Citizen Architect - Illya Azaroff, AIA
Citizen Architects began engaging with local, state, and federal authorities and the medical community before World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic—and even before it hit the United States. Illya Azaroff, AIA is one of three Citizen Architects advising government officials about how to increase hospital-bed capacity, contain the virus, and keep millions of Americans safe at home.
Individual architects are working with government officials outside of the AIA’s national task force structure as well, tapping into longstanding relationships developed over years of advocacy.
Both the AIA New York City and AIA New York State chapters immediately organized a task force that unified networks comprised of several committee chairs, healthcare architects, and allies. Illya Azaroff, AIA, +LAB Architects, is part of that group, which has helped inform how the state and city have worked to increase response capacity. Azaroff also has a task group that is advising officials who are trying to curb the spread of COVID-19 in other types of structures, such as multifamily residential.
Azaroff advised firms and architects to create similar groups that can engage with policymakers in their jurisdictions. Then it is up to each individual to determine where they can best provide advice. There are plenty of problems to tackle, and expanding bed capacity is just one. For example, Azaroff said, “We also need to help local leaders think about negative pressure rooms and negative pressure facilities, which are a large part of this complex puzzle and may be more difficult to find or bring online.”
–As told to Kerrie Rushton