2020 Young Architect Award Recipient
Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
In her professional work and involvement with AIA, Juliet Chun, AIA, has created more accessible pathways to architectural education and practice. Dedicated to the future of the profession, she is always willing to share her experiences with young people, from middle schoolers to students enrolled in architecture programs in and around Boston. She recognizes that social change can only come when attention is paid to all perspectives, and she champions equity at the local and national levels.
Chun is an architect at Boston’s Leers Weinzapfel Associates, where she implements a design process based on collaboration and open communication. Her process has been critical to the success of projects such as the Harvard University Computer Science/Statistics Data Science Lab, which gathers researchers from discrete fields to tackle similar problems despite speaking different programming languages. To ensure all voices were represented, Chun, as the project lead, scheduled regular user group meetings that were based on conversation rather than presentation. She is also dedicated to environmentally responsible architecture and worked on the award-winning LEED Gold-certified John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The project is the first and largest cross-laminated timber academic building in the country.
Chun believes that architecture struggles with equity, diversity, and inclusion because not enough people are exposed to the profession at a young age. To combat this, she has given career talks in venues such as the MIT Museum’s biannual Girl’s Day Event, where spoke about her career and asked attendees to think about design through an interactive game she called Wonder Women in Architecture. Chun and colleague Zhanina Boyadzhieva, Assoc. AIA, founded Girl Uninterrupted as a research effort that has significantly amplified the dialogue on workplace culture and equity. The program has produced a manual that highlights workplace strategies for both emerging professionals and firm leaders, encouraging both to turn ideas into action. Last year, Girl Uninterrupted received the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Tribune Award, following a grant from the Sasaki Foundation in 2018 to expand its outreach on a national level.
As a member of the Boston Society of Architects’ Women in Design Steering Committee, Chun works with members to program the group’s regular events. Because of her advocacy work, she was selected to moderate the breakfast keynote panel discussion for the Women in Design Symposium at ABX this fall. In addition, Chun supports emerging professional women through her work with the chapter’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force, where she explores how the chapter can provide its members with resources to further their outreach at universities, high schools, and middle schools.
Through her meticulous work, Chun has uncovered a clear picture of the issues facing the profession and has developed concrete solutions to solve them. It is clear that Chun’s efforts, coupled with her boundless optimism and enthusiasm, are positively affecting gender equity in the profession.