2020 Honorary Membership Recipient

The AIA recognizes the notable contributions and service of people outside of the architecture profession with Honorary Membership in the Institute.

As the executive director of AIA Seattle, Lisa Richmond, Hon. AIA has channeled her belief in the power of design to engage the public in critical issues of sustainability, livability, and resilience. Always providing maximum organizational impact, her actions and innovation have helped architects lead positive change in our communities.

Richmond has worked to develop a culture of advocacy at AIA Seattle, recognizing that solving the profession’s pressing issues can only happen through policy and regulatory change. She has developed systems, such as the chapter’s public policy board, to both engage and deploy its members to great effect. AIA Seattle is one of the few local chapters to host a full-time position focused on advocacy, and the infrastructure Richmond has developed has become a model for components across the country.

To directly foster carbon reduction in the built environment, Richmond led the chapter in its support of a state carbon tax. In addition, the chapter is leading the way on energy disclosure requirements, a living building pilot program, and emerging legislation focused on low-carbon materials. She was also a partner in the formation of Shift Zero, a cohort of 20 organizations from around Puget Sound striving toward zero carbon buildings.

In 2015, Richmond co-founded and developed Seattle’s Center for Architecture & Design with the Seattle Architecture Foundation to create a platform for architects to engage and educate the public. Today, the center hosts four exhibitions—many of which travel to other chapters—and more than 200 events annually. Richmond has positioned the space as one of the city’s premier locations for professional exchange on architecture and design.

Her propensity for strategic thinking led to an appointment to the AIA Strategic Planning Task Force where she has championed a focus on organizational impact and accountability. Previously, Richmond served on the AIA Advocacy Capacity Building Task Force, where she worked with colleagues to unite a fractured group and create recommendations that were unanimously adopted by AIA’s board of directors. Her considerable skills were valuable to the AIA Sustainability Scan Advisory Group in 2013, where she crafted an enduring sustainability action plan for AIA.

The list of Richmond’s accomplishments is lengthy and includes a Loeb Fellowship from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a place on the Seattle mayor’s Green Building Task Force, and service as a climate reality mentor for Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. A born leader, her outlook on advocacy has become a national model that has greatly benefited AIA.


Sylvia Kwan, FAIA, Chair, DLR Group Kwan Henmi, San Francisco, California

Joan Soranno, FAIA, Hammel, Green & Abrahmson, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Melanie Ray, AIA, Hord Coplan Macht, Baltimore, Maryland

Image credits

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