Last week, I joined AIA Baltimore’s CivicLAB in their closing session. While the class of 2018 is comprised of both native Baltimoreans and newcomers, they all share a passion for engaging in our community and creating positive change. As Klaus Philipsen of ArchPlan Inc. and Laura Wheaton of the Neighborhood Design Center shared concrete examples of how the architectural community engages Baltimore neighborhoods, CivicLAB graduates were also clearly looking for meaningful ways to engage themselves.
In listening to this conversation, I remembered hearing that architects are the seventh most respected professionals according to The Harris Poll and to a Canadian poll.
Our professional role is hallmarked by:
- Our ability to bring an abstract idea to fruition.
- Resolving conflicts to achieve better solutions.
- Helping stakeholders identify their priorities in order to develop well-resolved design responses.
Just as we synthesize these skills in our daily practice for our clients, we have the opportunity to apply them to engaging the community. We should leverage these intrinsic capabilities and the respect for our profession to impact a broader spectrum.
With June bringing a new cohort of young architects to the profession, we all have the opportunity to utilize the energy that recent graduates bring to our profession and look for meaningful ways to help them impact local communities. That engagement provides us a chance to leverage the inherent respect we have as architects and to challenge ourselves in ways that complement our “day jobs.” We should make connections to people and places that enrich our sense of community and physically improve it. With the long days of summer here, let us all look for new ways to engage and build a better Baltimore.
Ann Powell, AIA LEED AP BD+C
Ayers Saint Gross