AIA YAF Connection 19.02 - Mentorship, Citizen Architects & 2021 Awards

Page 42

Connection

Keys to community engagement Advice from some 2021 AIA National Young Architects For these young architects, design no longer occurs in a vacuum or through a stroke of genius at midnight. These professionals actively engage their clients, communities, and colleagues in a dialogue about design. The following interviews represent the experiences and thoughts of several 2021 AIA National Young Architects Award recipients. Their professional practice paints a beautiful narrative for building stronger communities through architecture and volunteerism.

Engage your clients Katelyn Chapin, AIA Katelyn Chapin, AIA. Chapin is a project architect at Svigals + Partners in New Haven, Conn. She is the 2020-2021 Community Director of AIA National’s Young Architects Forum (YAF), a member of the Building Design + Construction 40 Under 40 Class of 2020, and a recipient of the 2021 Young Architects Award. KK: What is the key to successful community engagement? KC: Establishing trust upfront. At the beginning, I like to make everyone feel really uncomfortable so everyone starts at the same level of discomfort. It’s small things like asking everyone to share their middle name or stand up and act something out. It loosens everyone up to contribute to whatever the question or the prompt is. KK: What is your favorite engagement activity? KC: Most recently, we had a unique project at the University of New Haven. We didn’t have a program, apart from it had to be multidisciplinary and multi-user. Anyone could recommend anything. So we diagrammed their suggestions, including science labs, black box theater, dance studio, and more. Then we made four quadrants (must have, want to have, nice to have, don’t need) that were scaled to be the target building size. We had scaled cutouts of every requested program area and asked the stakeholder groups to place them in the four quadrants. We ranked each group’s priorities and went back to the next workshop with a massing diagram that expressed the program adjacencies. KK: What advice can you share with young architects searching for their voice or point of impact?

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KC: I have two bullet points. One: Within your office, ask to be involved in all aspects of the design process. If you don’t try it, then you don’t know if you like it or you hate it or you’re indifferent. It’s an opportunity to see the full design spectrum. Two: Speak up if there is something of interest that you want to work on! I don’t think I was originally on the Sandy Hook design team, so I made it clear that it was a project I really wanted to work on. And I was put on that team. KK: What was it like working on the Sandy Hook Elementary School? KC: The community was so welcoming to support. I heard at the beginning and the end that they love their new building, but they would do anything to have their old building back. There was a lot of emotion when they described their community. I’m also my firm’s Kids Build director for K-12 projects. I was able to work with the second, third and fourth graders to talk through the design process. We did a shadow study nature activity with leaves, flashlights, and sketches. We ended up including those panels in front of the building as wood etches. I’m always really impressed with kids.


Articles inside

COF/YAF Align Mentoring Program

5min
pages 35-37

Celebrating the 2021 Young Architect Award and Associate Award winners

31min
pages 49-60

Connection and Chill

1min
pages 61-62

If you build it, they will come

10min
pages 38-41

Keys to community engagement

19min
pages 42-48

Citizen Architect: A great commission

6min
pages 32-34

The unexpected mentor

5min
pages 30-31

An emerging professionals committee take on the Citizen Architect’s role

7min
pages 28-29

Emerging professionals as a priority

9min
pages 25-27

A call to action: The decarbonization of America

9min
pages 22-24

Introduction to The Hive

10min
pages 15-17

President’s message

3min
page 8

So you want to be a Citizen Architect?

8min
pages 9-11

Coaching vs. mentoring

3min
page 21

Feed Forward

8min
pages 18-20

Community identity in the “middle of everywhere”

9min
pages 12-14

YAF Chair’s message

4min
pages 6-7

Editor’s note

2min
page 5
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