One Question Series: Part 5, Examples of Equity

What happens when you ask the same question to five designers with five different backgrounds? You get five very different answers that will put you in someone else’s shoes. From firm principals to emerging professionals, we’re diving in to better understand—and share—others’ personal perspectives. This is the fifth and final installment of the monthly series—“One Question”—produced by our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee. 

In partnership with the Colorado Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, we invite you to see through the lenses of five different practitioners to learn how their unique backgrounds shape experiences in the firm and their approaches to design.


QUESTION NO. 5
Give us an example of how your current or previous workplace has prioritized equity and inclusion in the firm’s culture and/or projects.


Patricia Joseph, AIA, NOMA
Associate Project Architect at The Abo Group
President-Elect of NOMA Colorado
Lecturer, CU Denver College of Architecture & Planning

“There has been a humbling and hopeful shift within architectural firms in our community. We have been included in that shift toward making J.E.D.I. a priority. With the death of George Floyd and the constraints of a pandemic, issues concerning J.E.D.I. could no longer be ignored. We found ourselves in a twilight zone that allowed it to become a priority, many firms and organizations created safe spaces for BIPOC individuals and their allies through various forms of J.E.D.I. committees. We were finally given space to collect and voice our thoughts but not enough power to enact change.

We have not seen enough examples of J.E.D.I. prioritized through projects yet. Yes, project teams are becoming diversified or winning projects through diverse hires. But where are the stories of the project team matching the diversity of their client or the project community? We should be providing architectural services that consider equitable solutions for the client and the project community. Few examples exist, especially when compared to how much we prioritize sustainability, accessibility, or energy conservation over equity and inclusion.

We have committees, employee resources groups, and many POC being promoted to diversity chair roles, white little at the high-level has changed. POC, especially black people, are not seeing the fruits of having J.E.D.I. committees in place or being promoted to higher levels of leadership. Firms should continue to have these support groups not only as a resource to employees, but as a catalyst for leaders to enact change. Without this level of prioritization, we will continue to have the uneasy feeling that the hype around J.E.D.I. is fading.”

Sarah Broughton, FAIA
AIA Colorado President-Elect
Principal, Rowland+Broughton

“Our firm is committed to equity and inclusion in our culture and career development. We understand that each team member is unique and has varying access to resources and privileges. By providing fair opportunities for all team members based on their individual needs, we foster an environment where people can bring their whole selves to the work, have open collaboration, transparency and understanding. Part of my leadership role is working with the individual and the team to identify where more support may be needed to help each team member feel comfortable, confident, and safe. I believe that this approach to our culture results in better design, impactful projects and more fun!

At the core of equity and inclusion at R+B is operating with transparency. First, we conduct semi-annual wellness surveys and share the results with our team. We openly invite team members to participate in firm committees, including J.E.D.I. and Sustainability Committees. Through both surveys and committees, we elicit feedback from the entire team and make recommended changes. Part of our transparency is demystifying the profession and supporting each team member through a workforce education program. This includes weekly “lunch and learns” for professional growth, a professional development program, and robust mentorship program. The AIA Colorado Practice and Design Conference is back in person this year and we are excited to invite and sponsor all 40 of our team members to participate. Lastly, by making our role descriptions accessible to all, both on our server and on our website, it encourages team members to discuss and create goals for career advancements and leadership positions, reviewed semi-annually.

Everyone on our team contributes and makes us whole. Our firm’s diverse cross-level representation is important to our success. Our team is 46% female and 50% of our executive team is female. We believe in elevating from within and all promotions are listed internally first before being posted. Wage equity is prioritized and is achieved through pay equity analysis, strategic salary banding for fair hiring practices and merit increases and listing salaries on job postings. Benefits are inclusive and accessible to all team members, including family health insurance and spousal health for all types of couples. Two years ago, through the recommendation of our J.E.D.I. Committee, we implemented a floating holiday to celebrate diverse holidays.

I am proud that our firm’s commitment to equity and inclusion was recognized with the Just Label in 2022. We have done a lot in our 19 years of firm life to create a supportive culture and continue to listen, learn and grow each year. I am humbled by our team and everyone’s deep care for each other and willingness to openly participate. We work hard and play hard together!”

Kari Lawson, Assoc. AIA
AIA Colorado Associate Director
Designer, TreanorHL

“The biggest cultural change for equity and inclusion at my workplace was the formulation of a J.E.D.I. committee in the wake of the 2020 social justice movement. I witnessed a shift in focus to align with projects and clients that prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion. There was also more emphasis in partnering with diverse and minority consultants. Before 2020 there were boilerplate statements referencing the fair employment act as a standard for DEI. Any company can claim allyship in this way by simply following the law. Allyship can be empathetic and passive while an agent brings the action. In these 2 years since, I’ve observed a movement away from allyship and towards agency by making a commitment to uphold equitable and unbiased practices.

An institution or company’s commitment to DEI is not outlined purely in a policy, statement, or action plan. It’s repacking the values of empathy, representation, and support. Measuring diversity and inclusion is complex and nonlinear; actions speak louder than metrics. It takes building critical consciousness by seeking to diversify multicultural perspective and analysis. A successful tool was creating a connection point that increased the avenues for voices to be heard. Our internal forum provided a means to instigate dialog via sharing tips, educational books/podcasts, and strategies. There is an emphasis on connecting the links between big societal problems in everyday actions. Our group added Juneteenth as an official work holiday to align with a holistic view brought on by the impact of the social justice movement. In some way we’ve created a catalog to identify plans to take real action, as well as nurture and execute reform through opportunities for everyone involved to get educated.

There is a huge importance of learning from educators; DEI is no exception in this regard. The program takes budget, executive buy-in, and integration at all levels. We’ve consistently invited DEI consultants and specialists to educate our group in wholesome narratives. This speaks to an investment in training/coaching and developing cultural competence. There’s also championing of pay equity, advancement opportunities, and occasions to find diverse candidates through networking and actively recruiting at HBCUs. I’m fortunate to have a CEO that values and supports people doing the work of these initiatives.

Prioritizing equity and inclusion takes a range of traits, experiences, and backgrounds at different levels. It’s more than diverse leadership and filling a quota. We ignore embodied experiences and we miss important somatic and qualitative data when we quantify diversity by metrics only. Awakening a collective feeling where different voices are valued, accepted and supported cultivates a sense of belonging and pride in the work culture.”

Victor Gonzalez, Assoc. AIA, NOMA
AIA Colorado J.E.D.I. Committee Member + Editorial Representative
Davis Partnership Architects

“In what I have seen, some firms have developed better frameworks than others on how to think critically when it comes to engaging equity and inclusion in the firm’s culture. I think one of the better ways of incorporating this type of work has been through establishing internal J.E.D.I. committees. This demonstrates a firm’s acknowledgment of inequality throughout the profession and their action to possibly do something about it. One of the major things a committee like this can provide is their retention rates in regards to BIPOC folk and how they set up those individuals towards licensure. This is the tiniest of seeds that need to be planted throughout all firms that truly want to see their culture shift towards a more inclusive one.

As J.E.D.I. committees become successful internally within firms, I believe that If we truly want to see a shift and change in the diversity of this profession there needs to be a standard set for everyone to follow and a sense of accountability. In doing so these internal J.E.D.I. committees established throughout firms can host a series of goals and report back their efforts to entities like AIA and NOMA. This would not only benefit the profession as a whole, but also the world around us by becoming more inclusive, sustainable, accessible, and equitable. We can’t let the movement that the summer of 2020 created fade, there needs to be a constant refueling and calibration of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Wells Squier, AIA
AIA Colorado President
Principal, Anderson Hallas Architects

“I believe wholeheartedly that our work as architects is strengthened by the diversity, experiences, differing backgrounds and values of those with whom we work and collaborate. I also believe the uniqueness of individuals with whom we work directly influences a firm’s culture and quality of design. Regarding our firm, which is and has historically been a woman owned small business, we believe that we can achieve better design and project outcomes for our clients by facilitating open design discussions that are fully inclusive of all staff. We regularly hold firm-wide design dialogues and specific project charrette meetings, as well as design critiques, welcoming any and all input from the collective team. It is from these discussions that some of our most successful project design concepts and outcomes have emerged. I believe strongly that this approach has also directly contributed to enhancing our firm’s culture, specifically because of the diversity, differing perspectives and personal points of view that each of our team members bring to our firm and these discussions. Another important result of this approach is increased trust and respect among those on our team, resulting in prioritized equity and inclusion by all.


Our firm focuses almost exclusively on projects in the public sector, and those projects that aim to provide services and experiences which enhance the communities they serve. We immensely value and embrace the opportunities these projects provide to engage directly with community members and clients of all backgrounds, as so much of our work includes broader community outreach. Through these opportunities and the interactions that they provide, we collectively feel as though we are contributing to a greater good. This ultimately feeds our collective passion as a firm, respect for one another and defines our firm’s culture.”


We invite you to read or revisit previous questions in this series:

Question #1: “Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences.”

Question #2: “How can we as a profession break down barriers for minorities in architecture?”

Question #3: “Tell us about a time when you were not able to bring your full identity into your work.”

Question #4: “Recall a moment when you witnessed unjust behavior. How did you act then and how might you act differently today?”

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to our One Question participants for their vulnerability and humility. This series will culminate in a live panel discussion reflecting on this project at the AIA Colorado Practice + Design Conference, November 2-4, 2022, in Keystone.

One Question Series: Part 4, Being a Bystander

What happens when you ask the same question to five designers with five different backgrounds? You get five very different answers that will put you in someone else’s shoes. From firm principals to emerging professionals, we’re diving in to better understand—and share—others’ personal perspectives. This is the fourth installment of the monthly series—“One Question”—produced by our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee. 

In partnership with the Colorado Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, we invite you to see through the lenses of five different practitioners to learn how their unique backgrounds shape experiences in the firm and their approaches to design.


QUESTION NO. 4
Recall a moment when you witnessed unjust behavior. How did you act then and how might you act differently today?


Wells Squier, AIA
AIA Colorado President
Principal, Anderson Hallas Architects

“I only recall a few instances early in my career of witnessing unjust behavior. Since then, I have been fortunate with regard to the character and integrity of those whom I work with most closely and feel the injustices witnessed years ago were actions of long-standing stereotypes throughout the history of our profession that we are actively working to break down today. These examples relate mostly to internal corporate power struggles but also perceptions of gender bias.

In retrospect, it is frustrating that there was not the awareness that there is today with regard to J.E.D.I. initiatives, and that those in the positions with the power to implement positive change did not recognize or prioritize this need. I have learned to express my concerns about this realization much more strongly, but at the time it wasn’t something that was as clearly in focus as it is today (at least for me personally as someone just starting my own career following graduation). Fortunately, my more recent professional experiences have included much greater diversity and equality. This, along with our collective introspection as a profession as it relates to justice within the workplace, has heightened my (and hopefully our collective) awareness, where I am now significantly more conditioned to consciously look for any instances of inequity or inappropriateness, not just within the workplace but also as it relates to prospective clients or broader team members with whom we may collaborate.”

Patricia Joseph, AIA, NOMA
Project Designer at Cuningham
President-Elect of NOMA Colorado
Lecturer, CU Denver College of Architecture & Planning

“If you were to ask me this question when I started my career in Architecture I wouldn’t be able to jump into conversation about a specific experience. At that time, I had enough emotional intelligence to be uncomfortable or upset, but not enough to identify the injustice itself. Fast forward to today and I can pinpoint several injustices that I have experienced, and I can recall the various ways I had to address them. Understanding what unjust behavior is and being able to identify it can feel similar to subconscious bias. However hard it may be to see, it is very real for the receiving person.

Most recently, the leadership within NOMA Colorado have heard far too many stories of unjust behavior from our emerging professionals and recent graduates. In response to these reports we have been able to engage in raw, straightforward communication with those responsible to address the behaviors directly. While we are addressing the unjust behavior, we are also thinking ahead, thinking about prevention. NOMA Colorado truly cares about making our organizations a safe and empowering place for our local professionals. We will not ignore the stories we hear from our members. We’re standing our ground and will not promote firms that disregard injustices within their communities.

We all have come a long way in terms of witnessing injustices and being able to do something about it. However, there is more work to be done, the era of complacency is gone, and we all have the responsibility to react appropriately. It’s 2022, if “you see something, you say something”.”

Sarah Broughton, FAIA
AIA Colorado President-Elect
Principal, Rowland+Broughton

“My circle of influence has been crystallizing and I continue to understand my voice and advocate within our profession for a better tomorrow. As a firm leader, along with my partners, we are laser focused on running an equitable firm based on just practices. We are a proponent of the Equal Pay For Equal Work Act mandating visibility with pay and opportunities. Our firm lists salaries with all job postings and provides strategic and equitable compensation amongst the team positions. Equal pay for equal work is paramount and is our backbone, creating balance and equity. We internally and externally post all promotional opportunities available within the firm and the transparency has resulted in talented yet unexpected team members rising to the top. I am vocal about our policies with other leaders and have witnessed their organizations making a change to be a more just workplace.

Valuing our work with clients is a just behavior we continue to defend. Over the last nineteen years, we have been asked multiple times in RFPs and interviews to perform services for reduced fees or for free. This is unjust and when agreed to erodes the equity for our team and our profession. Agreeing to undervalue our work results in unsustainable internal work demands to make up for the unbilled time.

Recently, we were asked to participate in a RFP for an exciting project we had been following for months. Part of the request included presenting design ideas at the interview. This is old behavior that must change. In our response of regret, we took advantage of the opportunity to educate the client about why it is an unjust policy and a disservice to the profession to ask for free work. We used our voice to speak up and make change. Our response gave a message to our team and to our client that together we can shape a different future.

Professional and personally, I try to always recognize and correct my own biases or unjust behavior. Our workplace has evolved, and my behavior also has. For example, I used to rely on nearby teammates to help with unexpected requests. This action does not give equal opportunity to the entire team and I am now purposeful about reaching out to someone I don’t “see” often and engage them to work together. I encourage the entire team to acknowledge and respect each others’ skills and strive to give equal opportunities to members at every level. I hope to foster a culture of openness and opportunity, where there is no room for unjust actions.”

Kari Lawson, Assoc. AIA
AIA Colorado Associate Director
Designer, TreanorHL

“Injustice may be seen in all aspects of our society, and it is ingrained in our attitudes toward diversity and inclusion. These intersections form the fabric of our work/life dynamic, while in the background is a culture that fosters complicity in sustaining the status quo. As a BIPOC living and working in the United States, I’ve witnessed injustice in various forms, involving philosophy and/or overt prejudice. The safest approach was often to endure it or leave, but dealing with these difficulties in real time necessitates personal honesty and accountability, gained by experience.

Microaggressions are an interwoven part of our society. Unfortunately, implicit bias and stereotypes are commonplace when speaking from a position of comfort. “You’re articulate for a black person,” “You’re the exception because xyz,” or even a comment about my hair texture are examples of slights in conversations. This type of comfort makes it convenient to invalidate and refuse to acknowledge experiences. The emotional labor frequently falls on the marginalized group, so through introspection, I’ve learnt to pick my battles. There is an unsettling feeling of self-doubt when unpacking those comments. Is it because of my age/race/gender or is it because I’m not excelling at my tasks? How do I react in a way that doesn’t play into stereotypes? Changing people’s mind is not a sustainable objective but continuing a genuine narrative about accountability can be.

It’s ordinary to witness abuse of authority. It’s especially disheartening when there’s a sense of comfort in maintaining oblique narratives that establish a false sense of impartiality. In the year 2020, it became unacceptable to remain silent in the face of rampant police brutality. After 2020, many organizations recognized the value of forming a diversity committee and addressing injustice. In some cases, rather than encouraging actual progress, there was a diminishing value placed on authentic experiences, which undermined those initiatives. It’s promoting a “not all cops” mindset and refusing to support or engage with Black Lives Matter. From Emmett Teal to George Floyd, there has always been time for dialogue, but today there are true consequences for not participating in the effort to change.

There is no escape from the spectrum of racism; so, I emphasize the value of seeking places where differences are embraced and appreciated. I want to be associated with those who have the ability and desire to stand publicly against injustice. I recognize that my identity politics puts me on the front lines of navigating these events, but with every experience comes growth for the future.”

Victor Gonzalez, Assoc. AIA, NOMA
AIA Colorado J.E.D.I. Committee Member + Editorial Representative
Davis Partnership Architects

“One of the unfortunate experiences I have witnessed was when some fellow students were hosting an exhibition on anti-racist spaces. Two professors who were not attached to the project caught my attention as they purposefully went into the exhibit space with an agenda. Their agenda was not to “debate” the content, but rather try to “disprove” the student’s methodology and overall work.

It was clear that the professors showed up to the exhibit without taking any time to read through the content and reflect upon the work that was displayed. Instead, they immediately jumped to the students and demanded they explain their work. It was obvious that these professors did not want to take the time to actually think through or try to understand the exhibition. The professors would jump in and out of the conversation, playing devil’s advocate.

Reflecting on this situation, I’m disappointed that I did not intervene and start asking the professors questions about the exhibit itself. I believe doing so would not only have helped them start thinking about the work, but also probably help them realize that their approach towards the students was not correct. Looking at this incident from an even bigger picture it is clear that there was an unconscious bias towards the students of color as they were approached by two white professors. Since then, I have lived with the regret of not doing anything and often think of the result had I intervened. I learned from this experience and now I abide by the motto: “doing something is better than doing nothing”.”


We invite you to read or revisit previous questions in this series:

Question #1: “Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences.”

Question #2: “How can we as a profession break down barriers for minorities in architecture?”

Question #3: “Tell us about a time when you were not able to bring your full identity into your work.”

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to our One Question participants for their vulnerability and humility. Next month is our live panel discussion reflecting on this project at the AIA Colorado Practice + Design Conference, November 2-4, 2022, in Keystone.

One Question Series: Part 3, Being a Bystander

What happens when you ask the same question to five designers with five different backgrounds? You get five very different answers that will put you in someone else’s shoes. From firm principals to emerging professionals, we’re diving in to better understand—and share—others’ personal perspectives. This is the third installment of the monthly series—“One Question”—produced by our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee. 

In partnership with the Colorado Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, we invite you to see through the lenses of five different practitioners to learn how their unique backgrounds shape experiences in the firm and their approaches to design.


QUESTION NO. 3
Tell us about a time when you were not able to bring your full identity into your work.


Victor Gonzalez, Assoc. AIA, NOMA
AIA Colorado J.E.D.I. Committee Member + Editorial Representative
Davis Partnership Architects

“Throughout my experience in the practice of architecture I have found myself holding back from bringing my full identity into my work. As a Mexican queer professional, I believe the first barrier encountered is the draining biased standard of “professionalism”. The culture that has resulted from this so-called “professionalism” is rooted in white supremacy or the systemic, institutionalized centering of whiteness. In the practice and culture of architecture this may be seen as the belief that traditional standards and values are objective and unbiased. As a result, it has affected the way I present myself in the context of white and Western standards of dress, hairstyle, and overall communication.

I have stopped myself mid-sentence from speaking Spanish to my Spanish-speaking colleagues because of the uneasiness I’ve noticed in the facial expressions of those who don’t speak Spanish. How is a diverse professional expected to bring their full identity if the environment they are in is not suited to embrace their cultural difference? Language is a form of expression and allows a greater connection with a person who has a similar cultural background. On the other hand, speaking a different language that is not understood by the majority of those around and may come off as disrespectful. This perception of “disrespect” circles back to how there is a constant enforcement of a biased standard of “professionalism” in the workforce.

Once there is a greater conversation hosted around the problematic elements of how professionalism is defined, there can be a shift that allows other minorities to bring their authentic and rich backgrounds into their work. If there is not a greater analysis of the practice and its norms, there will continue to be the same shared unfortunate experiences for minorities.”

Wells Squier, AIA
AIA Colorado President
Principal, Anderson Hallas Architects

“After much contemplation and introspection, I can’t recall any professional experience where I felt I could not bring my full identity to work. I recognize my alignment with the stereotypical image of what an architect might “look” like: a white male that wears eyeglasses. Also, as previously shared in the first article of the series, early exposure to the profession facilitated my career development path. Adding my ethnicity and gender to this equation, it is apparent to me how that greatly amplified my access to career advancing opportunities, while many had to navigate through roadblocks and prejudices.

This is a challenging profession, and like anyone who is passionate about our profession and the responsibility it demands, I have worked very hard to advance and shape the career that is most meaningful to me. That said, it is quite humbling to consider the additional challenges so many of our colleagues have had to endure to achieve similar advancement in their careers. The demands of the profession are challenging enough, even before considering what it would be like to also have to navigate through stereotypes, prejudices, and racial and gender inequality injustices.

I sincerely believe the work we do as architects is enhanced through greater diversity and perspectives of those in practice. To successfully address the current challenges we face in the realm of housing, justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and the environment, we need to embrace diversity more aggressively as a profession, and celebrate everyone’s sincere and full identity as humans and architects. It is our responsibility to mentor and help develop the next generation of leaders while being inclusive of all races, genders and identities. There is zero room in our profession for bias against diversity; we need to continue to rewrite the outdated and excluding stereotype that architecture is a white male profession. Wherever and however possible, those in our community with the ability to share knowledge, provide opportunities and open doors for those who have been historically underrepresented must do so. It is this diversity that will allow us as a profession to continue to be effective in leading the response to the many challenges we face as humans.”

Patricia Joseph, AIA, NOMA
Project Designer at Cuningham
President-Elect of NOMA Colorado
Lecturer, CU Denver College of Architecture & Planning

“For this third question, I cannot help but think about the stories of my fellow NOMA Colorado Members. Since starting our chapter and being part of leadership, we have heard so much from our minority members about the vast experiences and difficulties they have faced. Most of those experiences underline that as minorities, we have been victims of micro-aggressions or discrimination due to our true selves being unacceptable at work. When the majority finds shock, confusion, or even outrage from the very evidence that our diversity presents, we recede, we mask, and we hide the parts that don’t make the cut.

We are not coming to work with our full selves. Almost daily and since the moment we start in architecture, we have given up some piece of our identity to survive in this industry. If you are caught between needing a job in architecture and not being a white male, you have given up some essence of yourself to feel secure in that position. Historically and even currently, surviving has come at the cost of leaving some part of us — some piece of our culture, race, gender, age, or identity — at home. We have been hiding our accents, our hair, our food, and anything else; to relieve the majority from having to accept what it truly means to be diverse and inclusive.

Other shared experiences include most minorities sacrificing the correct pronunciations of their names to be more agreeable and not face unwanted situations. We avoid saying certain words because our unique accents are too thick and we frequently code-switch during conversations. We avoid eating our favorite salmon dish because it is just a faux pas in America, and we politely tuck in our tight coiled hair for fear of someone asking to touch it.

So was there a time we had to hide our true identity from coming to work? Yes, many.

Sarah Broughton, FAIA
AIA Colorado President-Elect
Principal, Rowland+Broughton

“I understand that as a privileged, professional white woman, I have more opportunity to bring my full identity to my work. I feel fortunate and aim to create approachability and openness to all in our profession and beyond. My identity is rooted in curiosity, big-heartedness, and a sincerely positive forward-looking outlook. Through reflection, processing, and action, I have developed strategies to temper situations where everyone, including myself, can be more at ease and bring personal identities.

I have a big personality, which is interpreted by some as too assertive or intense. In those and other situations where it feels I can’t bring my full-self, I identify and align with common core values so it is possible to establish understanding and flow so good work can be completed in a fun, positive, and collaborative manner. I focus on the aspects of the project where my professional view and ethos will make the biggest impact and let other things become less of a priority. It is not apathy or quiet quitting, but rather preserving integrity and joy in the work.

My identity continues to evolve as I grow and gain experience. Recognizing when I am going through transition allows me to better share who I am with my teams and clients through my actions. My hope is this openness gives permission to others to share where they are in their journey, creating deeper respect for each other’s identity. We become and put forth our best selves and the work excels when we can all be our true selves.”

Kari Lawson, Assoc. AIA
AIA Colorado Associate Director
Designer, TreanorHL

“Bringing your “whole self” is now a major topic in the workplace and it’s an important part of bringing people together. I have witnessed that better synergies for collaborative work can be created by embracing authenticity and vulnerability. Fortunately, I’ve had many opportunities to express myself through my work in my professional career. I feel that it is one of my most valued assets and when my personal identity is supported it allows me to fully invoke my passions and strengths.

I’ve learnt several crucial insights when working on small project teams through the years. A particular lesson came from a project team based on personality types. As an INTP, I value information gathering and construction of a vision plan that moves from macro to micro and back again. The project was centered around a minority community with a desired solution that would be culturally sensitive, equitable, and engaging. If a cohesive vision is not established from the start, small project teams can be challenging. Almost immediately the team was split into factions and as the person with the least experience, my perspective was void. There was a breakdown in communication due to bruised egos and while the primary functions were addressed, there were three very different visual representations of the building. The result was a testament to brutalist architecture with an indifference to human scale, the complete opposite of the intended cultural hub.

Being a disruptor instead of being a wallflower would have saved us from a harsh critique. The teams were grouped in a way that an INTP should be invoking the spirit of “why?” and fostering that collaborative nature. By agreeing that my experience level was more important than my perspective and identity, I felt I failed in that task.

The lesson learnt was that my identity is a crucial distinctive component to creative problem solving. Ignoring my identity for the sake of others’ comfort will never result in an outcome that I am proud of. Growth occurs when you are learning to accomplish something you have never done before. Fully embracing my identity is part of that process of discovery, as is knowing that without that vital aspect, my work is just a job.”


We invite you to read or revisit previous questions in this series:

Question #1: “Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences.”

Question #2: “How can we as a profession break down barriers for minorities in architecture?”

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to our One Question participants for their vulnerability and humility. You can expect to hear more from them over the course of the coming months as we continue this monthly series, culminating with a live panel discussion reflecting on this project at the AIA Colorado Practice + Design Conference, November 2-4, 2022, in Keystone.

One Question Series: Part 2, Breaking Down Barriers

What happens when you ask the same question to five designers with five different backgrounds? You get five very different answers that will put you in someone else’s shoes. From firm principals to emerging professionals, we’re diving in to better understand—and share—others’ personal perspectives. This is the second installment of the new monthly series—“One Question”—produced by our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee. 

In partnership with the Colorado Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, we invite you to see through the lenses of five different practitioners to learn how their unique backgrounds shape experiences in the firm and their approaches to design.


QUESTION NO. 2
How can we as a profession break down barriers for minorities in architecture?


Kari Lawson, Assoc. AIA
AIA Colorado Associate Director
Designer, TreanorHL

“We can always improve our ability to empathize with people from different backgrounds. A passion for architecture can begin at any time with any one person, and it is critical to value that perspective. It is also necessary to recognize that architecture is an important humanistic undertaking that affects the destiny of all.

Architecture often feels elitist whereas the quality of a designer is determined by their schooling and their professional network. Not every person has the resources and guidance to make it all the way to the finish line and often this disadvantage falls onto minorities. Meeting people where they are and fostering encouraging environments is hugely important. This country has a strong foothold in systematic segregation practices which has major impacts on access to education. Developing robust institutional partnerships within minority communities can help bridge this gap. We can improve the accessibility of our profession by tailoring support to include reducing inequalities of participation, bolstering scholarships, and establishing visibility of equal representation. Mentorship can be as simple as a conversation and there is a strong need for access/investment. Volunteering our time and knowledge to these communities can change the demographics of the architecture profession profoundly.

Recruitment incentives and bias practices have also had an overwhelming impact on architecture. The unpaid or non-livable wage internship can be a barrier of access for minority communities without the appropriate support systems. Poor advising has also affected who can and who cannot be a part of this occupation. A diverse profession requires professionals to become more aware of how attitudes and beliefs may stigmatize others and impact recruitment. Being intentional and conscious about the words and phrases used on the daily are also an important factor for fostering a diverse environment.

Another obstacle to overcome is avoiding the glass cliff, but first we must lay the groundwork for success. We are approaching a moment beyond the glass ceiling where more diverse and minority candidates are entering the field. The glass cliff is when these candidates are more likely to be pressed into leadership roles with high risks for failure without a secure support system or foundation. Strategic hiring of minorities during a firm’s crisis can be interpreted as exploitation. High expectations can induce an exaggeration of error which places significantly underrepresented minorities at a larger disadvantage compared to their peers. A lack of achievement may manifest into further bias in the future hiring of minorities and could create —or exacerbate— a toxic culture. It is important to build equitable relationships to promote an inclusive workplace from within so that the strategy for positioning is well thought out and genuine.

I understand that there is no one solution to the complicated problem of integration within our profession. We can approach diversity improvement by examining the tiers of education, recruitment, and professional advancement. Improving representation in the industry will ultimately yield better access to design with a rise in innovative and unique perspectives.”

Victor Gonzalez, Assoc. AIA, NOMA
AIA Colorado J.E.D.I. Committee Member + Editorial Representative
Davis Partnership Architects

“I believe that in order to start breaking down barriers for minorities in architecture we need to focus on education.

The first step in breaking down barriers for minorities in architecture is the acknowledgment and conversation of how systemic racism is present in the built environment and the profession. This step should be taken in the early phases of education and must be acknowledged throughout our architectural post-secondary education. Acknowledging how this issue is apparent in our industry helps provide some clarity on how systemic racism throughout architecture has affected minorities in the past and present. What this approach also accomplishes is a step towards combating the unconscious bias that transpires throughout professional practice towards minorities.

The issue of systemic racism and how it is apparent throughout architecture is not analyzed enough to make any progress towards a more inclusive profession. For that same reason it is the primary cause for why minorities in this profession continue to face the same barriers generation after generation. Having these difficult and uncomfortable conversations should not be looked over but be conducted in order to make any significant progress for minorities.”

Wells Squier, AIA
AIA Colorado President
Principal, Anderson Hallas Architects

“It is my opinion that diversity of experiences and perspectives contributes to better design. As a profession we must encourage and support more diversity to help us all address and respond in meaningful and effective ways to the unique challenges we are facing with regard to climate action and societal inequities that persist. I believe for all of us who care about our profession and its ongoing legacy, the future we will continue to define must consciously think about how to break down barriers wherever and however possible. We need a movement of change, where we all recognize the problem, commit to actions we can control, and affect measurable improvement. I also recognize the challenges and ambiguity of this statement. I believe this will need to happen on many different levels and scales.

We need to continue to recognize and celebrate the achievements of minority architects and expose minority youth to these achievements. We need to tell the stories of minority architects like Paul Revere Williams, Loise Harris Brown, Philip Freelon, and many others who persevered to achieve success in our profession, despite the many obstacles and challenges they faced. We must inspire more youth to follow in these footsteps, while seeking out ways to instill from a young age that the pursuit of architecture is an achievable path for them. For me, along with many others in the Denver architecture community, this has included volunteer work with elementary school aged kids where we introduce them to the profession of architecture and help them realize that this is an achievable aspiration for them.

As I discussed in my response to last month’s question, I was inspired to pursue architecture from a young age due to exposure, and I never wavered in my own focus to achieve that goal. How can we collectively help inspire younger people who otherwise might not have the exposure to our profession from a young age? How do we create these opportunities for inspiration? I believe the answer (or at least a significant part of the answer) to this month’s question must include a broader discussion of how we as professionals can connect with minority youth to inspire, challenge, and support them from an early age. I also believe this is a responsibility of all of us who are passionate about our profession and who have the opportunity to open doors for others within our practices.”

Patricia Joseph, AIA, NOMA
Project Designer at Cuningham
President-Elect of NOMA Colorado
Lecturer, CU Denver College of Architecture & Planning

“As a profession, we break down barriers for minorities in architecture when we all, individually, engage in doing so. We as designers of the built environment need to stand up for what we believe is right, especially in the workplace where it is easy to hide behind company decisions. It takes consistent, persistent change to break down the barriers that have defined our practice and have held back minorities for so long. Yes, many barriers still exist and are being created, from systemic to targeted levels, and the individual can make those types of barriers thrive. We all have a voice, whether it is for this mission or inadvertently for something else, and we should employ it for the sake of others. We need allies who can remain honest to their dedication to change and to practicing the change that will allow minorities to overcome. We cannot waiver when our commitment to making equitable spaces is tested. We cannot waiver when a new policy in our office only works for the majority, when a POC interviewing for a new position does not make “the culture fit,” or when we forget our colleague’s pronouns again. If we all follow through with the subtle, delicate parts of breaking these barriers down, we will change the profession of architecture for everyone.

On a firm level, there are many things we can do. We can commit to creating transparent promotion processes, sponsor minorities financially for career-building opportunities outside of our minority networks, and actually pay our employees for the time needed to participate in initiatives being put in place to change this profession. When it comes time to support your community through outreach, like NOMA’s Project Pipeline, play an active role in organizing, and be there to patch the holes in the pipeline. As a profession, we can be accountable to our organizations when we are following through or not, no matter what level of leadership or years of experience.

We will break down barriers when we stop putting them up. It is easy to be complacent and comfortable continuing the way we practice and accepting the current conditions challenging our minorities within the profession. We should continue to question the structure of this industry and the motivations around our traditional work cultures. The profession should not seek to forget the past; it should remain woke to what it has learned from listening to and believing our BIPOC community. To continue breaking down barriers, we should remember that everyone has a place in architecture. We must never forget architecture is for everyone; we all have a relationship with the built environment, and there are barriers architects should never design to build.”

Sarah Broughton, FAIA
AIA Colorado President-Elect
Principal, Rowland+Broughton

“Barriers for minorities in architecture can be broken down by increasing exposure to what architecture is starting very early. Our firm is involved with the CAL Program (Cleworth Architectural Legacy Project) in Denver that exposes diverse dual language and minority K-8 classrooms to architecture education, inspiring learners to think critically about our built environment. This early hands-on experience fosters possibilities and dreams. The exposure must continue and the curtain be pulled back, casting a wide net into our communities and populations. I remember as a senior in high school, I approached my calculus teacher with a list of professions. He took the time to listen to me and understand my aptitudes and suggested that architecture was a good fit. How can we partner with high schools to make architecture well known and a profession that is viable and meaningful to their students? How do we partner with community programs to embrace diversity and expose the greater population to architecture? One example is the work my firm does with the Aspen Art Museum on a series of workshops on architecture that are open to all community members and give visibility to our profession.

A huge barrier to our profession is the cost of education. We need to continue to hire and write our job descriptions to allow for bachelor’s degrees and on the job training as the prerequisite for advancement. Too often, I speak with emerging professionals who think that the path to licensing and a career in architecture is through more education (and often suffocating debt). We need to be open to various paths, openly discuss them, and provide multiple examples of how to achieve success as an architect.

We as a profession need to continue to be open and collaborative. Architecture is about people and problem solving. By increasing visibility of what we do and how we do it, it will inspire dreams and continue to encourage architects to remain in the profession. We need to give permission to participate and ask questions. We need to refrain from preaching what it was like when we started in the profession (times have changed, that is inevitable). We need to encourage multiple viewpoints and paths to a fulfilling architectural career. We need to be generous with our mentoring and telling our story, because our journeys are diverse and hopefully your journey inspires the next architect to jump in!”


We invite you to read or revisit Question #1 of the series: “Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences.”

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to our One Question participants for their vulnerability and humility. You can expect to hear more from them over the course of the next four months as we continue this monthly series, culminating with a live panel discussion reflecting on this project at the AIA Colorado Practice + Design Conference, November 2-4, 2022, in Keystone.

One Question Series: Part 1, Diversity Exposure

What happens when you ask the same question to five designers with five different backgrounds? You get five very different answers that will put you in someone else’s shoes. From firm principals to emerging professionals, we’re diving in to better understand—and share—others’ perspectives. It’s a new monthly series—“One Question”—produced by our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee. 

In partnership with the Colorado Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, we invite you to see through the lenses of five different practitioners to learn how their unique backgrounds shape experiences in the firm and their approaches to design.


QUESTION NO. 1
Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences.


Sarah Broughton, FAIA
AIA Colorado President-Elect
Principal, Rowland+Broughton

“Curiosity is the root of creativity. I have always been curious and ask a lot of questions. This allows me to listen to everyone around me and to seek out opinions. It also adds in lots of observations! College was a huge exposure to the world of design. Upon graduation, I won a design competition and was awarded an internship with EDAW (now AECOM) in their Sydney, Australia, office under the helm of a great female leader, Jacinta McCann. Jacinta took me to meetings and gave me responsibility. She showed me how to be an equal design partner. 

After Australia, I moved to New York City. I landed a job with Kliment Halsband Architects. I immediately started working with Frances Halsband, FAIA, who at the time, had already been New York’s first female AIA President and was continuing to trailblaze women in architecture. Frances taught me how to dig deep and be a comprehensive designer. Through more practice and understanding, my contributions became more valuable. My interest was met with openness and knowledge sharing.

I continue to draw on the lessons these great women leaders gave to me and am thankful for their mentorship and patience to train me. Through living in great, diverse metropolitan cities to being an avid traveler meeting new people and cultures, my career continues to be enhanced. I remain curious, ask a lot of questions, and seek multiple viewpoints and experiences—always with the intention of being more open and contributing.”

Kari Lawson, Assoc. AIA
AIA Colorado Associate Director
Designer, TreanorHL

“Diversity is not a matter of opinion for me—it is my entire life and my cultural outlook. My experience as a Black woman in this industry has exposed me to many different opportunities where I’ve needed to acclimate to foreign environments. I’ve always interpreted these instances as a positive in my growth and molding in my career. My studies at Auburn were the catalyst and most impactful to this exposure.

I recall participating in an interdisciplinary charrette with landscape designer Walter Hood for a Birmingham farmers market. This was the first time I had worked with designers who looked like me. I most remember the passion and explorative creative thought in the question: ‘What if?’ A light came on in my head, and the energy of the work was finally palpable. I had become accustomed to believing in my ideas or myself as the garnish or side dish to the main event. Yet in a single moment, I realized that there is validity in my thought process and how depriving sharing these expressions is only a detriment to the creative problem solving required. This is one example where my only wish was that I was more insightful, more involved, and more confident. I came away from it with the idea to ‘leave it all on the table.’

Currently, I don’t have as many opportunities to get that kind of exposure, but I realize I can be that experience or person for others. It brings me to a position as a contributor, which is incredibly important and necessary. My diverse experiences have empowered me in that while my place at the table revolves, the importance of contributing my thoughts remains just as important.”

Victor Gonzalez, Assoc. AIA, NOMA
AIA Colorado J.E.D.I. Committee Member + Editorial Representative
Davis Partnership Architects

“Experiencing diverse people, places, and experiences have allowed me to not only escape from my comfort zone, but also explore how unique and different perspectives can enhance the world.

In relation to architecture, oftentimes, there is a high level of comfort in staying within what is taught in American, post-secondary architecture education. Unfortunately, this does not allow us to see beyond what other cultures have done with the built environment to enhance the human experience. I think that, as a practice, there still needs to be a level of exposure to this.

Oftentimes being a minority in the profession of architecture has allowed me to tap into my own identity and cultural background. Being Mexican, I often think about how my identity can be reflected throughout my work. The practice of architecture stems from an architectural education that is primarily focused on American and Eurocentric examples, and this foundation fails to bring in other enriching examples that are non-western.

Throughout my college education, I found myself bringing influence into my studio projects from the Aztec and Mayan people. These civilizations brought about significant architectural achievements that were rarely taught about in my college education. Whenever I would explain this inspiration behind my projects my peers would be fascinated and shocked that they had not heard about these architectural feats before and even ask for resources where they could possibly learn more. What I learned from this experience was that although I was many times the only minority in the room, my cultural background, perspectives, and experiences would contribute so much to those around me. To me, this experience demonstrated that diversity is a contribution in itself, and it has the potential to contribute to an environment.

As I have now kicked off my professional career, I hope that I can continue to share my cultural experiences with my colleagues.”

Wells Squier, AIA
AIA Colorado President
Principal, Anderson Hallas Architects

“My father led a retail store planning design firm, where he worked on projects throughout North America. When I was young, I would spend a lot of time in his office, where my interest and passion for architecture started. My father was my greatest inspiration when I was young, and because of his affinity for design, our home was full of many mid-century classic furniture pieces and books related to design and architecture. This exposure allowed me, in some ways, to start the pursuit of education toward the architectural career I was so focused to achieve before I reached the age of 10. However, my father’s inspiration upon me, in retrospect, was devoid of much diversity. I mention this background, because today, we are discussing critically how to enhance diversity and equity in our profession, and it is not lost on me that the road I followed to become an architect was a much easier path to navigate than it has been for so many others. 

International travel and time spent studying abroad during college and in the years since continue to have an immense impact on my career, due to the immersion in different cultures it provided. A broad global perspective is something so important to us as architects. With that said, it really wasn’t until I moved to Chicago for work that I was exposed to widely diverse people who truly enhanced my career so significantly. Almost immediately upon starting my position with SOM I experienced immense humility. The rigor, intensity, and talent of those I found myself working with caused me to realize how limited my experiences and exposure to diversity had been in the developmental years of my career.  I was so fortunate to work with talented men and women of all backgrounds and ethnicities, including Korea, Serbia, China, the Netherlands, the list goes on. These were some of the hardest working people I had ever interacted with professionally, and I learned so very much from them—lessons I reflect on regularly to this day. In some ways, I think I knew my path to the desk in that office was a bit smoother than the path many of my friends and colleagues at that firm had to follow to get to that same place, and this weighed on me, but in a way that made me a better architect and person. Because of this, I was inspired to work harder to earn their appreciation and respect, aside from their friendship I valued so much, while also gaining a greater appreciation for the struggles they had to overcome to achieve their professional goals. These experiences continue to push me harder today and to never take anything for granted. We have an immense responsibility as architects—and the profession demands that we all seek our highest potential—for the betterment of others and the planet.”

Patricia Joseph, AIA, NOMA
Project Designer at Cuningham
President-Elect of NOMA Colorado
Lecturer, CU Denver College of Architecture & Planning

My career has been enhanced most recently by exposure to diverse people within the profession. I know distinctively how my career has flourished during times when I had high exposure to diverse professionals within the architecture community. Those diverse experiences have exposed my career to new opportunities and events I would likely not have considered or taken. Spending time with those who are different than I am is a diverse experience each time, most often happening in diverse places.

When I attended grad school at SCI-Arc for my master’s degree, I had the best time in my life, and I was in love with architecture. My colleagues and I would speak different languages and we shared our cultural dishes, sometimes right in studio. By being different individuals, we all leaned into our uniqueness, allowing us to learn architecture in our own ways without shame or denial. While I excelled, I was surrounded by diversity, I was also being taught by the most diverse group of educators in my life. My professors spoke multiple languages, and they were women, too. Experiencing architecture through this diverse lens elevated my thoughts on education and who can be an educator. I am a lecturer at the College of Architecture and Planning at University of Colorado Denver, because of the example I was shown where the value of one’s ideas and understandings around architectural education were not linked to one’s outward identifiers.

Another season of tremendous growth happened most recently when I obtained licensure while I was co-founding the NOMA Colorado Chapter. At a time where I should have no extra time or energy for other things outside of work, I found myself constantly inspired by the growing number of diverse professionals I was becoming acquainted with. Gathering so many diverse individuals who believed in the mission was motivation to get through the architectural registration exams. I have been thriving in the company of those who have diverse experiences to share and who have been enhanced by those experiences themselves. Now, we are dreaming and planning events around growing the next generation of architects. My career in architecture involves thinking about diverse experiences to jumpstart someone else’s career in architecture with Project Pipeline Summer Camps. I know how much my career has been enhanced by being in diverse places and I want that for the next Black woman architect, too.

Constant exposure to someone, somewhere, or something different lends us to constant reminders to be open minded, to think differently, to design differently—that’s the enhancement. And as architects—that’s the career.


We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to our One Question participants for their vulnerability and humility. You can expect to hear more from them over the course of the next four months as we continue this monthly series, culminating with a live panel discussion reflecting on this project at the AIA Colorado Practice + Design Conference, November 2-4, 2022, in Keystone.

Welcome, 2021 Members!

Our 2,400 FAIA, AIA, Assoc. AIA, and new graduate members all comprise the AIA Colorado community, and we’re honored to recognize the following members who joined or transferred in from another state to Colorado in 2021. Please help us welcome the following new members.

2021 AIA and Assoc. AIA Members

Abigya T. Abiyo, Assoc. AIA

Lynn Acton, AIA

Douglas E. Adams, AIA

Mark E. Adcock, AIA

Casey Alexander, Assoc. AIA

Danya Alheriz, Assoc. AIA

Andrew P. Allmon, AIA

Filimon Alvarez, Assoc. AIA

Saeed Amirchaghmaghi, Assoc. AIA

Kenyon Anderson, Assoc. AIA

Antonio J. Andrade, Assoc. AIA

Matthew Andronowitz, Assoc. AIA

Chris Antonopoulos, Assoc. AIA

Pamela April, Assoc. AIA

Elizabeth R. Arnold, AIA

Jacques A. Artel, Assoc. AIA

Susan M. Atkinson, Assoc. AIA

Jaime E. Aubry, Assoc. AIA

Evan Auer, Assoc. AIA

Crystal Babb, Assoc. AIA

Michael Baden, AIA

Abigail Balderrama-Magallanes, Assoc. AIA

Roger Barak, AIA

Gabe Bellowe, AIA

Patrick R. Berrend, AIA

Hailey Beyer, AIA

Mark W. Bila, Assoc. AIA

Jonathan K. Bock, AIA

James F. Bock, Assoc. AIA

Robert Brashears, AIA

Christopher W. Brettell, Assoc. AIA

Kyle L. Brunner, Assoc. AIA

Greg Bruskivage, Assoc. AIA

Adam L. Buehler, AIA

Megan K. Burke, Assoc. AIA

Alyson E. Burkhalter, Assoc. AIA

Mary H. Bussard, AIA

Brandon Byrd, Assoc. AIA

William R. Campbell, AIA

Michelle Anne Canniff, Assoc. AIA

Oscar Carlson, Assoc. AIA

Adam Casias, Assoc. AIA

Jordan Tierney Caylor, Assoc. AIA

Benjamin R. Charpentier, Assoc. AIA

Kayla Chenery, AIA

Ashley Clark Adams, AIA

Kirsten A. Coe, AIA

Janna H. Cole, Assoc. AIA

Ryan Cook, AIA

Catherine A. Crain, AIA

Andrea L. Cunningham, AIA

Marc P. Daubert, Assoc. AIA

Jennifer M. Davis, Assoc. AIA

Lauren A. Davis, AIA

Alan Doggett, Assoc. AIA

Yinhui Dong, Assoc. AIA

Joseph M. Dooling, AIA

Meghan Duarte-Silva, AIA

Krista L. Dumkrieger, AIA

Craig A. Dunn, Assoc. AIA

Benjamin S. Durham, Assoc. AIA

Luke W. Durkin, AIA

Ashley Duvenhage, Assoc. AIA

Jennifer B. Edwards, Assoc. AIA

Samantha N. Eichhorn, Assoc. AIA

Amaleed E. Elmehdiwi, Assoc. AIA

Nicholas J. Esquibel, Assoc. AIA

Lauren C. Falcon, AIA

Charles W. Fielder, AIA

Nicholas H. Fish, Assoc. AIA

Corey J. Fisher, AIA

Michael C. Folwell, AIA

Rena M. Foster, AIA

Kit Frey, Assoc. AIA

Craig M. Friedman, AIA

Anna S. Friedrich, Assoc. AIA

Douglas L. Fullen, AIA

Christopher W. Fuller, AIA

Christian Fussy, AIA

Ben Garcia, Assoc. AIA

Tamrat Z. Getu, Assoc. AIA

Jason C. Geving, AIA

Patrick J. Gleason, AIA

Iulia Gnatyk, Assoc. AIA

Austin S. Gohl, AIA

Victor Gonzalez, Assoc. AIA

Christopher R. Grantham, Assoc. AIA

Aaron Gray, AIA

Garrett E. Greene, Assoc. AIA

Justin Gross, AIA

Rebecca Groves, AIA

Adrienne Gullia, Assoc. AIA

Shilpa Gupta, Assoc. AIA

Roger Hall, AIA

Jack Hamilton, Assoc. AIA

Timothy R. Hansen, Assoc. AIA

Kyle J. Hanson, AIA

Ethan Harper, Assoc. AIA

Imani Haupt, Assoc. AIA

Katherine E. Hawkins, AIA

Travis A. Hendrix, AIA

Ryan Hess, AIA

Seth Hmielowski, AIA

Grant W. Horton, Assoc. AIA

Josephine Hsu, Assoc. AIA

Stefani G. Huey, AIA

Andrew Huggins, Assoc. AIA

Christopher Hurley, AIA

Ariana N. Irizarry, Assoc. AIA

Joseph Irwin, AIA

Jonathan W. Jaeger, AIA

Erik Jansson, AIA

Alex P. Jauch, AIA

Nils Jergensen, Assoc. AIA

Emily L. Johns, AIA

Amanda Johnson, Assoc. AIA

Electra Johnson, Assoc. AIA

Boyd L. Johnson, AIA

Eric C. Jones, AIA

Christopher R. Jones, AIA

Claire Jordan, AIA

Martin Joyce, Assoc. AIA

Chancie Keenan, AIA

Alexander M. Kendle, AIA

Tamzida Khan, Assoc. AIA

Sarah T. KIA, AIA

Jessica L. Killinger, AIA

Jennifer Kimura, AIA

Lisa R. Kistner, AIA

Jenny K. Kivett, AIA

John W. Koblosky, Assoc. AIA

Madelyn R. Kodros, AIA

Eric J. Kuhn, Assoc. AIA

Malgorzata Gosia L. Kung, AIA

Euginie Kwan, Assoc. AIA

Sarah J. Laake, Assoc. AIA

Christian Ladefoged, Assoc. AIA

Kerin N. LaFollette, AIA

Alexandra Lansing, Assoc. AIA

Andrew T. Lemmer, AIA

Shane W. Lenard, Assoc. AIA

Hengchen Liu, AIA

Edgar F. Llamas, Assoc. AIA

Erik K. Lobeck, AIA

Anthony J. Loughran, AIA

Germaine Low, Assoc. AIA

Jennifer Lozano Castillo, Assoc. AIA

Benjamin Ludeman, Assoc. AIA

Jacqueline A. Lund, Assoc. AIA

Hana Maclean, AIA

Kevin Madera, Assoc. AIA

Brian A. Majeski, Assoc. AIA

Sean R. Maloney, AIA

Chas M. Marquez, AIA

Natalie A. Martin, Assoc. AIA

Shawn K. Mather, AIA

Daniel Matoba, AIA

Sean P. McGovern, Assoc. AIA

Joselinne Mendoza-Ortega, Assoc. AIA

Kelsey Mercer, Assoc. AIA

Tyler Mikolajczak, Assoc. AIA

Ethan Miller, Assoc. AIA

Matthew R. Miller, AIA

Michelle L. Miller, AIA

Daniel H. Mills, AIA

Alec H. Mingle, Assoc. AIA

Fatima Montano, Assoc. AIA

Olivia Moore, Assoc. AIA

Sarah Morasso, AIA

Stephen P. Morton, AIA

Kaye S. Mullaney, AIA

Ajibola Murtala, Assoc. AIA

Adam C. Nault, AIA

Shannon Newberry, Assoc. AIA

Kevin J. Noble, Assoc. AIA

Sean P. O’Bryant, AIA

Kieran Patrick O’Halloran, AIA

Graham Oden, Assoc. AIA

Karen Offer, Assoc. AIA

Olamide Olorunkosebi, Assoc. AIA

Mahamoud D. Omar, Assoc. AIA

Hans Osheim, AIA

Brent Otsuka, Assoc. AIA

William Otte, AIA

Andrea Paiz, Assoc. AIA

Joshua D. Palmer, AIA

Dhriti Pangasa, Assoc. AIA

SeungHee Park, AIA

Cameron Parker, Assoc. AIA

Sindhuri Patllola, AIA

Megan Paus, AIA

Derrick Paus, AIA

Lee P. Payne, AIA

Allison Pearlman, AIA

Mayraj Peer, AIA

Elizabeth Perry, Assoc. AIA

Chris S. Peterson, Assoc. AIA

Alexis Petre, AIA

Page Phillips, AIA

Vivek Prasad, Assoc. AIA

Darby K. Prendergast, AIA

Derek S. Price, AIA

Zareen Prithvi, Assoc. AIA

Jacob D. Richie, AIA

Renee Ritchie, Assoc. AIA

Benjamin Robbins, AIA

Brian Rogers, AIA

Genevieve E. Rogers, AIA

Sheena O. Rude, Assoc. AIA

Aaron M. Rule, Assoc. AIA

Brandon Rutledge, AIA

Rohini Saksena, AIA

Salima Salim, Assoc. AIA

Adam C. Savage, Assoc. AIA

Morgan Scott, Assoc. AIA

Samuel L. Severns, AIA

Darek Shapiro, AIA

Tallyn Sherman, Assoc. AIA

Lauren Sherman-Boemker, Assoc. AIA

Edward L. Shure, AIA

Anyeli Silva, Assoc. AIA

John M. Simon, AIA

Anna B. Slowey, AIA

Maureen E. Smith, AIA

Jacob L. Smith, AIA

Kristen Spanbauer, Assoc. AIA

Amanda E. Spice-Knoeller, Assoc. AIA

Evan Spurrell, AIA

Joe N. Stainbrook, AIA

Kristen S. Stanford, AIA

Milo J. Stark, Assoc. AIA

Kelly Steinway, Assoc. AIA

Samantha Strang, AIA

Zachary Strong, Assoc. AIA

Connor M. Sullivan, Assoc. AIA

Blake Sullivan, AIA

Lauren Tatusko, AIA

Eric Thuerk, Assoc. AIA

Alexander Udolkin, AIA

Lucy VanDusen, AIA

David Vasquez, Assoc. AIA

Lance G. Vigil, AIA

Belen Vigil, Assoc. AIA

Maryia Vinogradova, Assoc. AIA

Natalia Vladimirova, AIA

Chelsea L. Wade, AIA

Ariel G. Walden, Assoc. AIA

Abby M. Waldo, AIA

Yeceng Wang, Assoc. AIA

Eric H. Ward, AIA

Grant Warmerdam, Assoc. AIA

Aleks Webster, Assoc. AIA

Ronald Wells, AIA

Chandler M. Willie, Assoc. AIA

John Willits, Assoc. AIA

Ian F. Wilson, Assoc. AIA

Jess C. Wilton, AIA

David M. Wirth, Assoc. AIA

Rachel Wolf, AIA

Jamie Wolff, AIA

Harry Worsham, Assoc. AIA

Christine Wright, Assoc. AIA

Tyler J. Wurr, AIA

Ruichen Xu, Assoc. AIA

Urmica Yelavarthy, Assoc. AIA

John Yoon, AIA

Zarah Zalazar, Assoc. AIA

Tianjian Zhou, Assoc. AIA

Francesca Zucchi, AIA

Transferred In

Scott Abernethy, AIA

Pratiksha J. Achari, Assoc. AIA

Andrea Anderson, AIA

Andrew T. Berry, AIA

Charles C. Boyd, AIA Member Emeritus

Austyn T. Chesser, Assoc. AIA

Corey Collier, AIA

Brenna D. Costello, AIA

Amy E. Esposito, AIA

Alexander J. Goldberg, AIA

Avignon T. Greene, Assoc. AIA

Allison W. Haynes, AIA

Douglas C. Heaton, AIA

Joshua W. Hendershot, AIA

Michael Holliday, Int’l Assoc. AIA

Asa K. Houston, AIA

Andrew L. Lane, AIA

Yvonne Lee, AIA

Carrie B. Leneweaver, AIA

John T. Mills, AIA

Michael L. Rickenbaker, AIA

Steven J. Riojas, AIA

Todd A. Tierney, AIA

Ronald K. Wiendl, AIA

Zachary S. Wilson, AIA

Aimee J. Woodall, AIA

Victoria M. Ziegler, Assoc. AIA

Jati Zunaibi, Assoc. AIA

Year in Review with the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

Chairs Janna Ferguson, AIA, and Kaci Taylor, AIA

In 2021, the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Committee was led by co-chairs Janna Ferguson, AIA, Partner at Pyatt Studio (left), and Kaci Taylor, AIA, Founder of THE5WH (right). This year marked the second year where committee goals focused on improving firm culture by incorporating J.E.D.I. practices into action. In addition, the committee addressed the accessibility of architecture education and how to best serve marginalized communities throughout Colorado. The committee also presented and engaged this work by actively hosting webinars that assisted in cultivating a culture of belonging throughout the practice. We caught up with Taylor and Ferguson to learn more about their experiences as the co-chairs this past year and how they best served the Colorado community.

What initially drew you to this group?

Kaci Taylor (KT): I was curious to see the direction in which AIA was approaching J.E.D.I. issues.

Janna Ferguson (JF): I was originally interested in being an AIA volunteer in general as a way to meet other professionals in Colorado and advocate for needed change within the profession. I chose the J.E.D.I. Committee to continue my personal commitment to be an advocate for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

How has this committee grown or changed since you initially got involved?

JF: To me, 2020 was a year for brainstorming ideas and projects we could pursue as a committee. It has taken shape into a committee with goals that are multi-faceted: (1) to improve J.E.D.I practices within the profession, starting with increasing awareness, understanding, and providing support for firms to take action; and (2) to introduce the architectural profession and education programs to underserved populations in K-12 schools and colleges.

What are some of the accomplishments this year you are most proud of?

KT: We hosted a great webinar series this summer that focused on J.E.D.I. issues.

JF: The three webinars led by the committee were very successful. It is also very exciting to see the Architecture Pathways map published on AIA Colorado’s website.

What do you think is the biggest contribution that this committee brings to the Colorado architecture community?

KT: We are trying to position ourselves as a resource for community growth within the profession, a place for others to come to if they have questions or need direction as to how to implement policies, procedures, and even design focusing around J.E.D.I. topics.

JF: In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2020, conversations about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the United States seemed to take over; it is crucial that these conversations and the efforts that come from them continue to be at the forefront of our thinking. I think the J.E.D.I. committee can continue to both continue the conversation within the architecture community and work on projects that work toward lasting change.

As AIA Colorado strives to create a culture of belonging, what steps have you taken to reach beyond Denver?

KT: Through our virtual webinar series, we had the opportunity to reach every AIA member in Colorado.

JF: Pyatt Studio is located in Boulder; I’ve participated in, and will continue to participate in, the North section social events along with other committee members.

What are some immediate and long-term plans we can hope to see from the committee?

KT: More learning events and hopefully more integration with other committees and how they can bring J.E.D.I. practices and thoughts to their work, as well.

JF: Immediately, the committee can focus internally, increasing our awareness as individuals and as a group about J.E.D.I issues. In the long term, I truly hope the committee can help lead the Colorado community to a more just, equitable, and diverse place.

What one thing do you wish the membership and profession at large knew about this topic or what your committee is doing?

KT: That this work isn’t a check-the-box type of work and that you are never done learning and re-evaluating. The focus on J.E.D.I should not be to make yourself look good but to actually be and DO good with the knowledge gained in learning about J.E.D.I. issues.

JF: Overall, I wish that the efforts to increase J.E.D.I. were less focused on performance or participation and more focused on implementing actual change. For example, having a J.E.D.I. committee or serving on that committee in itself is not enough. It is performative. It is crucial to take the next step, creating and maintaining—through policy/programs—positive change.

Considering Fellowship: A Peek Behind the Process

Phil Gerou, FAIA

As we approach 2022 and evaluate professional goals for the coming year, we invite you to learn more about and consider AIA Fellowship.

But what is an AIA Fellow? How does one achieve Fellowship? And what is the role of the College of Fellows Nominating Committee? Beyond our webinar, “Demystifying Fellowship,” we wanted to know even more about the process, so we caught up with Phil Gerou, FAIA, who heads the College of Fellows Nominating Committee. Read on as he sheds light on the submission process, offers tips, and shoots us straight on its exclusivity.

Why does Fellowship matter?

It is the highest recognition, other than the gold medal award, given to architects recognizing their work, their service, and volunteerism. It is not an award for longevity in the profession, but for merit and effort.

What is the role of the Fellowship Nominating Committee?

The committee tracks eligible AIA Colorado members, length of membership, membership activity, and they encourage select members to apply. What else does the committee do? A lot. They even preview submissions and help coach applicants to have a better chance of being elevated. It is time consuming and arduous. The committee is there to review preliminary submittals, offer suggestions, advice, and assistance to be moved forward to the national level.

Is Fellowship awarded to young architects?

Actually, yes. The average age in Colorado, which is in line with the national average is 55 years old. The youngest person in Colorado to receive Fellowship was 41, and that was nearly 40 years ago. Colorado also has the distinction of the oldest person being awarded at 84 years old. That was Temple Buell. DC has awarded Fellowship to someone 36 and Baltimore to someone 38 years old. It takes time to build up your volunteer work, and you have to be a member for 10 years, although not consecutively.

Fellowship carries an air of elitism. How can that be changed?

It is a prestigious award and takes effort to submit and be approved nationally. Fellowship is greater than your body of work. It is about what you give back with, and that is rather humble.

With justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) an imperative of this association, how is the Fellowship Committee working toward being more inclusive?

Locally and nationally, the AIA is working to be inclusive, and fellowship is reflecting that change.

For more than 30 years, the Fellows Nominating Committee has been representative of the AIA Colorado membership and has welcomed new members whenever they have expressed an interest in our objectives and a willingness to contribute time and insights.

Colorado is unique in having a Fellowship Committee that is dedicated to elevating its architects to this level. Colorado is one of few states to have a local chapter that supports Fellowship. In 1992, it was realized that it had been 6+ years since anyone from the state had been nominated. The Fellows Nominating Committee was formed and has been active ever since. The first year, 1993, they put forward six names, and all six made it. The committee is there to encourage Fellowship to lay out a path for fellowship and to assist with the process.

This committee keeps track of all AIA Colorado members to be there to work with and assist you when you are ready.

How does an AIA member get to Fellowship?

You showcase your volunteerism. It is more about how you give back beyond your daily work life; it is what you give and do with your community, to students, by mentoring, or by speaking and writing. It is partly about speaking to groups and through writing. It is not just about your body of work.

There are very specific criteria outlined by the AIA. There are six Objects of Nomination. The most common objects are one and two.

What tips do you have for applicants?

 1.) If you are working for a large firm, utilize templates they have in place and get support from the firm with your application. 2.) Hire a writer to work with you. This comes with a price tag—upwards of $10k. 3.) Write it yourself. You know your own story. You have to plan on carving out the time it takes to tell that story. Not all architects are good at telling their own stories. That is why the committee is there and they have been keeping an eye on you and know what you do. They are there to help you get there.

Gerou warns that the process is a long one, and it requires you to tell your true story. Who, what, when, why, how? Prove it. Those interested in submitting should plan to spend about a year preparing a submission.

If you are interested in helping others become Fellows and want to work with a dedicated group, reach out to Phil Gerou, FAIA to get involved.

Meet the 2022 Board of Directors

President

Wells Squier, AIA

President-Elect

Sarah Broughton, AIA

Past President

Rachael Johnson, AIA

Secretary

Sheva Willoughby, AIA

Treasurer

Marc Swackhamer, Assoc. AIA

Associate Director

Kari Lawson, Assoc. AIA

At-Large Director

Ron Abo, AIA

Denver Director

Julianne Scherer, AIA

South Director

James Childs, AIA

West Director

Scott Munn, AIA

North Director

Scott Rodwin, AIA

Meet the Chair: Academy of Architecture for Health Knowledge Community

Associate Principal, TreanorHL

Mike Hagan, AIA

What’s happening in the healthcare industry? It’s no simple task of staying apprised for the Academy of Architecture for Health Knowledge Community, chaired by Mike Hagan, AIA. We caught up with Hagan to learn the latest happening in the knowledge community and the ever-changing healthcare industry.

How did you come to chair this committee?

My initial involvement with the new committee immediately generated much excitement, thanks to the great key members involved. The steering committee members helped encouraged me to maintain a high-level of commitment to help the organization succeed from its infancy and suggested a chair role for the 2021 year, which I was grateful to accept and embrace.

What drew you to this group initially?
With a passion for healthcare design and construction, this organization piqued immediate interest for “sharing health knowledge” within the community.

How has this committee grown or changed since you initially got involved?
The committee continues to grow with numbers of participants and thanks to the dedicated steering committee members from various local design firms. Diversity of knowledge continues to be strong. The committee has also become more structured in the recent year with defined roles and responsibilities for each steering committee member.

What are some of the accomplishments this year you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the committees success this year during very unique times of the continued virtual setting. Despite the challenges of not being in person, the group has maintained focus and a result had many successful events with participation continuing to increase.

What are some immediate and long-term plans we can hope to see from the committee?
The committee will continue to actively provide knowledge sharing opportunities though events and partnerships with other organizations. In the future, we hope with the growth of members and participants the knowledge will extend beyond architects to other important members in the healthcare community.

What one thing do you wish the membership and profession at large knew about this topic or what your committee is doing?
The committee is not only full of knowledge, but also—and most importantly—we are resources.

© AIA Colorado 2022