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It has been a banner year for Kate Simonen and her burgeoning band of embodied carbon busters, bent on reducing the negative environmental impacts of building production. On Nov. 19, Simonen and her EC-reduction champions debuted the first free-to-use digital tool to calculate EC in materials. The same day, Marin County, Calif., approved the nation’s first low-carbon concrete building code. And after a slow start in 2017, the free-to-join Embodied Carbon Network finally gained traction.

As founding director of the decade-old Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) at the University of Washington, Simonen has been stirring all three pots. “Kate is our figurehead,” says Wil V. Srubar, a professor of engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and an ECN co-chair with Simonen and Erin McDade, senior program director of Architecture 2030. “It’s been a wild ride the last 12 months, and Kate has been a great driver,” he adds.

EC, the sum total of greenhouse gases emitted from material extraction to the jobsite, “is an entry point to acknowledge that we need to completely decarbonize” the buildings sector—not just operational carbon, says engineer-architect-researcher Simonen, also a professor in the university’s department of architecture.

Perhaps Simonen’s biggest EC-reduction coup is the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator. “EC3 is transformative,” says Ari Frankel, assistant vice president at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, one of six developers piloting EC3.

CLF incubated EC3 through a $713,000 grant from the Charles Pankow Foundation and other sponsors. Simonen is lead investigator, with teammates Phil Northcott, Change Labs CEO; Stacy Smedley, a director of sustainability for Skanska USA; and Don Davies, president of Magnusson Klemencic Associates.

While incubating EC3, Simonen also helped create Marin County’s low-carbon concrete code—spearheaded by Top 25 Newsmaker Bruce King—by leading its steering committee. She was “instrumental” in creating consensus among diverse stakeholders, says Alice Zanmiller, a planner for Marin County’s sustainability team.

In 2017, CLF created ECN to scale up the movement. A global and virtual communication platform for practitioners, educators, government officials and material producers, ECN is driving grass-roots change, including local policy initiatives.

Last year, the group grew from 600 to 1,800 members, located in 166 cities in 22 nations. Local chapters that hold in-person workshops sprang up in Seattle, the Bay Area, New York City, Boston and Vancouver, B.C. Chapter discussions are underway in Austin, Atlanta, Toronto and the Denver-Boulder area.

A native of Livermore, Calif., Simonen studied architectural engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and then received two master’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley—one in structural engineering and the mechanics of materials in 1991, and the other in architecture the following year.

While in practice, Simonen learned about using fly ash to lower concrete’s cement content. Later, she tried calculating the carbon footprint of green prefab homes imported from China. Eventually, she realized she was interested in research. In 2009, she landed at the university. Soon she had mastered environmental-impact life-cycle analyses for buildings.

Funded by its 42 member firms, CLF is “informing, inspiring and enabling” buildings professionals to reduce and ultimately eliminate EC. Currently, CLF is rallying green-building groups to collaborate and reduce duplicate efforts.

Even with EC-reduction progress, Simonen doesn’t expect to see any meaningful impact on the environment for at least 10 years. Still, she soldiers on, saying, “we have to try to make a difference.”
Build Out Alliance
For years, construction workers have faced the risk of being ostracized, bullied or fired over their sexual orientation or gender identity. After a lengthy job search in 2008, Jackie Richter, who was transitioning from male to female at the time, says a concrete contractor who wanted to hire her said, “You’ve got the experience, you’ve got the knowledge, and you’d be a great part of our team … but leave your girl clothes home and come as a man.”

The same year, a successful architect, who wishes to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisals, said he was fired when the owners of his company monitored his texts and found out he was gay.

More recently, Guillermo Díaz-Fañas experienced microaggressions at a previous employer due to his perceived mannerisms, even though he wasn’t out as a gay man at the time. Things escalated to the point where unfounded rumors spread among his colleagues that he had AIDS, based solely on the suspicion of his sexual orientation. When he raised concerns to one of his supervisors, nothing happened. “That’s when I understood that it was the leaders who had the problem with me,” he says.

Today, all three have overcome these negative experiences and work to show how inclusivity benefits the industry. Richter owns two successful construction companies in the Chicago area. The architect started his own practice and Díaz-Fañas founded Queer Advocacy and Knowledge Exchange (Qu-AKE), one of the first construction industry groups in the U.S. for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) workers. He also moved to a more inclusive workplace, at WSP, where he thrives as an award-winning senior technical principal.
Noah Pylvainen, Perkins and Will
Once perceived as "intimidating" by her colleagues, the principal and director of global diversity at Perkins and Will went from following the rules to defining them.

This op-ed appeared in the December 2019 issue of ARCHITECT. On Dec. 12, 2019, The American Institute of Architects announced Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, as the recipient of the 2020 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.

Big change can come from people who never expected to become change makers—from people who frequently second-guessed themselves, who look different from everyone else, and who never jumped the line. The tortoises, not the hares.

I had always been a rule-follower who stays the course—an idealist empowered by personal ambition and my mother’s encouragement. When I decided to become an architect, I pursued design with little fear of failure. Looking back, I realize that harnessing my own naive bravery was the best thing I could have done.

My formal training in architecture began at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1979. I knew I had earned my seat there, but, deep down, I continuously felt “less than.” I didn’t anticipate that I’d be the only black woman in my classes, or that I’d have to find my tribe outside of architecture, among other students of color. Suppressing feelings of isolation, inadequacy, and invisibleness, I focused on working my ass off.

The architectural jargon was foreign and unintelligible, and I struggled to understand what the professors and critics were saying. I realize now that this was very much the egocentric, starchitect era of design education. This was their platform to shine, and they commanded it.

Recognizing that this was part of the game that would lead me to success, I worked even harder to learn their language. Once I grasped the concepts, I no longer felt inadequate. I even felt empowered to break the rules I had struggled to understand.

In 1984, I became the second black woman ever to graduate RISD’s architecture department—and with A’s no less. After 21 years in the profession, I was tapped to be managing director of my firm’s Los Angeles office. I was flattered, scared, and surprised, but with encouragement from my tribe, I became the first woman and first African American to hold that role, firmwide.

Once I grasped the concepts, I ... felt empowered to break the rules I had struggled to understand.

As a woman with a direct communication style, I learned over time from peers that some colleagues and staff perceived me as “intimidating.” Though I was the leader of my office, my requests, statements, and directives were met frequently with resistance. Self-reflection, coaching, and soul-searching occupied a good deal of my time; realizing what you can adapt while remaining true to yourself, and recognizing and addressing gender or racial bias are strategies I’ve had to develop throughout my design career.

While not dismissing the existence of unconscious biases, I chose to modify my professional style not only to keep my hard-earned seat at the table, but also to ensure my voice was heard, and, ultimately, to become the leader of the room. I mastered the rules to win the game.

In 2013, I was ready to make my next move at the firm. After completing several international projects and taking stock of my own experiences, I had cultural competency on my mind. I wanted the profession to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. I believed that we could change what we design by changing who designs it.

With the agency I had earned, I chose to develop a firmwide diversity and inclusion program, which I now lead. All my academic and professional experiences, advancements, and challenges have brought me to this point in my career.

Calls to diversify the complexion and cultural makeup of the design profession to better mirror the society we serve have become louder and more intense, with many more voices chiming in. But we have a long way to go. To women and underrepresented groups, I say harness your inner strength, find your tribe, and then use your voice. Being the only one in the room can be your platform to shine.
An Rong Xu for The New York Times
In a federal complaint, a former chief of staff to Mr. Neumann said she was demoted twice after she became pregnant.

When the chief of staff to the WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann became pregnant in March 2016, she was reluctant to share the news with her boss right away.

But ultimately, the employee, Medina Bardhi, felt she had no choice. She had to explain that she could no longer accompany Mr. Neumann on business trips “due to his penchant for bringing marijuana on chartered flights and smoking it throughout the flight while in an enclosed cabin,” according to a complaint she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York on Thursday.

What followed, the complaint said, was a pattern of discrimination, as Ms. Bardhi was repeatedly derided and marginalized by Mr. Neumann and other WeWork officials. Mr. Neumann referred to her maternity leave as a “vacation” or “retirement,” according to the complaint, and another high-level company official, Jennifer Berrent, commented, “Wow, you’re getting big,” in front of a WeWork executive.

Mr. Neumann, who had promised to champion women at WeWork, stepped down as the company’s chief executive in September as its attempted initial public offering collapsed in dramatic fashion. As part of a deal to turn over control of WeWork to its largest outside investor, SoftBank, he received $185 million to work as a consultant to the company for four years.

Over the last year, other women, including a senior executive, have filed lawsuits accusing WeWork of gender discrimination. Their complaints have added to the storm of criticism WeWork and Mr. Neumann have faced from bankers, analysts and current and former employees since the attempt to go public failed. Mr. Neumann’s leadership has come under particularly intense scrutiny: He has been criticized for maintaining a lavish lifestyle and giving outsize power to family members, including his wife, Rebekah.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Neumann declined to comment, referring questions to WeWork. In a statement, a WeWork spokeswoman, Gwen Rocco, said the company “intends to vigorously defend itself against” the complaint.

“We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” Ms. Rocco said. “We are committed to moving the company forward and building a company and culture that our employees can be proud of.”

During her five years at WeWork, Ms. Bardhi became pregnant twice and was demoted both times, the complaint said. She was fired in early October, shortly after Mr. Neumann left, according to the complaint. Company executives told her that “there was no longer a role for her after Mr. Neumann’s departure,” the complaint said.

“This assertion and supposed justification rings hollow, as Ms. Bardhi already had been pushed out of Mr. Neumann’s office,” the complaint said. “It is clear that Ms. Bardhi’s firing was motivated by the Company’s sustained discriminatory bias and retaliatory animus against her and other female employees who become pregnant, take maternity leave, and/or complain about gender-based discrimination.”

The complaint also said that WeWork had a broader culture of abuse and disrespect toward women — a work environment in which excessive alcohol consumption fueled “offensive sexual conduct” and women were routinely paid less than male colleagues with similar jobs.

Ms. Bardhi’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, said he hoped that the E.E.O.C. would view her experiences as part of a systemic problem at the company and bring class-action charges against WeWork.

The discrimination Ms. Bardhi faced began before she even started at WeWork, the complaint said. During a job interview in October 2013, Mr. Neumann “unlawfully and intrusively” asked Ms. Bardhi whether she planned to get married or become pregnant — a question that left her “stunned and uncomfortable,” according to the complaint.

When Ms. Bardhi became pregnant three years later, the complaint said, Mr. Neumann replaced her with a male employee who was paid more than twice as much.

Then, rather than restoring her to the job of chief of staff when she returned from maternity leave, the complaint said, the company gave her no clear direction on her day-to-day responsibilities.

Eventually, she got the job back, the complaint said. But when she became pregnant a second time in February 2018, the cycle repeated — a male employee was hired to replace her, and she found herself sidelined wh
Interior Design Media
Rana Beiruti is director of Amman Design Week, a nonprofit design fair that was founded in 2016 and is now in its third edition (it became a biennial in 2017). This year’s theme is “Possibilities” and over 200 exhibitors from 13 countries took part. The event was held in three different parts of the city, with the main show, curated by Bahraini-based architect Noura Al Sayeh-Holtrop, in the “hangar,” a renovated 1930s building in Ras El Ain that used to house the electricity generators that powered the then burgeoning city; the Crafts District; and new to this year, a neighborhood of galleries called Jabal Al Lweibdeh.

Interior Design: Tell me about the theme for this edition of Amman Design Week?

Rana Beiruti: It’s “Possibilities” and it came about as a reaction to the hopelessness felt in the face of current global issues such as climate change and the political discourse, which in Jordan, for instance, comes with an attitude of ‘throw your hands up in the air.’ The theme of was a way for us to say that through design, we can dream up new possibilities for the future.

ID: Where is Amman Design Week positioned in the region and how does it differ, in your view, from other design weeks like Dubai, Beirut, etc?

RB: Dubai Design Week is an international-facing event where the world comes in, participates and showcases, while Beirut Design Week has always had a link with Europe, particularly France, and has a bit of a European feel. In Jordan, we’re sort of in the middle. We’re not an oil-rich country, we don’t have many natural resources from which to build a strong manufacturing sector, so designers here are innovating within limited means, with locally made and locally found materials.

ID: How about some examples?

RB: The design studio Twelve Degrees made a bench out of crushed palm leaves as a possible alternative to wood, while Omar Sartawi created an edible replica of Ein Ghazal, one of the oldest sculptures in the world that was found in Jordan (and is currently in the Louvre Abu Dhabi). In this instance it has been made out of jameed, a dried yogurt that is part of our national dish of lamb, mansaf. We also have designers making magical things happen out of something as simple as gravel or sand. Instead of being about fancy tables and finishes or crystal chandeliers, “Possibilities” is about research and about a rawer understanding of design, of materials. It’s about how we live, what our architecture looks like, and how we use the earth and the landscape to produce the things we consume.

ID: Is this trend of looking within, to your own context and geography, something recent? Or has it always been fostered by Amman Design Week?

RB: It’s been intentionally part of our essence from the beginning because it would be difficult for us to do a design week that is alien to the existing context. The pieces produced respond to local needs, use local materials, and promote the work of local initiatives. This kind of support is important in the face of a context where import taxes and government regulations limit the capabilities of designers to prototype here, and to work with different materials. One of our designers wanted to import silicone and it took them six months just to get it through customs. Under the theme of “Possibilities” people looked to the materials we do have, like stone, and natural fibers.

ID: On a related note, is there any industry or manufacturing in Jordan? And is the situation changing?

RB: Manufacturing is one of the weaker industries in Jordan. Jordan is a very young country and there was a strange shift where we went from a nomadic and sparsely-populated society to one with Wi-Fi and iPhones—there was no industrialization period in between. The barriers to importing and finding the tools and resources you need to manufacture locally are big, as I mentioned, so people end up manufacturing abroad and importing the finished products. It’s made us a very consumer-oriented instead of a producing society. I think now we are seeing that designers are working in a more hands-on way as a result, and starting to become makers themselves to resolve this situation.

ID: What was new compared to the last edition?

RB: This year we created an entirely new exhibition entitled ‘Future Food/Future City,’ which reclai
KTGY Architecture + Planning
With a rapidly aging population, an inward flux of new urban residents, and developmental pressures forcing displacement and homelessness on growing numbers of people, housing design finds itself at a critical nexus in the United States.

And while many architecture firms are surely working on innovative housing projects, few have dedicated teams focused on pursuing housing innovation from an integrated, transformational perspective. KTGY Architecture + Planning is one such firm, however. The R+D Studio at KTGY exists to "explore new and emerging ideas related to building design and technology," with an eye toward integrating new housing developments into their surroundings, re-thinking existing design paradigms, and prototyping cost- and time-saving construction approaches all the while expanding the realm of housing design to include co-living arrangements, contemporary senior housing models, and supportive housing.

We talked with Marissa Kasdan, director of KTGY's R+D Studio, to discuss how well-designed housing can serve more people, the changing nature of domestic spaces, and to highlight innovations coming out of her team's work.

What is the focus of KTGY’s R+D Studio? And of your position?

KTGY’s R+D Studio was created as a dedicated effort focused on furthering KTGY’s vision, “to move the discourse of architecture forward by continuously searching for better.” With that goal in mind, the R+D Studio explores new and emerging ideas related to building design, shifts in residential demographics, and trends in the way people live. My role, as director of the R+D Studio, is to maintain the focus of the studio in a way that also supports the design efforts of the various studios within KTGY. I coordinate with studio leaders from KTGY offices across the country and look for opportunities to develop design concepts that support the building types and market segments we serve.

The R+D Studio seems to pursue an integrated approach that considers design, urban-scale considerations, and constructability issues simultaneously. Can you share an example of a project (or an approach/idea) that has most benefited from this arrangement?

The Skytowns concept considers how townhome unit plans in a high-rise configuration could maximize building efficiency while minimizing elevator stops and shared circulation space, all while providing multi-level unit layouts in an urban setting. On every other level, the townhome units recapture the corridor area as unit area, increasing the overall building efficiency to nearly 90%. The inherent nature of the multi-story units creates a unique opportunity for vertical variation along the high-rise façade.

One of your research focuses revolves around expanding the definition of co-living. How is the research coming out of the R+D Studio informing the design of unit plans for this type of housing?

Initially, we developed a co-housing concept to address urban affordability for young professionals trying to manage their rents, leading to the development of an 11-bedroom, 11-bathroom prototype unit. Since then, we have discussed with many of our clients and other interested individuals the opportunity to apply the benefits of shared living in new ways to help address a variety of issues and serve a wide range of demographics.
Sylvie Rosokoff / Sylvie the Camera
The founder of Madame Architect speaks with RECORD about the value of mentorship.

Julia Gamolina, who works in business development for FXCollaborative, founded the website Madame Architect in May 2018, after having published interviews with women in the profession on SubteXXt, the digital journal of gender-equity organization ArchiteXX, beginning in 2015. Since then, she has interviewed some 150 women in the profession, with more than 50,000 unique visitors to the site. The 28-year-old graduate of Cornell’s architecture program spoke with RECORD about her goals for Madame Architect and the value of mentorship in work and life.

You were born in Russia, immigrated to Canada at age 8, then moved to the U.S. when you were 14. How has mentorship—and specifically working with and looking up to other women—played a role in your life and career?

It’s been huge. When we immigrated, my mom told me, “I will offer you the guidance that I can, but I’m also new here—there are some things that I won’t know.” So as a young kid, then throughout high school and college, I felt very comfortable asking my teachers for advice. I’ve always had different mother figures in my life, and advisors in my professional world, and I think immigration is really what triggered it.

So was Madame Architect a natural extension of seeking out guidance?

Yes. I found that, after graduation, that built-in system of mentorship no longer exists. I started to look for my own advisors. Writing about them wasn’t originally part of the plan at all, but once I found women who were so generous and energizing to me, I thought, I have to share this. I pitched ArchiteXX, and it published my first Q&A, with Vivian Lee, a principal at Richard Meier & Partners.

How do you identify your interviewees?

One of the biggest goals of Madame Architect is variety—the full gamut of age, focus, background, location, everything—but it started with women who had leadership roles at firms, purely for guidance on how to get there. After the first few, I thought, I’m talking to women at the peaks of their careers; what is it like to speak to someone in the trenches?

What common themes have emerged?

People talk about being open and nimble, and saying yes when unexpected opportunities arise. While I was working on my thesis and about to start looking for jobs, I watched all these commencement speeches by people like Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey, who send the message to find what you want to do and just do it. I had started my career with that mentality, and it was extremely frustrating, because things took longer or didn’t work out as I expected. I thought I was doing something wrong. But having interviewed more than a hundred women now, no one has ever said, “Set your eyes on the prize and go for it.” And, in fact, everyone has said, “Be open, you don’t know what’s coming, but surprises are good, and you’ll learn a lot by trying different things.”

What has surprised you?

Almost every single woman I have talked to who has her own firm founded it when she had her first baby. That’s really mind-blowing to me. Seeing who my followers are has also been surprising. A lot are younger women and new mothers, but I also have men writing to me all the time. I didn’t think I would hear from men at all when I started, and while it’s still more women, it’s more balanced than I expected.

What misconceptions do you think people have about women working in architecture?

So many women are so tired of being asked what it’s like to be a woman in the field. They deal with the same challenges that come with different stages of life, for everyone, in every field. They no longer want to be thought of as “women architects”—they just want to be thought of as architects. That has probably been the most consistent feedback from the interviews.

You publish a lot of content—around 10 stories each month. Do you see this becoming a fulltime job?

I actually really like having my feet in practice. I don’t design at the moment, but I like being on the ground in the collaborative environment of a firm. So for now, at least, it’s good for me to do both. But monetizing something like this, having a business plan and all that—oh my God [laughs] . . . Not my skill set.
Interior Design Media
Playful graphics in bold colors cross disciplines to become striking art and custom furniture pieces by Emily Alston. “I really like the idea of functional art—which is basically furniture,” laughs the British designer, who draws from a background in graphic design and illustration. With the unforgettable moniker of Emily Forgot, also the name of her design studio, she has collected a diverse roster of clients since graduating from the Liverpool School of Art & Design in 2004. Notable among them: prestigious London cultural institutions the Victoria & Albert Museum and Somerset House, hotel chains Mondrian Suites and CitizenM, retailer Selfridges, and furniture manufacturer Herman Miller.

This fall, at The Interior Design Show (IDS) in Vancouver, running September 26-29, Forgot will debut “A Sense of Place,” an installation based on the shapes and architecture of Canadian Modernism. In parallel, 13 of her pieces will be for sale with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting education program Out in Schools. Interior Design sat down with Forgot to learn more about her boldly colored wooden relief pieces, the favorite pastime she indulges all around the world, and why little has changed in some areas of her life since the age of six.

Interior Design: We understand you recently wrapped up a residency program.

Emily Forgot: That’s right, with de Bijenkorf, a department store chain in the Netherlands. I created a series of furniture and domestic objects inspired by the de Bijenkorf stores and the Bauhaus movement—so a table, chair, rug based on a Marcel Breuer staircase, and a set of three mobiles. The program, called Room on the Roof, is organized to coincide with the centennial of the Bauhaus movement and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eindhoven de Bijenkorf store, designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti. The pieces will be used in window displays.

ID: Can you share a little more about the IDS installation and what else is upcoming for you?

EF: For IDS, I'm making some colorful wooden relief pieces for “A Sense of Place,” an installation and entrance hall feature. Similar to others I have made, these reliefs will be based on architectural or interior spaces that I quite like, with relevancy to location. Therefore, I've been researching a lot of Canadian architects and architecture and visiting some Vancouver-based spaces. I then reinterpret and abstract them for the relief pieces.

I am also working on a maze for the hotel chain CitizenM that will be open to the public during the London Design Festival, also in September, and a series of assemblage pieces and prints which will be exclusively for the Victoria & Albert Museum shop.

ID: What gets your creative mind energized?

EF: Travel is really important. As an example, this past February I did a project for Stay One Degree, a vetted-member-only holiday home rental website. They sent me out to the Canary Islands in Spain, to Tenerife, to be inspired by one of the villas they have there and then also by Tenerife itself. For them, I also created a unique series of colorful wooden pieces. A film was made to document the trip and the making of the pieces It was a really nice project and made me think a little bit differently about my work, which always has inspiration coming from a sense of place. Travel doesn’t have to be about getting on a plane and going somewhere, it's also about going to the library and picking up some old archive magazines.

ID: How do you believe the British design culture helps enable your vision?

EF: With social media and the internet being so much a part of our creative lives, things feel a lot broader. You can uncover an amazing restaurant in Australia or a new kind of furniture brand in New York. I gain inspiration from all around the world and don't think my work necessarily has a particularly British feel. But then again, I do really like a lot of British design; it's quite playful and there is a little bit of humor.

ID: In what kind of home do you live?

EF: I've recently moved with my partner into a 1960s home with quite a lot of original features. It’s near the sea, about an hour outside London, and is a huge ongoing project. My partner, Von, is an illustrator and artist as well, and we have a studio in the house that we share. Although some people just think that’s crazy, it
W Dubai-The Palm
“Textiles and color have formed the basis of our work since the very beginning.” So states Paola Lenti of her namesake company, which she founded in 1994 in Meda, Italy, and today produces fabrics, rugs, architectural structures, and furniture for indoor and outdoor use, employing a staff of 100.

Born in Piedmont in 1958, Lenti studied graphic design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan, and then went on to work as an art director for various fashion companies, where she would create displays and environments, designing rugs and such herself. Eventually, she went out on her own, making small glass and porcelain objects but switching to felt rugs, which she says represented the true start of her self-named brand.

Materials research and sustainability have been guiding forces since day one. In 1997, she began working with designer Francesco Rota, a collaboration that has produced some 70 collections and is still going strong. It was 2000 when they turned their focus to outdoor, aiming to create furnishings that are as attractive and comfortable as those for interiors. That same year was when her younger sister Anna came on as managing director, overseeing administrative and marketing aspects. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the company they’ve forged is synonymous with innovation but also with the handmade, global but also local (except for a few items, Paola Lenti products are all made in Italy). Here, Lenti the older expounds on inspirations, recent projects, and upcoming endeavors.

Interior Design: What inspires you?

Paola Lenti: Nature, for its simplicity, clarity, and unexpected texture and color combinations. I remember, as a child, my entrepreneur father would take me along when he went to the countryside to paint and teach me to appreciate all the surrounding beauty. My passion for color was born with me. Another childhood memory is receiving a book of colored collage paper and cutting up and combining the dark orange and dark turquoise pieces. Each time I start selecting colors for a collection, I recall cutting those pieces.

ID: How does color play through your col­lec­tions?

PL: We focus on it not only for individual fibers but also in the fabrics we weave from those fibers, and for the collections and the ways they work together. Even our solid fabrics often have more than one color of thread woven in.

ID: What are other constants?

PL: Research and development, finding increasingly better materials in terms of both ecological sustainability and durability. We have propriety materials that do both, such as Rope and Twiggy.

ID: Which designers have you collaborated with?

PL: At first, it was only Francesco. But now we work with a handful, such as Francesco Bettoni, Victor Carrasco, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Vincent Van Duysen, Marella Ferrera, Marco Merendi, Nicolò Morales, and Lina Obregón. I prefer to concentrate on just a few people for a closer collaboration. Marella and Nicolò had pieces debut at this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan.

ID: How long have you participated in that?

PL: From 1995 to 2002, we were at Salone. From 2003 on, we’ve been part of the Fuorisalone off-site. This year, we returned to Fabbrica Orobia, where, with Bestetti Associati, we created a series of modern environments to contrast with the enormous 1920s warehouse using partitions made from materials such as glass, ceramics, lava stone, and fabric pieces, all of which are now part of the collection. We also had indoor and outdoor furniture introductions this year by Bettoni, Van Duysen, Obregón, and Rota.

ID: Any projects abroad?

PL: Yes, Torno Subito at the W Dubai-The Palm hotel. The chef is Massimo Bottura of the famous Osteria Francescana in Modena. The mood there is completely different, more formal and serious, whereas the Dubai restaurant is playful and colorful, recalling the joyful Italian Riviera of the 1960s.
Gabriela Marks
Fostering a more inclusive profession is everyone's job.

As the 2019 President of The American Institute of Architects, I have had the honor to learn from and listen to colleagues from across the nation and around the world. Those interactions have reinforced what I always knew: Our similarities, as people and as professionals, far outweigh our differences.

We don’t all speak the same language, come from the same family background, or share the same cultural heritage, but we do share a commitment to advancing our communities and our societies through the power of design.

Today, architects are finding ways, both small and large, to improve the profession’s environmental stewardship of the built world. In the years ahead, we must commit to leaning into this effort. I am proud of the clear direction of the board, Strategic Council, and members to seize the leadership moment presented by climate change, and I look forward to sharing the first steps in AIA’s years-long effort to lead on this issue.

However, leadership in the 21st century takes more than noble ideals and a clear vision. Today it requires the inclusion, innovation, ingenuity, and leadership of everyone.

As a profession, we are becoming more diverse, but it’s taking place slowly—especially in comparison to the society we serve.

For example, 46 percent of students enrolled in schools of architecture are women, up from 25 percent in 1985. In 2016, women accounted for 36 percent of newly licensed architects. That’s substantial progress, but we have a considerable way to go. After all, women make up 51 percent of the total population and 56 percent of all college students.

On the issue of race, progress has been harder to achieve, especially concerning African Americans and Hispanics. Currently, about 13 percent of college students identify as African American and a little more than 18 percent identify as Hispanic. In contrast, African Americans account for roughly 5 percent of architecture students.

Further along the career pipeline, roughly 19 percent of new architects identify as nonwhite. These statistics stand in sharp distinction to prevailing national demographic trends. For example, 39 percent of millennials self-identify with a race or ethnicity other than white, about double the share of the baby boomer generation at the same age. And according to census data, 48 percent of Gen Z (post-millennials) identify as nonwhite.

To help facilitate and advance the critical conversations needed to expand the pipeline of women and minorities into architecture and to retain them throughout their careers, AIA’s Guides for Equitable Practice, created in partnership with the University of Minnesota and AIA’s Equity and Future of Architecture Committee, continue to facilitate necessary discussions about fostering a more inclusive profession.

I am convinced that as we expand the definition of who is an architect, we will extend what architecture can accomplish. As firms and schools conduct critical conversations to better understand and eliminate the barriers and biases that challenge underrepresented groups in the profession, we will dramatically improve, impress, and ultimately inspire the society we serve through diverse design thinking.

To lead, we must be more diverse—as diverse as the population we serve. All of us have a critical role in ensuring that the talent and perspective of everyone, without regard to race, age, socio-economic background, or gender, is included in our effort to create a more equitable, compassionate, and environmentally responsible built world— and, by extension, society.
This Mexico City practice aims to " transform space into place."

Firm name: Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura
Location: Mexico City
Year founded: 2009
Firm leadership: Rozana Montiel
Education: B.Arch., Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico; M.Arch., Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, Spain
Experience: Diego Villaseñor Arquitecto y Asociados; and has taught in different universities in Mexico City and at Cornell University.
Firm size: 10

We transform space into place. Placemaking is the result of seeking formal content in context, changing barriers into boundaries, shifting spatial perception, approaching the landscape as the program, re-signifying materials, working with temporality, and holding beauty as a basic right. More than an aesthetic decision, beautiful design is an ethical stance impacting people’s lives.

First commission:
My first significant commission was the Void Temple in 2011, a landscape intervention that touches all the themes that concern me as an architectural designer: public space, social fabric, re-signification of simple materials, re-signification of tradition. This land art piece sits amid pine woods and blends with the site topography; it consists of a white concrete wall forming a 40-meter (131-foot) circle that serves as a haven containing the macro-cosmos within the micro-cosmos. The project was part of a collaboration with Dellekamp Arquitectos on a 117-kilometer-long (73-mile-long) pilgrimage route in Jalisco, Mexico.

Second favorite project:
At the 2018 “Freespace” Venice Biennial, we presented our book HU: Common Spaces in Housing Units (Mexico City: Arquine, 2018), which compiles the research and findings of three of our most important public space projects. The book, which advances a new design methodology, collects in a series of post-it graphic aphorisms our observations and solutions for common spaces. The book is one of my favorite projects because it involved a great deal of reflection about how we design and the role language plays in building.

Biggest career leap:
When I began to receive commissions for public projects. It was then that I realized the urban responsibility that architects have when designing collective living spaces. Also, in 2017, I won the Moira Gemmill Award for Emerging Architecture given by The Architectural Review in London. It was an important turning point in my career not only because the prize validated my studio’s approach to architecture, but also because it has funded my research.

Biggest design challenge you’ve overcome:
Every project at our office is a research opportunity that brings a new design challenge. We approach architecture as a form of “willing simplicity” that integrates more with less.

Special item in your studio space:
Our green roof terrace. It keeps us grounded and sensitive despite being on a fourth floor. It connects interior and exterior in an organic way: We can be at the heart of an urban center and yet stay connected to each other through nature.

Design aggravation:
Stale atmospheres. For me, disharmony in a place begins through the sense of smell. If a space has a moldy or stuffy odor, something was poorly designed.

Bad taste in design is not about how things look, but how all spaces and materials come together in an atmosphere. And smell is a tell-all aspect.

Recent inspiration:
I visited the Musée Fragonard d’Alfort in Paris and was fascinated by its écorchés (figures depicted in art showing muscles without skin) and cabinets of curiosities. These cabinets evoke the manner in which architects “make room” through spatial design: Architectural order creates readings and narratives that can only be decoded in space.

Most urgent policy change:
Public space development in Mexico City. Most of the public space interventions lack a long-term vision, due in part to the three-year cycles of political administrations. There must be a way of shielding aspects of policy from political change. Currently, we just get snapshots of progress with no cohesive long-term effect.

Favorite rule to break:
Playing by the rules to their ultimate consequences is the best way to break the rules.

What are you reading?
I love to read several books at a time. I am current
Jobe Corral Architects
Texas is known for its harsh climate—something that Camille Jobe and Ada Corral, principals of Jobe Corral Architects, keep in mind when they are sketching out plans for the mostly residential architecture and interiors projects out of their headquarters in downtown Austin. Previously practicing independently as architects, Jobe and Corral joined together five years ago to form one of the rare women-owned-and-operated architecture firms in the United States. Most recently, the duo completed River Ranch, a modern house in the Texas Hill Country built employing traditional rammed earth construction. Interior Design sat down with Jobe and Corral to learn more about River Ranch, why they have debates about front doors, and the clear division that drives their creativity.

Interior Design: So, tell us a little about the River Ranch project.

Ada Corral: The clients were really in love with the land. After an arborist came and talked about the big oak trees on the site and how it was all very rooted and connected underground, we came up with this idea of using traditional rammed earth construction. The rammed earth is a conceptual way of tying in the love of the land and the connection with the earth. Having a building that is sheltering and protected was also important. Our solution is an almost U-shape, with expansive glass in the direction of the view.

Camille Jobe: For River Ranch, the rammed earth is made of decomposed granite, Portland cement, and water. It’s a dry mix that is poured into forms in ‘lifts’ of about six to twelve inches and then rammed down to compact it. This layering process is what gives it the striated appearance. It has been done for thousands of years and was an easy yet sound construction method because it requires no heavy machinery and can be done incrementally. The rammed earth was really the boss of this project because once we created these walls, they sort of ran the show. There is not a single space where you don’t see them—so we had to be very particular about texture and color, warmth and coolness next to these super striking and very distinctive walls.

ID: How did you choose the furnishings, which have a Scandinavian feel?

CJ: The project began with a collection of pieces that we called ‘artifacts,’ which the client had gathered from around the world over time. We started thinking about filling the space solely with items that were just as well-crafted—where you could see the connection, detail, and materiality—and make each one of these pieces a new artifact. So, all of the new furniture either has a notable providence story—in terms of where it came from—or appeal in the way it was assembled. For example, in the living area, the pink leather and wood sling chairs are from a company called Fenton and Fenton and are made in Indonesia.

ID: What’s coming up for you?

CJ: In collaboration with a branding company in Oregon, we’re doing the architecture and interior design for a young company headquarters in Austin. It’s a large commercial space that we’re figuring out how to make look like home.

We also have a fun project that is literally three toilets. In Austin there’s a trail that goes around Lady Bird Lake, and up and down the trail are these little boutique, sculptural restroom projects by different architects. We've admired the previous restrooms that have been out there so we’re really excited about it. Ours will be of terracotta tile, concrete, and steel, and to create the sink we are reusing a concrete pipe.

ID: How do you work together as a team?

CJ: I am the big-picture person and Ada is the detail person.

AC: So, it is very clear.

ID: In what kind of homes do you live?

AC: We're actually neighbors and live on the same street about five houses down from each other in the same style of post-World War II residence. There was a shortage of wood at that time, so the houses were built out of concrete blocks instead of wood framing. As such, they are both very simple mid-century concrete block houses. After we started our partnership, we brought the houses into the office and designed additions for both of them at the same time.

ID: How did your childhood play a role in your creativity today?

CJ: My dad and everybody on his side of the family are civil engineers and my mother w

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the RAIC Foundation are pleased to announce the three winners of the 2019 RAIC International Prize Scholarships.

They are:
  • Laure Nolte, Dalhousie University
  • Lucie Palombi, University of Montréal
  • Odudu Umoessien, University of Manitoba
Each student has won a $5,000 scholarship for writing an essay describing the moment they decided to become an architect or knew their decision to become an architect was the right one.

The RAIC International Prize Scholarships are presented in conjunction with the $100,000 RAIC International Prize. The winner of the RAIC International Prize, to be selected from a shortlist of three projects from Senegal, Peru, and Chile, will be announced at the RAIC International Prize Gala on October 25 in Toronto, ON. The scholarship winners will receive their awards at the same event.

The RAIC received 93 eligible entries in both English and French from students enrolled in Canada’s 11 accredited schools of architecture as well as students at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University and the RAIC Syllabus Program.

“These essays describe moments when their authors understood the world through architecture and formed their own wish to be an architect,” says RAIC President Michael Cox, FRAIC. “Gathering with people, travelling, reading – all are enriched by the places where they occur. In very different ways, the essays evoke the value given by the built world to our lives, and the wish of architects to contribute.”

Amal Dirie will receive a Certificate of High Merit for her essay, on the temporary dwellings built by nomadic people in Somalia.

The 2019 jury members are:
  • Elsa Lam, FRAIC, editor of Canadian Architect magazine;
  • Anne Bordeleau, MRAIC, director, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo;
  • Douglas MacLeod, FRAIC, chair, RAIC Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University;
  • André Perrotte, FIRAC, partner, Saucier + Perrotte Architectes;
  • Barry Sampson, FRAIC, principal, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects;
  • David Covo, FRAIC, associate professor, Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University.

Steinberg Hart
While the architecture and design business might be a safe(r) space for gay men, it remains in many ways a white man’s world. According to the 2017 Women in Architecture report, more than 50 percent of women surveyed experienced discrimination, usually in their own offices; 60 percent believe the building industry has not “fully accepted the authority of the female architect.” In the design field, almost 90 percent of students graduating from design schools in the United States identify as female, but once they enter the workforce, white women will earn on average 79 cents to a white man’s dollar; women of color will earn on average far less.

Bisexual and queer women experience this institutional and structural misogyny with added layers of implicit or explicit homophobia—and in most states and at the federal level with no job protection. Meanwhile, surveys of professionals who identify as transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming are, apparently, yet to be conducted, although an American Journal of Public Health study indicates that perhaps one in 250 people in the United States claim the identity.

Clearly, while progress has been made over the last few decades, work remains to be done to remove barriers to equality for women, trans, and non-binary professionals. To get a sense of what life is like on the ground, Interior Design talked to designers, architects, and academics in the field across the country.

Jane Greenwood is a managing principal of Kostow Greenwood Architects in New York. “I began architecture school already out as lesbian,” she says. “And I was really privileged to have joined Michael Kostow at the firm in the early 90s. New York was a little bit of a bubble, but I’ll tell you this story. My wife, who was my partner at the time [because same-sex marriage was illegal], was working as an executive assistant at a major architecture practice. She’d been hired just before the end of the year, and invited me to the holiday party. At one point, there was dancing, and she and I danced. The next week she was fired. We did some digging, and sure enough, HR felt having a lesbian Hispanic woman did not fit with their ‘model.’ It happened all the time and and it still happens.”

Outraged, Greenwood went on to cofound the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects + Designers, which helped convince the AIA to institute job protection policies for queer workers.

Such efforts form a crucial building block for progress. A good next step, particularly for transgender and non-binary professions, says A.L. Hu, associate AIA and designer at Solomonoff Architecture Studio in New York, would be unconscious bias training in offices—and including the trans community in equity and diversity measures. “Data sways people at the top,” Hu says. “If we really want to solve the problem then we have to be counted.” Hu, who identifies as transgender and non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, also argues that it’s not enough to go out looking to recruit queer people of color. “The AIA will do great work mentoring high school kids or college students, but once they enter the profession, they realize they’re not getting paid a lot, and getting harassed. It’s not just about convincing people to come here. It’s about convincing people to stay.”
COBE and Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST
Copenhagen-based architectural firm COBE has just unveiled what are possibly the most beautiful and sustainable electric vehicle charging stations in the world. Built entirely from recyclable materials and powered by solar energy, these ultra-fast charging stations not only recharge a vehicle in just 15 minutes but also offer drivers a welcoming place to rest and relax. The first COBE-designed EV charging station was installed on the E20 motorway in the Danish city of Fredericia, with 47 more planned along Scandinavian highways: seven more in Denmark, 20 in Sweden and 20 in Norway.

Created in partnership with Powered by E.ON Drive & Clever, the COBE-designed EV charging station consists of a series of “trees” made primarily from certified wood. The tree-inspired structures feature a canopy that provides shade and protection from the elements, while also providing space for a green roof and solar panels. The modular structures are scalable so that multiple “tree” structures can be combined into a “grove.”

The Fredericia charging station features a “grove” of 12 “trees” with a 400-square-meter canopy. The Danish Society for Nature Conservation helped select the plantings that surround the charging station to enhance biodiversity and create a calming, “zen-like” atmosphere radically different from a traditional gas station setting.

“Electric vehicles are the way of the future,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “With our design, we offer EV drivers a time-out and an opportunity to mentally recharge in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. So, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plantings that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway.”

The firm’s design of the ultra-fast EV charging station won the infrastructure award of the 2018 Danish Building Awards and is being implemented across Scandinavia with support from EU Commission projects Connecting Europe Facility and High Speed Electric Mobility Across Europe.

Studio NAB
Waiting for the bus is usually a drag, but what if the experience could instead become an opportunity to be closer to nature? French design practice Studio NAB has reinterpreted the humble bus stop as a hub for biodiversity that offers a “hotel” for birds and insects of all varieties. Built from recycled materials and topped with a vegetated green roof, the proposed Hotel Bus Stop aims to promote the population of native pollinating insects and reconnect people to nature.

Studio NAB designed the Hotel Bus Stop to serve five purposes: to promote the presence of pollinating insects; to bring adults and children closer to nature and promote environmental awareness and education; to showcase architecture constructed from recycled materials such as wood, cardboard and stainless steel; to introduce urban greenery and improve air quality with a vegetated roof and exposed plant wall; and to create “green jobs” for maintenance around the bus stops.

“A broad scientific consensus now recognizes the role of man in the decline of biomass and biodiversity in general and that of insects in particular,” Studio NAB explained in a project statement. “The use of pesticides in intensive agriculture, the destruction of natural habitats, excessive urbanization, global warming and various pollutions are at the origin of this hecatomb. Our hegemony allied to our conscience obliges us today to fulfill a role of ‘guardian’ and to allow the ‘living’ to take its place in order to fight against the erosion of our biodiversity.”

Envisioned for city centers and “eco-neighborhoods,” The Hotel Bus Stop would provide more habitats for pollinating insects that are essential for our food system and gardens, from fruit trees and vegetables to ornamental flowers. Auxiliary insects would also benefit, such as lacewings and earwigs that feed on aphids, a common garden pest. The underside of the bus stop roof would include boxes to encourage nesting by various bird species found throughout the city.

Interior Design Media
EDIT Napoli, a new fair created to support and promote independent design and craft, launches on June 6th in Naples, Italy. Focused on the rise of the designer-maker figure, the debut will feature 60 exhibitors—among them well-known and emerging designers as well as established producers and manufacturers—who all have one thing in common: they favor quality over quantity and have a practice rooted in making. Interior Design spoke to the two women behind the project, Domitilla Dardi and Emilia Petrucelli, about the city of Naples, the event, and alternatives to globalized, standardized products.

Interior Design: What does Naples represent to you compared to other Italian or international cities?
Domitilla Dardi: It is the only truly international Italian city. It was the capital of Italy before Rome was and has an urban structure that brings to mind both the great European metropolises of Paris or Madrid with their wide ‘boulevards’ and the small Italian art towns. And then it also has the port and the sea. Naples is one of the Mediterranean capitals and its geographical situation makes it perfect as a crossroads for exchange and cultural encounters. It is no coincidence that it has always been the only Italian city, along with Venice, that is a real reference point for international contemporary art. They are both gateway cities between East and West.

ID: What was it about the city that inspired you to create this event?

Emilia Petruccelli: As a city, Naples never leaves people indifferent. There is too much sameness and standardization in the world and I believe that we need more cities like Naples, where you can breathe and cultivate difference and independent ideas. The people who will come to EDIT Napoli are looking for something different, something unexplored.

ID: When did you get the idea for EDIT Napoli?

DD: Emilia came to me two years ago with two very clear ideas: that we should launch a new fair and we should do it in Naples. Together we understood that instead of focusing on sectors like collectible design and design galleries—which already have endless venues and events—we should focus on the world of small batch production, craftsmanship, and the designer-maker. Today this figure is more relevant than ever. We need products that have an identity.

EP: We wanted to create something that was curated, but where people could still be surprised. An event with purpose and clear economic intentions. I believe that independent design has to do business in order to survive.

ID: Why was it important, in your opinion, to launch EDIT Napoli?

EP: Because the retail world is moving and changing fast, from the internet to the commercial and industrial strategies of flagship brands. It needs to innovate and to do so it needs specific places in which it can reflect this change and address it. EDIT Napoli proposes being that place.

DD: Because a fair dedicated to this market segment didn’t exist. We have done a lot of research in the run-up to the event, but the fair won’t be about prototypes or concepts; it will be about real products for the real world.

ID: Who do you want to reach, convince, convert with EDIT Napoli?

EP: We aim to reach and connect international buyers, architects, designers, shop owners, interior designers, all the different strands of the design world basically. The ambition of EDIT Napoli is to become an international reference point for authored design, which thanks to the push of the fair we hope will experience sustainable growth within a few years.
Riley Stewart Photography
The group wants to showcase the talented women working in the industry

As the director of development at Urban Capital Property Group, Taya Cook finds herself sitting in a lot of boardrooms surrounded by men.

Cook says she knew women who were doing fantastic work in the development industry, but for some reason, they weren't at the table.

So when she saw an article last year showcasing the "kings of condos" — more than a dozen men developing the city — she thought something had to be done.

"It was a very striking visual representation of what I've experienced in the development industry for the last 15 years," she said.

"Where are the queens?"

Aiming to find them, Cook teamed up with Sherry Larjani, managing partner at Spotlight Developments, to create the city's first all-female development team, with women leading projects in all areas, including engineering, architecture and urban planning.

"It's just to make a statement," said Larjani.

"It actually brings the females that are working behind the scenes and puts them in front of everybody to see."

The team of approximately 15 women is working together on a residential project in Etobicoke, dubbed Reina, which means queen in Spanish.

Still in the design phase, it will eventually rise on the site where the now-demolished House of Lancaster strip club operated.

Building by and for women
While improving the visibility of female workers, Cook and Larjani say they also want to improve design. Their project will look at how improvements in spacing, lighting and security can make buildings more welcoming for all residents.

Some of their ideas include communal storage space for strollers on the first floor, bedrooms designed specifically for children and even a communal kitchen as an amenity so families can host large gatherings.

Cook said men and women in the industry are guilty of overlooking these ideas.

"We know what works and we do it again," she said.

"What's unique about this project is that we're taking the opportunity to step back and really ... rethink all these assumptions."

Larjani says they've come up with these ideas because they're thinking more about what women, and mothers want and need in a space.

"They are very simple ideas at times, but they're things that sometimes in buildings are overlooked," she said.
Iwan Baan
Every year, June is Pride month, a festive time for the LGBTQ community and allies. But this year, June is especially notable: it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York—a landmark event in the history of LGBTQ rights. There’s even further cause for celebration at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which is also turning 50 this year. Located in the heart of Hollywood, the Center’s $141 million new Anita May Rosenstein Campus has just opened, presenting a striking, dignified face to the neighborhood.

Designed by New York–based Leong Leong, a 2011 RECORD Design Vanguard winner, and Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) in Los Angeles, the 70,000-square-foot building dramatically expands the Center’s capacity to serve the LGBTQ community. Rendered in white stucco and located across the street from an existing Center facility, the new building includes activity centers for youth and seniors, an educational and work-training academy for young people, event space, offices, and 100 beds for temporarily housing homeless youth. The firms also developed the master plan for the campus; Phase II, currently under construction and slated for completion in 2020, includes 98 units of affordable senior housing and 25 supportive apartments for young people.

Both the intergenerational nature of the Center’s clientele and the diversity of programs offered to them informed the design, says Dominic Leong, principal of the firm he founded with his brother Chris Leong in 2009. “We had to create a campus that negotiates this idea of cohesion and unity, but also holds space for differences and multiplicity.” A series of internal courtyards brings daylight to areas deep within the plan while buffering different program spaces from each other, yet also creating connections between them.

The main entrance and a flexible event space called Pride Hall are located just off a large plaza, which fronts the sidewalk and connects by elevator to underground parking. Five other entrances to the facility allow staff and visitors to enter through a door that gives them access to the program area—and level of privacy—they may desire. “It fits the Center’s mission to have multiple points of entry, so you feel welcome however you approach,” says KFA partner Barbara Flammang.

The massing and materials of the steel-frame building work to engage the project’s urban context. The building comprises volumes of two to four stories, keeping the senior and youth centers at a more intimate scale, while allowing staff offices and the temporary youth housing to become taller. Because function generated form, the building has a unique profile from each side: “There isn’t one singular, iconic point of view,” says Dominic. “We thought that was important, because the Center isn’t about the singular; it’s about multiplicity.” A frit pattern on the glazed upper stories adds to the lively street presence (while also reducing solar gain); from certain perspectives, oblong cutouts in the frit align to form circles, echoing the Center’s logo.

Creating a space for clients to feel safe, both physically and emotionally, was paramount to the Center and the designers, so security comes primarily in the form of on-site personnel, rather than an abundance of cameras or tightly controlled entrances and exits. “As an organization, the Center is very open, and they wanted that to be maintained in our design,” says Jesse Ottinger, the lead designer and project manager of KFA. “They’re very sensitive to the youth population and don’t want them to feel as if they were under surveillance, because many people come to the center after having traumatic experiences.”

The project is Leong Leong’s largest building to date. “It affirmed our belief that architecture is fundamentally about self-actualization,” says Dominic. “It’s about how we relate to ourselves and others, and how we create spaces that meet our needs as we evolve as individuals and as a society. Architecture can nudge us along that path, and this project was validation of that.”

KFA has operated in Los Angeles for some 40 years and, for their part, says Flammang, “If we can look back and say we’ve helped make the people who live here more comfortable, with access to the things that they need to live a good life, then we’ve done a good job.”
Architect Magazine
"Accessible design is just good design–design that supports all users of all abilities, ages, and cognitive and sense acuity."

Founder and managing principal of Seattle-based architectural consulting firm Studio Pacifica, Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, has earned the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award for her significant contributions to accessible design. Here she responds to our architect's version of the Proust questionnaire.

What is your greatest achievement?
Raising a strong and confident daughter.

What is the most memorable moment of your career?
Receiving the call from President Elefante with the news of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award!

What was your most rewarding collaboration?
My business partnership with my co-founder of Studio Pacifica.

When did you first realize you wanted to specialize in accessible design?
I can’t say there was a defining moment when I realized I could make this my life’s work, but at each step, it felt right to keep going.

What is the greatest challenge right now in the field?
The lack of research funding to enable increased anthropometric analysis of people who have disabilities—research that would create the basis for more accurate and functional dimensional criteria so that our build environment would better serve the needs of all users.

What is the most promising recent development?
Technology provides the most promising changes for people with disabilities and the most inadvertent barriers at the same time. As an example, autonomous vehicles pose great potential for creating accessible means to get people to disabilities to school, work, and around the community while at the same time being potentially silent and hazardous to those who are blind or deaf/blind.

What’s the one thing you wish more people knew about accessible design?
Accessible design is just good design–design that supports all users of all abilities, ages, and cognitive and sense acuity. Architects should be designing for all humans to thrive in their buildings.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an architect?
The first day in studio when I laid out all the cool tools and realized, this is going to be fun!

What jobs did your parents have?
My dad was an executive and my mom was a community volunteer.

What would you have been if not an architect?
Bored silly.

What keeps you up at night?
Liability issues. Did we catch all those barriers?

What is your favorite building?
Here in Seattle, the Chapel of St. Ingnatius on the Seattle University campus.

What is your most treasured possession?
My hearing aids.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Travel and yarn, lots of yarn.

When and where were you the happiest?
The evening I married my husband on the shores of Lake Union.

What is your greatest fear?
Not finishing. Anything.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be a better cook.

What’s the last drawing you did?
Self-drafted sweater pattern.

Which living person do you most admire?
Judy Heumann.

Which book(s) are you currently reading?
I just finished Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Inspector Armand Gamache of the Louise Penny mystery novels

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To exercise more often.

What’s the one question you wish we had asked (and the answer to that question)?
What two words would you use to describe yourself? I’m a problem-solver and a maker.

What does winning the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award mean to you?
I hope this award elevates the need for accessibility in the built environment and reminds AIA members of their power to better our communities for people with disabilities.
Cloe Poisson
In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

A dirt field overgrown with weeds is the incongruous entrance to one of America’s wealthiest towns, a short walk to a Rodeo Drive-like stretch replete with upscale stores such as Tiffany & Co.

But this sad patch of land is also the physical manifestation of a broader turf war over what type of housing — and ultimately what type of people — to allow within Westport’s borders.

It started when a developer known for building large luxury homes envisioned something different back in 2014 for the 2.2 acre property: a mix of single- and multifamily housing that would accommodate up to 12 families. A higher density project is more cost efficient, he said, and would allow him to sell the units for less than the typical Westport home.

But the site was zoned to hold no more than four single-family houses, so he needed approval from a reluctant Westport Planning and Zoning Commission, which denied his plan. Residents erupted in fury each time he made a scaled-back proposal, and it took the developer four years after purchasing the property to win approval to build two duplexes and five single-family homes.

“You are selling out Westport,” one resident yelled out as the final plan came up for a commission vote last spring. Other residents picketed commission meetings with signs reading “Zoning is a Promise.”

The commission’s discussion was couched in what some would regard as code words and never directly addressed race or income. Chip Stephens, a Republican planning and zoning commissioner, voted against the plan, declaring, “To me, it’s too much density. It’s putting too much in a little area. To me, this is ghettoizing Westport.”

Now under construction, these two-bedroom duplexes and single-family homes have a price tag of $1.2 million, the going rate for a home in this swanky village just outside Bridgeport and Norwalk.

“We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to get this through. Would I do this all over again? No. Probably not,” said the developer, Johnny Schwartz, of Able Construction.

Welcome to Connecticut, a state with more separate — and unequal — housing than nearly everywhere else in the country.

This separation is by design.

Westport is only one example of a wealthy Connecticut suburb that has surrounded itself with invisible walls to block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

In a liberal state that has provided billions in taxpayer money to create more affordable housing, decisions at local zoning boards, the Connecticut Capitol and state agencies have thwarted court rulings and laws intended to remedy housing segregation. As far back as data has been kept, Connecticut’s low-income housing has been concentrated in poor cities and towns, an imbalance that has not budged over the last three decades.

Many zoning boards rely on their finely tuned regulations to keep housing segregation firmly in place. They point to frail public infrastructure, clogged streets, a lack of sidewalks and concerns of overcrowding that would damage what’s often referred to as “neighborhood character.”
Luke Walker
“Creating dynamic environments which embody the human presence drives me,” reveals Nassia Inglessis. It is with this ambitious undertaking that the Greek designer and engineer, founder of experimental design studio Studio INI, unveiled a kinetic outdoor installation during NYCxDesign, New York’s annual celebration of all things design taking place this month. On view May 17 through the end of the summer, the immersive “Urban Imprint” will swallow up the entire courtyard of creative space A/D/O by MINI in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Born in London of Greek parents, and with a childhood spent in Athens, Inglessis now splits her time between the two capital cities. In London, she has a studio at the prestigious art and cultural center Somerset House. Athens is where she develops prototypes and enlists fabricators. Interior Design sat down with Inglessis to learn more about her installation, her thoughts on the struggle to find personal identity in cities, and the unique place in India where you can observe a dance between body and matter.

Interior Design: What is your intention with the ‘Urban Imprint’ installation?

Nassia Inglessis: The work I do questions how we perceive and interact with our physical environment. With ‘Urban Imprint,’ I examine how we can reconstruct and reimagine the physical fabric of our urban environment. I say ‘fabric,’ but it is really quite synthetic with predefined boundaries. We navigate our cities in a design that someone else has imposed on us. It is as if we've been poured into a vessel of concrete and glass.

Whereas in a natural environment, you immediately become part of its ecosystem—our movement is in relation to changes around us. You leave your imprint as you walk through grass or tread a path through the forest. Instead of being something that we must adapt to, can an urban environment be something that adapts to us? That’s what I’m reconsidering with ‘Urban Imprint.’

Taking over the courtyard of A/D/O, we reconstructed it into a space that really comes alive once the human element is within it. When the visitor enters, the space takes form and shape around his or her presence and movement so that they inevitably leave their own imprint. The space created is both unique to the visitor and unique to the moment. The space also draws in the imprint of all the other visitors.

ID: What kind of materials is it made of?

NI: We take what are familiar structural elements—but usually static and quite rigid—and give them malleable form, new abilities, and new behaviors. That means we are using steel, but with computation design and digital fabrication tools such as laser cutting, we are making it movable and formable in three dimensions. Then we are using glass as a means of enhancing the perception of the transformation. A mix of concrete and rubber creates a skin to the environment which isn't rigid.

ID: You also intend the installation to be a ‘forward-looking approach to notions of personal identity in cities.’ Can you explain that?

NI: Well, if you think about our cities, we are in an urban environment that remains unresponsive to our presence, an environment that we must adapt to. In that kind of environment, the notion of self is sort of a muted self. This is why we live so much through digital platforms. There we can reinvent ourselves, and the notion of self feels boundless, with endless possibilities. On the other hand, this digital world is untethered to our natural instincts, which is in the physical environment, where often things can be triggered and we can experience things in all their richness.

I feel that creating the experience of an urban environment which does respond to your presence, which takes form in relation to you, is something that can be a starting point for reconsidering how they are made. Those that are adaptable could evolve.
The systems that have kept black families from building wealth in the U.S. were designed to do so. A series of initiatives are trying to build new systems that support equity and empowerment instead.

Black families currently have an average wealth of $3,600, compared to white households’ $147,000. It could take black Americans as many as 228 years to reach the level of wealth white households currently control. And that’s an optimistic forecast: A report from the Institute for Policy Studies this year found that black wealth in the U.S. is actually declining, so many families of color might not stand a chance at reaching levels of prosperity currently enjoyed by white households.

The racial wealth gap that persists in the U.S. today is the result of discrimination and designed exclusion. Slavery, segregated housing, redlining, unequal investment in communities of color, and mass incarceration all played–and continue to play–a role in making it more difficult for black families to access and build wealth. But if this wealth gap is the result of discriminatory design, could the systems that uphold it be redesigned to support black prosperity?

That is the question that a three-year-long program operating in six cities across the U.S.–Seattle, Tacoma, Portland (Oregon), Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Des Moines–aimed to address. The African American Financial Capability Initiative (AAFCI) was created by Prosperity Now, a nonprofit established to help low-income people of color achieve financial security. Across the six cities, the initiative worked with local leaders and communities of color to identify key drivers of the racial wealth divide in each place. They then worked together to design and implement programs to counterbalance those factors. The work was funded by the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF), a St. Paul-based organization that awards grants across eight states and 75 native nations across the northwestern part of the country. The results of the three-year initiative are now available, and will set the groundwork for future work in the cities.

The states within the NWAF’s funding footprint, says Lillian Singh, director of Prosperity Now’s Racial Wealth Divide initiative, “tend to skew more white than African American.” While the majority of the country’s black population lives either in the south or in major cities like New York and Chicago, this project drew attention to the particular struggle of trying to build black wealth in overwhelmingly white contexts. And working with the relatively more compact black populations in each of the six cities allowed the program organizers, through in-depth planning talks with local community members and leaders, to design initiatives to meet very specific needs. “We wanted to let communities lead with their understanding of the issues as they were creating the ideas for the projects,” says Cat Goughnour, senior program director at Prosperity Now.

In Seattle, for instance, the AAFCI conveners learned that displacement and gentrification was a significant issue for the local black population. The Central District, a neighborhood east of downtown, was 70% black in the 1960s, but today, it’s just 14%. Average black family wealth in Seattle is $37, 696, compared to white families’ $125,824, and homeownership rates are around 24% versus 50.9%. It’s incredibly difficult for black families to build wealth through real estate in this city, which consistently ranks among the most expensive housing markets.

In response, the AAFCI worked with four black-led local organizations to create a community land trust in the Central District. Community land trusts are nonprofit-owned parcels of land designed to remain permanently affordable, due to rules that govern how much profit owners can make when they sell. The half-acre of land in the Central District is owned by Africatown Land Trust, which will become a mixed-use building comprising affordable housing, black-owned businesses, and office space. As that project prepares to break ground next year, the local organizations and AAFCI opened another 115-unit affordable complex nearby that’s already home to 80 families and three black-owned businesses at risk of displacement.
But the path to building and preserving black wealth looked very different in Seattle than it did in Des Moines, where the community felt displacement was not so much a threat as the lack of access to banking and financing. Over one-quarter of the city’s black population is unbanked. That means they struggle to access credit or loans, which in turn limits black families’ ability t
Sophie Mathewson
Arielle Assouline-Lichten founded her multidisciplinary design firm Slash Objects six years ago, the same year she began her petition to the Pritzker Prize for laureate status for Denise Scott Brown. (The committee had shamefully ignored her in 1991 when honoring her husband and business partner.) Since then, design and activism have gone hand-in-hand for Assouline-Lichten: Her Slash Objects line of furniture projects joins bold, clean lines with an emphatic focus on recycled, reimagined, and reinvigorated materials.

This year, she’s receiving an award of her own—though it’s not her first laurel, by far. After graduating from NYU, she earned a Master of Architecture from Harvard with commendation, studying under Toyo Ito. She went on to work at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Kengo Kuma and Associates, and Snøhetta before serving as Principal of OfficeUS at the Venice Biennale. Last year, her Coexist Collection won Best in Show at the NYCxDESIGN Awards presented by Interior Design. This year, she’s again in the spotlight as recipient of Bernhardt Design and WantedDesign’s American Design Honors.

Clearly, she’s busy. But Assouline-Lichten took a few minutes off her packed schedule to talk with Interior Design about following in her mother’s footsteps, the appeal of rubber, and the state of the design fair ecosystem.

Interior Design: When was the first time you really noticed the design of an object or space?

Arielle Assouline-Lichten: Well, my mom is an architect, so I grew up with her pointing things out. You kind of never think you’ll follow in your mother’s footsteps, but then somehow inevitably you end up here! All of our trips were about dissecting spaces. Once you have that lens it’s hard to remove. She was very pedagogical and wanted to show you what she can see. That was always a background.

ID: What made you decide to follow in her footsteps?

AA: I ended up at an architecture firm doing graphic and interactive design in Denmark, BIG. That’s kind of an outlier office anyway, in how they work. My previous conception of architecture was very different—and probably more accurate! But I really wanted the skills the architects had, making 3D objects. That’s where the revelation came: There was this moment where I realized that there was this whole other realm of built objects.

ID: Which you now tend to make of rubber. What’s the appeal?

AA: I’ve wondered that myself! It started when I discovered it while working on this interior architecture project. What I love is that it’s creating this new project from, basically, waste. The idea of it having a new lifecycle is very appealing to me. I want to see rubber through, to see all the things I can make it do. And then do that with other materials as well.

ID: What’s your studio like?

AA: I like a space to feel very organized before starting a project. And then I make a huge mess! But in order to really get thoughts flying it has to be super clean, everything in its place, all the chemicals lined up and all the boxes labelled. Then we start playing, and hopefully come to a productive conclusion. My happy place is walking into a studio when everything’s clean and put away. It’s rare!

ID: What are you showing at WantedDesign this year?

AA: Well, the idea with the show is to contextualize the new daybed within the Coexist collection and its intersecting of different materials and geometry. I want to situate everything together and make it feel like a comprehensive overview.

ID: And there’s no hardware in the pieces, is that right?

AA: It’s true for most of the pieces. They play with balancing weight distribution and being thoughtful about how the parts are connecting. Of course, some parts are welded together, but the assembly is four pieces that come together and notch into place. We think a lot about sequence of assembly. I really like to think in the most pared-down methods possible, so the concept of the materials meeting becomes about intentionally fitting pieces into one another.
Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle
Greg Dunston and Marie Mckinzie lived on Oakland’s streets for almost 10 years, pushing their carts around with all their belongings and sleeping in the doorway of an Alameda County building.

But for the past three months, the couple have lived among the wealthy — on a nearly $4 million property in one of the Bay Area’s most exclusive neighborhoods in Piedmont. The homeowner, Terrence McGrath, did something few in his position would dare do: He opened his doors to homeless people in need.

Poor, black homeless people — in a mostly white, rich neighborhood.

“My officers are very familiar with who’s living in that house and what (the homeowner’s) trying to do,” Piedmont police Capt. Chris Monahan told me. “When people have called, we’ve not even responded. We’ve called them and said, ‘Oh no, those are the people that live in the house. (The homeowner’s) trying to help them.’ ”

McGrath, who is white, read about the couple in a column I wrote in January. I shared their story of survival and hope. When I met them, they camped in a doorway at the Alameda County Probation Office on Broadway in Oakland. But peaceful nights of sleep were few, because street life — the threats, the fights, the retaliations — can be loud for people who want to avoid that kind of noise. Dunston always had to be on the lookout for thieves looking to prey on the weak.

They packed everything they owned — their entire lives — into two utility carts before the building opened in the morning. They wearily pushed the carts everywhere they went, spending most of their days near Jack London Square before again settling down for the night.

McGrath arranged to meet the couple in a downtown cafe. It was there he saw their carts tucked into a nearby corner — and that’s when he knew that letting them move in was the right thing to do.

He was living in a 4,500-square-foot home on an idyllic, tree-lined street. His daughters had gone off to college. And he had an empty in-law unit with a separate entrance, kitchen and bathroom.

But the couple weren’t sure moving to Piedmont was a good idea.

“They were a little bit anxious about it right from the start, partly because of the neighborhood,” their friend John Reimann told me.

Piedmont is a city of approximately 11,000 residents that’s surrounded by Oakland. According to the 2010 census, 74% of residents are white and 18% are Asian. Less than 2% of residents are black. The median home value is $2.3 million, according to Zillow.

Reimann, who befriended the couple at Jack London Square two years ago — and sometimes paid to put them up in hotel rooms during bad weather — nudged them to move to Piedmont.

It was hard for them to believe that someone they didn’t know who had more money than they could ever imagine wanted to help them. What did McGrath want in return?

Nothing, McGrath told me.

McGrath, 60, was raised in St. Helena in Napa County. He was one of nine children, and he told me his family was poor and on welfare for significant periods of time.

Today, McGrath is a real estate developer and investor. The UC Berkeley graduate is the founder of McGrath Properties, which focuses on the acquisition and development of properties in the East Bay. The company renovated a nine-story building on Clay Street in downtown Oakland that was the former headquarters of PG&E. And it’s one of the developers of the 24-story, 402-unit high-rise apartment building going up feet from MacArthur BART Station.

I asked McGrath why he’d let people off the street live with him.

“It’s helped bring me back to my roots as a young kid,” he said. “I cannot avoid the responsibility I have to life around me. I have a personal obligation to take responsibility when I see injustices. And to me, this is a clear injustice.”

Reimann drove Mckinzie and Dunston to McGrath’s house for a tour on Jan. 23. I watched Mckinzie rub an arthritic wrist as we sat in McGrath’s living room that’s filled with captivating sculptures and paintings. Mckinzie was excited about the in-law unit’s bathroom.

“It has a shower and a tub,” Mckinzie said happily.
Robert Gerhardt, courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Furniture, Mid-Century Design
Juliet Kinchin, dressed in black accented by pops of color from her necklace (a find at the MoMA Design Store) and ruby-red square bracelet, walked through The Value of Good Design exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, pausing at an armchair designed by Hans Wegner in the 1940s as if seeing it for the first time. But this was hardly Kinchin’s introduction to the object in front of her—she curated the exhibition.

As Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA since 2008, Kinchin has organized design retrospectives ranging from Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen (2010-11) to Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 (2012) and held faculty positions at The Glasgow School of Art and at The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in Design in New York. Positioning objects in ways that create new dialogue is her forte.

The Value of Good Design runs through June 15, 2019 and features household objects, furniture, and appliances from the late 1930s through the 1950s when the U.S. emerged as what Kinchin calls a “design superpower.” It also spotlights MoMA’s Good Design Initiatives, which served as an incubator for innovation at the time. After the walk-through, Kinchin shared some insights into her curatorial process with Interior Design, including her earliest design influences, addressing inclusivity in exhibitions, and the joy of re-purposing vintage curtains.

Interior Design: What does ‘good design’ mean today?

Juliet Kinchin: The words ‘good design’ are always going to conjure up different things for different people. And something that was considered good design in the 1950s doesn’t necessarily hold up nowadays. Good design should reflect technological advances and the social conditions or aspirations of each generation. It goes without saying that most people don’t want to live in the past or dress like our parents and grandparents. Having said that, some objects and core values do seem to have stood the test of time—generally those which combine eye appeal, functionality, and affordability. This was a combination of values that MoMA curators, like Edgar Kaufmann Jr., were trying to seek out at mid-century. What’s perhaps different is the way we are now thinking more about sustainability and the ethical dimension of the way things are made and sold.

ID: Why choose to explore the value of good design through mid-century pieces?

JK: The second world war and its aftermath brought design into focus as a tool for engineering change, whether social, technological, or economic. It was a time of tremendous experimentation, innovation, and idealism in the design of everyday objects and, from 1945 at least, a time of optimism about creating a different, more egalitarian future. I think we are all hungry for that kind of optimism and innovation right now. ‘Good Design’ at mid-century was an international phenomenon and in our exhibition at MoMA we wanted to show the commonality of approaches and thinking in different parts of the world, and the networks through which so many designers and manufacturers moved freely.
Harvard GSD
The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has named Sarah Whiting its new dean. The architect and educator, who has served as Rice Architecture dean since 2010, will step into the role on July 1, 2019.

“The GSD has long been a center of gravity for my thinking and actions, and I’m thrilled to be returning,” Whiting said. “It is altogether tantalizing to look across the school’s three departments, with their individual and collective capacities to shape new horizons within Gund Hall. And it’s even more enticing to envision working with the GSD’s remarkable faculty, students, staff, and alumni to help imagine and create new futures for the world, not just at Harvard but beyond.”

At Rice, Whiting has led efforts to reform the curriculum, introduce novel studio options, enhance existing facilities, recruit new faculty, and boost funding for research. “Schools need to push architecture forward,” she told RECORD in 2014. “We need to see how ideas developed here can become manifest in the field.”

Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow praised Whiting as an “outstanding scholar, educator, and architect with broad interests that range across the design disciplines and beyond,” highlighting her “keen understanding of design as a force for shaping the communities we inhabit and for engaging with some of contemporary society’s hardest challenges.”

Whiting received her M.Arch. from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in architectural history, theory, and criticism from MIT. In 1999, she founded her firm WW Architecture with partner Ron Witte. She was a GSD faculty member from 1999 to 2005, then returned to Princeton as an assistant professor from 2005 to 2009.

In 2017, she won a Women in Architecture award from Architectural Record for her work as an educator.

Whiting will succeed Mohsen Mostafavi, who will step down from the deanship at the end of this semester after 11 years in the role.
Interior Design Media
An 800-strong crowd of esteemed design professionals convened at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street today for the AIANY Honors and Awards Luncheon, celebrating paradigm-shifting architecture projects and industry notables. The annual program provides an opportunity not only to recognize top talent but also to raise money for the organization—this year an impressive $400,000. Among the thought leaders lauded at the sold-out event were Interior Design’s own Editor in Chief, Cindy Allen (@thecindygram), who received the Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award for her journalistic contributions to the field; previous recipients include Pulitzer Prize–winning critic Inga Saffron (@good_eye_architecture) and Dutch photographer Iwan Baan (@iwanbaan).

Chapter president Hayes Slade emceed the 90-minute presentation. Her opening speech touted the importance of cross-disciplinary dialogue and breaking down silos. Contrary to the oft-perpetuated cult-of-personality narrative, “great design is not solely an individual pursuit,” she acknowledged, pointing out that today’s three honorees—all women—were “models of community-building.” She introduced Allen as one who embodies values of collaboration, creativity, and congeniality. “Cindy is one of our profession’s fiercest and most influential advocates,” Hayes said. “To call her passionate and driven is an understatement.”

Allen, for her part, divulged she was “surprised and delighted” to have been chosen for the AIA honor, especially in light of her disciplinary agnosticism: In picking projects for coverage in the magazine—an estimated 40,000 during her 20-year tenure— she noted, “I’ve never cared a hoot if it was architecture or interior design!” Allen championed the power of moral goodness, positivity, and community-mindedness to further the profession and solve the world’s most pressing design challenges.

The ceremony culminated in a presentation of the Medal of Honor to Interior Design Hall of Fame member Deborah Berke, whom Slade applauded for her “openly collaborative approach” to architecture. In a poetic speech that matched the clarity and authenticity of her design work, Berke highlighted the importance of what she calls “built-environment social justice”—a sentiment echoed by Award of Merit and housing equality advocate Rosanne Haggerty—but also, in equal measure, beauty.

An exhibition showcasing the Design Award–winning projects, culled from more than 330 submissions, opens tonight at the Center for Architecture and runs through June 27. Notable projects include Mitchell Giurgola’s New York University 370 Jay Street, winner of the brand-new Sustainability category, and Best of Competition winner Tata Consultancy Services, Banyan Park, by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners.
Cedrick Arenales/Cobra Branding Studio
The name of this firm is "a Spanglish mashup of the hands-on and the cerebral."

Firm name: Taller Ken
Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala; San José, Costa Rica; New York City
Year founded: 2013
Firm leadership: Inés Guzmán and Gregory Melitonov
Education: Guzmán: B.Arch. and M.Arch., Universidad del Diseño de San José, Costa Rica; Melitonov: B.S., Skidmore College; M.Arch., Yale University
Experience: Prior to founding the practice both Guzmán and Melitonov worked for Pritzker Prize laureate Renzo Piano, Hon. FAIA, as architectural designer team for the new Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown Manhattan and the headquarters building for the High Line.
Firm size: Seven architects and one Labrador-boxer mix

Our practice is focused on playful design with social and cultural relevancy. Incorporating a multitude of voices, our work goes beyond merely elevating elements of design to creating an architecture with broad appeal.

First commission:
We were asked to renovate a single-story concrete-block building in Guatemala City for a menswear brand. The resulting concept store contains retail areas for clothing, home furnishings by local artists, as well as a gallery, café, toilets, and service spaces. The exterior for this project was a particularly interesting opportunity for us—it is inspired by Spanish Colonial architectural heritage of the area, specifically the sculptural openings and the thick stucco walls. We used molded fiberglass panels to give the appearance that the entire project is shrink-wrapped.

Favorite project:
For the same client, we created a 4,500-square-foot café and event space located on the most heavily trafficked highway in Guatemala. To draw attention of passing traffic at various speeds, we took inspiration from commercial roadside icons. The exterior was conceived of as a four-sided billboard, a provocative 50-foot-tall neutral cube studded with colorful car chassis. The goal for the project was to blend human and industrial scales. Both the exterior and interior are conceived to reflect a playful, yet critical approach to urban sprawl and sustainability. The scale of the exterior is paired with a lush, highly detailed interior—a pastiche of technical and traditional elements. Exposed steel structure, skylights, and louvers are expressed to emphasize the building’s systems. Reclaimed rainwater is collected in bright blue tanks to water 15-foot palm trees which partition the open floor plan. The floor is made from a patchwork of cement tiles, new and recycled building material from local exterior patios. These elements combine with custom millwork and furnishings, vibrant color palette, and tropical vegetation to create a space that is at once familiar and refreshingly unexpected.
Erica Thompson/Images for a Lifetime
Use of Native American symbols, knowledge, and practices pervades throughout the building, entertainment, and media industries, and more. Here's why it needs to stop.

Cultural appropriation is the use of another culture’s symbols, knowledge, or practices without understanding or respecting their meaning or context—regardless of intent. “Regardless of intent” is key because with my culture, Native American, many people believe that because they do not intend any disrespect and, in fact, are blatantly proclaiming respect in their appropriation, that makes it OK.

It doesn’t.

Wearing a headdress for a photoshoot or an advertisement when you are not a tribal chief or even a tribal member is cultural appropriation—period. Getting a tattoo with another culture’s language, patterning, or imagery is cultural appropriation—period. It doesn’t matter that it is done out of “deep respect.”

This applies to architecture as well.

In media and entertainment, Native Americans are portrayed as historical and stereotypical characters. Rarely are modern Natives shown as whom we are today: doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, and, yes, architects. The number of Native American architects is still small, but it’s growing. The American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE) is attempting to establish a list of licensed architects who are enrolled members of a tribe. The number is thought to be fewer than 50. Of those who have Native American lineage but are not enrolled in a tribe, the number is probably around 300. This does not include those who have only discovered their native connection through DNA testing and now claim native heritage.

Native American architects are relatively new to the architectural world in the “official” sense. In 1967, Louis Weller became the first licensed Native American architect. A Cherokee and Caddo, Louis was most known for his work as the project manager for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. In 1994, the first Native American woman became licensed, and I’m proud to say it was me. I am a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation from Pine Ridge, S.D.

However, Native Americans were the first architects in the Americas. Since time immemorial, we have been designing and building structures—structures that were unique to the climate, culture, and lifestyle of the hundreds of individual tribal nations that existed prior to colonization.

Until recently, most architecture for tribal nations has been by non-native architects; as a result, the interpretation of the culture has often not been accurate. Across America, modern-day buildings take the form of eagles, tipis, turtles, and buffalo in superficial attempts to be culturally appropriate. Our interstates and highways are rife with rest stops featuring tipi motifs, and our tourist areas have countless examples of “native” architecture. Native-inspired wall and floor patterns are another way architects have tried to be contextual.

In fact, it also wasn’t until recently that tribal clients had much say on the buildings in their community. When architects do not consult tribal people in the design process or use a generic native pattern rather than using something meaningful to their client’s particular tribe, the project lacks authenticity. And that is not OK.

To put it simply: If a tribal community involved in the design process asks for an eagle-shaped building because the eagle holds significance to it, that is not cultural appropriation. If an architect designs an eagle-shaped building with simply the desire to evoke a Western or native image and without consulting the tribe, that is cultural appropriation.

With the uptick in Native American architects working with tribes and increase in architects involving tribal clients in the design process, cultural appropriation is thankfully becoming less common in architecture. Recognize that the culture of tribal people is thriving every day. When a culture can speak for itself, authenticity will result. This is true in all areas where cultural appropriation occurs.
Greg Powers
It may be the most crucial problem-solving tool we possess.

Communities are the backbone of our nation, and they have all been shaped by the monetary investment, technical expertise, and design decisions of the previous generation. Each generation is responsible for maintaining the built environment they inherit, and each generation must decide how and when to use the technological tools, time, and talent of their age to make meaningful, sustainable, and lasting contributions to their community.

As architects, we have unique skills that confer on us a special responsibility for our communities. Each of us must do what we can—be it small or large—to be responsible stewards of today’s built world and to lead efforts that will result in a better future for the next generation.

Beyond building design and renovation, architects around the nation are using their expertise to address the urgent issues of our time, including increasing our affordable housing stock, fixing crumbling infrastructure, improving school safety, and resolving persistently unequal economic opportunity. The most crucial problem-solving tool we possess is the ability to listen. By listening to the needs of residents and working with civic and business leaders, we can transform communities to reflect this generation’s highest ideals of fairness, equity, and opportunity for all. Architects are stewards of our history and curators of our future. Fundamentally, we all want the same thing: a better, brighter, and fairer future for our family, community, and nation.

The solution to many of today’s most pressing and fundamental challenges—from ensuring access to quality healthcare to increasing social equity and mitigating climate change—are already being addressed or even solved at the community level. In many instances, architects are at the center of these efforts to make their communities better, safer, and stronger.

I am proud to be a member of a profession that continues to focus on how to inspire, how to protect, and how to ensure that the built environment helps future generations thrive and meet the challenges of their day. Ensuring that our communities encourage the health, welfare, and economic opportunity of everyone—without regard to race, gender, or socioeconomic status—is a vision we all share. Achieving that shared vision will require the time and talent of everyone working together. Through partnerships and active and thoughtful listening, we can ensure that our cities, suburbs, and towns—our communities— are safe, sustainable, and equitable places to live, learn, work, and play, for everyone.
Krisztián Éder (left); Fast Company (right)
In the United States, across industries, women earn approximately 80 percent of what men make—or $0.20 less per dollar. The design professions are no exception, but a new initiative called the “20centchallenge” asks architects to commit to changing that.

Architect Adam Rolston, the creative and managing director of New York–based INC Architecture & Design, launched the effort this week with the support of his business partners Drew Stuart and Gabriel Benroth. The 20centchallenge invites firms make a public pledge that they will work toward achieving pay equality for men and women within one calendar year.

Rolston tells RECORD that he was inspired by an op-ed architect Jeanne Gang wrote for Fast Company, in which the Studio Gang founder suggests practices move toward workplace equality by examining “the fundamental issue of respect in the workplace—pay.” Gang called unbalanced compensation the “simplest component of workplace inequality to fix,” going on to note that her Chicago-based firm has achieved gender pay equity.

Taking a close look at salaries within his own 50-person office, which employs an even split of men and women, Rolston says he was “super disappointed in myself, and in us, to find disparity.” Over the course of a year, INC evaluated the mean and median salaries for different roles in the firm, which employs both architects and interior designers, then took steps to eliminate pay inequality, through hiring (i.e., paying women the salary the firm has set for a role, even if it’s more than they request) and giving raises to existing employees.

Rolston admits this is just a first step toward workplace equality. In initial meetings with his staff about the idea, he tells RECORD that he thought, “This is all just a money issue. Give women more money and what follows is decision making, power, work environments that are more fair, and you’ll solve the problem. But women in my firm said, ‘Not so fast—it’s more complex than that. It’s a cultural thing.”

As the firm wrote in its release about the 20centchallenge, “It’s a bridge to deeper, more honest conversation that is still to come. Now is the time for men, and women, across the industry to hold up a mirror and ask if they are a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.”

Firms that participate will be listed on the 20centchallenge website.
Jessica Savidge
In February 2017, Outi Hicks, a 32-year-old union carpenter apprentice and single mother of three, was bludgeoned with a metal pipe by Aaron Lopez, a part-time nonunion worker at a biomass plant construction site in Fresno, Calif.

He was still hitting her when workers reached them and pulled him off.

What Hicks’ union colleagues didn’t know was that Lopez, employed by the project scaffolding supplier and not a union member, had harassed her for days. Hicks died, and Lopez was charged with first-degree murder, but he pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. With treatment since, he has been ruled competent for trial, but that may not occur in 2019, says his Fresno-based attorney Gerald Schwab. A pre-trial hearing is set for early June.

“All tradeswomen were shaken to their absolute core the day that happened,” says Vicki L. O’Leary, a 30-plus-year union ironworker veteran who now is the international union’s general organizer for safety and diversity. She is also a higher profile advocate for women in the North American Building Trades Union as it and the industry address challenges in boosting their workforce numbers.

After Hicks’ murder, union women flocked to social media to share their fear and frustration.

"We’re at the mercy of the abusers and I can’t pretend it’s ok anymore. It's grown to actually having to question if my safety would ever be threatened,” said one union boilermaker who quit after a decade of work.

“I realized then that every woman who has worked construction has been, at some time in her career, afraid. This fear isn’t about being injured during the work itself, but for her personal safety,” she says.

O’Leary and the others wondered why “there couldn’t be that one guy” who could have prevented the Hicks tragedy. That palpable concern led to a pilot program she conceived—Be That One Guy.

Some limited intervention efforts exist on jobsites or are being launched by union locals , but Be That One Guy one had strong buy-in from Ironworkers International General President Eric Dean and is now being rolled out to union members in North America. It is geared to train those on site to be “upstanders” who can deflect or change the tone of a tough situation.

“We can no longer stand by because we never know when someone could flip just like this guy did on Outi Hicks,” O’Leary says.
School Zone Institute
nne Taylor recently received the National AIA Collaborative and Professional Achievement Award for both her decades-long work linking architecture and education and her contributions to the architectural profession. (The other recipients include urbanist Jehn Gehl and Michael Sorkin, planner and critic.) According to the AIA, the collaborative achievement award recognizes “the excellence that results when architects work with those from outside the profession to improve the spaces where people live and work.”

A lifelong educator, Taylor is president of the School Zone Institute, which sponsors the Architecture and Children Design Education Program. She is professor emerita at the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture and Planning, as well as a distinguished Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture professor. Recently I talked to her about the award, the power of design thinking, and the beauty of stewardship.

KE: Katherine Enggass
AT: Anne Taylor

KE: It seems to me that “collaborative” is the key word that describes your approach.

AT: It’s true. I’m thankful to all of the people who have contributed to my efforts to empower children through a new way of thinking in our schools: design thinking. I hope that I have motivated others through the design of rich learning environments, architectural programming for schools, teacher and architect training workshops, and interdisciplinary curriculum development. None of these projects would have seen fruition without the hard work of implementation by the designers with whom I’ve collaborated. It seemed like they needed a cheerleader.

KE: Perhaps the award gives you another platform for dissemination of your ideas. If so, what are the most important messages you want to impart to architects today?

AT: I think it took a person from outside the discipline to see the value of the problem-solving process by which architects are educated. With the help of the AIA and others, we’ve helped invent a new role for architects. It’s an explosion. It’s as if design education has been a carefully guarded secret all these years, and now we’re trying to blast it open, to unlock it as a new pedagogy. Interdisciplinary design training of architects can be appropriately adapted to serve learners PK–12 and beyond.

Despite the recent backlash to it within the rather insular design world, I’m convinced that design thinking gives us a great method for the resolution of challenges. The process has steps very similar to the scientific method: having a felt difficulty or problem to solve; making a hypothesis; gathering and analyzing relevant data; testing a series of trial solutions; making critical aesthetic judgments; and then refining the work as needed. This is an integrated, dynamic, and responsive way of thinking, an effective way to tackle problems. As Andrew Pressman says in his book Design Thinking: A Guide to Creative Problem Solving for Everyone, the skills learned by architects can extend to other realms, from politics to business to education. We can all benefit.
Neeson Murcutt Architects and Sue Barnsley Design
The theme of the 2019 International Women’s Day – a day with radical roots that has become an annual rallying point for women across the world – is “Balance for Better.” Responding to that theme, which organizers hope will “guide and galvanize continuous collective action,” ArchitectureAU has asked a number of women architects about their collaborations and partnerships with other women.

Rachel Neeson and Sue Barnsley – Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Kurnell masterplan

Neeson Murcutt and Sue Barnsley Design have a long history of collaboration, having shared a studio space together with Joseph Grech and Durbach Block Jaggers. Their first major project together was the highly successful Prince Alfred Park and Pool upgrade, which won a host of awards in 2014, including the NSW Sulman Medal for Public Architecture, the Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design, and a National Landscape Architecture Award for Design. “It was an intense project over an extended period where we found our voices at scale together,” said Sue Barnsley and Rachel Neeson.

“We see the world through shared eyes and so our working together is like a conversation - we talk, we draw and we write iteratively, energized by the contribution of the other - the architecture ‘shaping’ the landscape, the landscape ‘shaping’ the architecture.”

The Kurnell peninsula of the Kamay Botany Bay National Park in Sydney is the site of first contact between Aboriginal Australians and the crew of Captain Cook’s Endeavour in 1770. The site is national heritage-listed and, in 2008, the first masterplan was produced for the “Meeting Place” - a place that marks the meeting of two cultures and acknowledges both conflict and reconciliation. The original masterplan has now been substantially implemented in the lead up to the 250th anniversary of first contact in 2020. Neeson Murcutt and Sue Barnsley Design and interpretation consultants were engaged to conduct a review to explore the new opportunities at the site. The project will include a new visitor building, the reconstruction of the ferry wharves at La Perouse and Kurnell and upgrading the existing barbecue and picnic area.
Abelardo Morell
The self-proclaimed "outsider," architect, and partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro gives AD a look into her practice and process

“When I graduated from architecture school [at The Cooper Union], it was never with the intention of becoming an architect; I wanted to work in space,” says self-proclaimed “outsider” architect Elizabeth Diller, who also has a background in art. As the sole female partner at the New York–based AD100 firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, she is now one of the leading women in architecture, internationally. “I think I am a beneficiary of the women’s movement, while I didn’t have to do the heavy lifting myself,” she admits. “I was able to fluidly start my own practice, with Ric [Scofidio], but we were definitely seen as outcasts because we were doing independent artwork.” The husband-and-wife duo didn’t care too much, though, that both the art and architecture disciplines thought of them as outsiders, and today, Diller has kept true to her rebellious roots, declaring, “We’re even bolder and crazier than before.”

It shows. Her firm was propelled to international fame for its design (with James Corner Field Operations and AD100 Piet Oudolf) of the High Line, a 1.5-mile-long elevated public park that snakes up the west side of Manhattan along an abandoned train line. Since completion of phase one of the urban park in 2009, copycat versions have popped up in dissident contexts across the globe, controversy around its spurring of neighborhood gentrification is ongoing, and phase four is wrapping up soon. DS+R is now a household name and designing some of the most innovative (and, as proven, controversial), cultural projects around the globe, including The Shed and the Museum of Modern Art expansion, both in New York, and the London Center for Music.

Despite the high-profile architectural commissions, Diller maintains her artistic sensibilities, and independent projects are still a large part of the firm’s repertoire. This past summer, she produced The Mile-Long Opera along the aforementioned High Line, featuring a performance of 1,000 singers with music composed by David Lang. “I consider it at close to the Gesamtkunstwerk as I have ever come,” she rejoices. “It’s a consciousness that we have as crossover people—I wouldn’t say artists or architects specifically, but a consciousness that’s self-aware about space in the city and performance and the everyday and looking at it through a different lens and bringing all of that together to produce an experience.”

Its this kind of throw-away-the-rule-book mentality that Diller has tried to impart on the next generation of architects as well. As an educator since the 1980s, she has not seen the equal split of the sexes in architecture change much in recent years; however, outside of academia, women are often lost along the pipeline to the principal level. Beyond running a practice sensitive to architects starting and raising families, being conscious of equality of pay and opportunities, and giving importance to mental health, she “tries to set an example being passionate about the work at different scales and in different media,” she says, “being a risk-taker.”

Samantha McCloud
At its essence, EDI is less about sparking controversy and more about increasing business competence and opportunities, writes the GastingerWalker& director of community involvement, diversity & inclusion.

Despite significant improvements in recent years, my hometown of Kansas City, Mo., remains one of the most segregated cities in America. Accordingly, it may come as no surprise to hear I rarely encountered diversity, of any kind, during my childhood. Upon graduating from high school, I spent a year in the Philippines, where my mother is from, and developed a passion for building community and learning from others.

That passion led me down life-changing paths at Kansas State University, notably joining its NCAA Women’s rowing team and enrolling in its architecture program. In these two ventures, camaraderie is a lifeline. The challenges I faced and successes I had were often shared with others.

I pursue the same sense of allyship in my office and the opportunity to bring inclusion to the forefront in Kansas City, which I still call home. By initiating and destigmatizing conversations about inequity, I have seen—and helped spark—progress since graduating six years ago.

When I started at my current firm, managing partners equally comprised women and men. However, I was the only ethnic minority in the company. By speaking up and participating in recruitment efforts, I helped my company attract new talent and increase our team’s diversity. Today, 15 percent of our 45-plus Kansas City design staff identify as people of color, and our office is burgeoning with new business. Furthermore, the firm makes intentional efforts to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), not just in our marketing but also in practice, through mentorship, flexibility, transparency, biannual reviews, annual pay audits, two-way communication and engagement across all experience levels, equitable access to project opportunities, and creating my role as director of community involvement, diversity & inclusion.

As a visible thought leader on EDI, our firm has deepened its ability to connect with existing clients and has expanded its reach with new clients. By bringing diverse perspectives to the table, our design teams solve challenges with greater empathy, understanding, and innovation. When envisioning the experience of end users in their future spaces and the relationships our projects will have with their neighborhoods, the conversations are more intimate and human-centered.