AIA Seattle presents Diversity by Design in Olympia

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Showcasing the Power of Diversity in Design

The AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable presents an exhibit of design projects showcasing the power of diversity in design and expressing the engagement of those who have participated in the Diversity Roundtable over the course of its history, beginning in 1986.

The Diversity by Design exhibit will be in the Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia February 5-19, 2014 in conjunction with AIA/WA Capitol Connections on February 6. The exhibit highlights how the unique backgrounds of each architect informs their design and builds awareness of the contribution from underrepresented and marginalized minorities within the profession.

Diversity by Design

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Interview with Donald King, FAIA

AIA Washington Council interviewed Donald King, FAIA (President/CEO of Seattle-based DKA Architecture) regarding the upcoming exhibit at the State Capitol:

AIA/WACould you provide some background on the AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable and the Diversity by Design Exhibit?

Donald King, FAIAThe AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable (founded in 1986) has aspired to mount an exhibit of this type for years and in 2013, with the help of dedicated committee members and committed sponsors, has realized its implementation.

How are demographics (and representation) of minorities changing among architects? What strides are being made?

Even with the sincerest intent by the AIA National and local components, the increase in architects of color has been very slow and is currently less than 5% of the profession in the U.S. Women architects have had significant growth in numbers in the 21st century to about 20%, but remain challenged in expanding opportunities to be firm leaders and owners.

Does the exhibit deal with representation within the profession or extend into social/economic justice with clients (i.e. gentrification, prison architecture, etc.)?

A primary goal of the exhibit is to limit the focus of social justice from the discussion and highlight the work of diverse architects who have had marginal visibility. The exhibit’s intent is to elevate the discussion and present the power of diversity in design to demonstrate how the diverse backgrounds of these architects inform their design approach in extraordinary ways.

How does AIA plan to foster representation nationally/regionally?

AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable intends to expand the exhibit to be representative regionally and nationally, build a web site and video of the work with architect interviews. The exhibit has been on display at the University of Washington, Bellevue City Hall and the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference last October in Vancouver, BC. It will be on display at the 2014 AIA National Convention in Chicago in June.

Past Presentations

Following display at the University of Washington Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center June 14-28, 2013 as part of the Roundtable’s 16th annual Summer Solstice observance, the exhibit appeared at Bellevue City Hall August 28 – September 26 (reception Friday September 19, 5-6:30pm); and continued on the AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Conference October 23-26, 2013 at Vancouver, BC. Expanded by additional submittals, in 2014 the exhibit will travel to University of Oregon and other NW schools of architecture, possibly to AIA Portland Center for Architecture, to AIA San Francisco, and to AIA Convention 2014 in Chicago.

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