2017 Associates Award Recipient
The AIA Associates Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.
Through her commitment and skills as a leader, Linsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, has proven to be an incredible asset to the built environment. With a focus on community outreach, she has worked on key issues of education and diversity, and has used her platform to argue for a more accessible and equitable profession.
As a campus planner with Ayers Saint Gross Architects in Tempe, Ariz., Graff is currently engaged with Texas A&M University—which boasts one of the country’s largest campuses—and leading the school’s master plan update that spans more than 8,000 acres.
Her involvement in community service began in New York state, where through the Buffalo/Western New York Architecture + Education Program she worked in dozens of classrooms in low-performing schools. Pairing architectural projects with the Common Core curriculum, she worked closely with 1,000 K–12 students, public school teachers, University of Buffalo students, and volunteer architects. Later, as the program’s chair for five years, Graff expanded it by 50 percent, reaching even more students and growing the its volunteer base.
In addition to her work in Buffalo schools, Graff planned and implemented a number of education initiatives through the Buffalo Architecture Foundation that catered specifically to diverse and underserved communities. At community centers and public parks, families were invited to design new spaces for the city’s waterfront. With Buffalo’s proximity to Native American communities, Graff arranged for Tamarah Begay, AIA, the Navajo Nation’s first female architect, to work with students from the Seneca Nation.
Based on her accomplishments in the education of minority students, Graff was appointed to a three-year term on the AIA National Diversity and Inclusion Council, where her work has focused on increasing attention and resources for K–12 pipeline programs. Last year she was one of 22 architects and educators invited by AIA past president Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, to join the Equity in Architecture Commission. As the commission works to develop recommendations for equitable practices, Graff is also serving on the AIA National K–12 Task Force to help build long-term strategies for introducing architecture into K–12 curricula.
A distinguished leader at the local, regional, and national levels, Graff will undoubtedly continue to make an impact on the architectural community for years to come.