for how this organization can best respond to the challenges you see facing us as a community. We are committed to addressing your concerns. Sincerely, The Board of Directors American Institute of Architects New York Chapter” (link to original release here)
“As a national organization that has representation in each of the 50 United States, the AIA is in the unique position to frame a conversation among what is, no doubt, a politically diverse constituency.    While uniting as a nation immediately following this election may be too much to ask, we should be using every opportunity to have honest and open discussion—as difficult as that may be. We urge Robert Ivy and AIA leadership across the country to recognize the need for these important conversations and create space for them immediately—through gatherings, panels, online forums, lectures and other avenues. Architecture is a fundamentally discursive and collaborative discipline and as a diverse community of professionals we should seize the opportunity engage each other in dialogue.” - Basar Girit, Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, Wes Rozen and Bradley Samuels, Founding Partners, SITU Studio
“The AIA statement is the usual kind of response by a professional association after an election. But in this instance, it is part of the normalization of Donald Trump, which is a dangerous and deluded process. Trump is not the usual kind of American politician and we must not treat him as such. Architects must devise a different kind of response to make sure our values, priorities, and concerns are heard in Washington and around the country” - Clifford Pearson, Director of the USC School of Architecture’s American Academy in China
“As Hon. FAIA I am dishonoured by the AIA self-serving, and TOTALLY unnecessary statement.” - Phyllis Lambert
The United States is about to pass through what is perhaps its worst crisis since the Civil War. The First Amendment of our Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The President-Elect, meanwhile, has promised to place a moratorium on the entry of Muslims into this country; he has incited racial hatred and has sanctioned sexual assault; he abhors dissent. His views pose a mortal threat to the liberal principles on which our social institutions—our schools and universities, our professional organizations and civic bodies—rest. His promises—yes, his promises—have compelled states such as New York and California to reaffirm their sacred obligations to their citizens. They have compelled schools and universities around the country to the same. It appears inevitable that the Trump presidency will cause a constitutional crisis once his tenure begins. That the AIA chose last week to offer a categorical pledge of loyalty to the President-Elect is beyond comprehension. It reminds me of similar pledges that the Confederation of German Architects made in Nazi Germany. That it did not consult its membership prior to issuing its memo makes me sad for this country, very sad. It suggests that some of us have already forgotten what it means to live in a democratic society. It also tells me that maybe, just maybe, some of us may not even care. The AIA’s actions represent a violation of its core mission, as the editorial board of The Architects’ Newspaper rightly and so courageously note. They represent a betrayal of trust to the AIA membership body. They have further endangered the lives of those which the incoming administration has demonized. They may also be illegal, especially if, as I anticipate, a constitutional crisis announces itself on January 20. Hatred in and of itself is ugly and dangerous. Hatred fueled by capitalism is a recipe for humanitarian disasters. Unconditional or even conditional cooperation with the incoming administration may destroy the AIA and do irreparable harm to the reputation of the architectural profession in this great country. The AIA's exposure to legal liability could well grow exponentially. The American Civil Liberties Union will be watching. Human rights groups will be watching. The eyes will be on the street.” - Nader Vossoughian, New York Institute of Technology
“What a remarkably missed opportunity. We live in a continuously evolving world and our role is to foster that evolution rather than to abet in the construction of a world that no longer exists. Rather than issuing empty but damaging statements, the AIA should sponsor a national conversation about the public possibilities and extraordinary relationships that architecture can generate.” - Sarah Whiting, Rice School of Architecture
“Dear Mr. Ivy, We were dismayed to read this week that, as members and supporters of the AIA, we had offered our unqualified support for President-Elect Trump and the 115th Congress. We are  ashamed that our professional organization decided that the prospect of public commissions for a very few of us was important enough to silence concerns about the specter of an anti-elitist society defined by racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and the denial of science. As members and supporters of the AIA and Equity in Architecture, we have worked hard to demonstrate that our profession, like our society at large, harbors systemic racial and gender biases that have real impacts upon our professional outcomes, and upon our firms’ bottom lines. This work demonstrates that our profession continues to overlook this systemic injustice at our own peril -- we are losing talent by failing to create healthy, equitable, meaningful and culturally diverse work environments for all professionals. Please recognize that, in word and in action, you perpetuated our profession’s white, male privilege when you offered the Institute’s support for a person known for promoting a worldview that threatens to pit us against one another on the basis of our race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation. These beliefs do not reflect who we are, nor do we believe that they reflect the core values we are responsible for upholding as a profession. These include: sustainability through dedication to climate action, promotion of domestic and global projects that are humane and socially just, and equity, diversity and inclusion in both practice and representation. Chancellor Merkel’s statement on the election, which declares that her country and ours share common values of “democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position,” is exemplary as a way in which the AIA could have offered qualified support for the new administration on the basis of our values. Yes, we believe in infrastructure, but that belief is subsidiary to our belief that we have an important role to play in building a just, fair and transparent society. As architects, we are often tasked with working on behalf of many while in consultation with a powerful few. It is our responsibility to reflect and protect the communities that we serve, which often means advocating for those who haven’t been included in the decision-making process. We do not simply provide our clients with what they initially tell us they want to see, but instead work with them to envision a future in which they are their best selves and protect our planet for future generations. This is what architects do. This is the value that we provide, and the basis for our continued relevance. In offering our profession’s unequivocal support for the incoming administration, we believe that the AIA has fallen short of our duty to the communities that we serve. We have failed to speak truth to power, and have instead offered a willingness to capitulate to an unpardonable worldview because we are enticed by the pursuit of new commissions. We have countermanded years of hard work on our profession’s relevance and on equity within the profession with a statement that suggests that we are simply “yes”-people who rubber stamp the beliefs of those who pay our bills. We owe our society—and each other—better than this. In the very near-term, we would urge the AIA to establish an ongoing—and public—forum in which leaders from all levels of practice are invited to reflect upon the Institute's core values, and the value that our profession provides to society. This could be launched at the national plenary broadcast of the Center for Civic Leadership’s Forum on Friday, November 18th. In addition, we believe that the AIA must reaffirm that equity, diversity and inclusion is central to our professional mission. The upcoming Build America Summit on November 29 - 30th, hosted by AIA President Russ Davidson, affords our profession the opportunity to declare that we must renew and rebuild our country's social infrastructure upon the basis of mutual respect, empathy and concern for the health, safety and well-being of all who live in our communities. We would hope that this issue be addressed in the opening session on "Neglect, decline, and consequence," and featured in any policy recommendations that are delivered to the incoming administration. In the long term, we look forward to continuing to work with the AIA to foster and advocate for a profession that exemplifies sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion by championing the communities that we serve. Equity is for Everyone. In solidarity, - Annelise Pitts, Assoc. AIA; Rosa Sheng, AIA; Lilian Asperin, AIA; Saskia Dennis-van Dijl; Julia V. Mandell, AIA, The Equity Alliance Note: These views solely represent our thoughts alone and do not represent that of any other individuals or groups who support our efforts as we cannot speak for them.”
“On November 9, 2016, the American Institute of Architects resigned itself to a cowardly position of economic and political subservience with its support of President-Elect Trump. The AIA’s refusal to take a principled stance on an incoming administration that galvanized support through hatred, divisiveness, and fear constitutes an abdication of its self-proclaimed responsibility to speak on behalf of architects and a contradiction of its own stated beliefs. We, the undersigned students of the Yale School of Architecture, unequivocally denounce the AIA’s endorsement of the new status quo. For too long, our profession has been complicit in giving form to landscapes of inequality and discrimination, and has itself been plagued by a history of racial and gender inequity. The AIA’s immediate and unquestioning pandering to the Trump administration threatens a continuation of our troubled past and demonstrates a willingness to pursue financial gain at the expense of our values. With the promise of renewed federal investment in infrastructure, the position of architects as conscientious stewards of the built environment has never been more important. We believe it is paramount for the AIA to protect and maintain the integrity, quality, and security of the built and natural environments at every level. The organization has long recognized climate change and touted “energy conservation... as well as aggressive development and harvesting of energy from renewable sources.” It professes a commitment to “the promotion of human and civil rights, the universal respect for human dignity, and the unbiased treatment of all persons in employment.” It claims to promote “design that engenders greater community health [as a] way to not only save costs, but to enhance the lives of individuals.” These principles must not bend to opportunism in the face of a new administration. If we are to unite in the best interest of America’s future, it will be with our values intact. We cannot afford to relinquish the agency of our craft to those who would use it for self-serving political gain. We have an ethical responsibility not to erect walls that divide, but to lay the foundation for a more unified, just, and safe society. We stand firmly behind the following principles, which we believe are greatly imperiled by the position of the AIA: We believe in the social value of architecture and the moral agency of architects. We believe human values are more important than material values. We will work to mitigate the effects of the built environment on climate change. We will resist individuals, institutions, and systems that exploit people and land for power and profit. We will continue our commitment to promoting equality and diversity within the profession. We will exclusively contribute to the creation of a built environment that is equal, just, and safe for all people.” - Students of the Yale School of Architecture
“Fellow Architects, this is a call to action. The AIA National statement is flawed in so many ways, and I am grateful to all of you for calling it out. By writing and sharing your opinion, you are taking action. This is the most important thing we must do now. In taking action, we must also do so smartly. Having been a Board Member of AIA Chicago in the past, and being connected with the broader AIA community ever since, I know, without a doubt, that the AIA statement is a case of a well-intended communication poorly executed. Today, we need AIA more than ever before. This is no time to pick the wrong fight. By confusing the goal to remain bipartisan with the urgent need to aggressively call out attention to such issues as 97% scientific consensus, the AIA is proving its own limitation. But remember, we are AIA. The ultimate responsibility to figure this out rests with us, the members. We have to take this into our own hands, get organized, and force the change we know is needed. This approach will strengthen all AIA efforts as an added benefit. Our grass roots coalition, Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change, revolves around one specific topic for the sake of focus. However, now is the time for our platform to be adopted by any and all of you: I ask you to launch Architects Advocate for Action on Affordable Housing, Architects Advocate for Gender and Pay Equality, you name it. Take it and run with it. Your actions will speak louder than your words. With regard to Climate Change, we are facing an emergency. The President-elect has called human-caused climate change a hoax, has vowed to dismantle the Paris Agreement that sets targets to reverse the worst effects of global warming - which nearly 200 countries agreed to last December – and has tapped a climate-change skeptic to oversee the transition of the EPA. In order to get ready and organized to fight the impending assault on scientific consensus, healthy and livable communities, and reason, we urge you to join Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change: www.architects-advocate.com. Today, there are over 150 architecture firms nationwide in our coalition, but we need 1,500. Fast. Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change plans to send a letter to every U.S. Congress member, as well as the President-elect, detailing the case for needed Action on Climate Change, and imploring all elected officials to support the Paris Agreement. We plan to list the names of every supporting company on the letter. It is important to remember that only a minority of members of Congress, approximately one third, are denying climate science. The other two-thirds acknowledge the scientific consensus and already support action or are likely persuadable. There is a silver lining as a result of this election if we – the architecture profession - are ready to seize it. This can become the moment in time when we architects realized that being apolitical is no longer an option. Being political does not mean fueling the flames of partisanship, on the contrary. It means recognizing the urgent need to engage more effectively where decisions are made that affect us all. We can demonstrate what it means when citizens take their civic responsibilities seriously, and we can model the kind of behavior we wish to see in others. Onward, upward—by taking action now,” - Tom Jacobs, Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change
“To members of AIA Chicago: The AIA Chicago Board of Directors wants to assure our members that we do not support the recent statement made by national AIA on November 10, which prematurely expressed the support of AIA’s 89,000 members for an unarticulated infrastructure agenda made by the incoming presidential administration. Further, we are committed to working with all of you to deepen our diversity and inclusion initiatives, and to continue the discussions that affect positive change on issues that are critical to our profession. We believe in and are dedicated to:
  • Supporting our members, our committee leaders, our board and our staff as we engage, educate and challenge our elected leaders locally, regionally and nationally on the issues faced by architects;
  • Assuring that the built environment addresses the realities of climate change;
  • Creating more equitable opportunities for all in our profession regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation;
  • Upholding our professional standards of creating spaces that are safe and promote equality for our clients and the public;
  • Building stronger and more resilient communities, including urban, suburban and rural areas in which our members practice and live.
AIA Chicago vows to continue work that is already underway to give all members a voice on how these goals can be achieved now and long into the future. To do this, we need all of you to continue to engage in the work of our chapter and continue to express your views and opinions. It is in working together that we can accomplish the most and make the greatest impact. Your voice will keep us moving forward. Respectfully, Dawn Schuette, FAIA 2016 Board President Matthew Dumich, AIA 2016 First Vice President 2017 Board President Anthony P. LoBello, AIA 2015 Board President Scott Rappe, AIA 2014 Board President” (link to original release here)
“Seen before. From my experience during the disintegration of values from former Yugoslavia, this does not look better for architects, artists and for everyone in general, not also for our kids that we have now in the U.S. Yet, there are ways of organizing that are sustaining the upcoming pressure of sheer suspense as the U.S. President-Elect was offering without explanation. Many of us experienced this suspense in Yugoslavia during the 1990s (during Clinton administration and Milosevic dictatorship). At the time, as architects without jobs nor future, we figured ways how to go through it together in all our distinctions. It is the human interaction that matters first and always. For my American friends and colleagues, please do not think that the system will protect you. It will not in this administration. It will only exacerbate the divide between architectural culture and [economic] status to the point of being unmanageable at some point, for both. So we have a lot of work to do together, and skill set of architecture can play a large role to go through this new political situation. As Winston Churchill said: 'If you are going through Hell, keep going.'” - Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, NAO
“Dear Mr. Ivy: On behalf of the Boston Society of Architects/AIA I am writing to share our shock and disappointment with last week’s post-election statement expressing the Institute’s willingness to work with Presidentelect Trump and members of the 115th Congress. While we support the need for design professionals and AIA members to work together to move the country forward, and the country’s need to address failing infrastructure, this statement fails to acknowledge the serious contradictions between the Trump campaign and the AIA’s own mission and values. The conciliatory and congratulatory tone of last week’s message in response to the election is at odds with the very goals and values articulated by the AIA. We agree with the Architect’s Newspaper. It would be irresponsible and reprehensible to “ignore the role design and designers could play in instituting and perpetuating the inequality inherent in the racist patriarchy Trump’s ideology embodies.” We wish to reaffirm our commitment to AIA’s goals of Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability, and Resiliency, and the fundamental belief that architects have the skills and resources to serve the greater needs of our communities. We believe this is the message we should be sending to both Presidentelect Trump and the 115th Congress. Sincerely, Tamara Roy AIA President, Boston Society of Architects/AIA” (link to original release here)
"After taking a few days off to regroup and process what our work means in the face of a Trump presidency, QSPACE is now ready to act. AIA CEO Robert Ivy’s comments that "The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with president-elect Trump" are unnecessary, tone deaf, and an insult to to marginalized groups within the architectural field. We call on Robert Ivy and the AIA to clarify their statement and to explain how they will work with the Trump administration in compliance with their own ethics policies. Rule 1.401 states “Members shall not discriminate in their professional activities on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.” Donald Trump has proven time and time again that he does not intend to run a country that treats people equally. And how will the AIA still advocate for sustainability (Rule E.S. 6.3) with a president who doesn’t believe in climate change? Will the AIA address the treatment of architects who have been cheated out of pay by the Trump Organization as they pledge architects’ commitment to work with him as President? We are scared. We are angry. We are determined. We will speak out. We will act. We have a lot to of work to do. Years of progress for the LGBTQ community under Obama are under threat. As LGBTQ people, we must actively lift up the most vulnerable members of our community: transgender people, people of color, immigrants, women, queer people in less-tolerant demographics, and other folks marginalized by Trump. As architects, we must promise to design a more inclusive future for all. We will organize action in cities while simultaneously reaching out to rural areas and the spaces in between. We will leverage the intersection of queer identity and architecture to make political change. QSPACE takes our promise of organized and collective action seriously― look out for events in the coming weeks and months. And as always, reach out to us for support or with idea." - QSPACE (Link to original statement here)
"Full disclosure, I'm not an AIA member. I'm the director of SCI-Arc and I cannot assume that everybody thinks in the same way in our school , so my comments are coming from my own points of view. I am disturbed that the leadership of the AIA decided to speak on behalf of its entire 89,000 member constituency, and by implication architects in general, without consultation and public debate. Beyond the process by which it was released, I thought the statement itself was insensitive and tone-deaf to the tensions of this moment in American history. It seemed overly focused on commercial opportunities and blind to other demands for service to the public (which incidentally is an entire section of the AIA's own code of ethics). Architecture is not just a business. It is also a way of representing in built form what we think is important. It is a platform for questioning what we thought was important in the past. It is a way of working that enables necessary conversations in the present. If the AIA becomes nothing more than a lobbyist for the commercial interests of the largest corporate architectural practices, architects should question what their membership in the AIA actually means. If we've learned anything during this election, it's that words matter more than ever. Speaking to each other matters more than ever. Thinking about the world we build for ourselves and future generations matters more than ever. The discipline of architecture is thousands of years old, but architecture has been professionalized for less than two hundred (the AIA was founded in 1857). Because of the AIA's relative youth compared to the entire history of architecture, we can only assume that what it is and what it does is still very much up for debate." Hernan Diaz Alonso, Dean of Southern California Institute of Architecture
“I am not a practicing architect, but I found the AIA’s rapid embrace of Donald Trump’s infrastructure program to be deeply troubling. We have few details of this program, but all of the campaign rhetoric thus far suggests that this “infrastructure” program is nothing short of a massive attempt to privatize public resources and amenities, akin to this administration’s recent proposals to replace Medicaid with a privatized voucher system. Rather than align ourselves with such efforts – ones likely to increase inequality, concentrate wealth, take indigenous land, and speed up climate change– we must now all press hard for maintaining infrastructure as a public amenity, as a necessary precondition for good architecture, and as something we cannot release to corporate control.” - Meredith TenHoor, Associate Professor and Undergraduate History-Theory Coordinator, Pratt Institute School of Architecture
“At this time when the country is notably divided and exploring many paths forward, AIA New York / Center for Architecture remains dedicated to our core values, which include promoting architecture and cities that are equitable, diverse, resilient and committed to improving quality of life in our communities. We are respectful and supportive of the statements made by AIA National and open to working with a range of constituents to support infrastructure initiatives and the betterment of the built environment.” – Benjamin Prosky, New York AIA / Center for Architecture
"OK, fine, let’s imagine that a certain degree of pragmatism might guide some decisions right now - that Trump might surprise us and take a more functional problem-solving approach to investing in public infrastructure. The problem for us is that problem-solving or business smartness without ethics, and without respect for human dignity, and without a sensibility towards social justice... is simply just business. The AIA should not consider this business-as-usual and remain politically neutral. To maintain impartiality in face of today’s social and economic injustices is to be complicit with those institutions that perpetuate what is ethically and morally wrong. Where was the AIA during Trump’s campaign’s denigration of immigrants, the overt drive for more privatization at the expense of our collective assets, and the proposal of building a border wall? This should have been the best time for our profession to take a position about what is ethically and morally wrong: That xenophobia is wrong, that inequality is wrong, that building border walls is wrong. OK, fine, as a profession we have never been that interested in considering what is ethically and morally wrong. Ask Albert Speer. The commission is all we want. So we say: Let’s engage this commission because it is about public infrastructure, and if we don’t, someone will (this has always been our excuse to ignore ethics). But have we asked how Trump will pay for his public extravagance? Are tax cuts for the very wealthy and the erosion of our social safety net the building blocks for his investment in public infrastructure? Are we that naïve? Here is where the AIA needs to take an even more political position: we need to say it aloud: Taxes are our civic duty, because they are the basis for realizing our collective commitments and shared interests. We also need to demand a more enlightened government to invest this revenue smartly and efficiently – our bureaucracies need to be re-designed. The future of our cities depends on this double project of progressive taxation and public imagination. So, if the AIA will extend its ‘neutral’ hand to Trump –please - it should also demand that corporate power and the plutocrats of this country pay more taxes, much more than many of us, as they have profited exorbitantly. The most socially-inspired urbanizations in the world, such as Barcelona, Spain, in the 80’s and 90’s or Medellin, Colombia, in the 2000’s, emerged from agendas committed to progressive taxation, and smart, efficient public management to cultivate inclusive public infrastructure. Those were instances when visionary politicians brought ethics and architecture together, giving shape to an urbanism of social justice." - Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman / Estudio Teddy Cruz + Forman