AIA YAF CONNECTION 17.02 - Advocacy in Architecture

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Emerging Professionals are filling critical gaps in our communities, using their architectural training to lead in unconventional ways. Discover innovators, civic leaders, and designers working to make our communities more socially and environmentally resilient.

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2019 CONNECTION EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Editor-In-Chief, Graphic Editor John J. Clark, AIA Senior Editor Andrea Hardy, AIA Senior Editor Beth Mosenthal, AIA Journalist Arash Alborzi Journalist Jennifer Hardy, AIA Journalist Katie Kangas, AIA International Correspondent Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA 2019 Q1 CONTRIBUTORS Contributing Journalist Contributing Journalist Contributing Journalist Contributing Journalist Contributing Journalist Contributing Journalist Contributing Journalist

Andrew Ballard Aaron Bowman, AIA Matt Guinta, AIA Marie McCauley, AIA Miranda Moen Jessica A. Walker, AIA Benjamin Ward, AIA

2019 YAF ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chair Lora Teagarden, AIA Vice Chair Ryan McEnroe, AIA Past Chair Lawrence Fabbronni, AIA Advocacy Director Jennie West, AIA Communications Director John J. Clark, AIA Community Director Abigail Brown, AIA Knowledge Director Jessica O'Donnell, AIA Public Relations Director A.J. Sustaita, AIA AIA National Strategic Council Representative College of Fellows Representative AIA Staff Liaison

Laura Lesniewski, AIA Roger Schluntz, FAIA Milan Durham, Assoc. AIA

THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS 1735 New York Ave, NW Washington, DC 20006-5292

P: 800-AIA-3837 W:

CONNECTION is a the official quarterly publication of the Young Architects Forum of the AIA. This publication is created through the volunteer efforts of dedicated Young Architect Forum members. Copyright 2019 by The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved. Views expressed in this publication are solely those of the authors and not those of the American Institute of Architects. Copyright © of individual articles belongs to the Author. All image permissions are obtained by or copyright of the Author.





Matt Guinta, AIA




YAF Knowlege Focus Group - Katie Kangas, AIA




Nick Caravella, AIA




An interview by Benjamin Ward, AIA



Interviews by Katie Kangas, AIA and Marie McCauley, AIA


Miranda Moen


Aaron Bowman, AIA and Benjamin Ward, AIA


An Interview With OKC Planner, Lisa M. Chronister by Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA


Boston Society of Architects Symposium Recap by Jennifer Hardy, AIA COMMUNITY GARDENS: A SOCIAL-GREEN RESPONSIBILITY OF ARCHITECTS An Interview with Nader Ardalan by Arash Alborzi


An Interview with Art Gensler, FAIA by Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA


an Interview with NCARB's David L. Hoffman, FAIA by John J. Clark, AIA

ADVANCING THE PROFESSION THROUGH MEDIA An Interview with Frances Anderton by Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA


An Interview with 2017-18 AIAS President Keshika deSaram, Assoc. AIA


An Interview with NAAB's Barbara Sestak by Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA


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FUTURE OF PRACTICE: Interviews with firm, media, and collateral organization leaders

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John is an architect with RMKM Architecture in Albuquerque, NM. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, John has served on the AIA Albuquerque Board of Directors and is the 2019-20 Communications Director for the AIA YAF Advisory Committee.


Andrea holds a MArch from Arizona State University (2012) and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering Technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology (2007). She is a registered architect in the State of Arizona and works at Shepley Bulfinch's Phoenix office. Her recent publications include: Building Performance Evaluation: From Delivery Process to Life Cycle Phases (2018) and Adaptive Architecture: Changing Parameters and Practice (2017).



Beth is a Denver-based architect, writer, editor, and advocate for equitable and accessible design. As a Senior Editor for YAF Connection, she is interested in featuring stories that highlight voices and work that are creating meaningful change, posing questions, and leading to tangible advancements in both the profession and the nature of practice.

Arash is a PhD student at the University of Florida School of Architecture in Gainesville, Florida. Alborzi’s thesis focuses on urban agriculture, sustainable urbanism, and architecture. Prior to studying his PhD in architecture, he practiced and studied architecture in Tehran, Iran.



Jennifer is an architect at Payette in Boston, MA. Hardy is an active member at the Boston Society of Architects and serves on the membership committee, co-chairs the women in design and is the founding chair of the women in design emerging leaders group.

Katie is an architect at Kodet Architectural Group in Minneapolis, MN. As the North Central States Region YARD, Kangas connects emerging professionals with resources to position them for success.






INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT Yu-Ngok is the principal of YNL Architects, Inc. He is the past Communications Director of the Young Architects Forum National Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the 2016 AIA Young Architect Award.





As we continue to look to what the future of practice will evolve into, many architects begin with the question: How can we maintain or improve the value of architects and architecture as perceived by society as a whole? There are issues of economics and liability/ responsibility at play, to be sure, but much of the base issue of an architect’s value is measured in the amount and differing types of people their work reaches. The deeper community impact of the single design or structure. The effect on the pedestrian who walks by your space, not just the client who paid for it. The longer-lasting outcomes of a change of use on a site to the larger neighborhood. This quarter, we take a look at architects doing just that: serving their communities in ways beyond the traditional firm or project type. What follows are articles about city architects, architects in legislature, the process of crafting sustainable policies, case studies of community-based design, and so much more. Young architects across the nation are rising to the calls of our generation and our profession to serve not only in the ways we were trained, but also in the ways our communities and culture need us. Architects are stepping into the gaps of our communities to show that our project-management skills as architects help a community realistically plan for a new park or that our spatial skills can be used when discussing neighborhood safety initiatives. Most importantly, these architects show just how easy it is to put the citizen in citizen architect — working alongside other community members to improve where we live, work, and play.

Parque Verde Luz build day in San Juan, Puerto Rico with Young Architects Forum Leadership and AIA Puerto Rico Volunteers, February 2019. Photo Credit: AIA Puerto Rico

By giving our efforts to all aspects of our community, by working alongside our neighbors in a cleanup or building a park in an underserved community, we wear our value squarely on our chests. We are architects. But we are citizens of a community first."


As you read these inspiring stories of architects doing good in their communities, I urge you to consider how these ideas or actions might apply to where you live. What citizen architect superpowers might you be able to share with your neighbors? What problems are you uniquely trained to solve in your communal backyard? For people who live behind a computer most days, stepping out into the vulnerable spaces in a community can be hard and scary. Talking to people about the things they need, which their community is not currently providing, can be difficult. However, by giving our efforts to all aspects of our community, by working alongside our neighbors in a cleanup or building a park in an underserved community, we wear our value squarely on our chests. We are architects. But we are citizens of a community first. ■

@L2DesignLLC Lora Teagarden, AIA Lora is a project architect at RATIO in Indianapolis, IN, a published author, and business owner. She is a 2017 Young Architect Award winner and the 2019 Chair of the YAF. Her passion for the profession drives her to mentor young professionals and volunteer in her community.

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CITIZEN ARCHITECTS It was a big day this past March as hundreds of architects represented the voice of our profession on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. through the Grassroots Leadership Conference of AIA, each carrying a recycled felt folder with “I’m a citizen architect” emblazoned on it. It demonstrated that each of us has a unique perspective and has the capacity to reach out to our elected officials, letting them know what is important to our profession and promoting the necessary role that design plays in our nation.

CITY ARCHITECTS After two and a half years in development under the leadership of Ric. Abramson, FAIA, and Patrick Panetta, FAIA, one of the AIA Strategic Council work groups wrapped up their initiative in 2018. This effort addressed the role of citizen architect in a distinct way: leading from within, specifically the role of the city architect across our country, of which there are only a few examples. I believe the work of this group is both critical and inspiring. This was the challenge that they observed:

“Politically, within local governance models, the diminishing influence of architects to lead design decisions, have a voice in land use policy, steward the built environment, and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public has waned significantly in recent decades.”

From this challenge came their team’s goal:

“… to reinvigorate existing City Architect positions/offices or establish new ones within at least each major metropolitan government in order to reassert City Architects’ historic primacy in envisioning the potential of communities of the future and introduce fresh design-thinking and strategic problem-solving perspectives into current rigid regulatory and policy-making frameworks.”






Their activities included research into the history of city architects in the founding, planning, and growth of American cities; examination of current positions, governance structures, and political models; redefinition of potential city architect roles and responsibilities in the 21st century; generation of a training program for those interested in serving at the local level; creation of a public outreach program targeted at city managers and decision-makers in municipal governments; and establishment of an implementation plan and protocol.



Elizabeth Gibbons, AIA

In my opinion, the most compelling aspect of this work is the development of seven scalable models that may be implemented based on the local conditions of need, politics, funding, and/or governance structure. While one may most readily envision the city architect in a government staff position, variations on that model may be more appropriate for a municipality that does not yet see the financial means to create this kind of office.

Philip Bona, AIA

I live in Kansas City, Mo., where we do have a city architect as a paid staff position in City Hall. We also have a Center for Architecture and Design, the second model listed, which is made up of allied design-minded individuals (architects, interior designers, landscape architects, graphic designers, planners, and industrial designers) who have the collective capacity to support our city architect and our local government as a collective. In Kansas City, we also host a dedicated studio that was created in collaboration between Kansas State University and the University of Kansas that focuses on urban design and community issues. Each year, the Kansas City Design Center studio embeds itself in a community, listens deeply to the residents’ interests and needs, and vigorously researches the place as part of the studio’s work. The members also engage with local representatives, including community spokespeople, neighborhood leaders, and city officials — all along the way learning how to be a citizen architect through the design work they do, not just as an addition to the work they do.


in collaboration with Board Government Advocacy Committee (GAC) Chair Donald King, FAIA, and AIA staff Jim Brewer, Anne Law, and Michael Winn.

States could find a model that is best suited to its circumstances, and any local AIA component could find individuals who are ideally suited to take their place within that model. For any city or township that has yet to formally engage professional architectural expertise at any level, my guess is that three architects banded together could initiate one. Architects are constantly envisioning a better world for the people who live in it; it is our nature, and I believe it is expected of us. These imaginings happen at various scales, from our streets to our neighborhoods to our cities as a whole. In some way, at some point along our careers, there will be an opportunity to either play the role of city architect or participate in a Design Assist Team or one of the other five scenarios described by the council’s Local City Architect Initiative Team. If that time is now or soon for one of you, I encourage you to stay tuned to the work of the Government Advocacy Committee as it initiates the implementation of this important work by the Strategic Council. ■

Other communities may be more scaled and suited to the model of hosting a consultant-based Design Professional Kitchen Cabinet or by one of the other models outlined here. The beauty is that from this simple spectrum of options, any community in the United

Laura Lesniewski, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Laura is an architect and principal at BNIM in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the Senior Regional Representative from the Central States Region to the Strategic Council and is the Council's liason to the Young Architects Forum Advisory Committee. This year she is also serving on the Board Knowledge Committee at AIA National.


Q2 ­— 2019





Working to bring a voice and continue a national conversation on difficult topics in our career paths, the Advocacy Focus Group will be providing quarterly updates to better complete the feedback loop to membership. Looking at diversity of leadership, an issue that needs attention and addressing is the small stream of qualified candidates. Inside many AIA components, such as AIA Minnesota, AIA Architecture in the Schools committees are working to engage the K-12 community “to make architecture accessible, understandable, and highly valued.” In many regions, better engagement with existing minority organizations such as NOMA can augment our network diversity. Efforts like Project Pipeline and the ACE Mentor Program are great places to reach out in the community to attract young minds to our profession. So many of us don’t have exposure to this profession unless we know someone who is an actual architect. The changing face of the United States will soon include more minorities than Caucasians, according to a recent report from the Brookings Institution. Our profession’s ability to have a workforce that reflects the population we serve is beyond a nicety. It’s a matter of survival. One factor affecting aspiring architects is accessibility to higher education. The National Design Services Act is part of a legislative and regulatory strategy to begin addressing student loan debt within the architectural profession. Korey White, AIA, serves as Chair of the NDSA Coalition, which is composed of Emerging Professionals from around the nation. The NDSA has been introduced twice before, and the AIA is working with legislators to have it introduced a third time.

Given the current political climate, student-loan-relief bills can be tricky. So the coalition has started to look at broadening its student-loan-debt strategy, going beyond this legislation and addressing the various factors that contribute to the problem."

Given the current political climate, student-loan-relief bills can be tricky. So the coalition has started to look at broadening its studentloan-debt strategy, going beyond this legislation and addressing the various factors that contribute to the problem. This includes considering new federal and state legislation and working with the relevant federal agencies that oversee student borrowing. The coalition is as committed as ever to addressing high debt and access to architecture. Be on the lookout for opportunities to get involved as we continue to develop this new strategy. The Young Architects Forum is focused on taking advocacy further in 2019. As the year continues, the YAF will continue to report on the national conversation so we all can better participate. We look forward to hearing from architects from across the country. It is only together that we can move the needle on these important issues. ■

Matt Guinta, AIA Matt is a proud member of the YAF representing the Michigan Region while working at HKS in Detroit. As a city resident, he finds respite on the Great Lakes.






Carly Fiorina, the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company, has noted that true leadership is about collaborating to solve problems. Based on our education and daily practice as architects and designers, no profession is more equipped to take on leadership roles in our communities. One architect at a time, we can demonstrate the true value of our profession by being a part of the social fabric of our cities, towns, and neighborhoods, facilitating collaboration, and solving problems. This issue of CONNECTION collects perspectives from architects and designers doing just this - serving in civic and community leadership roles, and using their skills to address both problems and opportunities at a local scale. Serving on an Albuquerque Community Policing Council (CPC), I have learned that these local conversations are much more constructive and productive than the divisive and negative environment on display at a national scale. These are often also a chance to step outside of your social, economic, and political sphere to engage with others that have little in common with yourself. For example, the CPC is charged with facilitating stronger

REDEFINING VALUE John J.Clark, AIA, NCARB John is an architect with RMKM Architecture in Albuquerque, NM. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, John has served on the AIA Albuquerque Board of Directors and is the 2019-20 Communications Director for the AIA YAF AdCom.

@clarkjohnj community-police communication and relationships, and includes a diverse group of residents and voting board members across the socio-economic spectrum. Through this, it is clear that everyone in the room is striving for healthy, safe, and livable communities. As architects, we are uniquely positioned to lead discussions that deliver solutions at any level or scale. But also, as emerging professionals, we’re next in line. By engaging locally in civic discussions and grassroots movements, we can encourage a change nationally, helping to elevate the level of discourse, respect, and trust. Also in this issue, our team spent time with leaders serving the profession through service to architecture’s collateral organizations and with Gensler founder Art Gensler. These interviews and reflections touch on their respective organizations’ contributions to the future of practice as we look forward to next quarter’s issue on practice innovation. ■



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ON THE TOPIC OF DESIGN TECHNOLOGY AND PRACTICE INNOVATION Connection’s Editorial Committee is currently soliciting content. CONNECTION welcomes the submission of ARTICLES, PROJECTS, PHOTOGRAPHY and other design content. Submitted smaterials are subject to editorial review and selected for publication in eMagazine format based on relevance to the theme of a particular issue. If you are interested in contributing to CONNECTION, please contact the Editor In-Chief at johnclarknm@

AIA’s Center for Emerging Professionals YAF's official website

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS; CONTRIBUTING WRITERS/ INTERVIEWERS/DESIGN CRITICS Connection’s Editorial Committee is currently seeking architects interested in building their writing portfolio by working with the editorial team to pursue targeted article topics and interviews that will be shared amongst CONNECTION’s largely-circulated eMagazine format. Responsibilities include contributing 1 or more articles per publication cycle (frequency of magazine is typically 3-4x per year.) If you are interested in building your resume and contributing to CONNECTION, please contact the Editor In-Chief at

YAF KnowledgeNet A knowledge resource for awards, announcements, podcasts, blogs, YAF Connection and other valuable YAF legacy content. AIA Trust A free-risk management resource for AIA members. AIA College of Fellows Check out the College of Fellow's reciprocal newsletter.






Q2 ­— 2019




As the AIA College of Fellows (COF) liaison to the AIA Young Architects Forum (YAF), it was my privilege to join with the enthusiastic and well-prepared Young Architects Regional Directors (YARDs) at their annual meeting in early February. Escaping the chills of winter, the sessions were held in the affable and charming historic old town area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Part of the rationale for the joint meeting in San Juan was to provide an opportunity for the attendees to participate in a twoday charrette/workshop following the annual meeting. This activity was a “hands on” service project; a joint exercise and effort for designated post-hurricane reconstruction projects at two local parks and playgrounds. As in previous years, the animated YAF leadership conference was conducted concurrently with the annual meeting of the vibrant leadership of the National Associates Committee (NAC) that also included the Regional Associate Directors (RAD), representing the Emerging Professionals (EPs) network. Conference workshops included sessions on short- and long-range planning and initiatives directed toward future collaboration and mentorship. What I saw were focused young architects, many of whom I assume will surely become Fellows at some in their future. In point of fact, one session was geared toward a discussion about the expectations for advancement and the current AIA process for application and consideration. In addition, a draft proposal by the vigorous YAF leadership team was presented to the assembly that delineated a structured, nationwide

Envisioned is the formation of small working groups of young architects and AIA Fellows in various locales ... intended to assist young architects in defining their legacies within the profession by pairing members of the COF with young architects.

mentoring program. Envisioned is the formation of small working groups of young architects and AIA Fellows in various locales that would meet on a regular basis. The program is intended to assist young architects in defining their legacies within the profession by pairing members of the COF with young architects. Much of the anticipated communication will take place vertically, providing a young architects’ perspective on particular areas of interests. The COF Executive Committee was quick to embrace this collaborative proposition at its Fall Meeting in Denver. (More on this as the details are elaborated and a final program is adopted.) The program will remain as a pilot for 2019, with the expectation of expanding this outreach initiative in 2020 and years following. Over the past several years, the COF and YAF have worked in partnership on impressive sessions at the Conference on Architecture. Again, at A’19, the two groups jointly conducted the following:


2+2 Achieving Outstanding Design: College of Fellows & Young Architects (FR209)

Starting Your Own Firm — The Young Architects Perspective. (SA403)

The College of Fellows appreciated seeing all of you in Las Vegas and looks forward to continuing to support our dynamic young architects! ■

TOP RIGHT: Young Architects Forum Annual Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 2019.



Roger L. Schluntz, FAIA

Roger is a Professor and Dean Emeritus at the University of New Mexico and was elected in 2018 to the executive committee of the AIA College of Fellows. He will serve a two year team as the Bursar for the COF, and is the COF Liason to the Young Architects Forum in 2019.




be involved



shaping policy





who are architects?

public office


Print is Dead True BIM Delivery

public policy

redefining architecture

The road is paved for emerging professionals to present quality content & new ideas at the AIA 2020 National Conference on Architecture.

Practice Innovation architect’s role

For more resources on navigating these 12 steps, contact your region’s The Regional road is paved for emerging professionals present Young Architects Director (YARD), see pagesto12-13 forquality links content new ideas at the AIA 2020 National Conference on Architecture. to their contact& information.

Technology Integration architecture

filling the recession gap

connect with public

office culture

Develop your idea. Create a catchy title, session summary, & learning objectives.

Have a great idea. Share it with your friends. Decide to submit it for A’20.


Submit Phase 1

Blind Peer Review from AIA volunteer pool.


June ‘19

The waiting game begins...

Respond to comments, create a draft agenda, develop additional content, identify speakers & list their credentials.

Keep developing your session, identify potential speakers, & work on a session outline.

Be conscious of your speaker & panel selections. Diversity & inclusion play an important role in every proposal.


October ‘19


Submit Phase 2 Develop your idea. Create a catchy title Session summary & learning objectives


October ‘19

AIA notifies you that your session is accepted to A’20!

Wait... The waiting game continues...


Submit draft session slides for AIA peer review. Continue developing the session. Finalize your travel plans to LA



April ‘20

March ‘20

Present at A’20

Final Submission

Join the AIA National Conference in Los Angeles, California

Submit final presentation, slides, & handouts.


November ‘19

Submit Materials

Incorporate comments, finalize presentation, slides, & handouts.

April ‘20

Plan your trip to Los Angeles!


Receive Peer Feedback


July ‘19 Wait...

Phase 1 Acceptance Notification from AIA



young professionals networking in practice

Call for Proposals



include architecture in k-12 curriculum

Architect vs. AI

For more resources on navigating these 12 steps, contact your region’s Young Architects Regional Director (YARD), see page XX for their email.


perception of architects

architect’s role

Architect & diverse leadership National Conversation


May 14-16, 2020


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Matt Guinta Michigan

Katie Kangas North Central

Kate Thuesen Central States

Nick Caravella

Western Mountain

Jason Takeuchi

Northwest & Pacific

Northwest & Pacific

Leanna Libourel Southern California

Northern California

Tay Othman

Northern California

Young Architect Regional Directors (YARD) The Young Architect Regional Director is the primary connection between local AIA chapters and the national YAF Advisory Committee (AdCom). The YARDs collectively contribute to the direction and planning of the YAF by participating in the annual YAF Annual Meeting and working with the AdCom on various national issues. The YARD is also the primary connection at the regional level to other groups in the AIA by communicating with COF Regional Representative and Regional Associate Director quarterly about how to work together to support each other’s efforts.




Western Mountain Southern California



Casey Crossley

Vin Minkler

New York

Matt Toddy

New Jersey

Katelyn Chapin

Ohio Valley

New England

Monica Blasko

Marie McCauley


Carl Sergio

The Virginias

Beresford Pratt


Middle Atlantic

New England Michigan

North Central

New York

Juliane Hatfield South Atlantic

Pennsylvania Illinois

Ohio Valley

Central States

The Virginias

New Jersey Mid Atlantic

Madison Talley Gulf States

South Atlantic Gulf States

Clarice Sollog


exas Florida-Caribbean


Nicholas Banks Texas

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I left New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day to attend Capitol Hill Day as part of the AIA Grassroots 2019 leadership conference on March 6. This was a logistical challenge in that parades were still going on when I left my house in the morning, but thanks to the help of my knowledgeable Uber driver, we navigated around the road closures to the airport. Once at the gate, I had to repack my carry-on luggage because the King Cake I promised to bring to a friend from college — a D.C. resident but a Louisiana native, was a verboten third item! Not to worry, I’m a light packer and managed to stuff my work bag into my carry-on roller bag, and the King Cake survived the flight and was delivered to my friends that evening. Capitol Hill Day started bright and early at the conference hotel ballroom with breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and a briefing by the soapbox consulting team on what we were to expect for the day and what was expected of us. We were then all bused to the Capitol Visitors Center, where we stood outside in line to go through security and enter the auditorium for part two of our morning briefing. The day was beautiful but cold and windy; the high was 34 that day, but at this point, it was still early in the morning and was probably in the 20s. This is bitterly cold for people who live in south Louisiana. Soon enough, we were defrosting inside the Capitol in an auditorium and hearing a more in-depth briefing about the two issues we were to address with our congressional representatives that day. I should mention that a component guide was shared with us prior to our arrival at Capitol Hill Day, and I also joined a webinar call with the AIA federal relations team that prepped us for the day before we arrived. The two issues we addressed were about energy efficiency




and school safety. We distilled this background information into an elevator pitch for each issue, which we then gave in our congressional meetings with legislative staff. These pitches went something like this: The majority of commercial buildings in the United States were built prior to modern building energy codes. Ninety-five percent were built before 2008, and 82 percent were built before 2000. While new-construction buildings post-2005 were incentivized in the federal tax code to increase the use of energy-efficient technologies, there was no specific incentive to retrofit existing buildings. There is an opportunity at this time to amend the federal tax code to include energy-efficient technologies as part of a program that already creates a tax deduction for “Qualified Improvement Properties.” This would create an incentive for building owners to make energy-efficient upgrades to the building envelope and mechanical and electrical systems by allowing them to write off a percentage of depreciation costs. Mass shootings are a threat to school safety and communities do not have the funding or tools to help address the problem. Rather than have schools transformed into prison-like fortresses, architects can help schools with design solutions for safe and positive learning environments. AIA launched its school safety initiative in August 2018. As part of that initiative, we asked our congressional members to create a federal clearinghouse of information for school design best practices and to make design services available for existing federal grant funding that supports school safety.


After our briefing on the above issues, our Louisiana delegation set off toward the tunnels to get to the Hart Senate Office Building for our first meeting at Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy’s office. We made it to the escalators, where we were told by security that we could not get there from inside the Capitol as visitors and would have to exit the building and go OUTSIDE to walk to the Hart building, where we would again need to clear security. So we set off, back outside in the 20-degree weather, to make our way down Constitution Avenue. While we were walking, among many of our fellow AIA members from around the country, I overhead some of them note how warm it was compared to the weather they had left at home. I think my teeth were chattering at this point.

New Orleans Congressman Hale Boggs. I learned during our Hill Day visit that Congress members physically move offices as they become more senior or as the chamber changes power.

I noticed something in our first stop at Cassidy’s office that repeated itself in every office we visited that day. All of the congressional offices belonging to Louisiana members have snacks out for visitors to take — small samples of Louisiana staples such as mini-Tabasco hot sauce bottles and Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning packets. It struck me that one might make an interesting tour of the nation’s snack foods by visiting all the congressional offices.

The response we got on our issues was overwhelmingly positive from each staffer we met. They were all inquisitive and seemed genuinely interested in what we were saying. I think the issues chosen by the AIA team for us to address were bipartisan enough to gain support from our representatives from both sides of the aisle. Coming from the blue city of New Orleans in the red state of Louisiana, my own congressman, Richmond, was the only Democrat we met. We didn’t frame the energy-efficiency tax credit in the context of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming in our oil-and-gas state, but rather in the context of creating jobs and renovating our existing building stock, at which we have been successful as architects in Louisiana through the Historic Tax Credit program. This is a proven concept in our state, so the suggestion that private-sector investment can be encouraged to stimulate the construction industry in this way was a well-received suggestion, regardless of the exact motivation for doing so. Similarly, regardless of your personal stance on gun legislation, advocating for safe school environments that foster learning and protect children is an easy sell. I can’t speak to how effective this day was toward getting legislation passed, but I think it was a worthwhile experience, and I was encouraged to be more proactive in reaching out to Congress in general on issues that are important to myself and to our community of professional architects. ■

We were excited after our first meeting to learn that we would be permitted to take the underground tunnels to our second meeting at the office of Louisiana’s other senator, John Kennedy. As it happens, Bubba Gesser, a Louisiana AIA member and projects director and chief counsel for Kennedy, was walking out of a meeting when we were walking in to meet with another staffer. Gesser caught up with us afterward and walked with us to one of the dining rooms, where we filled him in on our two issues of the day. At this point, we split up to divide the afternoon into three meetings for each of our two groups of three AIA Louisiana members. We had to go outside again to transfer to the House office buildings. We met with Rep. Ralph Abraham and his legislative assistant at our next meeting, at the Cannon building. We chose to go outside for lunch. (I believe it had warmed up to the balmy 30s at this point.) Then it was back into Cannon to meet with Rep. Cedric Richmond’s staff. We finished our day at Rep. Steve Scalise’s office, which we learned had also been used by LEFT: AIA Louisiana members on Capitol Hill. Left to right: Fritz Embaugh, AIA; Jessica A. Walker, AIA; Jennie C. West, AIA; Jason Simoneaux, AIA; and Matt Abrams, AIA TOP LEFT: AIA Louisiana staff and members with Congressman Ralph Abraham during Capitol Hill visits. Left to right: Lynn Robertson, Executive Director; Congressman Ralph Abraham; Jennie C. West, AIA; and Jessica A. Walker, AIA TOP RIGHT: AIA Louisiana staff and members meeting with Bubba Gesser, AIA, of Senator John Kennedy's office. YAFCONNECTION.COM

That evening, we reconvened for the AIA Congressional Reception at the Library of Congress. As far as I know, none of our members of Congress or their staff attended, but the venue was beautiful. In typical architect fashion, I mostly wandered around looking at the ceiling. Because of our happenstance meet-up with Gesser outside Kennedy’s office, Gesser joined us for dinner the next evening, and we got to catch up on various issues facing architects in Louisiana.

Jessica A. Walker, AIA

Jessica is the founding principal of Walker Run Studio in New Orleans. Walker is also the 2019 AIA New Orleans President.

Q2 — 2019





Have you ever wondered how you could influence the construction industry and help improve the built environment? Personally, it’s on my mind every day. We studied this profession to create spaces and places for people to experience, to innovate, and to utilize building technology to create high-performing, resilient, and sustainable environments. We learned to advocate for the user. And in our commitment to the user, architecture has had its place in civic involvement since the dawn of civilization. So back to the question at hand. How do I make a difference? How do I become a citizen architect? One of the best ways to engage how architecture is practiced is to influence the legislation that influences how we practice. From building codes, zoning and planning, sustainability, and so on, architects have the unique ability to advise our politicians to support positive design solutions that improve our communities. This year, architects across the country have already committed to advocating for safer school design and sustainable and efficient building design. The AIA organizes Grassroots events in which members travel to Washington, D.C., to speak with their House and Senate representatives on these topics. The AIA staff and its team of experts help educate members on how to engage, discuss issues, and create positive relationships with your representatives. It’s fascinating to learn that by simply advocating for how and when dollars can be spent to address design problems, a real difference can be made in creating safe, welcoming and nurturing schools. The staff even teach a little on perspective. While we’re free to represent our individual perspectives, when we gather as an industry and share a concern, our voice becomes louder, and we can have a better effect in our advocacy efforts. We discuss our strategies beforehand and learn to create value statements. Designing for sustainability just because and designing to help address energy consumption and reduce operating costs have two entirely different meanings. All in, I’ve always enjoyed attending Grassroots. Learning about issues like those we advocated about and discussing internal industry issues like equality, diversity, inclusion, and fair pay helps keep me “woke” (alert to injustice in society, for all you nonmillennials out there). Discussing these issues and conveying the importance of correcting them is a great way to do your part in influencing the profession.

and their teams,hearing what their take on our issues were and the questions around them. School safety is an ever more important topic and to be able to discuss with representatives the importance of bringing on a design professional not only for safety, but to create an environment for learning was incredibly well received. Sustainability, as we all unfortunately know, is an uphill battle. However it’s certainly on our minds, and taking steps today paves the way for tomorrow. We have a long way to go, but together we’re going to make a difference. If you’re interested in attending the next Grassroots, check in with your local chapter to see how you can get involved! ■

Lastly, interfacing with our representatives is a great way to get to know them better. It was amazing to talk with representatives

@nickcaravella Nicholas Caravella, AIA

Nicholas works with Davis Wince Architecture in Aurora, Colo. as an architect, and business development and technology leader for the office. Nicholas has served as an At-Large Director to the National Associates Committee and is currently the Young Architect Regional Director for the Western Mountain Region. 16






Minnesota has a long history of community design. For over 30 years, the Minnesota Design Team (MDT) has assisted more than 130 rural communities tackle a variety of challenges, from transit to community life and identity. MDT developed a three day charrette process to connect members of a community with a Team of design professionals. The multi-disciplinary team listens, asks questions, and brainstorms on multifaceted issues impacting the community. The ideas and visuals developed in this single weekend often focus and energize community efforts for years to come. MDT’s success relies on the communities’ preparation 6-12 months before the team arrives. The planning process helps the community fully engage with the team and primes volunteers to following through with the resulting recommendations. Below is a basic outline of the three day MDT charrette process. The full theory behind MDT is described by W. Arthur Mehrhoff in his book Community Design: A Team Approach to Dynamic Community Systems. ■


Katie is a project architect at RSP Architects in Minneapolis, MN. As the North Central States Region YARD, Kangas connects emerging professionals with resources to position them for success.



Team members arrive in the community to meet their host families. Staying within homes provides additional insight into the thoughts and experiences of community members.


Morning Community Presentations

The community prepares a cross section of voices and organizations to present and represent their town’s demographics, economy, school programs, religious organizations, and city committees.

Afternoon Tour

Friday Community Dinner / Town Meeting During dinner, the Design Team facilitates small group discussions centered around 5 questions. In three rounds, MDT captures a cross-section of community input to guide their design explorations the next day. Round 1: Response/Decision. Community members write their answers to 5 questions on index cards. Round 2: People read and discuss anonymous responses with their table. All answers are recorded and posted around the room. Round 3: “Dot-ocracy”. Using sticky dots, people walk the room and vote on their favorite answer to each question.


The Team takes a tour of defining sites and characteristics of the town.

Community Dinner / Town Meeting On Friday evening, the community hosts a dinner to attract and involve people in the Design Team’s conversations.


Morning /Afternoon Work Session

The multi-disciplinary Design Team gathers to discuss their understanding of the community based on Friday’s presentations, personal conversations, and the results of the “Dotocracy”. They utilize their professional knowledge and experience to plan and produce visuals that respond to the communities concerns.

Evening Design Team Presentation

MDT invites the entire community as they p response to the communities’ concerns about design, planning, and development. The presentation question and answer session after the presentation lead to a discussion of how the community will begin implementing desirable recommendations.

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Neumann Monson is committed to serving the communities in which we live and work through volunteer programs and events. The Iowa City Human Rights Commission recognized our design services for non-profit organizations in 2016. We’re especially proud of our partnership with Iowa City Shelter House, with whom we recently completed the award-winning Cross Park Place. This forward-thinking facility applies good design to researchbased programming. It integrates health and social services into permanent, stable housing for the chronically homeless. Cross Park Place’s story began in 2016, when non-profit, government, healthcare, and law enforcement came together to break the cycle of chronic homelessness: from the street, through multiple crisis-driven care services (emergency rooms, hospitals, inpatient addiction facilities, shelters, and jail), and back to the street again. Johnson County’s multi-disciplinary task force called on national organizations for assistance while it statistically analyzed local crisis-service use. Compiled data laid bare the long-term costs of the community’s homeless population policies. The financial cost of services for four case-study individuals alone totaled nearly $3-million over five years. Such staggering economics should not overshadow the human cost that these crisis-service visits represent for those involved. In 2017, Shelter House received funding from the Iowa Finance Authority and the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County to implement a “Housing First,” FUSE (Frequent User System Engagement) pilot program. “Housing First” provides permanent, unconditional housing with the option to participate in supportive on-site services such life skills training and regular check-ins with a medical professional. Neumann Monson joined the team to design a place that feels like home, where residents can exercise control over their environment and experience autonomy. And we created a non-threatening venue for health services to be offered to the residents. Safety and belonging allows residents to receive care with dignity, without being treated as a criminal or public nuisance. SOUTH ELEVATION - Cameron Campbell - Integrated Studio




Cross Park Place melds three primary components: shelter (24 one-bedroom apartments); community gathering spaces (a community room and front porch); and health (on-site social and health resources). Several strategies maximize the building’s value and assures sustainable operations. Durable materials and energy-efficient systems are easy to manage and maintain. Sustainable initiatives include a high-efficiency VRF heating/cooling system with individual unit controls, operable windows, and a 53-panel rooftop solar array. A universal design approach means Cross Park Place will adapt to a broad range of tenant types and abilities. Perhaps most importantly, the 14,300-sf building is adjacent to commercial, retail, multi-family, and single-family neighborhoods in a walkable community wellconnected by bus lines and bike trails. Cross Park Place broke ground in April 2018 and welcomed its first tenants in late January 2019. Based on data from comparable Housing First initiatives, Iowa City’s participants should demonstrate



VEILED PRIVACY IN THE SCREENED 'FRONT PORCH' Cameron Campbell - Integrated Studio


MARCH Q2 ­—2017 2019







OPPOSITE: SOUTH ELEVATION AND SIGN DETAIL - Cameron Campbell - Integrated Studio TOP LEFT: LIVING UNIT - Wayne Johnson - Main Street Studio TOP RIGHT: LIVING UNIT - Wayne Johnson - Main Street Studio

as much as a 60% cost decrease in service utilization. A high percentage should increase self-care, with improved health over time. Residents decide if they would like to move on or remain in the program. Administrators expect that some residents will choose to move out; to live either independently or in some other form of assisted housing. For those who stay, we have equipped the building with age-in-place features like accessible bathrooms, modification-friendly kitchens, and an elevator. Two units were equipped for visual and hearing-impaired residents. Cross Park Place addresses one part of a three-fold strategy, complementing the homeless shelter we designed in 2010. The third critical facility, currently under design, is the Johnson County Access Center. This will serve as a welcoming, sophisticated resource to divert people from the substantial expenses of jail or the hospital. One portion of the building will flex from a dedicated homeless shelter during the winter to a multi-purpose space during the summer. Another will house a short-term mental health unit, substance abuse detox, and sobering area. Linking these functions together are offices for law enforcement, first responders, and service providers. Like Cross Park Place, the Access Center is an opportunity to responsibly apply good design where it can matter most. The project is another example of why the Shelter House organization continues to be one of our most rewarding partners; the team’s grounding of humanitarian intent in research-based programming provides a sturdy, reliable platform for impactful design. ■

Andrew Ballard

Andrew is an architect at Neumann Monson in Iowa City. Originally from North Carolina, he came to Iowa in 2016 by way of California, where he cut his teeth practicing architecture while teaching design at UC Berkeley and San Jose State University. YAFCONNECTION.COM

Q2 ­— 2019




Mickey Jacob, FAIA Mickey Jacob, FAIA, served as the 2013 AIA President and is a principal at BDG Architects. He attended the University of Detroit for his BA in Architecture and was founding principal of Urban Studio Architects. He has been practicing in Tampa for 35 years, during which time he worked on a variety of projects that have helped shape the city. He currently serves on the board of the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Benjamin Ward: Welcome, Mickey. Tell us a little bit about the Tampa Downtown Partnership. Why and how did you became involved? Mickey Jacob: The Tampa Downtown Partnership is a membershipbased organization that serves as the steward of downtown Tampa, cultivating public and private partnerships and encouraging downtown’s physical and economic development. As a proactive leadership organization, the Tampa Downtown Partnership acts as a vocal advocate for the downtown community and addresses issues which affect the business environment and the quality of life in the urban core. Additionally, the TDP receives funding from the City of Tampa Special Services District property assessment to provide services including the Downtown Guides, the Clean Team, the Motorist Assistance Team, and the “Downtowner,” a ride-share program operating in the SSD.


Model X’s) serving within the Special Services District of downtown Tampa seven days a week. It is so successful as a new concept for urban mobility that the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is in negotiations to take over the operations and double capacity immediately. It has been a wonderful experience to work on developing and implementing this concept — and to see how it has impacted our community in such a positive way. BW: How has your training as an architect been an asset for the TDP when implementing ideas such as the “Downtowner”?

I have been involved with the TDP since its inception in 1987, to build relationships with major leaders in the downtown business community and to also learn the importance of being engaged in the issues affecting the downtown and our practice. Over the years, volunteering in several different capacities has provided a terrific opportunity to help develop my leadership skills and knowledge of community issues.

MJ: My years of experience in the architecture profession provided great benefit in understanding how to identify an issue, define a concept to address the issue, design a strategy to implement the concept, and lead the building of a coalition of collaborative individuals to implement and oversee the solutions. Regardless of the issue, our training as architects and practical experiences we gain in our practice offer us unique skill sets that easily transfers to being an effective leader. And who better than architects to be the leaders addressing design, growth management, development, sustainability, and resilience. All our communities are dealing with these issues, and the voice, knowledge, and experience of architects is ideal to lead the discussions to find thoughtful and relevant solutions.

BW: Being involved for so long, what has been the most rewarding part or accomplishment with the TDP?

BW: Do you feel your voice and perspective as an architect has been well received among other leaders in Tampa?

MJ: Building relationships with a variety of business, community, political, and civic leaders who are all passionate about developing policy and measures that make our community a better place to live and work. The TDP has provided the opportunity to collaborate on issues and work closely with a diverse group of people who you would not normally cross paths with. It has been a terrific experience for me. However, my proudest achievement is being a part of the original group of four that founded the idea of the “Downtowner,” a free app-based ride-share program, which has become a popular and successful urban transit option for people in downtown Tampa. The TDP oversees operations by an independent group, and currently we have eight vehicles (four Chevy Bolts and four Tesla

MJ: It is an important perspective that is respected and valued in leadership circles in Tampa. But not because I am an architect. It’s because I have built trust with the community over the years through my participation in so many organizations and issues. It is that “sweat equity” that builds a trust that allows your expertise to be embraced and accepted. I have found that when you are asked to participate in an organization or on an issue that you “just say yes.” It provides the opportunity to apply that “architecture knowledge” that is vitally important. However, the personal investment as a community “enthusiast” earns the respect and trust to be positioned as someone who is viewed as a leader. Perception is reality — once you are perceived as a leader,




the opportunities to be invited to take on leadership roles will be available on a regular basis. BW: Speaking of opportunities to take on leadership roles, you considered a run for mayor in Tampa. What went into contemplating this candidacy? How would your work as an architect have set you apart in a race for public office? MJ: I put a lot of thought into jumping in as a candidate for the mayor of Tampa. I felt it was the right time for someone with no elected political experience and a large résumé of community and professional involvement to provide a different option for voters to consider. I have been involved with government advocacy and political issues for many years, so my knowledge of the process, the city, and the issues were a positive factor that I felt set me apart from other potential candidates. I felt confident that I would be a viable and strong candidate, and I would have loved to participate in community forums and debates. My leadership experience from the AIA had provided valuable experience with public engagements and discussions of topics. But running for office requires a cold, hard “reality check” and an understanding that your life would become public property. My firm was very supportive and understanding that the five months of hard campaigning running up to the primary election and then another eight weeks to the general election if you make the runoff would virtually have me out of the office almost 100 percent of the time. That’s a big investment that had to be worked out. From the political side, it was no secret that at least 10 other potential candidates were investigating a run as well. With that many in the race, it would require me to raise in the range of $2 million in order to have a competitive race. And then there was the political factor that as a registered Republican in a city where voter registration is overwhelmingly Democrat, it is a major hurdle to overcome. So, my wife and I took a hard look at the situation and decided that we could have a greater impact on the city working together in the community in various leadership roles than I could in the mayor’s office. However, it would have been fun to do, and my experience as an architect and community leader would have positioned me to be an effective, relevant, and responsible mayor. My role now is to continue to make an impact on our city and be a leader who can thoughtfully take on issues and implement policy to improve the living conditions of the city. BW: That does sound like it would have been a lot to take on as a mayoral candidate. But as you said, your leadership experience in AIA had prepared you had you chosen to run. As a former president, what advice do you have for young architects interested in taking on larger roles in the AIA? MJ: My path to become the AIA President was a 30-year adventure


of incredible experiences and the building of wonderful relationships. It was all possible because I volunteered early on in my career with AIA Tampa Bay (my first program was called “Ask An Architect,” where we sat in the middle of the public space of University Square mall and worked on a design charrette for an entire weekend), and it just kept evolving. So there is no magic formula for taking on larger roles in any organization other than to volunteer and “just say yes” when invited to participate. Never in my wildest dreams did I think for one minute that I would become the president of the AIA — but I kept getting asked to participate on different levels, and it evolved into being recognized as someone who could lead the Institute. Don’t be afraid to let component leaders know you are interested in participating. Yes, it takes personal time to do it, but the return on the investment of that time will provide experiences that no amount of money could buy. And don’t be afraid to take on a challenge that puts you a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Those are the experiences that provide the most value. Your participation will build leadership skills, presentation skills, people skills and provide knowledge that will be extremely beneficial to your professional career growth as well. My role now is to identify, ask, support, and encourage emerging professionals to volunteer for the AIA, the community, and charitable organizations to help build leadership skills and earn the trust of the community — it will serve you well in all aspects of your life, and it’s a lot of fun, too! BW: So, what are some ways young architects can become more engaged in their communities? MJ: Every community has a multitude of organizations that are always looking for dedicated volunteers. Find something you are passionate about, and then just get engaged. It will provide great experiences, you will meet and work with interesting people that you will build relationships with, and you will be doing something for the common good of the community. Be enthusiastic and positive with the understanding it will take personal time, so it must be enjoyable and provide personal satisfaction for your investment of time and energy. It is the best way to “recharge” yourself, and my experience has been that your professional career and business connections will increase as well — indirect connections are a very valuable resource. Most importantly, you will build a trust in the community that will enhance your integrity and reputation. And you will be part of a group of people committed to doing the right thing. It is rewarding, satisfying and will provide lifelong friendships. ■

Benjamin Ward, AIA

Living by the mantra that architecture matters, and architects should be leaders in their communities, Ben actively serves his local community and advocates for resilient design. He was the 2016-17 South Atlantic Young Architect Regional Director and currently serves on the AIA South Carolina Resilience Committee.

Q2 — 2019




Beau Sinchai Beau Sinchai is a Product Insight Researcher at Target in Minneapolis and is the founder of Koonyai Studio, a jewelry-design practice with roots in social activism born out of her passion for social, economic, and environmental sustainability. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Design in Architecture in 2013 and from Cranbrook Academy of Art with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2015, garnering the Highest Distinction-Museum Permanent Collection Award.

Designer Beau Sinchai is all about honest conversations and unconventional paths in design. She describes herself as a humancentered designer and researcher experienced in the social, commercial, and academic sectors but started off in the architecture field. I met her in 2013, while attending the University of Minnesota, to discuss a Freedom by Design project as she was the co-chair on the AIAS board. Right away, it was clear to me that we were on the same path. We both had an interest in alternative paths in architecture and have kept in touch since then, discussing our development and checking in with each other on how to navigate unconventionality in this field. Always driven and self-directed, talking with Beau makes me feel supported and invigorated — a necessary pick-me-up as I head toward the end of my Master of Architecture degree at Iowa State. Through this interview, I want to extend this feeling of support to others and share some much-needed real talk about working in our profession, or more truthfully, on the cusp of multiple design disciplines. Beau has learned to embrace cross-disciplinary work to enhance her creative process as a designer. Her message to others is to do what is right for them and that there is no one way to practice design. This interview highlights the candid conversation we had about work-life balance, expectations (from herself and others), and the continually changing process of developing our own paths in the design world. Our conversation started off by catching up on life and discussing what inspired her to take an alternative path in the architecture and design field.

Miranda Moen: Can you tell me how you became interested in social impact design? Beau Sinchai: I have always been involved with volunteering and have gravitated towards working with nonprofits and lowincome communities. My involvement with Freedom by Design at the University of Minnesota was the first time I realized I could do design work in the nonprofit sector and contribute design to less privileged communities. Following this, I was part of a fellowship in the Political Science Department at the University of Minnesota, where I facilitated design thinking to community members to help them discover their own solutions to issues prevalent among lowincome communities (see Northwell project). These experiences helped bridge the disciplinary gap between my passion for social justice activism and design while applying it to the immediate community surrounding me. After I graduated from the University of Minnesota, I kind of let go of the idea of working with nonprofits for a while and focused on shaping my own creative process as a designer. While attending graduate school at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, I discovered that my passion for social justice activism invigorated not only how I thought about design, but also the outcome of my creative work as a designer. This culminated in my final thesis work — a wearable architecture — which was selected to be part of the permanent collection at Cranbrook. MM: I know your thesis work was very well received at Cranbrook and is an innovative way for jewelry design to cross into social activism. How did you transition this type of work from graduate school into professional life after graduation? BS: I started Koonyai Studio after graduation with the intent of TOP LEFT: Beau Sinchai - Photo by Joe and Jen Photography RIGHT: “Vulnerable Space: Place at the neck of the wearer, she is subjected to harm when her space is being invaded.” political-design - Photo by Susan Simmons





“These structures serve as body architecture that claim the space and demand body respect. Although appearing aggressive, the work is very fragile and easily destroyed — much like our personal space.” - From Cranbrook Thesis YAFCONNECTION.COM

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developing a creative practice where designers could blur the line between design products and social activism. My goal was to use the creative process of jewelry-making I developed in graduate school to do two things: 1) Create jewelry design that engaged people in difficult conversations relating to culture, politics, and the physical environment we live in. This aspect of Koonyai would operate similarly to high-end fashion designers and artwork in museums, engaging in difficult but important conversations and themes of activism. This would be the experimental side of Koonyai Studio, where design work would intentionally try to drive social change.

2) Transform the experimental, activism-oriented design work into consumable products that fit into the mainstream market for purchase. This aspect of the studio would operate as a circular economy — giving jobs to local homeless women so that profits would go back into serving the most under-privileged. The goal would be to create a business model that tackles social, economic, and environmental sustainability, starting with hiring vulnerable populations and implementing smarter packaging processes and material recyclability. Through my volunteer work at local shelters, for example, I have learned that it is essential to provide jobs for homeless women as they are often the main caregivers of their families. Many have very large families, sometimes with 12 children, that is impossible for their current financial status to support. These types of families and socio-economic issues are at the heart of my business model — to drive social change through the implementation of design work. MM: It is inspiring to hear that you want your design practice to not only be sustainable, but to make a social impact in our community. I think there are many young designers and architects out there who have similar dreams but are nervous to start the process or don’t know where to start. It has been five years since you founded Koonyai Studio — what have you learned about yourself and your career path in this time? BS: I have learned not to make your passion do more than it can handle. Some of the best advice I got from a mentor was not to make your passion-work your career as it puts pressure on a creative process to support your livelihood. This is intimidating and can hinder the creative process and your passion for it. For example, I enjoyed making and creating physical items, but the business side does not invigorate me, and I am finding that it is harder to be passionate about projects if this is part of the deal. Instead, I was advised to make what you are second-most passionate about to be your career, where you can make enough money for financial support and have time outside work to support your passion-work. This was important for me to realize as it is tiring to put pressure on your life’s work to provide happiness and financial stability, especially if you are not from a privileged background. Security and stability are important to overall happiness, so this is something to consider when you think about your design path. Life can burn you out, and you realize how your passion shifts under pressure. MM: Wow, that is unconventional advice, but I understand why





this is an important realization and important to talk about to young designers. Are there other aspects that surprised you about carving your own path in design? BS: Well, I learned that a perk of going off the beaten path and starting your own design practice weirdly causes you to get more job offers. While this shouldn’t be the reason for founding your own type of practice, this path definitely sets you up to be unique and appealing for other architecture firms wanting young talent. I think that in my case, Koonyai Studio was perceived by others as a demonstration of my initiative and work ethic. It was frustrating, however, that I got more job offers while running Koonyai Studio than I did while applying for jobs before founding my business. I think this is also indicative that just because you are qualified for jobs does not mean you will land them, and that we can’t really control the subjective nature of our field — so just do what is right for you. Most of all, break free from your own and others’ expectations.

BS: Do what feels right for you, and if it feels right, then that is enough. A big one for me is to take care of yourself and your family first. We do not take this seriously enough in the architectural profession. We hear this all the time, but it’s so true. You can always replace jobs, but you cannot replace the people you love. Secondly, do things at your own pace. Take time for self-reflection, and take your opinion into consideration — don’t just do what your mentors tell you to do. Lastly, when someone gives you advice, think about the end position that the advice will take you. If you find that you would end up in a position you don’t want to be in, then don’t take their advice. ■

MM: Do you have advice to share with young designers on being in the creative fields after graduation or during a career shift? LEFT: “Reclaiming The Gaze: Women in hijab, protecting them from male-gazing, are being seen as oppressed in the eyes of Westerners. In this era, everything I wear is objectifying. I want to wear what I want and I want my body to be respected.” - Photo by Susan Simmons TOP: “Arm’s Reach: Women’s personal space exist, but people treated otherwise.” - Photo by Susan Simmons YAFCONNECTION.COM

Miranda Moen

Miranda is an Architectural Designer based in Austin, Minnesota. Moen is passionate about rural design and cultural heritage research, working with rural artists, economic development leaders, and private clients in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Q2 — 2019





Alissa D.Luepke Pier, AIA

Wendy Scatterday, AIA

Alissa is an award-winning architect who is the Vice President and senior-most member of the Minneapolis City Planning Commission. She is the Principal Architect for her own small firm based out of Minneapolis and lives on the city’s northside, where she is a dedicated and vocal advocate for equity both in the architecture realm and beyond. She currently serves on two boards, as well as volunteers for other worthy causes such as fostering animals, funding celiac research, educational advocacy, and supporting homeless youth. In her free time, she co-sponsors a women’s social activism group and is always working on the restoration of her historic home.

Wendy doesn’t spend time tiptoeing around her agenda. “Every architect should be serving their community in some way. Maybe not everyone has the time to afford to hold an elected position, but there are so many opportunities in our communities for folks to be giving their time in a public service form.”

Q1: What is your role in civic service?

Q1: What is your role in civic service?

Alissa D.Luepke Pier, AIA:

Wendy Scatterday, AIA

Vice President, Minneapolis Planning Commission

Wheeling City Council, Ward 4

Minneapolis, MN

Wheeling, W.Va.

Started: Over 10 years ago

Started: July 1, 2016

I have been a part of the Minneapolis Planning Commission (MPC) for over 10 years. We meet four times a month, including two hearings that last anywhere from 10 minutes to four hours. We typically review around eight submissions each month. The MPC is also responsible for the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Before being appointed to the MPC, I was on the Board of Adjustments for the City of Minneapolis and co-Chaired the Urban Design Committee for AIA-Minneapolis..

Q2: What attracted you to this position?

Q2: What attracted you to this position? ALP: Dumb luck. It all started at a Neighborhood Night Out when someone found out I was “in architecture.” I wasn’t licensed yet, but they asked if I would join the Housing Committee. I didn’t have kids yet, so I said sure. They were looking at infilling a lot behind an apartment building. I came to the Housing Committee and asked, “Why don’t we do a charette for it?” I called some friends


She believes that our architectural college education uniquely prepares us to be problem solvers, group leaders, and solution oriented. And who doesn’t want those qualities in their public service official?


WS: I was already doing a lot of community service and helping nonprofits in Wheeling. A friend called me up one day and suggested I run for City Council. This wasn’t a goal of mine. I don’t like politics, but I do believe in democracy and that people should vote. City Council is a nonpartisan position, which helped, and I could see it as an opportunity to help my community with my unique set of skills. I wanted to serve so Wheeling can be the best place that it can be. I decided to put myself out there, and I ran as an “architect.” I went door to door to every house in my ward and conducted meet-and-greets. I left them with Post-it notes and had them write down or mail me their ideas and concerns. Like similar Rust Belt towns, such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo, the city of Wheeling was experiencing a lot of transition and redevelopment. We had experienced decades of scarcity due to lack of industries, but it’s a great place to live and raise a family, has an excellent



from graduate school to join. We ended up having neighborhood charette meetings every other week for a year and a half. The onelot infill project turned into a 1.5-block development with an RFP for an architect and later a developer.

We attain a problem-solvingbased education in college that is distinctive to our profession. If you can get folks to make the leap to a big idea and show them how we can get from point A to point B, we start making progress together to resolve an issue."

That led to my appointment to the City Steering Committee for a neighborhood Small Area Plan. The city planners suggested I apply to the Board of Adjustments. I thought, “Sure, it’s just two years.” I interviewed, got appointed, and found out it was a three-year position. I stayed on, working with Realtors, developers, and other architects. I was then recruited to interview for the Minneapolis Planning Commission. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave the BOA, it had been a fantastic experience. When I interviewed in the Mayor’s office, I thought, “Well, it’s only two years.” Again, it turned out to be three years, and I kept getting reappointed. I am now the most senior member of the Minneapolis Planning Commission, with over 10 years of experience, having served under three different mayors.

education system, and a lot of opportunity. All I could see were the possibilities. I knew I had these skills that could help. I have expertise in city planning. I want to restore Wheeling’s vibrancy and take care of our neighborhoods. I ended up winning by a large margin.

Q3: What are the greatest challenges?

Q3: What are the greatest challenges?

ALP: People think the MPC has unlimited power, but we only have a small role in crafting some policies. For the most part, we have a set of rules, regulations, policies, and statutes that we have to interpret and apply, with a pretty strict set of legal criteria that we have to adhere to. We can only respond to the designs and drawings placed in front of us and use the tools that we have access to. Unfortunately, the public isn’t always aware of the nuances and boundaries we have to stay in adherence with, so it adds an understandable level of frustration to the public process for residents who aren’t familiar with it already. I always try to explain that in our public hearings, as I don’t want people to feel as though their voice wasn’t heard just because their particular request isn’t within our purview. On the other end of the spectrum though, I’d say equally great a challenge is getting people who ARE acquainted with the process (developers, planners, city officials) to strip back their existing perceptions about certain areas of the city and think about the real impacts their projects and policies will have. Those lines on paper mean something, for better or worse.

WS: Time. City Council is a part-time position, but nobody wants part-time public service. I want to provide more than adequate service and exceed expectations, but I’m also a sole practitioner of my own firm. So I try to delegate whenever possible. But I truly consider the city’s initiatives as a “project” and the residents as my “clients.”

Q4: How has your background as an architect uniquely equipped you in your role? ALP: I translate proposals for MPC to understand how a proposed building will influence people’s lives. Not everyone can interpret drawings to understand the real human experience of that space. The average person can’t do that. I shift through the bulls--t of pretty renderings to ask the questions that really matter. Is the


Q4: How has your background as an architect uniquely equipped you in your role? WS: Architects have a unique set of abilities. We attain a problem-solving-based education in college that is distinctive to our profession. Every single day in architecture school was an education in problem solving. One of the things that came from my education is a climate of not limiting your thinking and developing expansive thought processes. The best solutions usually came from a crazy idea, and after it’s been refined, usually becomes the best solution. Most people aren’t used to broad-thinking processes, so they are uncomfortable when challenged to think big. If you can get folks to make the leap to a big idea and show them how we can get from point A to point B, we start making progress together to resolve an issue. Designers are used to working in group problem solving, and these experiences are helpful. One phrase I use in organizational leadership is “howing.” People always ask the How questions. “How will you do that?” “How will that work?” People will kill an idea with all the “howing,” but

Q2 — 2019



If you don’t know what to do, just say yes to things. At a basic level, I truly believe architecture is simply creative problem solving. Emerging professionals need to lend their creative minds to tackling all sorts of problems, not just ones related to space planning and the built form."

design welcoming? Are their passive safety elements in the physical properties of the trees, sidewalks, and proposed built environment. We have to focus our discussion on objective qualities in the design to avoid opinion-based arguments on subjective qualities like feelings. At the same time, we evaluate a very subjective subject matter (design) through a very objective lens. Our commission is comprised of people with different areas of expertise, this diversity of opinion, experience, and knowledge is the greatest strength of the commission. That said, Minneapolis was wise for traditionally having at least a third of the commission made up of design professionals such as architects or landscape architects, because you need to have someone at the table who really understands the outcome and meaning of each line on the plans. While the projects that come before the planning commission are usually larger in size and scope, I also think residential architects have a valuable perspective to contribute. You don’t have to strictly practice in the commercial or multi-family realm to add value to the commission. I have found that architects with residential design experience often bring a sharper lens when evaluating plans, as they spend their professional time designing highly efficient personal space where a real person needs to inhabit and live their life. They bring a thoughtful understanding of how humans inhabit space. Although my practice is not strictly in the residential realm, I try to bring that mindfulness to every design discussion. Q5: How has your civic-service role affected your professional practice? ALP: I’m a solo architect - both the Principal and the janitor - and sometimes I think that is just as well. Many times architects present to the CPC and we critique their designs based on how they do (or don’t) adhere to the city’s plan. Our role is to give honest feedback and be willing to make enemies. They leave the meeting, and I think to myself. “There’s another firm who won’t hire me.” I say it as a joke, but there is a grain of truth in it. As for my personal practice, I keep conversations concerning my role on the MPC in public record. My decisions as a representative of the MPC cannot be tied back to personal relationships or privileged communications. I place great value in my integrity. If any litigation comes up on a project, I can confirm the basis of my decisions stemmed from the qualities of the project itself and in no way with who the designer was. Q6: In which ways do you suggest emerging professionals get involved in their community? ALP: Find something you are passionate about, and get into the nuts and bolts of it. It doesn’t have to be related to architecture.



my job is to use their questions as a way to move the project forward or come to a resolution for a common issue. People are uncomfortable with process. They want a cut-and-dry process. In practice and public service, folks really need to work through a process that is an evolving thing. Discomfort and uncertainty comes with that. My role is to help people through that. This takes patience and willingness to hold steady and ride the wave with folks when they’re uncertain. It makes for the best solution in the end because we all work together. Since I’ve been on City Council, it has occurred to me how unique of an opportunity it is to be an architect in public service and being further upstream in the decision-making process. Often in practice, the potential client is coming to us with a decision they’ve already made. Now I get to look ahead and help decide the best way to meet the community’s needs. Unless you’re in public service, you usually don’t get the chance to make those decisions. Q5: How has your civic-service role affected your professional practice? WS: It’s been nothing but positive feedback. And personally, I think working for myself instead of a firm has helped. Folks are grateful that I’m serving in the public arena and that I have a dual role. And clients are supportive and pleased that I’m taking a part in public engagement. They appreciate my expertise. Has it helped my professional practice? I don’t know, and if that’s your goal in public service, then you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons. Q6: In which ways do you suggest emerging professionals get involved in their community?



Anything that involves other living beings informs your architecture and helps you see through different lenses. Many people are magnetically pulled to “social activism” over just “socializing.” Both are fun, but one of them makes a powerful difference in the world. If you don’t know what to do, just say yes to things. At a basic level, I truly believe architecture is simply creative problem solving. Emerging professionals need to lend their creative minds to tackling all sorts of problems, not just ones related to space planning and the built form. It’s surprising how non-“design problems” end up impacting your critical thinking skills and honing your creative mindset beyond a typical “design problem”. Who knows? In 1020 years you might look back and be surprised at the direction your life and career went, all because you said “yes” to something seemingly inconsequential at the time. Q7: What is the biggest lesson that your time in civic service has taught you? ALP: The greatest lesson I have taken to heart from being involved in civic service is that the world needs EVERYBODY, not just those already entrenched in the political realm, to pitch-in and DO something. We can’t just stick to our tiny little box and assume that someone else will come along to solve “that” problem. Just because it isn’t about walls and structure doesn’t mean it isn’t something architects should concern themselves with. It takes so many great minds to come together to really figure out how to make positive change. If architecture, as a profession, truly is the home of great thinkers and designers and problem solvers, then we shouldn’t be complacent to sit on the sidelines and let others do the behind the scenes work. We should be working alongside our fellow citizens to help ensure that our world is an equitable one that has real solutions that make a real difference. We need to willing do the unglamorous work on the front end to make that happen. It might not be glamorous, but it is something that someone might just quietly take note of and appreciate. Often those little things will have the greatest impact on the world, whether it is recognized right away or not. ■

WS: Start with easy things. Engage in the public process. Go to public meetings seeking input. Fill out surveys that are sent out. Attend a public meeting about something in your community, whether it’s for a new park or housing project or public transit. Communities are constantly seeking input. Be responsive, proactive, and engaged. Pick a topic that is important to you. Every architect should be serving their community in some way. If you are going to run for office, do your homework, and know the issues. Spend more time listening than talking. Get integrated into your neighborhood. Public service is not about you, it’s about the people you serve. Equip yourself with knowledge so that when it’s your time to speak, you know what you’re talking about. Q7: What is the biggest lesson that your time in civic service has taught you? WS: I went door to door when I was campaigning and had a lot of trepidation about doing that but was so pleasantly surprised that it was the absolute highlight of that time, more than anything that I have ever done. It was one on one, and people were glad to see me. They were appreciative that I came to their door and cared and LISTENED to their concerns. Public service is more than being able to answer a question correctly, or resolving every issue, or doing things that satisfy everyone — achieving all of that is impossible. I’ve learned that even if you tell someone something they disagree with, that if they understand you’re doing your best and you’ve heard what they had to say, they will still be pleased that you have listened. Recognition and acknowledgment is powerful. People just want to be listened to; it’s a very important thing. It’s the same whether a person is your constituent or your client. They need to know they matter, their opinion matters, and their concerns have been truly heard. ■ CONCLUSION Whether you live in a large metropolitan area or in a small, rural city, there will always be opportunities to serve your community. Volunteering takes time. When you add your voice and your professional skills to the problem-solving process, you are able to slowly improve people’s lives. By engaging with fellow citizens, you add value to your community, expand your professional abilities, and enhance your own life.

@ArchKatie Katie Kangas, AIA, NCARB

Katie is a project architect at RSP Architects in Minneapolis, MN. As the North Central States Region YARD, Kangas connects emerging professionals with resources to position them for success.


Marie McCauley, AIA Marie is a Project Architect for Silling Architects in Charleston, WV. McCauley is also the Young Architect Regional Director (YARD) for the Region of the Virginias and an AIA representative for a NAAB Accreditation team. She holds a B.Arch from the University of Tennessee.

Q2 — 2019





EMBRACING UNTRADITIONAL PATHS IN ARCHITECTURE As an aspiring architect, I have often wondered how to go about starting my own projects, especially in my home community in rural Minnesota. This article is an introduction to how I began this process and the wonderful support I have received from my community. I hope to motivate other young designers to go out and create an impact in their community. Moreover, I hope that sharing my story will highlight that it is possible to do nontraditional projects as an unlicensed architect, while still working toward licensure and giving rural communities access to young designers and projects that can positively impact their future. THE PROJECT: HOW THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE Last summer, I participated in an artist residency program in Houston County, Minn., where I grew up. During the week-long program, I had the privilege of meeting with Courtney Bergey of the Economic Development Authority in Houston County. She had heard about my passion for designing rural affordable housing and brought up the idea of connecting local entities to build housing in Spring Grove. This would entail connecting Habitat for HumanityLa Crosse, the Spring Grove School District and myself, as the process also involved collaborations with high school students wishing to learn more about design and construction.




Through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Fund’s Small Town Grant, I was hired by the Spring Grove School District in fall 2018 to be the head designer working alongside Habitat for Humanity-La Crosse and the Spring Grove High School Makerspace students to design and build a new house in town. For the pre-design and design development phases of fall 2018, I met with students through virtual, biweekly presentations outlining the design process and precedent studies for the house design. Engaging with and teaching students about the architectural process was important to the project because they would be building the Habitat house as part of their Makerspace class in the Spring 2019 semester. The mentorship we provided to the Spring Grove students was one of my favorite aspects of the Spring Grove Heritage House project. Reflecting on my own lack of understanding of architecture when I was in high school, this is an immensely helpful experience for students interested in design and construction alike. In my mind, the exposure to an architectural design project in their hometown, led by a person from that area, provides rural students more access to design disciplines that might not otherwise be available. It is my hope that students see a more cohesive connection between the realm of designers and skilled workers that is not often represented in rural areas.


CONNECTING TO CULTURAL HERITAGE AND TRYING OUT NEW DESIGN PROCESSES Spring Grove is known as the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota, a huge point of pride for the community. Many people living there, including my own family, are descendants of Norwegian immigrants that arrived in the 19th century because of land availability from the 1862 Homestead Act. Therefore, it was important to the community that the design reflected the Norwegian cultural history of Spring Grove, while maintaining its affordability and integrating more functional space within a smaller footprint. To achieve this, I integrated cultural research into the pre-design and schematic design phases of the project alongside precedent research and site analysis. I dove into literature that revealed many aspects of Spring Grove’s Norwegian foundation, including the different regions immigrants came from within Norway. Each region has its own unique architectural elements and historic traditions, like summer kitchens, many of which can still be seen in Spring Grove today. My previous experience studying Norwegian architecture and design at the University of Oslo in 2017 lent itself well to this task.

Later on in the process, I had a meeting with the Habitat for Humanity-La Crosse team, and I learned that the community was really excited about the focus on “Norwegianness” in its design. Executive Director Kahya Fox informed me that there was an immense amount of support for the project from Spring Grove residents. Because of this excitement, Habitat for Humanity wanted to make sure that the Norwegian-American design elements are kept as we get closer to beginning the construction process. This proclamation surprised me because it is well known how easily design elements get taken out of the project details when budget cuts come into play. This response reinforced the importance of applied research in architecture and the role that connection to cultural heritage can play in the community’s support of architecture projects, especially related to affordable housing. At the moment, the construction documents are being drawn up, and construction of the home will begin in June 2019. As construction starts, my role will be one of a design consultant alongside the construction manager for Habitat for Humanity-La Crosse to make sure the design and finished product stays true to the original intent. I plan on joining volunteers in the construction process as well. In addition, I plan on attending as many construction meetings as possible and am fortunate enough to have a registered architect who is advising me in the construction process. The architect, Paul Bryant Fisher, has worked on numerous affordable housing projects in the Midwest over his career and has partnered with Habitat for Humanity-La Crosse on past projects. Albeit an alternative method to progress toward licensure, I feel supported and encouraged by the variety of community leaders and professionals providing mentorship to me during this project.

BOTTOM LEFT: Front view of Spring Grove Heritage House (Render by Miranda Moen) BOTTOM RIGHT: “Velkommen” or “Welcome” sign on Main Street in Spring Grove, Minn., 2015. - (Photograph by Miranda Moen). Precedent research: typical floor plan — Sor-Haugen, Rollag, Buskerud County, Norway, 1927. - (Photo courtesy of Digital Museum, Norsk Folkemuseum, Norway) YAFCONNECTION.COM

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Your community wants you to succeed. If you engage others in a meaningful way, the right support will gravitate toward you."




OWNING YOUR IDENTITY AND ASKING FOR EXPERIENCE I now recognize that my upbringing as a small-town girl in southeastern Minnesota is essential to my creative foundation as a future architect. Despite the type of architect I was pressured to become in architecture school, allowing myself to embrace my upbringing has allowed me to think more freely and design more creatively. This has been especially true in the Spring Grove Heritage House project. Like all young designers, when I began this project, I felt excited, invigorated, and a bit nervous. After all, this was the first time I was asked to create (and help build) my own design without a professor providing feedback or a principal steering the course. This process has taught me a few vital lessons that I would like to share in hopes of motivating other young designers to start creating their own path and working on meaningful projects:


Relatability and a genuine character are important for making long-lasting and meaningful connections (and projects). Own your story and your identity. As you may have gathered, my passion for rural architecture is rooted deep in my upbringing. I have realized the power this gives me in rural areas to influence/ to create well-informed design because of my own experience and ability to connect to others in these spaces. My intent in writing this article was to show other young designers that it is possible to branch out of traditional paths and to start making an impact in your community early in your career. You don’t have to wait to start your own firm or work at an office that specializes in pro bono, community oriented, social impact work to start making an impact that is meaningful to you and others. ■

Your community wants you to succeed. If you approach a project knowing you don’t know everything and you engage others in a meaningful way, the right support will gravitate toward you.

OPPOSITE: Living room at dusk - Rendering by Miranda Moen TOP: Entry - Rendering by Miranda Moen


Miranda Moen

Miranda is an Architectural Designer based in Austin, Minnesota. Moen is passionate about rural design and cultural heritage research, working with rural artists, economic development leaders, and private clients in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Q2 — 2019





The past decade has seen a pattern of storms with increasing severity and increasing financial impacts to communities. Continued population growth and development in vulnerable areas also lead to a greater threat to life safety. In their role as community advocates, architects are frequently leaders of discussions on how to build smarter and how to respond more effectively when disasters occur. Since 1972, the AIA’s Disaster Assistance Program has been equipping architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. As the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt across the country, local AIA components are actively developing new programs and seeking to expand legacy programs to address these growing threats. Volunteering after disaster strikes is a meaningful way young architects can apply their skill set to help communities in need. For AIA South Carolina, the Disaster Assistance Program grew from ad hoc efforts in the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Hugo was a massive storm that devastated much of the North and South Carolina coast after making landfall just north of Charleston. After the storm, architects and engineers across the state joined in the recovery efforts and established working relationships with the state Emergency Management Division and the American Red Cross. With no major storm impact for several decades, South Carolina’s program was dormant and lost momentum. In 2015, South Carolina was inundated with statewide flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin. After years of dormancy, AIA SC’s program was unable to quickly or effectively engage in recovery efforts, despite a strong desire to volunteer from members across the state. While the response in South Carolina typically involves coastal storms, architects should be prepared to respond to a wide variety of disasters including tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires. It is also important to remember that architects in affected areas are often unable to respond because they are dealing with damage to their homes or businesses. Thus, FEMA and building officials need to call upon architects from surrounding areas for assistance. Being trained to respond to a wide variety of situations increases your value to all communities, regardless of geographic location. When establishing a disaster assistance program, it is important to review the requirements that the AIA has established and to review the laws of your state. A state disaster assistance program is typically run by a state chapter, with full-time staff and member volunteers serving in leadership roles. These programs are typically organized in collaboration with local or state emergency management officials to help establish protocols for how architects

can participate in the wake of a disaster. Architects are typically not first responders but are part of the “second wave,” working in collaboration with local governments that may be overwhelmed or not have adequate resources to meet the needs of the community. As listed in the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook, there are five components to a model disaster assistance program. The first step in creating a state disaster assistance program is to determine whether your state has a “Good Samaritan” law and, if so, what level of protection is provided. Many states have liability protection laws for professionals who are volunteering during a crisis. These Good Samaritan laws allow professionals to volunteer more easily and provide communities with access to services in the wake of a disaster. Generally, a Good Samaritan law concludes that “if an architect provides professional services for free to a victim during a declared disaster or state of emergency, at the request of a public official, relating to a building or structure,” the architect is immune from civil damages (including from personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss) unless the action of the architect involved gross negligence or wanton, willful, or intentional misconduct. Good Samaritan legislation typically provides specific parameters for when the protection is provided and for how long. State program coordinators should carefully review legislation to ensure that adequate protection is provided because not all laws are written equally. In 2012, AIA South Carolina successfully partnered with

Being trained to respond to a wide variety of situa ons increases your value to all communi es, regardless of geographic loca on." 36




OPPOSITE: AIA SAP trained members working with SC State Guard following Hurricane Florence. - Image Credit: SC State Guard BELOW: Aerial View of Nichols, SC flooding following Hurricane Matthew - Image credit: Gerry Melendez, The State

allied organizations to lobby for Good Samaritan legislation to provide liability protection for volunteers. The second component is to determine workers’ compensation coverage. If an architect is injured while performing pro bono building assessments, their employer’s insurance policy may not provide coverage. If volunteering through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), workers’ compensation coverage travels with the volunteer. If your state’s AIA disaster assistance program is working with a state or local government, workers’ compensation coverage may be available, but the specifics typically need to be determined through a memorandum of understanding. AIA South Carolina’s Disaster Assistance Program works in partnership with the South Carolina State Guard (SCSG), a defense force with an engineering detachment that the governor deploys to perform post-disaster building safety assessments. AIA SC members typically enlist as volunteers in the “Ready Reserves” and are provided workers’ compensation coverage while deployed on assignment. The third component is establishing a standard of training for volunteers. AIA disaster assistance volunteers are trained before deploying to the field to perform building safety assessments. Requirements for training will vary between state and local jurisdictions. Volunteers are typically required to be licensed; however, unlicensed professionals may volunteer under the supervision of licensed professionals. There are a number of training courses produced by FEMA, the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the International Code Council, and the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) that cover a wide variety of topics including government protocol for disaster response and technical topics such as building assessment. South Carolina, like most jurisdictions, requires volunteers to complete


the Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training developed by the CalOES and AIA. SAP training is an “all hazards” course that prepares volunteers to perform building safety assessments. SAP has been used successfully in response to disasters across the country and the world. The one-day training course consists of an overview of the AIA program, a performance of safety evaluations, and tips for working as a volunteer after a disaster, when technical and emotional assistance will be required. Participants are taught how and what to look for and are given step-by-step instructions for filling in assessment forms, including how to record a variety of building damage and circumstances. Local training sessions are often tailored to the type of development, construction, and hazards found in the region. AIA staff are available to help coordinate SAP training locally. AIA South Carolina is fortunate to have a SAP trainer in state and typically organizes training annually to recruit new members and provide a refresher course for others. The fourth component involves portability of licensure. Because architects are licensed by each state, during a large event, the legal limitations on practice can complicate volunteer response efforts. Architects with active licenses in multiple states will probably have an easier time volunteering across state lines but should always check requirements. While the urge to volunteer is commendable and exemplary of the character of AIA members, most state programs will attempt to handle the response with internal resources first and then seek outside assistance if needed. Any response efforts should be coordinated through the local chapter to ensure compliance with response protocol. The fifth and final component is establishing a protocol for activating the volunteer network. It is critical to establish primary and secondary communication plans to ensure that volunteers can be notified and respond in a timely manner when disaster

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strikes. It is important to build a solid working relationship with local and state emergency management directors because they will be in charge during the disaster response. We recommend an annual review with government officials and partner organizations to examine communication plans and confirm that everyone has current contact information to avoid a disconnect when volunteer resources are needed. It is important to identify multiple communication outlets with geographically diverse members to contact volunteers. During the 2015 flooding in South Carolina, the chapter offices were closed, but the staff was able to communicate with members in other areas of the state that had not been directly affected. Having additional volunteers ready allowed the chapter to continue communicating with its members and Disaster Assistance Committee volunteers. Following these steps will ensure a robust disaster assistance program, but most volunteers still wonder what to expect when deployed in the field. Several AIA SC members were called into service by the South Carolina State Guard following the catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Matthew in 2016; among those were Benjamin Ward, AIA, and Gerry Wallace, AIA. Both are members of the AIA Grand Strand Section, which suffered the greatest impact from the storm.

“I cannot claim that this work was enjoyable, but I do consider it extremely worthwhile. Our profession has the ability to truly help people post disaster.”

As Gerry recalls, “I was teamed with two engineers to cover the very small town of Sellars. Although not along the river system, Sellars sits in a slight depression and was flooded by rainfall alone. Half the homes in the town had some form of damage. In most cases, we saw delamination of subfloors and the beginning of mold throughout the homes. The worst case I recorded was a home literally breaking in half as it had partially floated off its pier foundation that had been undermined by floodwaters. With nowhere else to go, the family was still staying in the house, with any dry possessions sitting atop furniture.” Ben was deployed to an area in Marion County that had no building official at the time of the flooding and had to re-deputize a retired building inspector to lead the effort. Ben recalled his experience, saying, “We focused on a road that had homes right along the river. The road was a mixture of older cottages and newer homes. The few homes that had been built to current code and were elevated experienced minimal damage. Unfortunately, most of the older homes were slab on grade or crawlspace-style homes that experienced severe damage from floodwaters. Many of the homes still had people living in them, but without power. One of the things we discovered was that the utility company would not reconnect ABOVE: Ward inspecting houses post Hurricane Matthew, Image credit: Ben Ward





power until a SAP assessment was done on the home. I think we were able to help several families by getting them on the path to having their power restored.” One of the toughest parts of performing disaster assessments is dealing with desperate homeowners who are looking to anyone for help. It is often recommended as best practice to have a person who can act as a counselor travel with the assessment team. The SAP training does not prepare you to deal with the often raw emotions that accompany disasters. Gerry summarized his experience this way: “I cannot claim that this work was enjoyable, but I do consider it extremely worthwhile. Our profession has the ability to truly help people post disaster.” RESILIENCE COMMITTEE After statewide storm impacts two years in a row, it was apparent that AIA South Carolina was uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in the state, not only reacting post disaster, but also proactively promoting resilient planning across the state. Founding Chair Aaron Bowman, AIA, laid out the purpose for the AIA SC Resilience Committee in the following mission statement: “The AIA SC Resilience Committee promotes a multi-disciplinary, systems-based design approach to addressing the social, economic and environmental hurdles to achieving sustainable, resilient and adaptable communities. The Committee focuses on topics of disaster assistance, hazard mitigation, climate adaptation and resilience by creating a forum for knowledge sharing and networking among South Carolina architects.”



Since its inception, the AIA SC Resilience Committee has doubled the number of SAP-trained volunteers in the state and advocated for legislative reform on several key resiliency issues. The committee has also organized two successful Resilience Conferences, attracting national and regional speakers focusing on both pre- and post-disaster topics. Young architects across the country have a vital role to play in advocating for resilient design in their communities and volunteering to assist in post-disaster recovery. By continuing to build on the legacy of existing AIA programs, the next generation of leaders in the profession can proactively design a more resilient future for us all. ■

Aaron Bowman, AIA

A passionate advocate for the power of design to build resilient communities, Aaron’s extensive professional experience is focused on placebased public architecture in communities across South Carolina. Aaron views each project as an opportunity to engage stakeholders in the process to create more socially, economically, and environmentally resilient places. YAFCONNECTION.COM

Benjamin Ward, AIA

Living by the mantra that architecture matters, and architects should be leaders in their communities, Ben actively serves his local community and advocates for resilient design. He was the 2016-17 South Atlantic Young Architect Regional Director and currently serves on the AIA South Carolina Resilience Committee.

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Lisa M. Chronister, FAIA Lisa leads the Current Planning and Urban Design Division of the Oklahoma City Planning Department. Lisa earned an M.Arch from the Pratt Institute and a B.Arch from the University of Oklahoma. In 2003, she was a recipient of the national AIA Young Architects Award in recognition of her leadership and design skills.

The underlining responsibility of architects, in my opinion, is not merely producing beautiful and award-winning structures for our clients. We also bear the responsibility of shaping and guiding the growth of our cities and communities. Lisa Chronister, FAIA, is doing just that. She is a true citizen architect leading the Current Planning and Urban Design Division of the Oklahoma City Planning Department. I have known Lisa for many years, but it was only recently that I had the opportunity to sit down with her to talk about how architects, especially emerging professionals, can pursue a slightly different career and some of the opportunities she had as a city planner.

Yu Ngok Lo: How did you become involved in local government, and how can young architects set their trajectory into public service? Lisa M. Chronister: I had long been interested in a role where I could have more influence on projects. From the very beginning of my career, I noticed that architects were often not involved in major project decisions such as site, scope, or even budget. It seemed the architect was brought in only after these decisions were made by the owner, developer, or contractor. I wondered: How could architects gain greater influence? So, five years ago, when I found myself dissatisfied with my work in traditional practice, I began looking for other options. I saw an ad for this position in the Planning Department. The Planning Director and I had been college interns together at the same firm about 25 years ago, so it was an easy call for me to discuss it with her. She encouraged me to apply. It turned out to be a perfect fit. Now, my work involves reviewing



development proposals at the earliest possible stages, when I can influence building form, massing, and site circulation. As staff, I am involved in many, many more projects than I could ever be in traditional practice; my division processes over 700 applications every year. I can advise on zoning and code compliance at a very early stage by reviewing private and public projects at pre-development meetings before formal application to the design review committees is made. I can also be involved in not just the concept planning of sites and buildings, but also help establish the development rules that will literally shape projects in the future. How can young architects set their trajectory? Try it! When considering employment options, don’t forget to check the job board of your municipality or adjoining ones. You may be (pleasantly) surprised by the pay, benefits, and work schedules that are offered. Additional study in political science or public administration would be beneficial but is definitely not required. YL: What are some of the challenges you have faced working as a government employee, and how has your architecture background influenced your approach to these challenges? LC: I believe I’ve had many more opportunities than challenges. It has been extremely helpful for me, as an architect, to present myself as a “peer” to the private-sector architects we work with daily, instead of “just” another government bureaucrat. I can understand the schedule, budget, and program pressures of the projects I review and can offer feedback to help the architects achieve those objectives. I really try to impress upon everyone that the design regulations and guidelines (that I am responsible for enforcing) are based on proven urban design practices and were developed to improve projects, not hinder them. Finally, I believe



It has been extremely helpful for me, as an architect, to present myself as a “peer” to the privatesector architects we work with daily, instead of “just” another government bureaucrat." I’ve been able to leverage longstanding professional connections to achieve even better compliance with the adopted regulations and guidelines. I am also a resource to my co-workers (including those in other departments) for architectural resources, terminology, and building practices. Several colleagues have undergraduate architectural degrees, but I am the only licensed architect in the Planning Department. YL: Describe some of the projects/policies that successfully improved the quality of the city. What is involved to take a project from the idea to implementation? LC: As part of my work, I also help develop the rules that guide development in the first place, such as zoning regulations and design guidelines. For example, in recent years, I have developed new demolition criteria for our character areas and a new design overlay for a prominent boulevard. Oklahoma City is about to embark on a multiyear update to our zoning code and subdivision regulations, and I will be heavily involved in that effort. All these efforts will ensure a vibrant, attractive environment for the entire community and will affect more buildings and places than I could ever influence as an individual architect. What is involved in these types of projects is patience. LOTS of patience. Architectural design takes months, construction takes one to two years, but zoning regulations can take several years. This is because of the time it takes to conduct research, implement important stakeholder outreach, incorporate feedback, and communicate with the public. There is also the process of presenting to different approving bodies like design review, planning commission, and city council.

YL: Do you feel that it is important that more architects take on roles serving as leaders within government? LC: Absolutely! In 2011, years before I came to work at the City, I was appointed by the mayor to the Urban Design Commission, which reviews new development renovations and demolitions in areas of the urban core. (I served two terms.) Architects of any age and experience are uniquely positioned to use their insight, training, and experience to improve the quality of the built environment through this service and make a huge difference in their communities. These include committees such as the Urban Design Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, and Planning Commission. Architects can also participate on advisory committees, such as those that are formed to make decisions on bond and sales-tax initiatives or parks and trails operations. Participation in any of these benefits the community beyond just the single project that architects typically influence. YL: Where are opportunities for the architecture profession to collaborate with local governments and policymakers to positively impact our communities? LC: In addition to serving on design review committees or advisory boards, architects can be involved by serving on task forces and stakeholder meetings. They can also be involved informally, by speaking up at public meetings on important issues facing the community and environment. By developing relationships with city leadership, you can also become a trusted resource for information on architecture, urban design, and construction issues. ■

@yungoklo Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA Yu-Ngok is the principal of YNL Architects, Inc. He is the past Communications Director of the Young Architects Forum National Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the 2016 AIA Young Architect Award.


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“It took a great deal of skill and creativity and imagination to build the kind of situation we have, and it is going to take skill and imagination and creativity to change it. We are going to have to have people as committed to doing the right thing, to inclusiveness, as we have in the past to exclusiveness.” - Whitney Young Jr’s 1968 AIA Convention Speech Each year, the Boston Society of Architects Women in Design committee, curates a daylong symposium at Architecture Boston Expo (ABX) focused around a theme to broadcast the committee’s values and connect with the broader Boston design community, while giving a platform to great women designers’ work. The day begins with a keynote breakfast to frame the discussion, and at ABX 2018, I had the pleasure of moderating the keynote with panelists Yanel de Angel, Kristen Chin, Courtney Sharpe and Dr. Jennie Stephens, to kick-off the symposium, ‘From the Ground UP: Grassroots Initiatives.’ While planning this keynote, we were inspired by Whitney Young Jr’s 1968 AIA Convention Speech. It reminded us of another time of unprecedented turmoil, when federal money had fueled urban renewal projects and Interstate Highway programs that uprooted entire neighborhoods, damaging the plight of the poor and disenfranchised in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. Whitney Young Jr., executive director of the National Urban League, delivered a keynote to the AIA that challenged the profession to recognize its’ role in shaping cities, criticizing architects’ silence on issues such as social inequity and civil rights. While his speech, as part of a growing movement, was successful in inspiring an era of community design and activism, his sentiments feel just as relevant today. It is because of this responsibility, our capability as a profession and the current grassroots waves we are experiencing in society, that we were inspired to dive deeper into this topic as it relates to our work today.

Jennifer Hardy: Can you start us off with the history of Community Development Corporations and Community Design Centers that began as grassroots movements? Kristen Chin: In the mid-1960’s Senator Robert Kennedy and his aides conceived of the idea of a “community development corporation” as a holistic approach to community improvement by acknowledging that housing, jobs, education, welfare reform,



Keynote breakfast panelists (from left to right): Kristen Chin, Courtney Sharpe, Yanel de Angel, Jennie Stephens, and moderator Jennifer Hardy.

health, and economic development are all related and interconnected. In partnership with the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn, New York, they helped set up the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation as our country’s first community development corporation, and they persuaded Congress and the administration to fund community development initiatives in urban poverty areas. Shortly thereafter, nonprofits began forming to focus on community development initiatives in both urban and rural areas, and national intermediaries such as Neighborworks, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Enterprise Community Partners arose as technical assistance providers. Many local government agencies began to contract redevelopment work to these neighborhood nonprofits. I currently work for two community development non-profits in Boston, Urban Edge and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, that were formed out of the momentum in the 60’s and 70’s when resident opposition halted the federal highway extension of I-95. However, early construction bulldozed homes, shut down businesses taken by eminent domain, and severed utility, street, and sidewalk connections. Urban Edge and JPNDC have been undertaking the decades-long process of preserving and developing affordable housing, incubating small businesses, forming child care and job readiness programs, embarking on health and education initiatives, and preserving the arts and culture of neighborhoods.


Courtesy: Jamaica Plain Historic Society


When grassroots action is happening at the same time as disruption of the status quo, at the same time as macro level changes that are also opening up the possibility for change – that is when it can be most impactful. Coinciding with the formation of community development corporations, community design centers began to emerge in the context of the Civil Rights Movement as a way to provide technical planning and design assistance to communities who typically could not afford design professionals. Community design centers questioned the traditional roles, systems, and power dynamics in creating the built environment. One of the first community design centers was the Architects Renewal Committee of Harlem. Some of the group’s members were architects, but others included lawyers, editors, and community organizers who banded together to fight against a freeway proposal for northern Manhattan. Educational institutions also became involved, which resulted in many community design centers with university affiliations such as the Pratt Center for Community Development at Pratt Institute and the Detroit Collaborative Design Center at the University of DetroitMercy. In addition to university-based community design centers, there are full-service planning and design practices, NGOs, and non-profits operating in the community design realm. For anyone interested in learning more, the Association for Community Design is a great network and resource to learn more about the community design field. JH: The desire to instigate change and fuel a movement feels like an urgent necessity right now. Just like our climate, which is changing with increasing levels of urgency to mitigate the damage, our social and political climate is experiencing uncontrollable forces. These forces put increasing pressure on existing systems that can no longer keep out the wave insisting on change. Jennie, what drives change through grassroots movements based on your research? Jennie Stephens: Transformative social change happens when there is alignment of grassroots action with pressure for change at other levels. When grassroots action is happening at the same time as disruption of the status quo, at the same time as macro level changes that are also opening up the possibility for change – that is when it can be most impactful. My research is part of an emerging field understanding how transformation happens. JH: Why is this an important moment to be amplifying and supporting grassroots efforts? Courtney Sharpe: It is always important to amplify and support grassroots efforts. In recent years, it has felt more urgent in part because the mainstream media has been unable to ignore the presence of groups decrying injustice and inequality. It is frequently grassroots organizers who first voice the concerns of the marginalized. I think it is also important to note that not all grassroots efforts are steeped in social justice. Take the Tea Party, for example. I disagree with the Tea Party platform but I understood that they felt aggrieved. To that end, it is important to listen to grassroots efforts to be able to diagnose what is ailing society, though the solutions may demand more thoughtful consideration than simply providing whatever is requested. YAFCONNECTION.COM

JH: Today, we see local communities forming, not just in physical space but in digital space as well. Ideas, initiatives and movements that are shared, liked, & retweeted, start as a ripple that become a wave, and at times, a tsunami, gaining traction and speed on a grand stage that moves in news cycles faster than we can follow. How does technology play a role in grassroots change? JS: Social systems are intertwined with technological systems so many of us refer to socio-technical system transformation. The technological innovation and the social innovation are intricately linked. They reinforce and feed off each other. So, it is actually difficult to separate technological change and social change, so that is why many of us talk about socio-technical transformation. With regard to energy system change we can see very clearly how it is not just a technological shift that is required. As we move from a fossil fuel dominant energy system to more distributed renewablebased energy systems there are many social, political and cultural dimensions that can and will also change. JH: While technology provides us new tactical tools, to connect communities towards a collective initiative, an effective grassroots movement must have a sound strategy and communication with stakeholders at all levels to take root over time and eventually enact change. What are the tools you’ve learned as a designer that inform your grassroots work? Yanel de Angel: The best tools we have learned as designers that inform grassroots work are those that facilitate face-to-face interactions where people feel engaged and heard. When we work with communities, we do mapping activities to identify risks and vulnerabilities, and we allow them to tell their stories with images of the neighborhood. Sometimes, the activity is about bringing an artifact or a picture that connects them to an event or neighborhood asset they like or dislike. Whatever it takes to get their stories heard. Once we begin designing solutions, it is really a co-authorship process. They are the experts in the neighborhood and we are there to bounce ideas and arrive at solutions together. Tools for discovering solutions range from 3D physical or digital models. A typical workshop looks like a messy-creative table: tracing paper, markers and text. Anyone can pick up a marker and feel their contributions matter. We do these engagement activities in different formats and with different size groups because a town hall style event will give you very different information than a meeting with eight people. JH: A successful movement needs people with a diverse set of skills, and the ability to listen and translate between all parties. This ensures we understand the parameters of the problem, and provide opportunities to tap into diverse, pre-existing local knowledge and resources, so that when we finally get the opportunity to change what we want, we do it in a way that is resilient and self-sustaining for the people it serves. Q2 — 2019


INTERVIEW JH: What are some ways we can improve our approach to community engagement? KC: We can improve our approach in the following ways: 1. Be clear as to the reason(s) why community engagement is being conducted. Is it to check a box? Is it a legal mandate? Is it to build community agency? Is it to generate dialogue? Is it to reach consensus? Is it to introduce yourself? Is it to listen? Something else? Being honest and transparent about why community engagement is needed is critical to understanding what community engagement means, why it matters, and how to do it effectively and authentically. 2. Acknowledge that time is a valuable resource. How are we honoring this in our engagement processes? Often, those most impacted by projects are the least involved in the decision-making process. Too often these individuals are asked to give their time, energy, and knowledge to an engagement process that does not lead to real impact or influence. When community members’ input is not reflected in the process or end-product, fatigue sets in, which can lead to frustration, mistrust, and resentment. 3. Understand that we do not need to use design to “empower” the community. A community’s residents are already empowered. Instead it’s about finding ways to provide people with the spaces and resources to dream, share what they already know, and encourage agency and leadership. 4. Listen with compassion. 5. Meet people where they’re at, both emotionally and physically. Your priorities are not necessarily someone else’s priorities, 6. Build trust and stick around. This takes time, has no short cuts, and needs to be repeatedly practiced. JH: Systemic change involves many players at all levels in the public and private sector. How do we position ourselves to become involved in policy changes in response to grassroots movements? CS: Ayanna Pressley says that “the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power,” and I find it hard to disagree.



OPPOSITE: Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation - Image Credit: Samantha Montano ABOVE: ResilientSEE Workshop - Image credit: Yanel de Angel BELOW: ResilientSEE - Image Credit: Yanel de Angel

Making that statement reality requires turning the status quo on its head and elevating people so often kept from the boardrooms and tables where decisions are made. We can move in that direction by staying closely involved with the communities we serve to understand the concerns of the people and to act as a conduit for opportunities. Policies are made by people, they change when we allow different ideas to prevail. Two ways we can get new policies are for the current writers to expand their horizons or for new people to get a seat at the table. JH: Are there specific things to avoid or be mindful of when connecting with a community? KC: Community building is slow, deliberate work, and it can only happen at the speed of trust. Without trust, it all falls apart. It does not happen overnight, and you have to work for it and earn it every day. It is about the one-on-one conversations, dynamic listening, asking the right questions, being transparent, and fostering an open dialogue. It is about working with residents rather than for residents, asking resident experts how to improve their community, and finding the pockets of people who have typically not participated and understanding the reasons why they have not traditionally participated. I aim to meet people where they’re at both emotionally and physically and tap into existing events.



Drawing from some of my day-to-day examples: I often show up at meetings where my only intention is to support resident leaders and listen. I consistently ask how I can be helpful, say I don’t know when I do not have the answers, and I always follow-up when I say I’m going to even though I may have no new news to report. Building trust is also about understanding the stakeholder ecosystem within a community. I want to acknowledge that I’m relatively new to Boston, and I don’t look like most of the communities I serve. However, I work for two 40+ year old organizations that have been working on building trust for decades, and aligning myself with these organizations who have walked the talk, has opened doors and initial conversations for me. JH: How do you create trust in a community? YD: You have to listen, listen and listen. You have to be open and respectful, prove you have their best interest in mind and allow them to feel part of the process. In the process, I have found that 90% of what we do is educate each other. Once that foundation is set, we partner with the community in a collaborative fashion. Everyone has a voice. The more engaged they are, the more resilient they will be because they will feel ownership of their future. Building trust takes consistency, transparency, and honesty. You build that more with actions than with words. JH: How do we expand our role to incorporate mission-based work into our traditional role as architects? YD: As architects we are taught that our work has profound social impacts. In a way, we are well-positioned to create transformative projects. Expanding our role to incorporate mission-based work for many architects is a natural progression. In my case, I have always been interested in using my talent to give back or pay it forward. I am fortunate to work at Perkins+Will where 1% of our profits are geared to socially responsible projects.

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, many individuals, especially diaspora, had an awakening. With the firm’s support I led the creation of ResilientSEE-Puerto Rico, a global and multidisciplinary alliance for resilient planning and design at the service of communities of every scale. The alliance is an amazing platform to do pro bono mission-based work. Since SEE stands for social, environmental and economic lenses, it is critical that we, as architects, forge partnerships across disciplines. This is important because the problems we are facing, like climate change, are too complex and we must integrate systems thinking to arrive at truly sustainable and resilient solutions. KC: This can be approached from several different angles, but I think it begins with being explicit about the type of work you want to do, and the ways in which you want to go about doing it. I think one of the roadblocks I’ve seen and experienced myself is uncertainty about how to get started. If mission-based work is just something you’re thinking about and researching on your lunch break, no one is going to know. There is a power to telling others about your ideas. Another component is identifying what causes and issues illicit a visceral reaction for you. Mission-driven and grassroots work is about the mobilization of passionate individuals around a cause and channeling that energy to advocate for a different outcome. Often, it’s about finding organizations, groups, or individuals that you can partner with – you don’t always need to be the driver. The architect has an opportunity to prove their nimbleness, put their systems thinking to use, and hack the traditional role of how an architect is seen and what an architect can do to mobilize and help drive decision-making around the design process. ■

@JenHardyAIA Jennifer Hardy, AIA Jennifer is an architect at Payette in Boston, MA. Hardy is an active member at the Boston Society of Architects and serves on the membership committee, co-chairs the women in design and is the founding chair of the women in design emerging leaders group. YAFCONNECTION.COM

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Nader Ardalan Nader Ardalan is an architect and the president of Ardalan Associates in Naples, Fla. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Tehran University. Ardalan holds a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s in Architecture from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and has a long and distinguished international career in the fields of architecture, planning, and historic preservation. He also is a recognized world leader and expert in the field of environmentally sustainable and culturally relevant design.

Based on the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas. According to a report, the proportion is expected to increase from 55 percent in 2018 to 68 percent by 2050. During the past decades, with the high rural-urban migration rate, cities have been expanding, and as a result, greater areas of land have been urbanizing. Moreover, based on the projected additive urban population growth by 2050, they will be facing urban transformation in peripheries including land-use change — agricultural to residential or commercial — which is a major sustainability challenge. Food shortages, environmental impacts, and social issues are intricate challenges that have to be addressed by decision makers, urban planners, designers, and architects. As a sustainable approach, community gardening is one strategic responsive model to these emerging urban challenges. Any agricultural activity in urban spaces cooperatively cultivated by a neighborhood group, either horizontally or vertically, can be called community gardening. Community gardens provide enough accessible food for everyone, cut chemical pesticides, and improve social interactions — a holistic social-green solution. In a city with a community gardening approach, residents produce their own food on their own urban fields. Newly defined cultivation components across cities could be counted as social spaces and advance social interactions. Besides, utilizing sustainable cultivation methods such as reducing chemical pesticides decreases unintended environmental problems. Community gardens, however, have not been addressed thoroughly by urban planners and architects since the emergence of rural-urban migration. Defining the responsibilities of architects in advancing and improving community garden design and integrating social-green approaches to human life, as a sustainable responsive model, is vitally important. In this interview, Nader Ardalan, who has researched sustainable urbanism and architecture through multidisciplinary and practical projects, discusses the potential of community gardening and the ways it might improve social-green sustainability.



Percentage of population in urban and rural areas, United States of America, 1950 to 2050 Source: © United Nations, DESA, Population Division. Licensed under Creative Commons license CC BY 3.0 IGO

Arash Alborzi: In your opinion, how serious or challenging are the worldwide urban ecological challenges for the U.S. and other developed and developing countries? And how important do you see architects’ roles in solving such challenges by using community gardening in order to bring green spaces into the city, neighborhood, and architectural unit? Nader Ardalan: Cutting across all other issues facing the countries surrounding the Gulf and the world is climate change. Its practical and elegant mitigation by designing sustainable built environments is our greatest challenge. The voluntary commitments to the Paris Agreement that countries in 2016 signed within the United Nations Framework Convention



on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhousegas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, was a milestone act. By 2019, 195 nations have agreed to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions collectively to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. However, America’s intentions to withdraw from the agreement and the slow pace of effective action by most countries indicate that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2050 may reach over 650 parts per million CO2, resulting in a likely temperature rise of more than 3 degrees C that would have cataclysmic impacts on the environment and human settlements. The United Nations IPCC Fifth Assessment Report in 2014 scientifically forecasts that these impacts include massive sea rises that would inundate vast ocean coastlines and cities, with consequences of demographic disruptions, ecological disasters, desertification, potable water shortages, agricultural land reduction, public health epidemics, and epic economic damage that cannot be fully assessed. While major mitigation strategies are required to reduce the impacts of climate change, every effort to lessen CO2 emissions can help, including using community gardening, which can contribute in several ways. They include increased urban green space while directly reducing the transportation needed to bring garden vegetables to the city and increasing the potential of human consumption of non-meat products. In Boston, we still find “Victory Gardens or War Gardens” in private homes or neighborhood parks left over from World War II, where this was an effective food-scarcity strategy that today provides a social commingling function and supplies daily herbs, fruit, and vegetables. Two urban planning projects commissioned to my firms were highly motivated by sustainable-development principles. Although never implemented, the master plan and concept design of Nuran New Town was planned in 1978 and recognized by MIT in their 1982 Conference on New Towns as one of the first low-carbon, solar-energy-based cities in the world. This city of 100,000 population located as a satellite to the historic city of Isfahan was so oriented that its central town axis was in direct alignment with the great Nagsh-e Jahan Maydan and the blue dome of Masjid-i-Imam. This terrestrial alignment recognized the genius loci of its placemaking and created the ‘spiritual axis’ of the town. This axis also brought forth a major linear public park within which social facilities of the town, such as museums, libraries, and urban agriculture


for the community were situated. Solar ponds, photovoltaic roof panels, locally sourced cyclopean concrete structures, compact, high-density, mixed-use design characterized this sustainable, pedestrian-oriented garden city. Our 2008 master plan and concept design of the Aldar Residential Community in Abu Dhabi in association with ARUP was a model sustainable, low-carbon, “green” community of 7,500 population on a 32-hectare site adjacent to the Eastern Mangroves of this desert island city. This project was based upon World Wildlife Fund and One Planet Living principles, including environmental sustainability, cultural relevance, urban agriculture, financial viability, and a visionary architecture of innovative significance. ​The first phase of studies demonstrated through excellent passive design strategies that energy demand could be reduced by 60 percent compared to BaU. The designs also provided renewable energy sources from solar, wind, and biomass for the remaining energy needs. Other important components included an innovative transportation strategy that minimized car usage and promoted pedestrian movement. The inclusion of a major land-use allocation for hydroponic urban agriculture powered by solar energy provided a substantial amount of the vegetable and fruit requirements of the inhabitants. AA: “Pardisan, An Environmental Park, Tehran, Iran,” one of your collaborations with Ian McHarg, in fact was a consequence of the World Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm. This approach started a modern environmental movement, which was expected to answer to the ecological challenges. After nearly two decades since the conference was held, as a responsive model to the emerging economic, social, and environmental challenges worldwide, the concept of sustainability was presented as a global agreement by the Brundtland Commission. How comparable are these two events? Do you think the Stockholm conference is the reason why the thought of sustainability has appeared? How did your strategy in the Pardisan project answer the Stockholm conference concerns in terms of both the social and ecological aspects? NA: In 1972, the eminent director of the Iran Department of the Environment, Eskandar Firouz, participated in the Stockholm conference and commissioned my firm, The Mandala Collaborative, for the Pardisan project in association with Ian McHarg. However, before this project, I had the unique responsibility of leading an international research team that drafted the Habitat Bill of Rights in 1974 on sustainable urbanism. The team was composed of Harvard Dean José Luis Sert, Georges Candilis, Moshe Safdie, and B.K.

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Doshi, and they asked me to present the publication to the First U.N. Conference on Human Settlements in 1976 in Vancouver. The research book received high praise from the New York Times. Since that time, I have extended this research by consulting with U.N. Habitat on the topic of holistic sustainable urban criteria that would also encompass cultural sustainability with regard to both its tangible and intangible dimensions, as per UNESCO Conventions on Cultural Heritage. The master plan for Pardisan, situated on a 300-hectare, barren alluvial site located to the west of Tehran, allowed us to integrate this previous cultural sustainability research with the ecological strategies that McHarg brilliantly contributed to the design conception that reflected the Stockholm motto of “Only One Earth.” The innovative program for which we consulted with Buckminster Fuller, Charles Eames, and many distinguished scientists produced a physical plan that could clearly demonstrate to the visitors in one comprehensive place a microscale recapitulation of the Earth with two primary themes: First, to understand Earth’s place in the cosmos and its history, the adaptive workings of nature, and the evolution and diversities of species. Second, to place man within this environment, to represent the physical and cultural interactions between man and nature throughout historic time and in different bio-climatic and socio-cultural settings. Pardisan would have functioned as a living museum, zoological and botanical garden, a place of education and recreation, while serving as an international ecological and conservation research center based in Iran. The pedagogic method of presentation was designed to teach and highlight processes of adaptation and change to help sustain “a common future” for all. To this date, the idea of Pardisan and its physical place have more or less been maintained in Tehran as a recreational, green park, but its visionary program and building designs await to be realized.

NA: The eight countries surrounding the Persian Gulf, particularly the regions adjacent to that body of water, were historically situated in ecologically hot, desert environments lacking sweet soil and non-saline water to naturally support green spaces, exasperated by periodic sand storms. For this reason, traditionally few inhabited the coastal zones, except for seasonal pearl-fishing settlements. Life there was climatically extremely stressful and difficult. Only in two coastal areas was there an exception to this condition: the tidal marshes of south Iraq fed by the Tigris and Euphrates, which tragically were destroyed by Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War and the natural freshwater springs originating from aquifers of

AA: In one of your recent research projects, “Gulf Sustainable Urbanism” conducted by the Harvard School of Design, the idea of beginning planning for the future by learning from the past was your central doctrine. Based on the theory and history of Middle East architecture and urbanism, the green spaces have had a fundamental role, specifically socially and culturally, at three scales: city, neighborhood, and architectural unit. How practical are urban agriculture and community gardening in context of the gulf countries’ sustainability? And which decisions can be adopted by architects and urban planners and designers in terms of community gardening in order to advance social interactions? Gulf Research Project, A2 Magazine in Dubai. Source: © 2006-2018 Ardalan Associates, LLC.





the mountains of the eastern region of Saudi Arabia that surfaced in and around the coastal flats of Manama and further north in Kuwait supplied modest agricultural and residential needs. On the terraneous coast of Iran, rainwater harvesting provided seasonal storage and use of water to allow small plantations growing date palms, while in Muscat, Oman, wadis filled by seasonal precipitation supplemented qanat-supplied water to settlements. The form, scale, adaptive traditional technologies such as wind towers, and life patterns of urban settlements were highly in harmony with the environmental context. In early history, the coastal region supported less than a million population. However, beginning in the 1950s with the discovery and sale of oil and gas, things dramatically changed. Since then, massive seawater desalination systems installed in all the Persian Gulf states consuming enormous electrical energy run by plentiful, cheap supplies of oil have transformed that picture. Today, more than 20 million people, predominantly ex-patriots from all over the world, live and work there. While some local agriculture has been developed, but due to extreme ecological limits, much of the food is imported. Therefore, food-security mitigation strategies have become significant national planning issues. Given this concern, the idea of urban agriculture and community gardening is being considered in some innovative new urban developments by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. In particular, the Masdar new sustainable community designed in 2006 in Abu Dhabi by Norman Foster’s firm can serve as an example. A similar new, planned sustainable city is Kaust in Saudi Arabia. Masdar was planned to be a zero-energyneed development for 45,000 to 50,000 people, primarily serving commercial and manufacturing facilities specializing in environmentally friendly products. It was to be powered by a 22-hectare field of 87,777 solar panels with additional panels on roofs. Water management was planned in an environmentally sound manner as well. Approximately 80 percent of the water to be used would be recycled, and wastewater would be reused “as many times as possible,” with this graywater being used for crop irrigation around the city, urban green space, and hydroponic farming. World Wildlife Fund and Bioregional endorsed Masdar City as an official One Planet Living Community. However, as of 2016, a very small percentage of the six square kilometers has been built, fewer than 2,000 people are residents there, and the project remains as an important, innovative experiment. Some skeptics are concerned that the city will be only a symbolic gesture to sustainability for Abu Dhabi, while the gulf countries continue


to build the most unsustainable developments environmentally, culturally, socially, and economically over the long term. AA: You have conducted some worldwide collaborative research in coastal regions. In the context of Florida, “Harvard GSD Project on Southwest Florida, Sea Level, Collier County Naples, Marco Island, & Everglades City” is a collaborative research project in which you are an advisory board member and seeking to use the frameworks of green infrastructure, landscape ecology, cultural heritage, and resilient urbanism as potential responses to the threats and opportunities associated with sea level rise. Based on the projected sea level rise, it’s anticipated that we will be facing a huge population migration from Florida coastlines to the safer urban regions and even central counties. Housing will be increasing, cities will be expanding, and agriculture lands will be shrinking. Based on this prediction, do you believe that urban agriculture and specifically community gardening can be counted as responsive green infrastructures with which our cities in Florida survive in 2100 in terms of land loss, food crisis, and social challenges? What are the responsibilities of architects and urban planners in the three scales of regional, county, and municipal? NA: In May 2017, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) awarded the University of Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University $995,487 to develop over a three-year period tools and strategies to help Collier County’s decision makers to make strategic plans for future impacts of sea level rise and climate change. I participate as an advisory board member for Urban Resilience and Planning Research Group for this project. The NCCOS scope of work includes, first, developing computerbased models for predictions of sea level until 2100 and maps covering surge-wave inundation, salinity distribution, habitat disruption, beach and barrier island vulnerability, and economic impact maps. Second, to integrate the maps into a web-based interactive decision-support tool (titled ACUNE) that enables users to identify areas of high vulnerability and employ this information for coastal resiliency strategic planning. Mangrove forests, salt marshes, and beaches, which provide fishery habitats and flood protection and recreational tourism, urban settlements, and infrastructure are all highly vulnerable to all these stressors and will be severely impacted. ACUNE can help mitigate some of these impacts. This region contains the largest area of tidally influenced public

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in terms of food equity, this model puts those who are at risk closest to the source of production, giving them access at the point of lowest cost – before it is packaged and transported." lands in the Gulf of Mexico, the fastest growing urban landscape in Florida, and some of the world’s most desirable tourist and recreational and beach attractions. It is significant to observe that the scope of the current NCCOS work does not cover physical planning mitigation studies for urban and infrastructure responses to sea level rise, which is to be a separate contract to be awarded in the near future by Collier County to internationally recognized firms specializing in this field. Due to several unique factors, such as the porous karst limestone geology of southwest Florida, the special ecosystem of the Everglades, the predicted ever-more-rapid rise of sea levels in this region, and the newness of such planning challenges, there are few if any international precedents of demonstrated, successful urban planning mitigations relevant for such conditions. Recent Harvard GSD studies of Miami’s beaches and coastal barrier islands did reveal the potential for ecological and infrastructural strategies that could act as mitigating alternatives to large single-purpose engineering solutions, such as massive dykes. However, from my 50 years of professional urban planning and architectural experience in coastal regions and academic research on this topic, my intuition tells me that we need to think out of the box about the urban and natural responses to future sea rise/surge/flooding for southwest Florida. Advanced holistic visionary design, planning and financing concepts are greatly needed to suggest how southwest Florida might survive and continue its quality of life and visual beauty in year 2030, 2060, and beyond. What would be some of the most effective strategies and processes to investigate in the next few years to inspire informed, grounded visions for such a goal?

for this conference that was held in partnership with the School of Architecture at the University of Miami, the Coral Gables Museum, and AIA Miami and the Miami Center for Architecture and Design. We were interested in professional and academic case-study presentations regarding the planner and architect responsibilities, lessons learned from actual dislocations, and to open discussions on social and community challenges, especially the tangible impacts of climate change, sea level rise, natural disasters, refugee communities, and the economic-political displacement of masses of peoples not only in Florida, but across the U.S. and globally. In addition, they also included presentations on the more intangible and accompanying challenges of psychological and spiritual displacement. Recent events such as Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria, the Mexico earthquake, all underscored the importance of this topic. ■ More information on the symposium and papers presented can be found by the link:

Southwest Florida is a young, wealthy society, really born after World War II and mainly since the 1990s. The current pace of rapid growth, the inadequacies of past planning paradigms, together with today’s unsustainable urbanization policies, yet with ever new technological innovations, leave no choice but to think of synergistic, revolutionary, transcendent solutions for the near and distant future when large masses of populations will face relocation from coastal settlements to inland zones where the recreational and visual quest for inland saltwater “seas” and beaches will demand creative solutions, and the resultant changes in land ownership, use, and value will eventually have to be dealt with. In view of these realities and to gather fresh insights and grounded visions of possible new directions, the Forum for Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality hosted an international symposium entitled Displacement and Architecture from May 22-25, 2018, in Coral Gables, Fla. Professor Karla Britton of Yale and I were co-conveners

Arash Alborzi Alborzi is a PhD student at the University of Florida School of Architecture in Gainesville, Florida. Alborzi’s thesis focuses on urban agriculture, sustainable urbanism, and architecture. Prior to studying his PhD in architecture, he practiced and studied architecture in Tehran, Iran. 50





Arthur Gensler, Jr. FAIA, FIIDA, RIBA Art Gensler founded Gensler in 1965, helping to elevate the practice of interior design to professional standing. Art graduated from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning and is a member of its Advisory Council. A Fellow of both the AIA and the International Interior Design Association, and a professional member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Art officially stepped down from the firm in 2010. In 2015, he wrote Art's Principles as a roadmap for professional service entrepreneurs.

Gensler is no strange name to any architect in the United States. One of the largest architectural firms globally, its work encompasses more than 10,000 projects in more than 2,500 cities. How did it transform itself over the years and become the Gensler we know today? What are some of the challenges it faces, and how will the firm evolve in the future? Our CONNECTION team reached out to Arthur Gensler to share his thoughts on how to be successful in the information age.

YNL: What are some of the most profound changes in the profession that you have seen across your career? AG: When I started, projects and process was pretty simple. An individual could do most of a project. Today, everything is a team effort. Not just within our office, but with our consultants, contractors, suppliers, and building officials. The impact of sustainable design has added another layer to the process.

YNL: Gensler continues to be one of the leading global AE Yu-Ngok Lo: Talent acquisition is a very important aspect of firms. How can U.S. architects continue to be the leaders in developing a successful business. With the workforce shifting the global practice arena? from baby boomers to Gen Y, what are some changes you see AG: We are global, but local first. All our offices (46) use the developing in Gensler’s firm culture? same technology and the same systems. We have major Art Gensler: Don’t be afraid to hire someone smarter than you. You support groups that support all of our offices, including offices may be smart in certain ways, but the person you are interviewing outside the U.S. We do not buy firms. When we have a client may be smarter in, say, technology. We are learning to adapt to the (mostly U.S.-based, but not always), we send experienced millennial culture. They are very hard-working, but they are about Gensler people to respond to the client’s needs. If it turns out to asking what the firm will do for them with little talk about what they be a good place to operate, we hire locally and internationally. will bring to the firm. It is a two-way street. We do most of the work, including design, in the local office, but if they need specific expertise (i.e. entertainment), they reach Yu-Ngok Lo: Gensler has spent tremendous resources in out to Gensler offices that have that expertise and can support research and technology developments. Why has this been them. Most U.S. firms want to get the global projects but do the valuable to you and the growth of Gensler? work in the U.S. We find that doesn’t work. AG: There are two topics we spend a great deal of time and money on. Research is key to being able to bring some specific knowledge to our clients. They want to understand the trends and what their competitors are thinking. Although we keep all our information confidential as to where and who it comes from, we can consolidate the trends and thinking and make our projects better. The rate of change in technology is amazing. Not only new software, but new equipment takes time and money to properly implement, so the decision to move to a different platform or system is a major decision. You can’t keep up with every change or new application, but we at least must be more aware of what is happening in our profession and in our clients’ world.

YNL: As the founder of one of the most successful architecture firms in the world, what advice do you have for our emerging professional readers that are wanting to start their own practice? AG: Surround yourself with smart people. Realize it is not your project, but the client’s. Work very hard, and take advantage of unanticipated opportunities. ■


YNL: How has the architect-client relationship evolved over the years? How are client needs evolving?

Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA

AG: The process and the projects are more complex than ever. New information and data is constantly challenging us to be current. Our clients expect us to be their trusted adviser with up-to-date knowledge. We are becoming closer partners than ever before.

Yu-Ngok is the principal of YNL Architects, Inc. He is the past Communications Director of the Young Architects Forum National Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the 2016 AIA Young Architect Award.


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David L. Hoffman, FAIA, NCARB, Hon. FCARM Hoffman is senior vice president of LK Architecture, based in Wichita, a 100-plus person A/E firm practicing throughout the United States and Mexico. In 1993, Hoffman was elevated to the AIA’s College of Fellows and named a Richard Upjohn Fellow. His service to NCARB began in 2006, when he joined the Site Planning and Design Subcommittee, which he coordinated from 2010 to 2011. Prior to joining the NCARB Board of Directors, Hoffman served as the Central States Conference (Region 5) secretary/treasurer, vice chair, and chair. He has represented NCARB on several NAAB accreditation teams and served on NCARB’s NAAB ARC Regulatory Conference Task Force. In 2018, he was inaugurated as the president/chair of the board at the NCARB Annual Business Meeting in Detroit.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has been bearing the responsibilities of facilitating architectural licensure for one-hundred years. Coinciding with this anniversary our team discussed the future paths to licensure with NCARB's 2018-19 President, David L. Hoffman, FAIA.

John J. Clark: How do you envision the architecture profession and architectural registration in 10 to 20 years? David L. Hoffman: In 2017, we established a Futures Task Force to explore how changes in practice could impact licensure over the next 25 years. How might emerging technologies such as virtual reality and remote testing impact the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)? If BIM technology automates functions related to health and safety, will the architect’s role focus more heavily on welfare? While we don’t yet have the answers to these complex questions, we recognize that, as regulators, we have a duty to ensure licensure keeps pace with the world around us. Understanding these trends and influences will help us prepare for the future — whatever that may bring. The future of architectural education is another exciting area of focus. Following years of research and development, the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) launched in 2015, giving students the opportunity to complete their experience and examination requirements while earning a degree. Now in its fourth year, the initiative celebrated its first three graduates in May 2018 — who each received their licenses shortly after. With 26 programs at 21 colleges around the country, we anticipate a growing demand for programs that combine theoretical and practical learning.

JJC: How is NCARB helping young architects anticipate and keep pace with changes in practice and in the regulatory environment? DH: Every year, NCARB’s experts, Member Board Members, and members of the Board of Directors travel to campuses, firms, AIA chapters, and industry events to share insights on the path to licensure. Staff are also available for real-time help on NCARB’s ARE 5.0 Community and social media platforms. Through our outreach efforts, we’re able to reach new audiences, grow our community, and inform candidates and architects across the country. In response to feedback from emerging professionals, we’re also launching a suite of resources for Architectural Experience Program® (AXP™) supervisors, including a continuing education course on best practices and a pamphlet detailing candidate-supervisor expectations. Workplace demeanor and professionalism — particularly as it relates to licensure candidates and NCARB Certificate holders — has been a topic of discussion since 2015. Following a three-year effort to review and strengthen the role of ethics in architectural regulation, licensing boards unanimously voted to update NCARB’s Model Rules of Conduct last June. The document, which can be adapted by Member Boards, now intentionally references workplace harassment, the obligation to report unethical conduct, and the critical role supervisors play in training future architects. JJC: How is the path to licensure evolving to better accommodate the next generation of licensure candidates? DH: We’ve made great strides over the past several years to ensure our programs balance inclusivity with the rigor needed to protect the public. For example, candidates can now earn partial credit for experience that’s up to five years old, the exam’s retake

TOP RIGHT:The first IPAL students to earn their licenses shortly after graduation, (from left) Phillip Lantry, Justin Jablonski, and Michael Germano from the University of Florida’s CityLabOrlando. - Courtesy: NCARB MIDDLE RIGHT: Members of the 2018 Re-Think Tank brainstorm new resources for AXP supervisors and mentors. - Courtesy: NCARB LOWER RIGHT: Licensing board members discuss regulatory issues within their region at NCARB’s 2018 Annual Business Meeting. - Courtesy: NCARB 52




NCARB’s data reveals that the next generation of architects should be more diverse — not only in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity, but also experience level. policy was shortened from six months to 60 days, and we refreshed alternative paths to certification for architects with varying academic degrees. The intent of these changes has been to remove unnecessary barriers and open doors to a wider pool of candidates. Over time, this should help support wider diversity within the field. We also have two committees comprised solely of licensure candidates and recently licensed architects, respectively. Every year, members of these groups share feedback on our programs and services, brainstorm areas for improvement, and engage with NCARB leadership. Collaborating with these groups is always energizing and helps our longtime volunteers to consider diverse experiences and perspectives. We hope that these individuals will one day become leaders in their communities, members of architectural licensing boards, and perhaps one day, NCARB president. They are the future of the profession. JJC: What key demographic trends are being noticed related to architectural registration and how the makeup of the profession is evolving? DH: NCARB’s data reveals that the next generation of architects should be more diverse — not only in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity, but also experience level. According to the latest edition of NCARB by the Numbers, 1 in 3 new architects are women, and they are just as likely to remain on the licensure path as men. Racial and ethnic diversity continues to improve along early career stages, particularly among new AXP and new ARE candidates. However, candidates who identify as non-white are 25 percent more likely to stop pursuing licensure. While NCARB hopes to see recent program updates improve diversity, the profession must continue to embrace inclusivity within firm culture, supporting everyone along the path to licensure. A key step involves promoting diversity among leadership — at schools and practices, on architectural licensing boards, and on


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The profession is changing in ways our founders couldn’t have imagined. Our organization’s function continues to expand, and I’m happy to say that we’re being drawn to new and exciting roles.

our own volunteer committees. Although diversity at the licensing board level is largely controlled by governors and other appointing authorities, we are working to identify and promote a more diverse pool of potential Member Board Members. JJC: How is NCARB working with other collateral organizations to support the future of architectural education and practice? DH: NCARB works hand-in-hand with our collateral organizations on initiatives that span the full licensure spectrum. Since 2016, NCARB has partnered with the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) Freedom by Design™ program. By providing grants and mentorship opportunities, students can gain real-world experience that counts toward their AXP hours while improving the accessibility of their communities. NCARB has also been partnering with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) to better understand current professional practice courses. In 2018, we launched a joint survey to identify how our organizations can provide support for pro-practice professors, who are typically licensed architects. The survey’s findings will support the development of additional resources for professors, as well as inform ACSA and NCARB’s contributions to the 2019 Accreditation Review Forum, hosted by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Additionally, we’re currently analyzing data from a joint survey with the AIA that aims to uncover “pinch points” along the path to licensure, including the cost and impact of earning an architecture degree.

an organization that would facilitate licensure across state lines and promote national standards that protect the public’s safety. Looking back, we can point to so many accomplishments and milestones: In 1965, NCARB launched the first national licensing exam; a structured training program launched in 1976; and throughout the 1980s, NCARB developed a reciprocity agreement between U.S. jurisdictions and Canadian provinces. As we build the foundation for our future, we must have a sense of what we’ve done and where we’ve been. The profession is changing in ways our founders couldn’t have imagined. Our organization’s function continues to expand, and I’m happy to say that we’re being drawn to new and exciting roles. Our volunteer committees are exploring how emerging technologies could impact the exam; we’ve partnered with local AIA chapters to advocate for reasonable regulation; and we’re developing new tools for our licensure candidates and architects — to name a few initiatives on the horizon. I hope we continue to improve our programs, ensure that architects have access to diverse opportunities, and respond to the needs of our Member Boards. I have been amazed at the energy and interest I have seen among NCARB’s volunteers and staff, and I can’t wait to see what our next chapter will bring. ■

JJC: As NCARB celebrates its centennial, reflect on the organization’s past and the opportunities it sees in the future. DH: One-hundred years is a wonderful legacy that underscores our role as leaders in architectural regulation. However, there is always room for reflection and improvement. In May 1919, 15 architects came together to form what would eventually become NCARB —

@clarkjohnj TOP: President Hoffman addresses licensing board members at NCARB’s 2018 Annual Business Meeting in Detroit. - Courtesy: NCARB




John J.Clark, AIA, NCARB John is an architect with RMKM Architecture in Albuquerque, NM. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, John has served on the AIA Albuquerque Board of Directors and is the 2019-20 Communications Director for the AIA YAF AdCom.




Many of our readers are familiar with the name Frances Anderton. She is the host of the podcast DnA (Design and Architecture) on KCRW. Her show dives deep into a variety of stories that affect the built environment. It explores contemporary issues through the lens of the general public. As a publication that shares a similar mission, our CONNECTION team spent time with her to talk about what she thinks the future of the architecture profession will be.

Yu-Ngok Lo: You have reported on many architectural issues on your show, DnA. Which topics do you predict will dominate the nationwide design discussions in the next five years? Frances Anderton: I think the issues that have dominated national and local dialogues in recent years — affordable housing, diversity in design, resiliency, and sustainability — will continue to be important to architects. I think other topics will rise in emphasis, though, such as the growing role of tech and AI in the design and building professions, the impact on our cities of changing mobility, and the nature of community as more and more boomers enter old age and a new generation hits adulthood. YNL: What about globally? What are some of the common architectural issues the world is facing? FA: Many countries are facing a tension between urban and rural; between embrace of change and aversion to change; between overcrowded, expensive, cosmopolitan global cities, mostly on coasts, and economically deprived, rural, and smaller cities and towns, mostly inland. These have architectural implications. Of course, the entire world faces climate change and has to reduce its energy consumption and be sure the energy it consumes is clean. At the same time, capitalism favors and promotes consumption of resources. The global community may need to confront the costs of capitalism. Since architects work where the money is, they might have to be part of this conversation and consider their own business models. For example, should architects earn a percentage of construction costs, or should they position themselves differently, with a different kind of fee structure? Hypothetically, perhaps architects could market themselves as essentially holistic “doctors” of the built environment who work with progressive thinkers in finance and development to determine what makes the best sense from social, economic, and environmental terms in a given situation, and that may not always be a building.

YNL: How do you see the architecture profession’s evolution over time? And what will be architects’ role in our communities in the future? FA: From the late 19th century through to the 1980s, many architects in many countries were involved with designing statefunded housing and schools and hospitals and libraries, as well as private commissions for affluent clients. That role dipped for architects as the public sector weakened in the 1980s. But it is on the rise again; what’s changed is that architects more often take the lead in shaping a project from the outset, determining the needs, the building type, and the program — often in tandem with self-empowered communities and sometimes functioning as the developer. Typically, in the past, an architect worked in the service of a client; now the architect’s role is more fluid. YNL: How do you see the field of architecture journalism evolving? FA: It’s likely that video, YouTube, and VR storytelling about buildings will continue to grow. While there has been a decline in architecture criticism at national newspapers, coverage of design and architecture has grown in the podcast sector as well as online print media and will likely continue to do so. Instagram is huge. To the extent architecture journalists can provide a service beyond publishing cool pictures online, they can be filters for the vast amounts of information that fill people’s inboxes. They can help figure out fact from fiction. For example, there’s a tendency in design media to rush to publish renderings of projects way before the project is a reality, or even has a chance of being built. A useful architecture journalist can sort out what’s real, what’s marketing. Architecture journalists should also be tracking the political process, keeping designers abreast of policy changes along with social and cultural shifts that might have direct impact on their work. This has certainly been a role played by DnA, and I hope it has helped listeners understand the L.A. region and role of architecture and design in shaping it. ■

@yungoklo Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA Yu-Ngok is the principal of YNL Architects, Inc. He is the past Communications Director of the Young Architects Forum National Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the 2016 AIA Young Architect Award.


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Keshika De Saram, Assoc. AIA Keshika De Saram, Assoc. AIA, was the 2017-2018 National President of the American Institute of Architecture Students, having graduated from the University of Minnesota. He spent a year working alongside former vice president Elizabeth Seidel on connecting students and advancing their voices and futures. Following the completion of his term at AIAS, he is now pursuing his architectural license at Quinn Evans Architects, in Washington, D.C.

John J. Clark: From your perspective, what is most encouraging about the future of architectural practice and education?

Conference in Dubai. All of these initiatives were about connection and sharing.

Keshika De Saram: There is a lot of reason to feel optimistic about change in our profession right now, especially for students and emerging professionals. As technology and new ways of collaborating are changing the way architects work, students and new graduates are often driving technological innovation in school and in the workplace. We are also in a time of generational shift in the profession, where emerging professionals have more opportunities than before to rise to leadership roles in architectural practice. All across the country, students want to develop their capacity to collaborate and lead.

It is human connection that allows our profession to remain stable and adaptive in a time of fast technological change. In 2017-2018, thanks to the leadership of our wonderful Vice President Elizabeth Seidel, we put a lot of effort on personal connection. Students grow when those of us in leadership roles take the time to invest in them personally. Having one-on-one conversations and building meaningful friendships allowed members to better understand their own strengths and better engage each other's potential. Many of the students that we connected with carried that forward to mentor their younger peers. I believe that investing in our members' personal growth is one of the most important things we did during my time as president.

At the start of the year, I was at AIAS FORUM, our annual conference, which drew hundreds of students to Seattle to connect and grow. Both on and off the stage, there were a lot of great conversations about changing the culture of architectural education and pushing the potential of practice. What is truly exciting about this moment in time is that young people are eager to make a difference to the profession and the communities architects serve. JJC: What changes or growth was made during your time as AIAS president, and what do you hope to see from the organization of the future? KDS: In the 2017-2018 year, we advanced many of the venues we have for students to connect and empower each other. We advanced academic offerings so students can develop and share research; we explored how our AIAS chapters can build better relationships with local AIA chapters; we also connected members in our Middle East chapters in our first ever AIAS International

My hope for the future is that the AIAS, AIA, and the other collateral organizations can continue to be venues for personal connection, mentorship, and growth. Social media can help strengthen relationships. But I hope our conferences and our chapters continue to be venues for meaningful face-to-face connection. JJC: After your travels aacross the country, what does the landscape of architectural students look like today? KDS: Students of architecture represent all walks of life and all kinds of passions. There are those who are passionate about community engagement and elevating those around them. There are those who want to push the profession through research and academic discourse. Some are passionate about orienting the profession towards innovation. I have met many students who intend to become leaders of architecture firms or begin their own practices. Others seek to become leaders of allied fields or other realms of society with the design skills they have gained from their education. All students that I have talked to over the past year and a half want to advance society in some capacity. The challenge for the profession over the next few years is to find ways to mentor this diverse cohort of emerging professionals and nurture our various desires for change. We recognize that we have

Photo by AIA National





Photo by Tim Matthews

a lot to learn from experienced architects, and we hope that they will help us reach our potential. JJC: How is the AIAS anticipating future trends in the profession and helping architectural programs and students keep pace with changes in both practice and in education? KDS: Students who graduate in the next five years are expected to be in the workforce for a majority of the 21st century. Given how much the profession is anticipated to change over the course of this century, it is essential that schools build graduates who are adaptive. Graduates need to be able to succeed in today’s profession, create tomorrow’s profession, and then succeed in that new environment. Our AIAS committees are exploring many topics related to this, including what it means for architecture schools to teach empathy in design and what it means to be resilient as individuals and communities. Across the country, members and chapters are having similar conversations in various ways. At a national level, we provide space for these voices to participate in discourse. Our CRIT Journal is full of thoughts from our membership on where the future is going and how we can impact that future. We are also working to make sure that graduates are representative of the communities that architects serve, which is important for our profession to have relevance in the future. Often, students and prospective students face barriers along socioeconomic lines holding them back from completing architecture degrees. Last year, AIAS Vice President Elizabeth Seidel worked with the ACSA, on their Education Committee, on identifying and addressing those barriers. These include financial barriers, unhealthy studio cultures at schools, insufficient information on the variety of different schools and degrees, lack of information on the licensure process, not having an architect mentor within reach, and the lack of access to expensive high school summer programs. We hope that this work can help architecture degree programs to better address those barriers.

exploring similar issues. If you want to find out more, I encourage you to look at the new Instagram account @aias_advocacy, which will be populated in the coming months with expressions of the work our members are doing to change the culture around architectural education. JJC: How is the AIAS working with other collateral organizations to support the future of architectural education and practice? KDS: We are working with all five collateral architecture organizations to shape the student experience and the future of the profession. A lot of our efforts right now are focused on the Accreditation Review Forum (ARF) of the NAAB. We are in the midst of a large conversation within many levels of the organization to build the voice that we want to have at the event. I want to highlight grassroots-level engagement. While we engage with all of the collateral organizations at the national level, our chapters are also engaging at a local scale with AIA components. It is really exciting to see AIAS chapters do amazing things in partnership with AIA components. I especially appreciate that many AIA components have an AIAS member serve on their board of directors, giving voice to local students and allowing more connection between them and professionals. JJC: Which issues that impact future students and young professionals will the AIAS most strongly advocate for? KDS: Major topics that I keep hearing at our conferences lately include health and well-being among students, equity in architecture schools and in the profession, leadership development, service to our communities, connecting and sharing ideas, and building relationships. None of these are new. These are all topics that students care about and will continue to care about for a long time. As a profession, we should continue to advance each of these and provide opportunities for students to engage with them. ■

The AIAS has three new committees on advocacy that are also

@clarkjohnj John J.Clark, AIA, NCARB John is an architect with RMKM Architecture in Albuquerque, NM. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, John has served on the AIA Albuquerque Board of Directors and is the 2019-20 Communications Director for the AIA YAF AdCom.


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Barbara A. Sestak, FAIA Barbara is a Professor of Architecture at Portland State University and served in several administrative roles, including Associate Vice Provost for Sponsored Research and Dean of the College of the Arts, where she created a School of Architecture and a first professional M.Arch program. Before joining PSU, Barbara worked in architectural offices in Seattle and Portland. Her service to the profession includes AIA Portland’s first female president; 12 years on the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners; several NCARB committees; 12 NAAB accreditation visits; and she is currently serving the NAAB Board of Directors as President-elect.

Being a member of a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation team, I witnessed the importance of the work the NAAB does. A comprehensive accreditation system is the most effective way to make sure students are getting the quality education they deserve. It also prepares students to enter the workforce. NAAB not only bears the responsibility of establishing standards for and assuring the quality of architectural programs, but it also plays an important role in advancing the value, relevance, and effectiveness of the architecture profession. We spent some time with Barbara Sestak, FAIA, President-Elect of the NAAB, to share her thoughts on the future of the profession.

Yu-Ngok Lo: How do you see architectural education evolving over the next 10 to 20 years? Barbara Sestak: The essence of a design-centric model with a focus on what distinguishes the architecture discipline and profession will continue, but the manner in which it is taught and learned will evolve. Other topics will increase the knowledge base as researchand evidence-based design become more prevalent. The creative thinking that distinguishes architects is being acknowledged and will be more so as the leadership and influence of the profession expands, and so will its education. YNL: How will NAAB adapt to the changes you mentioned above and continue to be the leading agency that oversees the quality of our architectural schools? BS: NAAB’s vision is to advance educational quality-assurance standards and processes that anticipate the needs of academic programs, the profession, and society in order to promote a better built environment. It does so by fostering a culture of continual



improvement that: seeks positive organizational transformation and responds to external change; celebrates the unique institutional perspectives and ensures the inclusion of diverse populations to enrich the learning environment; articulates the value of an accredited architectural education to students, the profession, and the communities architects serve; and promotes the transparency and collateral cooperation in the shared responsibility of preparing graduates for professional practice. YNL: Many would argue that there is a gap between the academic world and the profession. Should architecture schools be responsible for bridging this gap? BS: It depends on how you define “gap.” An architectural education is the first major step in a career in architecture that introduces and develops design thinking, graphic communication skills, and technical information needed for the profession. While there is a core of material that all schools cover, each school has the ability and freedom to expand their program in different directions, resulting in some more technically oriented, while others might be more theoretical or research based. Individuals’ interests and ways of learning are different, and this range of programs fills those needs. It is a university’s broader responsibility to develop thinkers and an investigatory process as the technical information learned now will have changed in 10 years or so, and the thirst for learning needs to continue. The profession needs to acknowledge, and many do, that while we have learned reading, writing, and math since elementary school, architecture as a discipline is for most only introduced and studied for the relatively few years at a university, and that knowledge is strengthened and deepened through experience in practice. This is one reason why NCARB’s Architectural Experience Program (AXP) was developed and why



It has been extremely helpful for me, as an architect, to present myself as a “peer” to the private-sector architects we work with daily, instead of “just” another government bureaucrat." state licensing boards and the AIA require continuing education. This architectural continuum is the responsibility of all the collaterals, and it is encouraging to see that we have joint efforts to promote continual learning. YNL: In your opinion, what is the key to architecture education? BS: The NAAB is working now with our other collateral organizations to articulate the values that we all share for architectural education. In my opinion, these include responsibility to society at large, creative thinking that encourages innovation, opening up possibilities for doing things differently when necessary, recognizing good solutions to issues, and taking leadership roles in creating a better holistic environment. YNL: How does the NAAB work with other organizations, such as the AIA and NCARB, to revolutionize the future of the architecture profession?

for all five collateral boards of directors to discuss. Not only will these ideas impact the next set of 2020 Conditions for Accreditation but they also set the stage for continued work by NAAB and the collaterals over the next several years to investigate and institute efforts to jointly impact the direction of our profession. YNL: Anything else you would like to add? BS: More and more, the cost of higher education has transferred from public support to fall more heavily upon individuals. This is one issue that many are trying to resolve so that we don’t become a profession of only those who can afford to bear the cost and thereby limit the diversity of voices and thinking within our profession. NAAB is currently working with the collaterals to start investigating several options. One such effort is the potential certification of two- and fouryear programs to help students transition from these programs into the professional degree programs, and NAAB recently established a Certification Task Force to explore the possibilities. ■

BS: The NAAB Board of Directors is itself comprised of individuals nominated from each of the four other collaterals (AIA, AIAS, ACSA, and NCARB), which ensures that concerns regarding education from each of these organizations are heard. A major effort is done every five years to discuss, review, and change the Conditions for Accreditation that impact all schools and determines the core competencies required. Traditionally, the process has been that each organization develops a white paper on issues important to them that is then presented at an Architectural Review Conference. This year, the NAAB has instituted a process where all of the collaterals work together over a year to research, discuss, and develop mutual values and expectations for architectural programs of the future. These ideas will be presented in July at the new Architectural Review Forum

@yungoklo Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA Yu-Ngok is the principal of YNL Architects, Inc. He is the past Communications Director of the Young Architects Forum National Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the 2016 AIA Young Architect Award.


Q2 — 2019



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