AIA Board of Directors supports diversifying the profession and loosening opposition to interior design licensure

AIA’s Board of Directors and the Strategic Council convened on Thursday, December 9 and selected the 2022 recipients of the Architecture Firm Award and Gold Medal, as well as the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award .

AIA’s Board of Directors then convened for their last meeting of the year on Friday, December 10, turning to several motions that will impact the future of AIA and the profession.

Repair Our Network

The board adopted motions acknowledging that the diversity of the profession must be improved. It also reaffirmed its support of both the Framework for Design Excellence and the Equity Framework.

Two independent audits of AIA governance and the Honors and Awards programs were conducted this year related to equity, diversity and inclusion. Initial findings were presented to the board at its meetings in September and October 2021. A key finding of both audits noted that the profession faces the larger task of increasing its diversity. To do so requires the collaboration and commitment of many other organizations – notably architecture education, firms, and employers, in addition to the AIA, to develop solutions. Internally, AIA seeks to dismantle barriers within its systems, governance, honors and awards, internal policies, vendor selection process, HR and staffing, and business practices.

“Our members see this as an emergency,” said Rusty Bienvenue, 2022 CACE Director-elect.

Strategic Council Report

Strategic Council leaders Mindy Aust, AIA, and Patri Acevedo Fuentes, AIA, reported on the Strategic Council’s activity this year, including support for mental health initiatives as they impact architects and emerging professionals.

The council also strategized how to best support architects in championing equitable housing in communities, with the goal of creating resources and tools for AIA members and components to advance this agenda. Acevedo Fuentes encouraged AIA’s board and Strategic Council to reconsider the name of the New Urban Agenda to include suburban and rural regions, as well. Aust encouraged that no firm be left behind in being motivated and equipped to tackle daily climate action in their practice, client work, and communities, i.e. explore developing a carbon literacy credential.

“We have successfully shifted the culture of the Strategic Council,” Aust reported: by coalescing as a team and implementing sprint planning, among other things.

“I want the membership to know who the council is and what the council does,” said Kevin Alford, AIA, 2022 Council Vice Moderator and Louisiana state representative.

Position Statement: Interior Design Licensure

The board voted to revise AIA's position statement on Practice and Title Regulations in the Public Environment by eliminating AIA’s outright opposition to interior design licensure. An AIA Interior Design Task Force was created to internally review AIA’s stance, ultimately concluding that a revised position allows AIA and its members to be more flexible and to negotiate and discuss options and remedies with legislators, regulators, and partner groups that best suit their respective state since each state is different.

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