Just Architecture 2020 Practice + Design Conference
Day 3 Recap: “Justice Equity, Diversity + Inclusion”

 

 


By Victor Gonzalez

History seems to be repeating itself, and we cannot wait any longer to make architecture influence equitable change around us. Day three of the AIA Colorado Just Architecture 2020 Practice + Design Conference highlighted the constant effort in creating a more equitable practice, showcased by the AIA Colorado Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee. The committee itself realized that we needed an action to make sure there are more entryways into the field of architecture and were determined to increase awareness and access to architectural education. This continuous effort was highlighted nationally through the presentations of, “Just Speak Up,” by Carole Wedge and the importance of women leading the future of the profession. Following her presentation was, Milton S. F. Curry, who voiced his vision for the future of the design field through, “Just Constructions” presentation showcasing the power in outsourcing architectural education to other underserved communities. Day three of the keynotes closed with a powerful keynote, Pascale Sablan, who explained the various mediums in which the current and future generations of BIPOC designers have empowered themselves in order to shape the future of “Just Architecture.”

Over the noon hour, students joined members of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee for a virtual “Ask an Architect” event, where architects with diverse backgrounds answered questions on architecture as a profession and higher education. The afternoon featured three lively breakout discussions with the panelists, encouraging us all to become more self-aware and step in in our firms to begin to create change. A panel discussion with all presenters left attendees with powerful takeaways, and the event culminated with a virtual livestream of the “Women in Architecture” projection, which takes place in downtown Denver all through October.

Once again, the Practice + Design Conference left us informed, connected, and above all, inspired. Check out some of the key takeaway moments below, and we’ll see you next year.




PANEL DISCUSSION CAPTURE

 



SESSION NOTES

Carole Wedge | Just Speak Up

  • Find your confidence and your voice
  • Things that I have experienced made me realize that it is valid and important to learn to build your own capacity and ability to speak up.
  • Alumni from CU Boulder – BENVD
  • Alumni from Boston Architectural College – BARCH
  • Kemper Award 2020
  • CEO in 2018
  • FAIA in 2008
  • President in 2004
  • Principal in 2000
  • College and University Leadership 2000
  • Library Leadership 1994
  • Joined the firm in 1986 working in the mail room as a student at the Boston Architectural College.
  • Was inspired by her father’s word that was finding her own confidence in the world
  • “Journey of your career and your life is one you have to design and make happen.”
  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world, Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Having that voice to have that conversation in order to open up that opportunity.
  • “Stay open to learning.”
  • Learning to speak up for things and learning to advocate
  • How do women lead, how do people of color lead?
  • “The culture and the people define the type of firm you are.”
  • Any woman in America has experienced a sexist comment.
  • You have to build your muscle through empathy.
  • “Our core values guide us.”
    • They shape our vision, our culture, and reflect our beliefs as a company, and as individuals.
    • Passion: celebrate your passion for design.
    • Diversity: Embrace different perspectives, listen to every voice.
    • Empathy: realize the impact of what we do.
    • Integrity: Do the right thing, the right way, every time.
    • Balance: Whether it’s in design or in work and life, we strike balance in everything we do.
  • Building culture:
    • Inspire: we encourage each other to do better, be better.
    • Foster: we empower the next generation of visionaries with a passion for design.
    • Respect: we recognize the ideas and work of our peers with the highest regard.
  • Shepley Bulfinch is women-owned and led.
  • A more diverse team will be a naturally more successful team.
    • Makes better design and makes a better field.
  • The diversity needs to be measured at different levels.
  • What is the interculturalism of the firm?
  • There needs to be a pipeline built on where your employees come from.
  • There should be an extensive outreach to BIPOC communities.
  • We have to go look at other places that we are not accessing, because how are they supposed to access us if we are not present?
  • AIA Convention
    • Carole Wedge was inspired to create a scholarship stipend to get students to travel to the convention center in Boston.
  • Justice and equity lead to diversity, inclusion and belonging.
  • Racial justice is climate change.
  • Designers can have a powerful impact on the environment.

Milton Curry | Just Constructions

  • USC School of Architecture
  • Focus on the process of making and becoming
  • Making and constructing culture through the creation of buildings and spaces.
  • From Fresno, CA (1960s)
    • Parents had migrated from Denver.
  • Born during the Civil Rights Movement
  • As a profession you are not a profession that has distinguished itself from the causes of the Civil Rights Movement and you are most distinguished from your thunderous silence and…” (Whitney Young)
  • I was going to have to view my life through activism.
  • Individuality activism is not accessible to all and it is not guaranteed to be a success.
  • Just constructions is a way of attending to our basic needs and our access to the natural world.
  • I know how justice looked like and how people that were ethical constructed their lives and careers.
  • There is power and meaning of protesting through structural change.
  • Although the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, it was a gateway to replace this form of racism and oppression entrenched in our infrastructure.
  • The university must be an ally on how we enable to build these social bonds with a common sense of values.
  • Accessibility to all is what creates opportunities for all.
  • Educating ourselves of the nature of the harm that was inflicted on us.
  • Why is it that the urgency of now gets shifted to another business cycle.
  • “I want to engage a social, political conversation about the contemporary world that I live in or my relationship to it, and at the same time I want to abstract it.”
  • If we want our profession to change, we have to make the construction of our profession to change.
  • Modern values were bonded together by myth.
  • Rethinking architecture theory in order to recount how our profession has segregated and discriminated against certain communities.
  • The same modern works have inflicted harm on indigenous communities.
  • USC school of architecture is emerging as a global platform for cultural heritage architecture and urbanism. Our school is returning to the experimental DNA.
  • USC is second among the top 30 raw numbers for diversity related to BIPOC.
  • We are diverse, but we are not diverse as we need to be.
  • Architecture development programs targeted at the high school level
    • Pipeline for attracting underrepresented students continues to be a challenge.
    • This issue is complex and recognize that systemic racism is determinate of educational outcomes and opportunities.
  • Affirmative action is one of the ways to attain equity.
  • The average Black and Latino students have to fight other influences such as educational inequality, food deserts.
  • 2015 started a high school program that has launched the A-LAB.
  • ACSA Diversity Award.
  • Paul Revere Williams Archives Program:
    • Involved in the transformation of the urban fabric of LA.
    • He was the first Black American appointed to the AIA Fellows.
    • He was the first Black American to attain the AIA gold medal.
    • The Getty Foundation and USC School of Architecture
      • Will be a multiyear of symposium that will leverage USC School of Architecture.
    • Allows scholars the opportunity to view these archives and preserves the legacy left behind by Revere Williams

Pascale Sablan | Justice Through Action

  • I was asked to stand.
  • It didn’t just happen to me.
  • Google “Great Architects”
    • First 40 start from contemporary to historical.
    • How many are women?
    • How many are Black?
    • How many are minorities?
    • Zaha Hadid holds it down in two categories.
    • Why was this the result?
      • Google stated that this was the case since there was, “not enough content for BIPOC to be showcased.”
    • Say it Loud exhibition
      • Feel our impact and show our work through the great caliber that we have had.
      • “Say it Loud” has even been brought to the United Nations.
      • “Say it Loud” exhibition became an international movement.
      • Say it Loud has a traveling activation.
      • AIA team to put their exhibition in a mobile app.
      • Say it Loud Virginia
        • Has been brought as a set of lectures and presentations.
      • Say it Loud Pennsylvania
        • Selected in a venue for communities to have access to
        • How to engage our communities into the exhibit work
      • Say it Loud Georgia
      • Say it Loud United Kingdom
        • February 2020.
        • The issues and challenges we face here are also found across the world.
      • Beyond the Built IG takeover
        • There are multiple ways of attaining this design profession.
      • Great Diverse Designers Library
        • Showcases as a resource to elevate us to collaborate on projects.
        • This is also a way of protecting our history.
        • Being strategic with our relationships with publications in order to preserve our history.
      • Great Diverse Designers Textbook
        • International designers featured.
        • Leveraging the content of which we inspire.
      • Learn Out Loud – Kids Books.
        • Lego Collaboration.
        • It is a way of inspiring children to see their identity in the profession.
      • Say it with the Media.
        • Asking publications to take a position to increase a 5% every year on the amount of BIPOC content is held in their publications.
      • Architecture as Advocate.
        • The National Memorial for Peace and Justice
          • “The lynching museum”
          • Each medal has the name of the person that is lynched.
          • This is not of the past, but of the present.
          • As publications are going away from the term “slavery” we need to make sure that architecture is a way of a permeant statement.
        • National Museum of African American History and Culture
          • It creates a place for celebration of Black history and culture.
        • National Center for Civil and Human Rights
          • Showcases the current rights we have today because of previous efforts.
        • Max Bond Highway.
        • African Burial Ground National Monument
          • First project as an intern.
          • 800 bodies found at this site of buried slavery.
        • Haiti Campus
          • ACE mentoring allowed us to create a campus for the underserved communities.
        • Dismantling oppressive spaces.
        • Project Pipeline
        • 400 Forward
          • Having more one on one mentorship with students.
        • Design Justice
          • Allows an online platform on how architecture can help resolve these issues.
        • Hip-Hop Architecture Camp
          • A gateway of music to architecture.
        • See it Loud Camp
          • Educating and empowering through design augmented reality.
          • Embed information, young kids, augmented reality.
        • Beyond the Built Environment
          • See it loud camp
          • Say it loud
          • Learn out loud