AIA YAF Connection 17.04 - Technology in Architecture

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The architecture and design journal of the Young Architects Forum

This issue: Technology Emerging professionals share thoughts on technology in practice, entrepreneurship, and the future of the profession, while reflecting on the Women’s Leadership Summit and other 2019 initiatives.


Q4 Vol. 17 Issue 04

2019 Connection editorial committee Editor-in-chief, graphic editor Senior editor Senior editor Journalist Journalist Journalist International correspondent

John J. Clark, AIA Andrea Hardy, AIA Beth Mosenthal, AIA Arash Alborzi Jennifer Hardy, AIA Katie Kangas, AIA Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA

2019 Q1 Contributions Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist Contributing journalist

Gabriela Baierle, AIA Abigail Brown, AIA Graciela Carrillo, AIA Katelyn Chapin, AIA Carol Choi Robyn Engel, AIA Kristofer Leese Miranda Moen Jessica O’Donnell, AIA Jess Purcell Jason Takeuchi, AIA Matt Toddy, AIA

2019 YAF advisory committee Chair Vice chair Past chair Advocacy director Communications director Community director Knowledge director Public relations director AIA National Strategic Council representative College of Fellows representative AIA staff liaison

Lora Teagarden, AIA Ryan McEnroe, AIA Lawrence Fabbroni, AIA Jennie West, AIA John J. Clark, AIA Abigail Brown, AIA Jessica O’Donnell, AIA A.J. Sustaita, AIA Laura Lesniewski, AIA Roger Schluntz, FAIA Milan Durham, Assoc. AIA

Young Architects Forum an AIA member group

Connection is the official quarterly publication of the Young Architects Forum of AIA. This publication is created through the volunteer efforts of dedicated Young Architect Forum members. Copyright 2019 by The American Insititute 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 images permissions are obtained by or copyright of the author.

Contents 05 Editor’s note John J. Clark 06 President’s message William J. Bates, FAIA 08 YAF chair message Lora Teagarden, AIA 09 College of fellows note Roger Schluntz, FAIA

28 Regenerative design: An interview with Kieth Zaltzberg by Arash Alborzi 32 Entrepreneurial profile An interview with Anna Squier of modern studio by Miranda Moen 36 Practice innovation lab: Ohio Valley Region Matt Toddy, AIA

10 Nimble parametric practice: the digital toolbox Carol Choi and Kristofer Leese

38 Boston society of architects: emerging professionals Year in review Gabriela Baierle, AIA

14 Data as a career accelerator Jess Purcell

40 Celebrating newly licensed architects Jason Takeuchi, AIA

Women’s Leadership Summit 2019 16 WLS: 12 takeaways for emerging professionals Katelyn Chapin, AIA 18 Priya Parker and artful gathering Robyn Engel, AIA 22 Finding acceptance at WLS 2019 An interview with EB Krinkel Srygley by Abigail Brown, AIA 24

Leadership through compassion An interview with Gloria Kloter by Graciela Carrillo, AIA


WLS recommendations Compiled by Abi Brown, AIA; Graciela Carrillo, AIA; Katelyn Chapin, AIA; Katie Kangas, AIA; and Jessica O’Donnell, AIA

Cover image: Threads, designed by Belzberg Architects of Santa Monica, Calif., occupies a corner site on a busy one-way street in the heart of Mexico City and features low-E, tinted glazing that changes opacity throughout the day (photo by Roland Halbe).


Editorial team John J. Clark, AIA, NCARB Editor in chief Clark is an architect with RMKM Architecture in Albuquerque, N.Mex. Clark is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and is the 2019-20 Communications Director for the AIA National’s Young Architects Forum. Beth Mosenthal, AIA, LEED AP Senior editor Mosenthal is a Denver-based architect, writer, editor, and advocate for equitable and accessible design. As a Senior Editor for Connection, she is interested in featuring stories that highlight voices and work that are creating meaningful change.

Jennifer Hardy, AIA Contributor Hardy is an architect at Payette in Boston, Mass. 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. Yu-Ngok Lo, AIA 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.

Andrea E. Hardy Senior editor Hardy holds a MArch from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering Technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology. She is a registered architect in the State of Arizona and works at Shepley Bulfinch’s Phoenix office. Arash Alborzi Contributor Alborzi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida, School of Architecture in Gainesville, Florida. Alborzi’s dissertation focuses on feasibility of urban agriculture in existing cities.

Kate Kangas, AIA, NCARB Contributor Katie is a project architect at RSP Architects in Minneapolis, Minn. As the North Central States Young Architect Regional Director, Kangas connects emerging professionals with resources to position them for success.

Resource guide: AIA’s Center for Emerging Professionals AIA YAF KnowledgeNet A resource for discussion, blogs, announcements and events at AIA Trust A free risk management resource for AIA members. AIA College of Fellows Check out the College of Fellow’s reciprocal newsletter.






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Editors note:

Engaging with new tech As we approach the end of 2019, this issue looks back on the highlights of the year, including the highly impactful Women’s Leadership Summit, while keeping an eye on the future of practice through the lens of technology. For our cohort of young architects, much technology is an invisble, prevasive reality in our hyper-connected lives. This publication, like much of our work in practice, is a credit to digital technology and a mostly virtual community of professionals that has been drawn together around it. This type of digital collaboration and remote work is the new norm in 2020, even in our slow to evolve architectural profession, mainly because of accessible, simplified, user experiences. This unseen, accepted technology quietly impacts practice in ways that are unnoticed at the surface. In terms of this publication, consider the fact that technology allows for anyone to contribute, collaborate with our editorial team, and have a voice in influencing the profession. Through a few pieces in this issue, we hope to inspire thoughts on the technology that is still largely unexplored and unfamiliar in practice. Many speak about data, parametric design, and programming in practice, but such tools are stigmatized as inefficient, inaccessible, and unmanageble. As young architects we should be imagining the impacts and potential of these tools and embracing them.

Kristofer Leese of Belzberg Architects in Santa Monica, Calif. and Jess Purcell of Shepley Bullfinch in Phoenix, Ariz. both show why negative characterizations of these tools are false by giving examples of practical ways programming, data, and parametric design can be used to solve design and management problems. As Leese notes, such technologies need not be the focus of any practice but instead as part of “a digital toolbox that allows us to enhance our ability to problem solve and develop creative solutions.” We owe it to ourselves, our firms, and our profession to engage with new technologies to help in optimizing design, office management, project development, construction documents, and fabrication tasks. This is especially important considering that the future cohorts of architects are true digital natives and will come to expect such uses of technology in practice in the near future. A new digital kit of parts and the nature of our new hyper-connected, globalized, cross-disciplinary, virtual world will allow for new ways to complete both mundane and creative tasks, while allowing everyone a voice in solving problems. Fortunately as architects we have some large problems to solve.

Editorial committee call Q1 2020: Call for submissions on the topic of sustainability, resilience, and environment. Connection’s editorial comittee welcomes the submission of articles, projects, photography, and other design content. Submitted content is subject to editorial review and selected for publication in e-magazine format based on relevance to the theme of a particular issue. 2020 Editorial Committee: Call for volunteers, contributing writers, interviewers and design critics. Connection’s editorial comittee is currently seeking architects interested in building their writing portfolio by working with our editorial team to pursue targeted article topics and interviews that will be shared amongst Connection’s largely circulated e-magazine format. Responsibilities include contributing one or more articles per publication cycles (3–4 per year). If you are interested in building your resume and contributing to Connection please contact the editor in chief at:



President’s message:

Embracing a holistic approach to the future What impact will technology have on our design processes? Will it continue to be merely a tool, or will artificial intelligence begin to assume a larger role? In my view, the future of architecture is limited only by the architect’s imagination and the public’s faith in our ability to drive lasting, meaningful, and positive change. As Darwin scholar Leon Megginson summarized, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” The AIA is working to ensure that the future of our profession is even more successful than our past. Our long-term vision is for architects to have greater creative opportunities as entrepreneurs and designers and to be seen as trusted partners and advisers for developers, legislators, and business and civic leaders.

As we look ahead, the profession’s future will be framed by six key questions: •

• •

To that end, we must first remember that we control the future of our profession. Key to that is embracing an expanded and holistic approach to the practice of architecture. Expanding our services and areas of expertise will allow us to lead broader public policy discussions, including zoning decisions and setting infrastructure spending priorities.


What impact will technology have on our design processes? Will it continue to be merely a tool, or will artificial intelligence begin to assume a larger role in the design and creative-thinking process? How do we develop a professional demographic that better reflects the society we serve? What does the future path to architectural education and licensure look like? Who will be able to afford it? How can the architect of the future more effectively engage with communities of all economic strata? What new services must we offer to avoid being commoditized, as owners demand buildings in less time and at lower costs? How can we enhance the value of our design services in the eyes of the public, the construction and development industries, and our clients? How do we change the perception that we are merely a luxury service for the wealthy?

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How we answer these questions will in no small degree determine the long-term trajectory of architecture as a profession — and as an agent of progress. I am more convinced than ever that the AIA is an essential part of our profession’s long-term success. The AIA’s ability to bring together allied professions to conduct research and to develop new means and methods will help architects realize their full potential as innovative leaders of the future. For example, the AIA remains an essential and respected advocate for the inclusion of the architect’s voice in public policy discussions about the built world. The Institute’s comprehensive communications campaign ensures that the public, media, and lawmakers understand the full value of architects to their clients, communities, and country. The AIA’s public outreach efforts under the banner of “Blueprint for Better” have involved an ambitious media campaign to inform the public about the work that we do and make people aware of the positive change that design thinking can bring to our communities’ most complex challenges. Our Film Challenge has provided tangible examples of the power of architects to effect substantive change in communities. The AIA’s advocacy effort keeps the architect’s voice at the center of the public policy discussion regarding the built world. The AIA has also built a reputation as a trusted adviser to policymakers and legislators at the municipal, state, and federal levels on key issues including resilient design, disaster recovery, sustainability, and preservation. We have also been engaged with components of the United Nations in promoting the New Urban Agenda.

Also, the institute continues to lead efforts to improve the equity, inclusion, and diversity of the workplace, with an immediate focus on stopping workplace harassment of all types and ending discrimination faced by women, minorities, and LGBT professionals. For this profession to survive, to say nothing of thriving, in the years ahead, those who practice architecture must reflect society’s diversity. That change will take decades to achieve, which is why the AIA is focused today on creating a reliable pipeline of new, young, and diverse talent. The AIA’s K-12 architectural awareness program spurs student interest early on, from all demographic backgrounds. We are also collaborating with the NAAB, NCARB, ACSA, and AIAS to make architectural education more relevant to the evolving demands of the profession. And our Architectural Foundation is providing scholarships to aid students with the significant financial burdens of architectural education. Fundamentally, the AIA is committed to building a robust awareness of architecture, from grade school to graduate school, to attract the best and the brightest minds regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, or socioeconomic background. R. Buckminster Fuller accurately defined my objective for this past year as AIA President: “We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”

William J. Bates, FAIA, NOMA

Bates recently retired from Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. He has led AIA chapters and the AIA Diversity Council, and founded NOMA’s Pittsburgh chapter. Bates is the 2019 AIA President.



Looking forward after a decade of growth As we come to the end of another year, and decade, it’s important to reflect on how practice has changed and the direction we’d like to guide the profession moving forward. A very brief recap of topics from our Connection articles over the past decade include frequent conversations around ideas like: • • • • • • • • • •

Collaboration Sustainability and Resiliency Architectural Education Soft Skills Globalization to local grassroots Advocacy Professional advancement and Mentorship Value Proposition Ethics and Equity Practice Innovation

Some of these topics have been around for a long time and take new shapes in a cyclical manner. Some of them are only now getting the spotlight they deserve. We spent the last year researching, presenting, and discussing ideas for innovative practice models. As the economy continues to flex, and new brains and personalities enter the workforce, these questions will not go away, but hopefully will instead continue to foster and evolve much like architecture has. A key takeaway is that all of these ideas not only foster, but also require, an equitable workplace and equitable built space. It’s a positive continuum: the more we focus on collaboration with every voice at the table to create a design that considers everyone, the more those ideas become rooted in architecture as normal. The more we create spaces that consider not only

“Practice innovation is not only a sound business strategy that allows architects to navigate more resiliently through economic shifts, but it’s also equitable.” 8

the sensitive geography of place and its local population, but also the most vulnerable aspects of those things, the more resilient the place becomes to future disasters of both the economic and natural variety. The more we work together within our firms, across consultant teams, and alongside our communities to improve communication and provide voices and space for all to be heard, the more a team and community come alive. A person who feels heard and seen feels valued. They in turn invest more of themselves and their time into bettering an idea, office, or design. They give more of themselves in their community. They advocate for others needing amplification. Similarly, practice innovation is not only a sound business strategy that allows architects to navigate more resiliently through economic shifts, but it’s also equitable. If all of the varied ways one can be an architect are not valued - let alone even represented - how can an architect, or 5th-grader considering becoming one, begin to envision a life and career that works for them? Our role is that of shepherd and steward - for an idea, design, building, or community - navigating the problem-solving process to improve the spaces we all live, work, and play. Equity is embedded in that idea. We can’t solve for all without it. As we wrap up a decade of growth here at the YAF, we turn optimistically to 2020. Our passionate team of young architects will continue to work tirelessly to advocate for issues that impact our peers, our clients, and our communities. We look to each other, and to you, as our fellow stewards. We learn together, we grow together, and we create our future together. For everyone.

Lora Teagarden, AIA

Firstname Lastname

Lora is a project architect at RATIO in Lorem ipsum sit amet, Indianapolis, Ind.,dolor a published author, and business owner.adipiscing She is a 2017elit, Young Architect consectetur sed do Award winner and theincididunt 2019 Chair of YAF. eiusmod tempor utthe labore.

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College of fellows note Time flies when you are having a good time! It has been a pleasure both observing and consulting with the Young Architects Forum leadership over the past year, and forging important links in aligning our common interests. Perhaps most notably has been the developments in professional mentorship, but also in supporting your efforts and initiatives. I must say, in my liaison capacity I have come to greatly appreciate (actually, admire!) the commitment, organizational skill, energy, insights, and accomplishments of the YAF. I look forward to the enhancement of mentorship programs, most certainly the blossoming of ALIGN, the national mentorship program being piloted by the YAF and College of Fellows in 2019-20. As are other members of the COF Executive Committee serving on the Young Architect Award jury, we are humbled as we review amazing dossiers some of you have submitted. In my estimation, our profession will be well served for decades to come!

In addition to practicing at KHA, Frances’s career included teaching at Columbia, Harvard, Penn, UC Berkeley, Cincinnati, Rice, as well as Pratt, where she was Dean of the School of Architecture. She has also served in many civic roles, including Landmark Preservation Commissioner in New York City. With the AIA, Frances was instrumental in rallying a broad spectrum of Fellows to endorse last year’s anti-abuse and antiharassment resolution to amend the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. I know that she is looking forward and excited to participate with the YAF, and in developing creative strategies for Fellows to engage with emerging architects. So while passing the baton to Frances, I will remain in touch with the YAF, and continue supporting your efforts and initiatives. I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know some of you, and look forward to further formal and informal opportunities to encounters.

As the 2020 COF/YAF liaison, please welcome Frances Halsband, FAIA, the newest COF Executive Committee member. It is the expectation that she will be the Chancellor of the AIA College of Fellows in 2023, following in the footsteps with that capacity as well as coordinating COF interest and assistance with the young architects. Frances is a founding partner of Kliment Halsband Architects, an award winning, New York firm working with public and private organizations possessing ambitious educational, cultural and civic goals.

Roger Schluntz, FAIA

Firstname Lastname Roger is a Professor and Dean Emeritus at the Lorem ipsum amet, University of Newdolor Mexicosit and was elected in 2018 to the executive committee the do AIA consectetur adipiscing elit,ofsed College of Fellows. He will serve a two year eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore. team as the Bursar and as YAF Liason in 2019.




Vol. 17, Issue 04 2019 Top left: Belzberg Architects developed a new slumped glass with printed PVB interlayer for the Gores Group Headquarters, transforming the western gateway to Beverly Hills (photo by Bruce Damonte). Bottom left: The design of each façade panel comprises two layers of slumped glass and a printed PVB interlayer with a graphic pattern and a transparency gradient (photo by Bruce Damonte; drawing by Belzberg Architects).

Nimble parametric practice: the digital toolbox Although parametric design has been part of the architectural lexicon for some time, the connection between education and practice can still seem distant and obscure. Each project is unique, with its own challenges, and it can be daunting to know when and how best to apply digital design tools. As a smaller firm, we have taken an opportunistic approach, encouraging the creative use of our “digital toolbox” to enable, enhance, and proliferate solutions Our nimble use of in small or large ways. Our nimble parametric design use of parametric principles demonstrates design principles the variable application demonstrates the variable application and potential of these and potential of tools, proving that the these tools, proving tools themselves do not that the tools themselves do not need to dictate the need to dictate the process or outcome, process or outcome, parametric or not. parametric or not.

various parameters of this part of the project proved to be an excellent opportunity to test the efficacy of several digital tools not only in the design phase, but also in the direct-to-digital fabrication of the final product as well.

In 2014, we completed the new headquarters for the Gores Group, a 135,000-square-foot renovation of an existing office building at the western gateway of Beverly Hills. Fundamental to the success of this project was the transformation of the building’s three-story façade, for which we developed a custom, non-repeating glazing system comprising bespoke slumped glass with a printed PVB interlayer. The design intent and

Additionally, Grasshopper was used to develop the pattern on the laminate interlayer. We adjusted the gradient, opacity, and design of the printed pattern which was used to accentuate the curvature of the slumped glass panel it sits in. The Rhino file produced the closed-curve geometry that was then exported into Illustrator, where opacity gradients were applied to achieve the desired effect. The final Illustrator files were

One parametric design exercise for the glazing included creating the pattern of the slumped-glass panels across the façade. In the initial design phase, we limited the number of unique panels to 10 or fewer for budgetary reasons and to streamline fabrication and installation, and we used only three discrete open-frame molds to slump the glass using gravity. To take full advantage of the open-frame mold and the variable depth this allowed, we used color-embedded meshes imported from Maya to control the depth of the curvature. The meshes were painted in Maya, and the Grasshopper plug-in for Rhino interpreted the color information from the mesh vertices to produce the Rhino iterations that helped us develop and finalize the design. We also used Grasshopper to adjust the rotation, orientation, and sequence of the panels very quickly in order to compare design options ranging from hyper-organized to randomized.



delivered directly to the fabricators for printing and used to produce the final glazing. Finally, Grasshopper was also used to create elevations with panel labels that served as a key for the installers. Together, these digital tools allowed us to develop the design entirely in 3D and easily translated our design vision to our collaborators (i.e. the fabricators and general contractors). It also provided inclusive and efficient means of collaboration, with which the input and feedback from our team were applied and developed through rapid iteration and their effects understood in real time. For Threads, a new seven-story commercial building we designed in Mexico City, we sought to re-assess the role of the façade in office buildings and designed a series of vertical fins that weave in and out of the structure, appearing to penetrate the glazing as it shapes interior niches and exterior balconies. This series of triangular members runs the height of the project, dissolving the solidity of the building envelope. The project’s origins were in Maya, where the curvature of the fins was developed and modeled as a 3D mesh surface. The drive curves were extracted from that mesh and exported to Rhino, where, using Grasshopper, the curves were extruded as triangular geometries and their 3D forms defined. Here again, the use of Grasshopper allowed us to adjust the proportion and size of the fins as parameters changed during the development stage. Although the fins appear to be contiguous, each vertical line is divided by floor, which we modeled manually in Rhino taking into account construction tolerances. Using Grasshopper, we translated each one-story segment from the


3D model into its unrolled 2D components, creating the file our fabricators worked from to make the fins. The software also enabled us to output critical information related to installation, i.e. the exact rotation of the triangular members. Our digital design methodology was critical to the success of our crossborder collaboration, again allowing for an efficient feedback loop and rapid iterative process and creating a bridge between the design, fabrication, and construction processes. As a design firm, parametricism is not our focus. Instead, we believe in developing a digital toolbox that allows us to enhance our ability to problem solve and develop creative solutions for our projects, clients, and collaborators. Early analysis on a project helps identify which parts of the process are best suited for a parametric approach — from fabrication to design documentation, for instance. Like any kit of parts, once you familiarize yourself with the various tools at your disposal, they become part of your arsenal and can be deployed where best suited. We encourage you to use the tools to your advantage; small or big, they can be used to elevate the design, fabrication, or construction process. Above: The fins of Threads appear to penetrate the glazing and floor plates (photo by Roland Halbe). Opposite: Leese and his team were able to output critical details from Grasshopper to ensure a high level of precision in the installation of the fins at Threads to achieve the appearance of continuity (photo by Roland Halbe).

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“As a design firm, parametricism is not our focus. Instead, we believe in developing a digital toolbox that allows us to enhance our ability to problem solve and develop creative solutions for our projects, clients, and collaborators.”

Kristofer Leese

Leese excels in parametric design, advanced modeling and scripting and has been developing his design practice at Belzberg Architects since 2011. Leese most recently presented at the Int’l Conf. of Advanced Building Skins in Bern, Switzerland.

Carol Choi

Choi is a Director and Technical Writer at Belzberg Architects. She helps contextualize and translate complex design ideas in visual and written form for a broad audience. Her work has been published in Europe and North America and she is currently overseeing a forthcoming Belzberg Architects monograph to be published by Rizzoli New York.


Using data as a career accelerator Everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about data. More and more, our clients expect data to inform every aspect of their business decisions, so speaking that language can help build trust and lead to better collaborations. If you’ve been in a client meeting, you’ve likely witnessed a senior designer quickly and confidently offer design solutions that lead to swift decisions. It feels like magic — sage wisdom and gut feelings based on decades of experience. For a young designer, with limited industry experience, data can enable you to make confident, informed decisions and identify the best solutions quickly without the directly acquired expertise. My Transition Into a Data-Focused Career I started in a traditional architecture role right out of school, but after a couple of years, I was offered the opportunity to become a Design Technology Specialist at Shepley Bulfinch. During my first week, my boss, our CIO, wanted me to try out a new software, Power BI, and gave me an Excel export of every post from our social intranet, Finch. He had a lot of questions: Who was asking or answering questions on the platform? Was there consistent engagement across offices? Who were our experts? Whose voice wasn’t being heard? As someone who was new there, I normally wouldn’t be able to answer such indepth questions about the culture of sharing in our company. But because I had the data to work with and group, I could arrive at the answers in my first month, without even knowing everyone.


How We Are Using Data These days, I use data to answer my own questions and track the performance and adoption of new processes and tools we roll out. One of the challenges we have as a large firm with multiple offices is appropriately staffing projects. Instead of having project managers request specific people for a project, we have them identify the skills they are looking for through an online form. And through a corresponding form we lovingly call a “baseball card,” we have all design staff self-identify their experience level for each skill. By pairing these two data sets, we not only identify everyone in the firm who meets the needs of a project, we also give new hires the opportunity to have their skills utilized to their full potential. We’ve recently acquired an add-in that will pull machine, user, and model information anytime someone opens or syncs a Revit model. While we had worked with data at a project team scale, using Dynamo to extract and track model metrics, collecting data at the firm level gave us the chance to ask larger questions. As an IT department, we can now identify machines that are performing more slowly than the rest of the team on any given model and replace them. We can identify model health red flags before they become a problem, corrupting the file and losing the project team’s time and work. Recently, we’ve begun exploring how to automate adding that

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data back into the model via a Dynamo script that runs every night, displaying up-to-date metrics on the model message board when users open their files again. What Data Do You Have Right Now? Architecture, as an industry, has yet to fully embrace leveraging its data, though not for lack of access to it. There are likely reams of data that you have access to at your firm and may have yet to consider using in decision-making, including: Business-related data like project fees, construction costs, and billed hours, which can inform your future contract negotiations. Marketing information like projects won and lost, projects by market, repeat vs. new clients, which can give you clarity regarding what projects to go after next. Project information like time to completion and number of change orders can answer questions about realistic project scheduling. BIM information ranges from exploring your proposed vs. final program, tracking manufacturer information and quantity takeoffs, which allow you to watch the health and performance of your models. Analyzing these available metrics can allow you to confidently contribute to business discussions earlier in your career.

Opposite: Staffing tool built in Power BI to compare requested skills with staff experience Top Left: Generated space planning blocks from Excel program data Top Right: Using adjacencies identified in previous projects to generate departments

What Questions Are We Trying to Answer Now? BIM, at its core, is data. And BIM automation is essentially the manipulation of that data. Using tools like Dynamo, PyRevit, and scripts we’ve developed has enabled us to automate tedious low-value tasks, including the generation of sheets and schedules and bubble diagram volumes and pulling area calculations. We’re curious about whether we can use machine learning and pump all of our previous projects’ data into an algorithm to define rules we may not be able to see or articulate ourselves as designers. This would further automate tedious tasks based on the decisions we’ve made in previous projects. We’re already approaching an era of smart objects, and soon our projects will be plastered by sensors. How will we as designers use that data to validate design intent and inform building decisions? If we learn how to organize that data, can we offer the service of helping our clients make the most of it as well? Once you start using data to reduce uncertainty and illuminate hard-to-notice patterns, you see opportunities that you would have never spotted before. This way of thinking has fundamentally changed how I look at problems, and it allows me to add more insight and value to our design practice than if I had followed a more traditional design career path.

Jess Purcell

Purcell is the Design Technology Manager at Shepley Bulfinch in Phoenix, Ariz. Purcell has expertise in computational design, VR, data analytics, and programming and is an active contributor in the AEC tech community.



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Women’s leadership summit 2019 12 takeaways for emerging professionals

1 | BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY Surround yourself with people who fill you up! Seek out people who push you forward. 2 | BE COURAGEOUS Confidence is overrated. What is more important is courage. 3 | CONFIRMATION “Believe you are worth it. You are not a mistake.” – Gabrielle Bullock 4 | BE CANDID Know your weakness(es), and be honest with yourself. 5 | COLLABORATE WITH PURPOSE When scheduling a meeting or gathering, ask yourself why you are doing this and what are the rules. Make sure all attendees know the intention before they walk into the room or commit to attending the event. (Reading recommendation: “The Art of Gathering,” by Priya Parker)

6 | CONCEPTUALIZE Make a plan (when starting your own firm), and always reference it! 7 | CAREER FOCUS Be proactive with your career, and be ready for the next opportunity that comes your way! 8 | CONNECT When you reach out to someone for advice or casual conversation, always ask for the recommendation of two more people to talk to.

11 | COMPLETE COMPENSATION Compensation isn’t just money. When negotiating, think about what is most important to you and what makes you whole. 12 | STAY CREATIVE Take out your sketchbook in lieu of your cellphone. Flex your creativity by capturing the beauty of a space or landscape with a quick sketch or a detailed drawing. (Meet up with other sketchers in your area by checking out

9 | CONTINUE ITERATING Figure out the next thing, not the final thing. This mindset may help you take the next step without knowing your final destination. 10 | CENTER YOURSELF Set aside time once a month to reflect and write down your career monthly milestones. As you enter a yearly review, you will be prepared with a year of specific facts.

Katelyn Chapin, AIA Opposite: Over 750 women gathered in Minneapolis for the Women’s Leadership Summit September 12-14, 2019. Photos courtesy: AIA National


Firstname Lastname Chapin is a Project Architect at Svigals + Loreminipsum dolorConn. sit amet, Partners New Haven, She was awarded the AIA Connecticut Emergingelit, Architect Award consectetur adipiscing sed do ineiusmod 2014 and istempor the 2020-21 Community Director incididunt ut labore. for AIA National’s Young Architects Forum.



Issue No. 17: Quarter 3 2019

Priya Parker and artful gathering Women’s leadership summit review In September, I attended my first Women’s Leadership Summit. It was an incredible, invigorating experience that infused me with inspiration and the feeling that I was surrounded by my people. There were over 750 women in attendance, over 20 educational sessions, and copious wellness and social activities. Debbie Millman was the consummate host, punctuating summit logistics with wry humor and heartfelt sentiment. Priya Parker was the headliner of Day One and led a smallerscale fireside chat with more intimate content, scale, and conversation. Parker is a conflict resolutionist by trade and author of the best-seller “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters.” Founder of Thrive Labs consultancy, she comes from an organizational design, public policy, and political and social thought background. She has used interdisciplinary synthesis in examining race relations at American colleges and universities and facilitating peace processes in the Middle East and elsewhere. At a gathering of architects and designers, Priya had a unique perspective on the way we relate to one another and how we effect change in our personal and professional lives. An ardent fan, I’ve been focusing on several concepts from her keynote, her fireside chat, and “The Art of Gathering” that I feel are most applicable for designers today. Recently, I presented a version of these ideas in a round-robin happy hour for the Women In Design organization in Pittsburgh. These concepts are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The Passover Principle Generous Authority Pregaming is Important Face Your Life Good Controversy The End

I loved learning about our first concept, the Passover Principle, because I had never read about a Jewish holiday as a philosophical concept and it’s a perfect fit. Passover is the retelling of Exodus and is centered on one main question: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” If you look up the Merriam-Webster definition of a gathering, it directly


Above: Cover, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, Priya Parker, Riverhead Books, 2018. Right: Priya Parker at Women’s Leadership Summit 2019 fireside chat (top) and panel moderated by Debbie Millman (below). Courtesy: AIA National

references “An assembly or meeting, especially…one held for a specific purpose.” The heart of this first concept is that a good gathering must have a clear intent and purpose. This agenda must come first because the way you craft each aspect of your gathering reinforces the message you determine in this stage. Second, we have Generous Authority. An important prerequisite to this concept is the distinction between “authority” and “leadership.” Someone can be in a position of authority but

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not be a particularly good leader — similarly, someone can be a fantastic leader but not have a formal rank in the hierarchy. Parker eloquently describes the benefit of this approach, saying “Generous authority is not a pose. It’s not the appearance of power. It is using power to achieve outcomes that are generous, that are for others. The authority is justified by the generosity” (Parker, 84). Key components of generous authority are that as host, you must be respectful, strong, confident, and selfless — plan your gathering around your intent, and ensure you’re looking out for your guests. In looking out for your guests and priming them for success, we reach Concept 3: Pregaming is Important. According to Parker, “Your gathering begins at the moment your guests first learn of it. … The intentional “Your gathering begins at gatherer begins the moment your guests to host not from the formal start of first learn of it. … The the event but from intentional gatherer begins that moment of to host not from the formal discovery” (Parker, start of the event but from 145). This means that as soon as that moment of discovery” your guest receives the invitation in the mail, or the Outlook invite, your job has begun. In that invitation, you can add pieces to get your participants thinking about the intent of the meeting — a quote, an article, or even a


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homework assignment — these are small ways you can support the mission of your gathering. Concept 4 gets more introspective. One question in the fireside chat was, “As a host and a leader, how do you achieve a healthy balance of intimacy and authority?” Parker said that as humans, and particularly as women, we face dueling needs: the desire to become, or to obtain self-realization and power, and the desire to belong, or to see the holistic collective and love. To work toward peace between these priorities, Parker advises, “Face your life, your past, your fearful pieces, your shame, and you make your peace with it. Take full responsibility for your life and your choices, even in small, silly ways.” In reconciling our individual, complicated identities, we can better be selfless with others. In the words of Nick Cave, who wasn’t at the summit (although that would have been amazing!), “vulnerability is the engine of compassion.” Our penultimate idea is Good Controversy. In “The Art of Gathering,” Parker describes this situation in terms of “heat.” “Issues have heat when they affect or threaten people’s fears, needs, and sense of self. And when they poke at a sense of power” (Parker, 237). This is a classic definition of an adaptive challenge, which is what so many of our design organizations are facing today. The opposite of an adaptive challenge is a technical challenge, that is, a challenge that is a logical question and a rational answer. Adaptive challenges, on the other hand, revolve around issues of identity and culture — and infusing a gathering with this level of controversy can give it

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a higher meaning. Often, grounding a gathering with frank conversation can be an antidote to the cult of positivity that frequently pervades our professional and personal lives. The biggest benefit is that this line of focus is generative rather than preservationist and can help push us in a positive direction of change.

Here, instead of an actual party favor, are parting words. Priya signed our books with an imperative: “gather boldly.” She proclaimed in the keynote that “we make change where we are — that’s how culture shifts.” In this, each of us has the agency to effect positive change. Let’s start 2020 boldly.

Just as the opening of a gathering has power, so too does its conclusion. This brings us to Concept 6, The End. Parker teaches that a meaningful ending has two components — first looking inward, then turning outward. The former is a reflection on the event and a point of pause. The group can take this time to look back and evaluate what went well, what went poorly, and what opportunities there were that the group didn’t have enough time or resources to fully explore. This reflection unifies the group in the sentiment of “this is who we were here,” and as Parker states, “tribe-making is vital to meaning-making.” Next, turning outward sets the stage for taking the seed you formed in the gathering and planting it in the outside world to flourish. A real-world example of this in simple terms is a party favor.

Robyn Engel, AIA

Above: Women’s Leadership Summit notes, sketches, and inspiration from the sketchbook of Robyn Engel.

Engel is a project architect at IKM Architecture in Pittsburgh, Penn. An ardent reader, Ms. Engel most recently served as jury chair for the 2019 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize.



Finding acceptance at the women’s leadership summit EB Kinkel Srygley . Srygley started her architectural career path in a way familiar to many architects: developing a childhood passion for the built environment, earning a BArch from Virginia Tech, and continuing on to start her practice at DHPY, a medium-size, multi-family firm in Washington, D.C. While there, she started the path to licensure and joined the AIA|DC Emerging Architects Committee. Shortly after, life delivered a series of unplanned events: recession of 2009, bouncing between traditional firms, retail sales, and other filler jobs, and an opening into parallel architectural paths. Over time, Srygley learned she had a passion for the business and product side of architecture, ultimately arriving at a career that combines her architecture foundation and passion for research, the environment, and business development. Now, as the Mid-Atlantic Business Development Manager for Pliteq, an industry leader in research and product creation using recycled post-consumer rubber for sound attenuation in buildings, Srygley continues to support health, safety, and welfare from a different vantage point.

Abigail Brown (AB): Reframe. You have a background in architectural practice but are currently on what many call a non-traditional career path. Walk us through how you pivoted your career and what you are doing now. EB Kinkel Srygley (EBS): Although I love the built environment, I always felt like a black sheep in traditional architectural practice. It caught my parents off guard when I wanted to pursue architecture; both my parents and two sisters are in business, sales, and entrepreneurship. It wasn’t until I entered architectural practice that I learned how natural certain business concepts came to me, and I saw these gaps in my experience as an architect. At one point, I considered going back to school to achieve my MBA, but through relationships I had built over the years, I was able to enter the sales world and gain real-world experience and insight into sales. My first full sales job was being a liquor rep for Southern Wine and Spirits. Although it gave me a great step into the sales world, I learned more about what I didn’t want in a career. I wrote out my career values and started job searching. I found having both architecture and sales experience on my résumé was a unique combination and opened up paths in the architectural sales world. I’ve been very selective with the companies I’ve worked for, assuring that they met my goals of doing more than simply “selling.” I’ve learned so much over the years and


love that I now get to be innovative with products, eliminate waste in our environment, solve complex acoustic needs, and help be an enforcer for architectural design intent. I’m currently working on over 100 projects, from early design consulting with the architects and acoustic engineers through sales with contractors and subcontractors and finally reviewing installs on site. It’s a joy to have such variety each day and bring expertise to solving impact sound issues (fitness, mechanical, IIC, IBC 1207 code, etc.). AB: Rethink. One of the challenges for women in practice is the delicate balance between work and outside commitments, especially for those who have started families. Have you found that your position makes it easier for you to balance your responsibilities as a professional and as a mom? Or does it have its own challenges? EBS: Yes and yes! The beauty of working for Pliteq is their great trust in their employees. I work from home, dictate my own schedule, and am truly independent in my day to day. This frees me up to be able to drop my son off at school, be home if he’s sick, and attend special events at his school. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” I still have sales goals to hit, meetings to attend, and a network of customers and clients to build. Working from home means

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I never leave the office, so I never truly turn work off, and my days are never-ending. I’ve had to learn to set limits and simply do as much as I can in the allotted time I give to work, and then, once my family is home, I need to turn work off. It isn’t 100 percent foolproof, and there are plenty of times I’m working for hours after my son goes to bed. It’s a constant juggle. AB: Rethink. How could the AIA and larger architecture community better support our colleagues who are working outside of traditional practice? EBS: The WLS was the FIRST time I felt accepted by the architecture community since I started on this alternate career path. I’ve been told by plenty of architects over the years that “you’re just a salesperson,” “why do you keep trying to participate in AIA when you don’t belong,” “you’re not an architect,” etc. These comments have hurt, they have stunted my professional growth and passions, and have stalled my pursuit of licensure. I am one of the missing 32 percent. At the WLS, I met women in AIA national leadership who are in non-traditional career paths, there were survey options for “non-traditional architectural careers,” and people embraced the different perspective I have on the profession. For the first time, I felt I belonged. As a result, I left the WLS committed to finishing my license and no longer being one of the missing 32 percent. I’m sure there are many more out there like me. I’m shocked that as architects, we are taught to look at buildings and design problems from a variety of vantage points, but when it comes to our profession, we have a hard time accepting parallel paths as adding value. Because of my alternative path, I get to see the profession from a whole different perspective. I get angry as I watch design intent fall apart because of VEing only to learn that the alternate wasn’t less expensive, no one priced out what was originally spec’d, and arbitrary numbers were just plugged in. There is a huge opportunity for architects, if they partner better with reputable manufacturers, to increase design integrity. They can also help their clients save building costs. I’m sure other similar opportunities exist by working with other alternative career path professionals.

AB: Refresh. On the last day of the WLS, Debbie Millman asked if any attendees had a revelatory experience. You raised your hand. Tell us how the summit impacted you. EBS: I think I mentioned it above. The WLS was the FIRST time I ever felt accepted, encouraged, and valued by the architectural community as someone in an alternative career path. The WLS gave me a renewed sense of passion for my contributions to the architectural community. I met women there who also had not finished their license, and together we’ve committed to all getting licensed by the next WLS. We have set up a path and regular check-ins to keep us accountable. There are so many things I learned at the WLS, and I feel so empowered to bring this new additive knowledge and energy to my day-to-day. AB: Refresh. What advice do you have for other women who are on or thinking about switching to an alternative career path? EBS: If it brings you passion, do it! Don’t listen to those who say you are “less than” because you are doing something different. There is someone somewhere who is doing it, too, and you aren’t alone; just go to the WLS, and you can find them! Don’t think that because you’re following a parallel path, you have to cut ties with architecture. Still get licensed, still be involved in the AIA, still respect the traditional foundation of the architectural practice, and know that you bring a perspective that will help strengthen the architectural community in new and exciting ways.

Above: EB Srygley, Abigail Brown, and Diane Leeson attending the Women’s Leadership Summit 2019 in Minneapolis, Minn. Abigail Brown, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Abigail is an architect at Hickok Cole in Washington, D.C. Brown received her M.Arch and BS in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and is the Vice Chair of AIA National’s Young Architects Forum.



Leadership through compassion An interview with 2019 Sho-Ping Chin WLS grant winner

Gloria Kloter, AIA, NCARB, CODIA. Kloter is a registered architect and interior designer in Florida and in the Dominican Republic. With over 15 years of combined national and international experience, Kloter excels in multiple fields. She established her firm in 2009 in the Dominican Republic, specializing in commercial and retail interior architecture. Kloter and her projects have been featured in nationwide Dominican newspapers and architectural journals including Arquitexto, HOY, Lístin Diario, Diario Libre, and Arquitectura Radial. ​ Kloter came to live in Florida in 2015 and has been working since 2016 at Studio+, where she is a Project Architect. She has been working with health care, assisted living, and memory care facilities, office buildings, K-12, and commercial projects.

Driven by her passion for architecture and her community, Kloter serves as the Associate Director of AIA Tampa Bay where she revived the Women in Architecture Tampa Bay chapter and co-created Young Architects Forum Tampa Bay, serving as the chair of both committees. For several seasons, she also has volunteered for Architecture in Education, an eight-week program in which professionals teach fifth-grade students about architecture. ​Gloria has also recently been promoted as the NCARB’s Architect Licensing Adviser for AIA Florida. Because of her leadership and passion for supporting others, Kloter was honored with the 2019 Sho-Ping Chin Women’s Leadership Summit Grant, a recognition for midcareer female architects who are advancing toward leadership roles and making a positive impact within their communities. The grant funded Kloter to attend the Women’s Leadership Summit (WLS) in Minneapolis Sept. 12-14 — a unique event where women in the AEC industry can network with other women from around the country in a professional setting. Themed “Reframe, Rethink, Refresh,” it brought over 750 women from the architecture and design industry together, participating in a welcoming ceremony; actively listening


to keynotes and storytellers; interacting in workshops and seminars; and taking tours of local architecturally significant facilities. I asked Kloter about her WLS experience. Graciela Carrillo (GC): Reframe. How did your interest in architecture first develop? Gloria Kloter (GK): My family and I grew up with a lot of financial limitations, and I always dreamed of building a house for my mom. That idea sparked my interest in the construction industry, but it wasn’t until a friend of mine started studying architecture that I realized I had talent and passion for it. She was struggling with the homework they assigned to her in the school of architecture, but I remember being fascinated and excited by every single one of them. She ended up changing careers, and she’s now a very successful psychologist, and I ended up becoming an architect. My master’s is in architecture of interiors, and most of my independent projects back in the Dominican Republic were heavy on interiors, tenant improvements, and renovations for commercial and retail spaces. I love being able to do both, architecture and interior design all together.

Vol. 17, Issue 04 2019 Below: Gloria Kloter attending the Women’s Leadership Summit 2019 in Minneapolis, Minn.

should be more common (which would minimize commute time), as well as workplaces who offer daycare directly through the company to facilitate logistics and to solve many other challenges that women face in a daily basis while trying to balance their professional careers and their personal life. GC: Refresh. What is your biggest takeaway from the WLS? GK: My biggest takeaway was from the storytelling by Shannon Christensen. She was far along in her pregnancy, sharing her story on stage in front of over 750 women and said: “You can be successful in all three at the same time: a mother, an architect, and a leader.” I used to think that I needed to give up on at least one of the three. It was very inspiring to listen to her story. GC: How did you find yourself in a leadership position? GK: To be completely honest, I never pursued anything to be in a leadership position. Due to my personality and willingness to help others, I’ve been offered so many opportunities that have led me to become a leader at a local, national, and international level. I genuinely enjoy lifting up those who are around me. Every time I’ve been given a leadership position, it started with me giving to others first without expecting anything in return. My lead pastor, Greg Dumas, once said at church: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” and this has become my motto.

GC: Rethink. Only 17 percent of principal or leadership positions are occupied by women. After attending the summit and hearing about diversity, inclusion, and professional growth, how do you think we can diminish that gap? GK: I recently learned that one of the reasons why women in our industry struggle to escalate in their careers is because of the time factor. A lot of women stop their careers in part or in full at some point of their lives, especially when they start a family, which hurts their career timeline. As Mary Margaret said during the WLS: “Many of us carry the burden of ‘women’s work’ in our homes and our relationships as the primary caregivers for children, parents, and loved ones, and in the workplace, as the party planners and client consolers … when all any of us want to do is to show up and do the work — the work of architecture.” This is very true and concerning. I believe there are ways we can contribute to change these facts for good. We need workplaces with more inclusive cultures, where the importance of diversity is clearly understood so it becomes the norm, and we also need to create more flexibility and opportunities to balance work with family. Working remotely

GC: What advice can you give to other emerging women in our industry, in regards to being a leader? GK: Care for others, don’t be a positional leader. According to the book “Five Levels of Leadership” by John Maxwell, this is the lowest level of the five, and as a positional leader, people will follow you only because they have to, not because they want to. There are so many positional leaders out there who use their title to abuse their power instead of helping those around them thrive. Try to educate yourself about what good leadership truly means and how you can grow into higher leadership levels with each individual. One of my favorites is Level 4, people development, because at this point, you are a leader because of what you’ve done for others.

Graciela Carrillo, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Carrillo is an Architect at Cashin Associates, P.C., in Hauppauge, N.Y. She is the AIA Long Island Chapter President-Elect, and recipient of the 2019 AIA NYS Young Architect Award and 2017 Sho-Ping Chin WLS Scholarship.



WLS recommendations Compiled by and for emerging professionals

Design Matters Podcast by Debbie Millman

The Four Tendancies Book & Web Quiz by Gretchen Rubin

Principles in Action Book & App by Ray Dalio

Debbie Millman enthusiastically emcee’d the WLS. Her perspective on design refined the conversation when she introduced and then interviewed the keynote speakers.

Understanding how people respond to expectations, whether they are internal or external, can inform team building and leadership. Gretchen outlines four primary tendancies. Take her online quiz to confirm whether you are an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

In his book, Principles: LIfe & Work , Ray outlines a rodmap to accomplish your life goals. He uses his life story as a model for others to follow.

Take the Quiz!

Commendatry on the recent election and traditional patriarchy.

For the Design Matters podcast, Debbie interviews professionals from the full range of design disciplines. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Book by Susan Cain


In A Different Voice Book by Carol Gilligan A psychologist’s commentary on the cultural and societal differences of men and women.

Why Does Patriarchy Persist? Book by Naomi Strider & Carol Gilligan

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WLS featured fantasitc speakers who shared their favorite resources. We recommend adding these podcasts to your commute playlist and placing these books on your wishlist. All are too good to miss!

Kyra Fictional Book by Carol Gilligan

The Wing Co-working & Networking

Madame Architect Blog by Julia Gamolina

This love story features Kyra, an architect and woman of humor and courage, as she falls in love with Andreas, a producer.

The Wing offers co-working spaces in several cities as well as a world wide networking opportunity for professional women.

Speak Up Blog Archive

The Art of Gathering Book & Podcast by Priya Parker

Interviews with women that advance the practice of architecture through mentorship, encouragement, guidance. There are 95 feature interviews published (and counting).

Although archived, this blog remains a great resource with over 1,600 posts on business, deisgn, and book reviews.

Priya Parker’s inspiring keynote kickstarted WLS with a spirit of purpose. Every gathering has rules, whether your state them or not. Priya offers a framework to optimize every event.

Secrets of Wealthy Women Podcast | Wall Street Journal Learn from successful CEOs from major compainies, as they share their stories.

These successful architects share their stories, advice, and vision for the future of architecture.

Priya captures her ongoing research and consultation through interviews in her podcast, the Good Life Project.

Compiled by WLS 2019 Attendees from the Young Architects Forum: Abi Brown, AIA; Graciela Carrillo, AIA; Katelyn Chapin, AIA; Katie Kangas, AIA; Jessica O’Donnell, AIA



Regenerative design: Productive landscape design and management

Keith Zaltzberg Zaltzberg is an ecological designer who draws on his experiences as an organic farmer and permaculture teacher to create beautiful, vital, and productive landscapes. Working as collaborator, teacher, and guide, Keith empowers individuals, communities and organizations to understand, appreciate, and steward their landscape through design. Keith holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Design from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and is a founding partner of the Regenerative Design Group.

Regenerative Design Group is an interdisciplinary consulting firm and a leader in productive landscape design. Founded in 2009, RDG supports local self-sufficiency through food, resource, and energy security. RDG’s mission is to create energy efficient, agriculturally productive, and ecologically abundant habitats for people, plants, and wildlife. Their work centers around four main areas including ecological landscape architecture, regenerative agriculture, habitat restoration and ecosystem services, and community engagement. They address the aforementioned scopes by providing services including consultation, design, land stewardship, technical services, and education. Comprised of backgrounds in ecology, farming, green building, art and design, and community engagement, RGD provides their clients with everything from broad scale master planning and site design to detailed planting design and construction documents. RDG’s mission is to collaborate with private land and home owners, farmers, building and design professionals, developers, communities, and organizations to create energy efficient, agriculturally productive, and ecologically abundant habitats for citizens, plants, and wildlife. In this interview, Keith Zaltzberg, Lead Ecological Designer at the Regenerative Design Group, who has done research, consulting projects, and has had a significant role in ecological design, is asked about the mission and experiences of their design group in the landscape industry.


Arash Alborzi (AA): The Regenerative Design Group offers a wide range of services such as consultation, design, land stewardship, technical services, and education. Could you elaborate on the relationships between your services and the title of your firm? How does the concept of being regenerative help you to achieve the targets of your design group? Keith Zaltzberg (KZ): “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” – Aldo Leopold in “A Sand County Almanac.” Carol Sanford, a thought leader on regenerative practice and teacher of mine, wrote that “regenerative work” of any kind “ based on the understanding that every living being thrives or dies based on the whole systems within which it is nested.” Regenerative Design Group is a landscape design and planning business that helps people with all aspects of landscape design and management. Our work encompasses traditional landscape planning and design projects for institutional and residential land owners, as well as broader-scale projects focused on increasing and protecting yields of natural and managed landscapes for farmers, forest managers, and governmental entities.

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Design and installation of a four-season, highperformance, passive solar greenhouse. Source: RDG In all of our work at RDG, we endeavor to understand and serve the wellness of the multiple whole systems each project is nested within. This begins with understanding the inherent character of place and how the individual site fits into the larger social and ecological contacts. With this understanding, we revisit the goals of the client and ask, “how can your project grow into a living, evolving entity that increases the health and well-being of the systems it is embedded in? How can it activate greater resilience and adaptive capacity of the whole?” On the technical and artistic side, we tend to seek activation through the use of interconnected green infrastructure and productive systems. However, without a transformation of the relationships people and their institutions have with the living world, no number of pollinator strips and rain gardens can address the ecological and social crises we are facing. So, in addition to designing infrastructure and plantings, much of our work focuses on resourcing our clients and collaborators in growing the purpose of their project and reimagining what long-term success looks like. This transformation often involves a move away from static one-time solutions and toward a more reciprocal, dynamic, and interactive relationship with place and community. As designers, our primary challenge in the coming years is to rapidly help transform our aesthetics and imagination to appreciate the dynamism of living landscapes, and to build supply chains for materials that have social and ecological benefits from start to finish – cradle to cradle as William MacDonald might say – and beneficial and just social outcomes for all. AA: How has technology been helping your group in providing your clients with the offered services? KZ: The growth and innovation of technology in design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes has provided both opportunities and limitations to regenerative landscape design. Some innovations enable designers to provide transformational insights and services, while others render some ecological solutions impractical or unaffordable.

Take the now the near-continental coverage of high-resolution LiDAR data for North America. This areal laser-based survey provides an unprecedented understanding of the landform and land cover that can be used across scales for analysis and design. At the site-scale, our team can quickly produce topographic maps and model site dynamics for water, solar, and vegetation at a cost accessible to the average homeowner and non-profit organization. At a broad scale, it can provide transformational insights that can guide state policy and planning initiatives. In Massachusetts, for example, we are working for the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to assess the health of soils across the Commonwealth and provide recommendations on policies, programs, and practices to protect and enhance soil resources in a way that enhances ecological and economic resilience while decreasing climate-related risks. This LiDAR data, combine with soil carbon accounting estimates from the NRCS, is allowing us to identify landscape patterns to guide strategic actions to unlock solutions or greater community scale resilience. When it comes to physical interventions in the landscape, we employ technologies that enhance ecosystem health and social equity throughout the construction implementation and management processes as well as materials that enhances these things throughout their life cycles. The technologies we employ throughout the lifecycle of a project, from design through construction and into the management of a building or landscape influence “The growth and the character and innovation of technology potential of that project. If we use in design, construction, design programs and maintenance of where it is easier to draw straight lines landscapes has provided then curves, we both opportunities and might be more likely limitations to regenerative to propose straight retaining walls than landscape design.” on-contour terraces.



AA: As an ecological landscape designer, how responsive is regenerative agriculture regarding the worldwide food crisis in the US and other developed and developing countries? How responsive is urban agriculture in terms of food equity? KZ: Regenerative agriculture, like any stream of regenerative work seeks to understand the entire living system and design strategic interventions that enhance the adaptive capacity and evolutionary potential of the system to serve the whole. The whole system of agriculture is comprised of smaller nested wholes including: production in the fields and forests of both rural and urban contexts; the aggregation, processing, transport, and distribution of that food; the cooking and consumption of food by people; and finally, the recycling or loss of food waste and human waste through nutrient management. A regenerative approach to agriculture requires the integration of all of these components of the larger food system, and seeks to enhance the social, cultural, and ecological dynamics. This level of integration and intentional design is a far cry from how the U.S. food system functions today. Over the last twenty years I’ve helped dozens of farmers and organizations design and build regenerative farms and farm education centers. The thirteen urban farms I’ve worked on in the last five years, in addition to producing nutritious food close to the point of consumption, suggest that urban agriculture can offer direction for the regeneration of the larger American food system. Because space in cities is generally in high-demand and hence expensive, urban agriculture tends to be intensive, rely on more manual labor, tends to grow a wider variety of crops for local tastes, be more visible, and touch more lives than rural U.S.


farms. In this way urban farms have more in common with the larger global food system. According to the FAO’s 2014 report “the State of Food and Agriculture”, 84% of the world’s farmers grow on 5-acres or less. It has been widely proclaimed that these small farms produce more food crops per acre and support a much higher degree of biodiversity and crop diversity. For people who live in the city, the fresh carrots and butterflies found on urban farms can help address the stresses of nature deficit disorder and fight food apartheid through more connection to nature and direct access to nutritious food. Organizations like Gardening the Community in Springfield, Mass. and the Urban Farming Institute in Boston have programs dedicated to inviting young people and people of color to engage in farming. These programs help build skills and create job opportunities, however, they also invite one

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of the most profound benefits of urban agriculture – the reclamation of farming by the ancestors of those who were forced into slavery historic America. Time and again, I’ve heard powerful accounts from leaders in the urban agriculture movement like Anna Mohamed from NOFA Massachusetts talk about transformation of African-heritage individuals and groups when they overcome the well-earned stigma of working soil. The reclamation of this essential component of being human and the empowering nature of providing for oneself and one’s family is a critical regenerative cultural yield of urban farming. AA: Based on your philosophy, designing resilient and dynamic landscapes requires a design process that engages and responds to stakeholders. In your opinion, how familiar are citizens with the concept of ecological landscape architecture, specifically urban agriculture, and what is your suggestion for municipalities in order to implement these concepts into cities? KZ: Over the past 20 years that I’ve been involved with ecological landscape design and farming, I seen a tremendous transformation and awareness of the need for greener cities and more ecologically managed landscapes. People and institutions are hungry for solutions that can provide the basic functions of their homes and cities in a way that also feeds the larger living landscape and ecology of the regions.

Upper Left and Right: An edible landscape design for a New York City park demonstrates how a marginalized landscape can become a productive community food way. Source: RDG Lower Left: Design and development of a highly productive urban education. Source: RDG

However, when it comes to the details of what these landscapes look like, how they function over time, and the maintenance and care the landscape need to grow and thrive, people’s thoughts are often foggy. Living landscapes are complex and dynamic. The fabric of our cities and towns, and more importantly, our cultural and aesthetic paradigm, have difficulty allowing for dynamism and management required by resilient landscapes. In the city of Boston, significant praiseworthy work has been done to make agriculture a by-right use. The rezoning for urban agriculture which was effected through Article 89 made ground level, container, and roof-top farming allowable in most zones. However, it did nothing to facilitate the permitting and construction process of farm infrastructure through other city agencies. Because of this, a number of professionals including a civil engineer and general contractor are required to steward a farm through the process, resulting in a minimum price tag nearing $100,000 for just the basic farm systems of water, electricity, and soil. To make urban agriculture more viable, cities should consider a whole-system review of the permitting and zoning processes for urban agriculture. This could include the streamlining of farm reviews across all regulatory agencies and subsidized water connections where appropriate.

Arash Alborzi

Alborzi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida, School of Architecture in Gainesville, Florida. Alborzi’s dissertation focuses on feasibility of urban agriculture in existing cities.



Anna Squier and Modern Studio Entrepreneurial profile

Anna (Jones) Squier Squier is the owner and architect of Modern Studio, a small Midwest design studio based in Des Moines, Iowa. Established just three years ago, her practice offers custom residential and commercial interiors that are simple, elegant, and refined. Outside her firm, she has been heavily involved in leadership opportunities including the Central States Region Emerging Professionals Committee and Iowa Women in Architecture, which garnered her an AIA Associates Award in 2016.

While her accolades and design portfolio alone are impressive, I knew I had to share more about her career when I learned she had founded her firm as so early in her professional career. While she had plenty of experience to support her decision, Anna’s story is encouraging and necessary for other young architects and designers to hear. What follows is a summary of our conversation on how and why she built her business, her goals for Modern Studio, and advice to others on taking this path.

with architectural design. Around the same time, I took on a small project on my own – a kitchen remodel in downtown Des Moines. I fell in love with the scale, the process, the intimacy with the client, and the personal collaboration with the contractor(s). I knew this type of work was something I wanted to continue.

Starting the Business & Licensure Miranda Moen (MM): Why did you decide to start your architecture firm?

AS: Everything. I was young (29), a female in a still maledominated profession, and not yet licensed. That alone begs you to ask the question “why.” I did not have a solidified business plan or a backlog of clients or projects. It was crazy, but a path I needed to explore. So I quit my job, went to Europe for two weeks, solidified my business plan, brought home a puppy, and went to work.

Anna Squier (AS): Personally, I was curious, had broad interests, and wanted freedom and flexibility. Before I started my practice, I found myself pigeonholed at work, bored, and unhappy with traditional firm structures. I desired engagement with a diverse spectrum of fields (architecture, design, business, and marketing just to name a few) and visualized a place that broke away from the norms of traditional practice. I found myself looking for other outlets to explore my creative interests. Making jewelry became a side business of mine and my first step into entrepreneurship. Through this exploration, I had the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs in creative fields and was inspired by how they had built a livelihood in design by following their passions. I wondered if this was possible


MM: What was intimidating about starting your own practice?

MM: What resources did you turn to during this process? AS: At the start, I reached out to many business owners to discuss how they did it. All of these individuals were outside the architecture profession but in related creative fields — a professional photographer, cupcake shop owner, an art installer. They provided great insight into the highs and lows of entrepreneurship as well as a list of references for helpful hints. I attended free lunch series, speaker presentations, and workshops focusing on starting a small business. I quickly

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built a team of experts in areas where I am not an expert – accounting, contract law, and insurance. MM: How did you find mentorship as a female in the architecture profession? AS: Iowa Women in Architecture, iaWia, a nonprofit organization geared towards the education, leadership, and advancement of women in the architecture profession has played a critical role in my professional journey as an architect. Not only does the organization provide mentorship for women across the spectrum of their careers, but it also challenges traditional practice by exploring best practice recommendations. Through discussions on negotiation, communication, diversity, benefits, and many other pertinent topics, I was provided the opportunity to learn from women at all stages of the profession. MM: You started your practice as an unlicensed architect. What was it like preparing for the ARE while running your own business? AS: It was an exhausting and stressful few years. Not only was I in the throes of creating and growing a business, but I was studying every night and weekend. My AXP hours were completed and I had two exams completed. I knew I had to complete the exams to gain credibility in this profession and to further advance my business goals. My advice to others is to take the exams as soon as possible. Don’t put them off. If you fail, keep trying and don’t stop until you complete them all. MM: What have you learned about yourself and your professional motives through the process of starting your firm? AS: Running a business is a humbling and eye-opening experience. [Through this process] I have learned the challenges of architecture as a business – financials, getting

work, keeping work, maintaining clients, etc. There is so much that goes into a successful firm that is not visible from the outside. After a few years, I have a better understanding of where my passion lies and what I am interested in pursuing. I know I love design, creating a brand, and the marketing aspects related to the firm. I dislike invoicing and contracts, but you have to do both to stay afloat and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn about them all. MM: How have your professional motives grown through the process of starting your firm? AS: My professional motives are ultimately to create quality design that impacts people and communities in a positive way. I hope to create a place (Modern Studio) where creatives come together to share ideas and collaborate with each other while following their unique passions and advancing their skill sets in architecture and design. The Business Plan and Financials MM: Architecture is ultimately a business. How did you go about developing a business plan? AS: My business plan is an ever-changing, ever-evolving document. When I started Modern Studio, my business plan was a way to formulate ideas surrounding my brand and the studio I wanted to create. It was about who, why, what, and how. It is also where I outlined the financial means I needed to start and run the company. MM: What form did your business first take, and how did you go about finding liability insurance as an unlicensed architect? AS: I started my business as an LLC, and I obtained professional liability insurance and general liability insurance from the get-go. In addition, Modern Studio is a certified targeted small business by the state of Iowa.



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MM: In terms of finances to sustain your business, what proportion of work do you need to break even and then to make a profit? AS: When I first started the business, I outlined my monthly financials right away. I knew what I hoped to make annually, so I used that number to estimate what I needed to bring in monthly as well as anticipated expenses. I use QuickBooks to manage my financials and invoicing. I have a weekly balance of the books, as well as monthly analysis of profit versus expenses. Currently, my profit average is good. I keep my expenses low so that I can create enough savings to eventually bring in a full-time employee and/or have an office space outside of the home. In addition, I continue to diversify my services in hopes of maintaining profitability with the ebb and flow of construction. MM: From your experience, how can architects help stabilize their businesses financially? Or, what do you attribute business instability to in our profession? AS: We need to charge our worth and our value as professionals. I’m not sure what the answer is, but we as architects have a specific skill set and professional expertise that is providing for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. That’s no small feat and we should be compensated accordingly. It’s a balance of submitting a fee proposal that will get you the work versus submitting a fee proposal that matches the hours and worth of the work. It’s a balance of saying no and saying yes to keep workload in check. Spreading Knowledge to Others: MM: What would you like to have known before going down this path? AS: Entrepreneurship is an ongoing journey. It’s overwhelming and scary, it’s enlightening and inspiring, it’s empowering, and it’s isolating at times. You continually second guess everything, including the sustainability of the business. You work harder than you ever have and have an even harder time turning work off. But in the end, you’re building something unique from the bottom up and for that, you should be proud. It’s a continual evolution where a ‘business plan’ is never set in stone but the continual growth of it is exciting.

Anna’s Advice: 1. Find what interests you. Our education provides us a unique way of thinking and problem solving that is beneficial to many creative fields. Explore how you can follow your passions whether or not in a traditional form. 2. Stay curious and ask a lot of questions. Be present and get on site as much as you can. Interact with the people building your project to learn more about how things are constructed and what they need from us in terms of drawings and communication. 3. Be open to change. I originally thought I was going to be at one of the top design firms for many years, even taking a leadership role one day. However, things don’t always work out the way they are “supposed to,” and that’s OK. 4. Build and maintain relationships. Success in business comes from solid relationships. Interact with people outside of your profession. It is a lot of who you know, or who knows you. And in building those relationships, focus on how you can help them, rather than what you can get out of it. 5. Get involved. Volunteer and engage with the community. Get to know the individuals for whom you are designing and constructing places and spaces. Projects in The Pipeline: 1. Clyde’s Fine Diner, a restaurant in the prominent East Village neighborhood of downtown Des Moines, is a modern take on the neighborhood corner restaurant with modern and chic décor. 2. Quality urban infill through an 1,800 square-foot single-family residence in Des Moines, IA. 3. Modern kitchen remodel in 1908 historic home in Des Moines, IA. 4. New Aveda Salon in Ankeny, IA. 5. My own home! Contact: I’m always happy to discuss architecture, design, business ownership, etc. Please feel free to reach out! Email: Website: Instagram:

Top, page 33: A rendering of Community Choice Credit Union, one of Modern Studio’s newest commercial projects. Credit: Modern Studio. Top left: A custom single-family residence in Ankeny, IA featuring a sleek and modern kitchen. Photo: Nathan Scott, n8works Bottom left: One of Modern Studio’s residential projects that showcases Squier’s refined and elegant design work. Photo: Nathan Scott, n8works

Miranda Moen

Moen is an architectural designer based in Austin, Minn. Moen is passionate about rural design and cultural heritage research, working with artists, economic development leaders, and private clients in Minnesota and Iowa.



Issue No. 17: Quarter 3 2019

Practice innovation lab: Ohio Valley Region How do we envision a new future from the present we already know? This was the challenge laid out by Matt Williams of Brand Federation to the room of students, AIA associate members, architects, and members of the College of Fellows at the recent Ohio Valley Region Practice Innovation Lab. In September, teams gathered from across Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky to spend two days anticipating what this future could look like and planning how architects might lead the way in redefining the creative industry. The objective: present a business plan for the new future of architectural practice. How do organizations thrive in the creative age? One of the major themes to emerge from the workshop involved challenging basic assumptions about the services architects provide. Several teams looked at product – the role of physical drawings and the impact of the ever-shifting technological landscape. Other teams focused on practice – the architect’s how and why, and the ever-developing role of the architect in the creative process. How does the role of the organization adapt to changing trends? It’s worth noting that each team took care to address the role of the creative team in the design process. Teams challenged typical design-bid-build models, which limit project team members to their respective silos, in favor of fully integrated models featuring collaboration between owners, designers, engineers, contractors, fabricators, and artisans from the project onset. What can we do that’s never been done? Teams delivered their conceptual business plans to an audience of architects, engineers, contractors, and allied professionals as a keynote presentation of the biennial AIA Ohio Valley Regional Convention. Amidst the energy and momentum in the room it was clear the challenge is daunting. How will you join the conversation?


For more information on the Ohio Valley Region Practice Innovation Lab, check out the recap video. The workshop was a joint effort of the Young Architects Forum and the National Associates Committee, and was sponsored in part by Victor, the CNA Insurance Companies, and the AIA Trust, providers of the AIA Trust Professional Liability Insurance Program.

Matt Toddy, AIA, NCARB

Toddy is a graduate of The Ohio State University and architect at Columbus, Ohio’s Design Collective. He is the 2020-21 Strategic Vision Director for AIA National’s Young Architects Forum.

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In their own words: Highlights from the Ohio Valley Region practice innovation lab Team Calamitas Team Calamitas imagined an architectural firm with a “boots on the ground” and ready to work approach for when disaster strikes. Calamitas would work with cities which have experienced natural disasters or anticipate natural disasters by developing plans of response, recovery, and resilience. With a response effort championed by local architects and community members, a team of contractors, engineers, and volunteers could be rallied to respond quickly. Partnerships with other relief efforts would be formed to save or rebuild elements of the built environment as quickly as possible. Focus would be on craftsmanship and re-use of existing materials. Following the damage response, a plan would be set in place to help the communities heal and prepare for any future disasters.

Team MASH With the typical delivery model of a building, external conflict is commonplace. Miscommunication and unneeded paperwork create roadblocks and therefore design quality suffers. We believe with the current way buildings are delivered, and the current way specialties are organized, these challenges are inherent to the process. MASH represents a new way of setting up a firm that is oriented toward delivering a building as a product, rather than drawings as a service. To do this, MASH integrates the two main types of minds that deliver architecture: the conceptualizers and the makers. Placing these types of people at equal standing becomes paramount. Architects and consultants sit in the same office as plumbers and electricians. To achieve this level of involvement and equality, a new delivery model must be established – one that at its conclusion will provide a complete building and all data acquired through the process. With all players under one roof, changes are less detrimental and design quality is sustained. Because of this, the owner receives a building that is efficiently designed, and efficiently built. Our firm aims to strengthen the delivery of buildings and ultimately, deliver our client’s full vision.

- Rebecca Hughes, Associate AIA, and Matt Zix, Associate AIA,

- Michael Bednar, Associate AIA and Lauren Miller, AIA,


Team We4



The year in review Boston Society of Architects emerging professionals What a difference a year makes. As I reflect on everything our local AIA chapter has accomplished for emerging professionals (EPs) during 2019, I can’t help but feel grateful for my cochair’s leadership and dedication, our extraordinary support at the Boston Society of Architects, and our membership, which rapidly expands. As the largest young architect committee in New England, our committee runs programming grounded in mentorship, knowledge, and networking that is always free and open to the public. Our network reaches over 2,500 peers, and with strategic outreach such as partnerships and livestreaming of events, this number increases.

50 participants. We deliberately schedule this workshop immediately before our largest networking event of the year, the EPNet Winter Warmer, where we partner with over 20 AEC institutions in the greater Boston area for a night of socializing with fellow young professionals. This year, the Winter Warmer had a record attendance of 300 and engaged architects, designers, developers, vendors, engineers, contractors, students, and more.

We kicked off our 2019 programming by hosting a “fireside chat” with three members of the AIA College of Fellows. Over cookies and hot chocolate, Jim Batchelor, FAIA, Anne-Marie Lubenau, FAIA, and Nancy Ludwig, FAIA, shared stories of their early years in the profession, most challenging and rewarding moments, and advice based on the audience’s questions. In line with this type of moderated discussion, we also held two more panels, one with local hiring managers and another with mid-career practitioners, where EPs learned about building up skill sets, approaching negotiation, and what they can expect after the first five to 10 years in practice.

With the intent to build upon the relationships that culminate every year in our Winter Warmer, our committee has diligently connected with emerging professional parallel groups such as the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES-EP), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). We are in the process of developing programming that can weave in the interests of all our members while being educational and interesting. In 2019, we were fortunate to host the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) for an enlightening presentation on how EPs can get involved in the practice’s marketing, as well as the local chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), on the important process of collaboration between architects and specification writers.

To prepare our membership for networking, we hosted for the third time Judith Nitsch, PE, who beyond her extraordinary career as her company’s founder, also teaches a terrific networking workshop. Her active, hands-on teaching style proves to be extremely beneficial time and time again: This is one of our most attended events, with usually over

Lastly, I can’t possibly talk about the EPNet without acknowledging the incredibly tight-woven network of practitioners we have in Boston and how their efforts to give back have helped our membership directly. Each of the past few summers, the EPNet has organized a program called Leadership Lunches, where local offices open their doors and


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host a discussion similar to a “lunch and learn” with visiting EPs. This year, we encouraged firms that hadn’t participated in over a year or ever to join the program, which was competitively sought after. This program in particular has proved to be mutually beneficial: Firms get to know prospective candidates in an informal setting, and prospective candidates learn about the firms’ body of work, culture, and leadership without the interview factor. It was this strong network of architects that supported our largest new initiative for 2019: the FeedBack mentorship program. As of this year, Boston did not have a mentorship program in support of young architects, and developing one from the ground up became part of the mission my co-chair, Christopher Moyer, Assoc. AIA, and I crafted for our time in leadership of the EPNet. With an initial cohort of 30 people, FeedBack connects each mentee with five mentors, thus not only casting a wider net of perspectives, but also promoting a broader interaction with professional practice. It runs for five months, suggesting that a mentor has a new mentee each month and encouraging the pair to meet at least once during their suggested month. The framework for meeting is loosely laid out by design: It was our intent to leave room for organic relationships to take place, rather than forced interactions between assigned pairs. In

Bottom left: EPNet members attending networking workshop with Judith Nitsch, PE. Courtesy: BSA staff. Bottom right and above: EPNet FeedBack mentorship program mentees and mentors. Courtesy: BSA staff.

doing so, our program has been widely adaptable for mentors and mentees, who were highly encouraged to mentor up. After having learned a lot from the first participants’ input, along with support from the BSA/AIA leadership, we look forward to continuing the program in 2020 and beyond. We have started brainstorming ways to help smaller AIA chapters within the New England region apply the program’s format in their own communities because we believe its flexibility can be beneficial to chapters that are smaller in membership. Looking back, I find that the most valuable lessons learned this year are to listen to our membership and to rely on our networks. For instance, every time we host a panel discussion, we pool attendees for their questions, which directly affect the outline of the conversation. Moreover, building up new relationships and strengthening existing ones heightens our programming in immeasurable ways. In 2019, it was this attitude that allowed us to launch brand new initiatives, increase the variety of our events and topics of discussion, and, most importantly, deliver content that is widely relevant and impactful to emerging professionals in the Boston area and beyond. Cheers to a successful 2019.

Gabriela Baierle, AIA LEED AP BD+C is an associate architect at Arrowstreet in Boston. Baierle is also co-chair of the Boston Society of Architects EP Network and an adjunct faculty member at the Boston Architectural College.


AIA California Licensure Cake

Svigals + Partners Balloon

AIA New Jersey EPiC Party

AIA Ohio Licensure Lunch


AIA Ohio Licensure Lunch

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Celebrating newly licensed architects Getting licensed is a big deal. With 12 years as the national average from start of college to licensure, the hours spent and knowledge gained represent an unforgettable milestone in a young architect’s career. The following examples are creative ways that firms, groups, and AIA components are celebrating licensure in 2019. AIA California Academy for Emerging Professionals: Licensure Cake As a standard practice throughout the state, AIA California sends each newly licensed architect a letter to congratulate them and notify them about their local chapter. The data comes from the California Architects Board and is sent to all newly licensed architects, including non-AIA members. Within the AIA California membership, Academy for Emerging Professionals members receive a unique gift: a personalized cake in honor of their achievement, complete with name and license number. In addition, the local chapter holds an event to hand certificates to the newly licensed. AIA Ohio: Licensure Luncheon AIA Ohio, on a biannual basis, gathers to recognize newly licensed architects at a lunch reception. The event travels across the state and is associated with the state convention when possible. All architects having earned licensure since the previous reception are invited to attend and be recognized. The event also features a keynote presentation by an emerging Ohio architect, and it typically sells out. The latest edition of the program was hosted in conjunction with the Ohio Valley Regional Convention in Cincinnati as the culminating event of the three-day convention.

reminder of the newly licensed architect’s achievement. How does it work? The balloon is adorned with the names of prior emerging professionals who also passed their exams while working at the firm. It stays at the most recent licensed professional’s desk until a new licensed architect emerges in the office. The balloon is then passed along, with the addition of the new licensee’s name, and it finds a new home with that individual. To date, seven architects have been acknowledged since the celebratory balloon’s origin in 2015. Pro tips: Big office? Consider making a small balloon bouquet that can be expanded over time. AIA New Jersey EPiC Parti AIA New Jersey’s Emerging Professionals Community (EPiC) holds an annual celebration called the EPiC Parti. This year, the sold-out event was held at a brewery centrally located in New Jersey and complete with Beaux Arts costumes. The Parti has evolved from celebrating newly licensed architects to include licensure support for ARE candidates. Not only do attendees get to come together to share their paths to licensure experience, but also this celebration now provides resources such as NCARB literature and raffle prizes, including the full cost of one ARE seat. Through sponsorships and proper planning, the event was free for all attendees. The success of the Parti can be attributed to AIA New Jersey’s total membership, which is made up of 49 percent emerging professionals. Of this percentage, two thirds fall into the “young architect” member class of being licensed for 10 years or less. In addition, EPiC sends a congratulatory message to all newly licensed architects in newsletters circulated to its membership.

Svigals + Partners, New Haven, Conn.: Celebratory Balloon The traveling celebratory balloon is a small token of acknowledgment to recently licensed architects. Its genesis is quite simple: After grueling hours of studying and testing, in addition to achieving a major professional milestone, newly licensed architects should be recognized, with even the simplest gesture. The balloon can be paired with a celebratory lunch or cake, but at a minimum, it serves as a physical

Jason Takeuchi, AIA, NCARB

Takeuchi is an architect at Ferraro Choi and Associates in Honolulu, and the Young Architect Regional Director for the AIA Northwest and Pacific Region. He is a 2018 Associates Award recipient.


Young Architects Forum an AIA member group

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