Posts tagged with "#NotMyAIA":

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AIA issues statement on immigration; expresses “deep concern” over Trump’s travel ban

Today the AIA released a statement outlining its position on immigrants and migration.

“Beyond the essential considerations of fairness and equity, restrictions targeting specific areas of the world can have profoundly negative business impacts,” said AIA President Thomas Vonier, in a statement. “Professional service exports are a key contributor to AIA member firms and their earnings. In fact, the entire international building development, design, and construction sector relies heavily on reciprocal treatment and on the fair and ethical ability to travel, reside and work across national boundaries.”

The statement conveys the need for borders that permit easy travel to and from projects abroad and facilitate the recruitment and retention of top talent. The organization also decried the negative ripple effect of the president’s onerous travel ban, and "[expressed] deep concern about policies that restrict immigration from specific countries or regions based on overly broad factors, including religion."

The stance is a sharp pivot from just three months ago when the organization pledged to work with the Trump administration on his infrastructure projects, a position the AIA walked back on after members protested.

Full text and supporting materials can be read here.

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In new position statements, AIANY advocates for diversity and inclusion under Trump

Taking a progressive stance, New York's AIA chapter has released a series of position statements that anticipate and respond to game-changing policies of the Trump administration.

Penned in collaboration with four AIANY committees, the position statements offer guiding principals to frame a response to expected changes to the built and natural environment that could come about under President Trump.

In a letter to members, AIANY president David Piscuskas and executive director Benjamin Prosky explain the values and principles they hope will guide AIANY advocacy around issues affecting the profession in housing, transportation, education, and the environment:

The leadership of AIA New York wishes to reaffirm to our membership and extended community our fundamental commitment to providing shelter and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of all people. Civil dialogue, reciprocal respect, and the protection of human rights are essential to our activities and are vital characteristics of the profession. We believe in inalienable rights, regardless of creed or nation of origin, gender or sexual orientation, language or skin color.

These values underpin the practice of our profession. We believe in equity in design and its benefits to all, and we embrace inclusivity and the diversity of both society and our profession. Architecture is a civic art that seeks cultural and societal benefit for people across all demographic constituencies. By extension, we support and are aligned with initiatives that endow and strengthen education and the arts. We will continue to espouse fair and ethical business practices throughout the building industry. We remain committed to mitigating climate change and protecting New Yorkers from its unavoidable consequences, advocating for evidence-based best practices in energy conservation and resilient and sustainable high-performance building design. We anticipate that under the new president’s administration, policies may and in certain instances will, challenge the values that underpin practices that our profession seeks to protect...

The chapter's action follows the AIA National's leadership's post-election pledge to work with the new administration, a move that was met with harsh criticism from some members, and a flurry of apologies from leadership to members. Subsequent dialogue about diversity and inclusion within the profession, locally and nationally, is one bright outcome of the exchange: Here in New York, ideas collected via a January community forum event and a new Member Voices account (membervoices@aiany.org) informed each committee's vision.

AIANY's 5,500 members received copies of the statements this week and the document will be shared with other leaders in architecture for continued collaboration.

To read the full statements from the chapter's Housing Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Committee on the Environment, and Education Committee, click here.

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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.
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AIA makes major misstep on Donald Trump

In the weeks since the presidential election, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has drawn ire from architectural professionals for releasing a post-election memo containing conciliatory and supportive language for President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to embark on a $500 billion infrastructure building program.

Robert Ivy, AIA executive vice president and CEO, released a statement on behalf of the national AIA apparatus and membership, saying in part, “The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure. The memo continued, “We stand ready to work with him and with the incoming 115th Congress to ensure that investments in schools, hospitals, and other public infrastructure continue to be a major priority.”

In response, The Architect’s Newspaper issued a rebuttal challenging Ivy’s magical thinking relating to the scarcely-detailed, so-called infrastructure plan put forth by the President-elect and the fundamental lack of leadership inherent in pledging blind support to a political movement expressly aligned with xenophobic, racist, misogynistic, and climate change-denying ideals.

We wrote: “It is anathema to this editorial board to fathom the positive impact of such a work of infrastructure as the proposed border wall or its attendant detention centers, federal and private prisons, and militarized infrastructure that would be necessary in order to achieve the President-elect’s stated deportation policy goals. To ignore the role design and designers could play in instituting and perpetuating the inequality inherent in the racist patriarchy of Trump’s ideology embodies is irresponsible and reprehensible.”

AN’s response was buttressed by supporting statements from dozens of architects, designers, and academics from across the field. As a consequence, Ivy issued an apology directly to AN saying, “The AIA remains firmly committed to advocating for the values and principles that will create a more sustainable, inclusive, and humane world. The spirit and intention behind our statement is consistent with and in support of President Obama’s eloquent call for us all to unite for the best interest of America’s future.”

The statement did little to quell fury in the architectural community, with members openly calling for Ivy’s resignation and at least one AIA member, Fritz Reed of Baltimore, resigning in protest. After members continued to express disapproval at AIA leadership, Ivy and AIA National President Russ Davidson issued an additional apology via video pledging to engage in listening sessions with AIA membership to better articulate a future vision for the organization and the profession. Moving forward, as Ivy and AIA leaders begin to plan these listening sessions, AN reiterates its initial pledge to stand in solidarity with AIA members and those who advocate for an inclusive, diverse, and morally responsible profession aiming to address climate change, promote equitable urbanism, and fight for design quality in the built environment.

AN will continue to listen to the architectural and design community and help articulate ways for the profession to move forward in support of the goals stated above and help lead the resistance to forces that aim to undermine the pursuit of those values.

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AIA Media Relations Director resigns in wake of AIA/Trump controversy

The AIA's post-Presidential election controversy continues to grow. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) has learned that Scott Frank, the AIA's Senior Director of Media Relations, has resigned in response to the AIA's handling of the crisis. According to our sources, his resignation was due to the AIA's severe mishandling of the situation. The AIA reportedly ignored Frank's advice and, in his view, demonstrated a total lack of accountability. AN will continue to report on this story as it evolves. See our previous coverage of architects voicing their outrage of the AIA's pledge of cooperation with the incoming Trump administration, how one Baltimore architect resigned from the AIA in protest, and the second video apology of Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the AIA.