November 16, 2016 / Member News

Our Commitment to a Better Future for the Communities We Serve

Jump to statements from AIABaltimore leaders
Leave a comment about how you think AIABaltimore can respond to the 2016 election result
Following last week’s election results, AIA National released a statement indicating AIA’s readiness to work with the new administration on relevant issues. The statement drew strong criticism from AIA members nationally, inspiring dialogue about the values of the AIA and the role of architects as advocates in our profession, our communities and our nation.
The statement and resulting dialogue have raised many questions for architects and design professionals. Perhaps the most important is: How do we respond?
AIABaltimore will continue to shape a better future for our profession and the communities we serve. The work of our chapter embodies the shared values and principles of the profession, and the AIA Code of Ethics. Our chapter is committed to maintaining and advancing public health, safety and welfare through the built environment; creating sustainable, resilient and healthy communities; and fostering a more inclusive and equitable profession, and public realm. AIABaltimore is a member-led organization, and much of this work is done by our many committees: volunteer leaders who offer their time and expertise to leading these initiatives on behalf of AIABaltimore.
AIABaltimore will continue to advocate for a more equitable and inclusive profession. This work begins at the K-12 level with the Future Architect Resources (FAR) committee’s Adopt-A-School program, which pairs architecture firms with schools in Baltimore City. It continues at the university level with our partnership with the Morgan State University School of Architecture and Planning and the scholarships we offer to the next generation of leaders in the profession. The Equity and Emerging Professionals committees foster career growth through its annual mentorship program. The Equity committee’s annual roundtables provide a forum to discuss issues from unequal pay to fostering minority and women leadership.
How you can help:

  • Offer your firm to participate in Adopt-A-School
  • Participate in the FAR Committee and K-12 education and outreach programs
  • Host a Morgan State University student as part of Design Connects
  • Become a mentor through our Equity and Emerging Professionals Committees
  • Join the Equity Committee and support planning for the Women’s Leadership Summit in 2017

AIABaltimore will continue to support communities through design. AIABaltimore is currently a partner in a storefront improvement program along with Neighborhood Design Center, Civic Works, Living Classrooms Foundation and Baltimore Heritage, with funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to repair storefronts damaged in the April 2015 uprising in underserved communities in Baltimore City through pro-bono design services. There are 13 local firms participating in the effort and there are additional opportunities to join.
The Urban Design committee (UDC) advocates for Baltimore’s built environment on issues ranging from the protection of inclusive public space to the recent revision of the Baltimore City zoning code.
The Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) is working on recommendations to the Maryland State 21st Century Schools Commission about the design and construction of affordable and sustainable schools that foster positive learning outcomes.
The Health & Wellness Design Committee continues to elevate dialogue about design of spaces that promote healthy communities and wellness. Their design showcases bring together the design professions and academia as well as diverse disciplines.
Since 2012, AIABaltimore has run CivicLAB: series of participatory educational sessions that help mobilize AIA Emerging Professionals  interested in taking on or expanding advocacy and leadership roles in their communities, their professional lives, and in academia.
How you can help:

  • Offer design services to the storefront improvement initiative and offer your expertise through our committees.
  • Participate in CivicLAB or offer to lead a CivicLAB session.

AIABaltimore will continue to advocate for sustainable and resilient design. The Committee on the Environment and Resiliency (COTE | R) offers its expertise and education opportunities to architects, allied professionals, communities and elected officials through its programs. Most recently, the committee hosted a presentation by city officials on Baltimore’s new sustainability plan, giving a platform for community members and architects to provide feedback on the plan. The committee’s B|MORE Resilient Design Competition in partnership with Morgan State University provided innovative solutions for transforming vacant housing in Baltimore into sustainable communities.
How you can help:

  • Join the COTE | R committee and lend your voice to advocate for sustainable and resilient design.  

AIABaltimore will continue to do what we do best: Advocate for the profession and our communities; and we will continue to look to the future and serve our communities as design professionals. Now is the time for unity and action among AIABaltimore members to accomplish this.

Statements from AIABaltimore Leaders

Below you will find a collection of statements from chapter leaders, but we would also like to hear from you. Leave a comment on this form about how you think AIABaltimore can respond. We also encourage you to follow AIA Maryland’s work advocating for us at the state house.

14712750_1128851913873120_2391538574683619435_oMoving Forward

By Anthony Consoli, AIA – 2016 AIABaltimore President
Sadly for all of us, the most contentious and divisive national election in generations continues to hurt our nation and likely will for quitesome time. The deep wounds will not be easily or quickly healed. And now among the casualties—due to a poorly considered statement by AIA National—is our own beloved chapter.



By Scott Walters, AIA – Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) Co-Chair, AIABaltimore Board of Directors 

In searching for perspective of the events leading up to the presidential election and the outcome, I find myself longing for distance—distance, to step back and fully comprehend the physical and emotional investment of all sides in what has been an exceptionally contentious election.


martina headshotCommitment to Social Resiliency

By Martina Reilly, AIA – COTE | R Co-Chair, AIABaltimore Board of Directors

Our city changes every day. It has been rocked by major storms, suffered through infrastructure failures, and weathered the trials of social unrest. I volunteered with AIA to start an initiative centered on resilient design that looks beyond buildings to the people and communities who dwell within them.


jimmy supporting NDC#MyAIABaltimore

By Jimmy Leonard, Assoc. AIA – 2016 CivicLAB Alum, AIA CAE Advocacy Participant
I woke up last week and Baltimore was still the place I’ve come to know since moving from North Carolina a few years ago: a city comprised of a multitude of social, environmental and economic complexities and contradictions. While some things have changed these past weeks, I have not.


suzanne in the classroom

Supporting Minority Architects

By Suzanne Frasier, AIA – AIABaltimore Board of Directors
AIABaltimore is a proactive agent of positive change. Our architect and allied members can own their privilege and serve as allies to minority architects-in-training by supporting AIABaltimore’s close relationship with the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) at Morgan State University.


Rudy at NDCA Sustainable Environment for All

By Rudy Schaar, AIA – COTE | R Co-Chair

I joined the AIABaltimore Committee on the Environment and Resiliency because of a desire to contribute my knowledge of and belief in the benefits of a sustainable environment for all who live and work here.


Steam event with childrenEquity for the Next Generation

By Lori Lessem, AIA – Equity committee Co-Chair

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a STEAM event for young girls and it really struck me how exciting it was to be part of an event geared towards encouraging girls to challenge themselves and explore careers in the sciences.


Catonsville CO-OPCommunity Resiliency Education

By Carri Beer, AIA – COTE | R Co-Chair

It is my firm belief that our communities will survive any environmental disaster or social or political crisis through Community Resiliency.


women in architecture exhibitOpen Letter to Robert Ivy

By Alice Brooks, AIA – Equity committee Co-Chair

We pen our voices in unison with others who are beyond disappointed with the perceived collective support the AIA has announced this week for the President-Elect and the newly elected Congress.


Dustin at the Urban Farm RideThe Triple Bottom Line

By Dustin Watson, AIA – 2017 COTE | R Co-Chair

I have had the opportunity to work on projects of all scopes and scales across the country and around the world. I have seen how the built environment can have a distressing effect on both the environment and to society.


Melanie headshotBuilding an Inclusive Baltimore

By Melanie Ray, Assoc. AIA – 2017 AIABaltimore Board of Directors Candidate

The recent presidential election was an eye-opener for many people. Our nation has spoken, and while many seek to understand the political climate of the country, one must not forget the progress that we have made and still have yet to see.


CivicLAB receptionServing Through Design

By Laura Wheaton, AIA – 2017 AIABaltimore Board of Directors Candidate

Baltimore architects have recognized since Whitney M. Young’s call to action in 1968 that the design community has a responsibility to help build an equitable, sustainable, and, yes, more beautiful society through our development of the built environment.


klaus-headshotOpportunism and Principle. A Protest.

By Klaus, Philipsen, FAIA

CEO Robert Ivy running the business of the Institute had no business to comment on the presidential election hours after the polls closed. Not before it is clear in any way how the President Elect will shape his urban, environmental, housing or climate change policies, areas for which AIA had carefully developed goals and strategies over the past years in an attempt of re-calibrating an organization that many saw out of step with our times.