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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

#EQxDV | Voices, Values, Vision

AIASF Equity by Design proudly announces theme for Symposium "V" November 3, 2018  

 photo courtesy of Wanda Lau

photo courtesy of Wanda Lau

EQxDV marks the fifth anniversary of Equity by Design. We have made incredible strides towards equitable practice with three groundbreaking surveys that have launched a national movement in architecture and allied professions. In light of deep challenges and uncertainty within the profession, our communities, and the world, we remain steadfast and committed to our collective progress towards equity. Equity is the work of minimizing barriers to maximize our potential for success. We are focused on studying the root causes of a broken professional culture, creating just access for all, and giving everyone a fair chance to thrive. Working in collaboration with partners at all levels of practice, we will champion the difficult conversations and important work that still needs to be undertaken to further advancements in equitable practice and design impact.

Voices

To attract and retain the most diverse talent we must hear from those in practice and beyond. We need to listen to their challenges, concerns, and aspirations. With over 13,000 responses, the 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey is the largest and most comprehensive dataset of career perceptions and experiences in the industry. This unprecedented collection of professional voices is the testimony that allows us to build a deeper understanding of where we are and of the critical work needed to move forward. This year we commit to leveraging our platform to amplify all voices and create a safe space for everyone, regardless of position or identity, to speak up and be heard.

Values

Within a broad diversity of identities and experiences, we come together to find the common ground in our core values. This year we will explore how they guide us in choosing our collaborators, shaping our work culture, and cultivating our design leadership to make the most lasting impact within our communities. We will explore how we can “walk the talk” and communicate our worth as engaged citizens and as architects and leaders. Lastly, we uphold the values of equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect as an integrated approach in our design work that deeply resonates for individuals, practices, clients, and our communities.  

Vision

We continue to expand our focus and explore the future of a better world. As we begin to see equitable practice in action in practices of all sizes, we can build on that reality, exploring new types of services, new relationships, new symbiotic models for work culture and life. This year we will also look beyond our workplaces and envision how equity in practice can inform our design work, aiding us in creating equitable outcomes, inclusive experiences, and dignified spaces.

Now is Our Time to Lead.

We have come so far in our journey, yet we must go farther; our work is far from done. Working towards a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive profession is a marathon, not a sprint. Each of us has an integral role to play: sharing our stories, advocating for our values, and paving a new path forward to shape the future of architecture. Together we are stronger.

Will you join us?

Join these amazing Equity by Design 2018 Sponsors!

INSPIRE% [09]: Kerry Drake on Taking the Leap

Kerry Drake, our INSPIRE% interviewee spoke with Mia Scharphie of Build Yourself, and a content partner and collaborator of Equity by Design.

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Kerry Drake is an Architect at Payette in Boston. A few years ago, Kerry set some big bold goals for herself—and shares the results here, showing that love for adventure and traditional career growth are not mutually exclusive.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?  

I am an architect, lab planner, artist, and traveler.  Currently I practice at Payette, planning research labs for higher education clients.  

 

2. Why did you choose to study Architecture?

It started with a passion for art and illustration.  I earned a BFA at a theory-driven contemporary art program.  What I discovered is that the art world is in a constant state of self-evaluation and search for purpose.  I was drawn to architecture because it has a real-world purpose; at the end of the day your creation shelters people.  Furthermore, a good project is socially transformative and environmentally sound, which are core values for me.

 

3. What inspires you on a daily basis?

I love to explore, create, and pursue a multi-faceted life.  Beyond architecture, I have visited 20 countries, speak fairly decent Spanish, occasionally run half-marathons, and take on various fine art and graphic design projects.  I seek inspiration in all of these pursuits.

 

 Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

We talked about it for some time, concerned about the career and life logistics (breaking the lease, taking a leave of absence from employment, potential health issues and other physical dangers, etc.).  However we realized this was a rare opportunity to do something big and bold.
— Kerry Drake

4. What are 3 of your most influential projects and Why?

During my career I have had the opportunity to work on a wide spectrum of education facilities, from simple rural schools in Central America, to state-of-the-art research facilities in Europe and the US.  One of my early projects was a special education high school in California; a mini-campus within the setting of a traditional high school. Students could take classes at either campus per their needs and abilities.  More recently I have worked on a ground-up research university in Moscow, designing labs for cutting-edge research in optics, materials, computing, and bio sciences.

In the fall of 2016, my partner and I were offered the opportunity to serve as fellows with Engineers without Borders in rural Guatemala.  We talked about it for some time, concerned about the career and life logistics (breaking the lease, taking a leave of absence from employment, potential health issues and other physical dangers, etc.).  However we realized this was a rare opportunity to do something big and bold.

So we took the leap and broke our lease, put everything in storage, and spent six months in the highlands of Guatemala.  I managed the construction of a high school, the first public high school in their town. My partner was working on hydroelectric dam renovation nearby, so we lived together in a small house, and we really got to know a lot of the local workers there.  Work was conducted in completely Spanish, so the Spanish I had studied in school came in handy (f a little rusty). It is truly a humbling experience when people would approach you in tears because they were so happy that you are there building a school for them.

 Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

 

5. What is the greatest challenge/difficulty that you have had to overcome in your professional career?

Everyone has fears related to their careers: concerns about making mistakes, worrying about finding the right path, sacrificing personal health or family time, trying to balance work and life, and so on. About two years ago, as part of the Build Yourself Workshop, I identified a list of 16 goals and dreams that I would like to achieve if I wasn’t afraid.  The list included career goal and personal goals, and while important to me, I didn’t specifically keep track of them.

I returned to this list after returning from Guatemala, and to my surprise, I had accomplished four of the goals (negotiating salary, working for an NGO, making use of Spanish, and purchasing a house)!  The single action of volunteering in Guatemala allowed me to accomplish multiple life goals.

6. What do you believe has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date? Why?  

The Guatemala experience is the culmination of many paths in my life.  Learning the architectural trade, studying Spanish, traveling to many countries, and following my desire to be part of socially transformative projects.

 

7. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 24 year-old self?

Don’t wait for someone to hand you an opportunity.  Go out there and get it. As I mentioned earlier, last year I attended the Build Yourself workshop.  There we discussed the “Tiara Syndrome” where people, particularly women, tend to wait for rewards or recognition to be bestowed upon them, rather than taking the initiative to go and get what they want.

As my career has grown over the years, I have tended to wait for promotions and raises, rather than ask for them.  I am sure many women can identify. When I finally made an attempt at increasing salary, it was not successful. This is the kind of confidence setback that made the Guatemala decision more concerning; would volunteering put my career on hold, or worse would it put it a step backward?  But I found the opposite to be true. In Guatemala, I took on a great deal of responsibility, and this gave a new sense of confidence. When I came back, I saw myself in a new way, and my coworkers did too. That new sense of potential, combined with getting my license, helped me successfully negotiate for salary when I asked again.

It can seem paradoxical that growing in your career might mean taking six months ‘off’ in another part of the world, but going out there and getting it doesn’t just mean going from step to step in a linear way, it means doing it in the ways that are right for you.

 

8. What is the best advice that you ever received and how does that apply today?

In a figure drawing class many years ago, we practiced speed drawing at a variety of intervals, from 30 seconds to 15 minutes or more.  Sometimes students would get hesitate on how to begin when the figure poses changed. The instructor simply said, “Trust Yourself,” meaning don’t get hung up worrying or overthinking, just dive right in and go.  If you make a mistake or don’t like the results, toss it aside and keep moving forward. This is akin to the fear exercise I mentioned before. If you let fear or doubt take over, you will never move forward.

 

9. How do you see Architecture changing in the next 10-20 years? What would your role be in the future?

The world is increasingly complex and diverse; we as architects must continue to broaden our umbrella of skills in order to stay current and competitive.  Specialty groups that focus on research, sustainability, fabrication, and data are growing within firms. As a planner, I see the trends in big data and visualization particularly relevant.  I am excited to pursue projects that expand my knowledge and leadership in this area, collaborating with and learning from others in the office and in the field.

 

10. We have heard that while the general public respects Architects, they have little knowledge about what we do. Do you have any thoughts about how we can bridge the gap?

While in Guatemala, I met an American engineer who was building a pedestrian bridge.  When he discovered that I was an architect working on an EWB project, he seemed a bit puzzled, then said, “Well maybe you can help us take a look at the aesthetics of the bridge.”  I smiled and told him about the work I was doing on the school in town, which included buying materials, designing details, coordinating workers, meeting with town officials, and painting lots of window trim.  Not to mention in Spanish. He was delighted to learn how many skills architects can offer.

Yes, architecture is about design and aesthetics.  But is also connects to many other fields and draws from many other skills.   Architecture crosses many boundaries, and we should not be afraid to make this known.

 

Read more about the Details for Kerry Drake's experiences building in Guatemala in the Payette Blog.

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In March 2018, Mia Scharpie will be running a free online session on how ask for what you want at work, and negotiate with more confidence. Find out more and RSVP here for the free session.

 

 

 

#EQIASurvey2018 - Share your Voices, Values, and Vision.

READY, SET, SURVEY!

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February 12 marks the start of the third national Equity in Architecture Survey. We are very excited to launch and ask for your patience as our distribution partners prepare the invitation letters with personalized links for participants.

 

You may receive similar email invitations from one or more of our distribution partners to take the survey based on your professional memberships, firm participation, or alumni affiliations. If you choose to participate, we ask that you only do so once. Thank you for your understanding about the potential for multiple notifications as we seek to reach the broadest group while maintaining the survey’s statistical validity.

The survey will remain open for five-weeks starting February 12th and ending March 16th. On average, the online survey should take 20-25 minutes to complete. Please be assured that all responses will be kept confidential.  The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) will serve as our research partner for the project and preserve data integrity. The survey findings will be first revealed at Equity by Design’s fifth Symposium on November 3, 2018 in San Francisco.

Don'ts

  • Please do not forward or share your link to the survey with others.
  • Please do not share the link to the survey on social media.

Do's 

  • Please support "take the survey" Reminders on social media by shares, likes, retweets, etc.
  • Please talk about the survey with your colleagues and co-workers.
  • Sign up to be a FIRM Survey Distribution Partner
  • Sign up to be an AIA Component Distribution Partner

 

 

Join Us to Make History...

Equity in Architecture Survey 2018

February 12  -  March 16, 2018

To commemorate our five year anniversary since the founding of Equity by Design, we will conduct our third national survey in hopes of reaching 10,000+ respondents. Building upon lessons learned in 2014 and 2016, the survey will raise the goal to reach respondents from architectural graduates and professionals across the nation. The survey is being designed by the Equity by Design/ACSA Research Team in collaboration with a national group of volunteers in the industry to develop survey goals. We will be capturing career experiences of architectural school graduates from accredited programs (regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, license status or practice status.)

 Career Dynamics and Pinch Points

Career Dynamics and Pinch Points

Your participation will help generate the most comprehensive national dataset detailing current positions and career experiences of architecture school graduates. This research will examine the differential experiences of professionals based on gender, as well as race and ethnicity, and will shed light on equitable practices that foster sustainable, meaningful and satisfying careers in architecture for all practitioners. More information on the current survey is attached. For previous survey findings and analysis, including a narrated Video of the 2016 Key Findings, please visit www.eqxdesign.com

On average, the survey should take 20-25 minutes to complete. ACSA is serving again as the research partner for the project, completing survey analysis from April to August in 2018. The survey findings will be first revealed at Equity by Design's fifth Symposium on November 3, 2018, in San Francisco. 

INSPIRE% [08]: Elizabeth Shreeve - Let the Design Emerge

INSPIRE% [08}: Elizabeth Shreeve spoke with Mia Scharphie of Build Yourself, and a content partner and collaborator of Equity by Design.

Elizabeth Shreeve, design principal at the SWA Group is a woman with many creative interests. Her passion in both arts and science led her to study architecture, and today she’s a design principal, a published children’s book author inspired by her observations as a parent.

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Like I learned in design, you need to give yourself a chance and let the design emerge from the sort of messy, creative process of trying things, brainstorming, failing, reaching dead ends, and then getting a better idea.
— Elizabeth Shreeve

1. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?  

I am an urban planner and designer, and a leader in SWA Group’s San Francisco and Sausalito studios. I focus on urban infill and revitalization, campus planning, public outreach and communications, and have a special interest in health.

2. Why did you choose to study Landscape Architecture? 

My interest in natural systems led me to major in geology in college, where I soaked up art history and studio art classes as well. The two came together in landscape architecture.

3. What Inspires you on a daily basis? 

Outdoor places, from my overgrown hillside garden to the wide open San Francisco Bay. And my wonderful colleagues at SWA, a bunch of wonderful design nerds.

4. What are 3 of your most influential projects and Why? 

Guthrie Green, an urban park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, transformed a brownfield truck yard into a widely popular gathering place for outdoor concerts, fountains, art, farmers markets and food trucks. A geo-thermal exchange system under the park supplies heating and cooling for the adjacent nonprofit arts organizations.

UC Davis West Village is the first zero net energy planned community in the United States. In the implementation planning phase, the public-private partnership team of developer and University realized that we could go beyond sustainable design to achieve net zero. That was an exciting moment.

Currently I’m leading SWA’s work on the San Francisco State University campus plan update. Time will tell how influential the project is, but I’m also super excited by what I’m doing right now. SF State is a wonderfully diverse community and the campus landscape of historic valleys and forested slopes is challenging and intriguing for our design group.

5. What is the greatest challenge/difficulty that you have had to overcome in your professional career?

When younger, I was afraid to make mistakes. This led me to fall back on what was comfortable and came easily, rather than taking risks.

6. What do you believe has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date? Why?  

With the help of my wonderful husband, I managed to function as a principal at SWA while raising three amazing sons. And somewhere in there I got hooked on writing stories for children, some of which have made their way into publication. Check it out: www.elizabethshreeve.com.

While it may seem like my role as a principal, and my work as an author are entirely separate, the creative process is the same whether you're coming up with a design or you're conjuring up a story. Like I learned in design, you need to give yourself a chance and let the design emerge from the sort of messy, creative process of trying things, brainstorming, failing, reaching dead ends, and then getting a better idea.

Then at a certain point the project gets taken over by others. With an architectural design, it gets taken over by people who have stronger technical skills than I do and they turn it into something more specific and more precise, with tools like 3d modelling, and they make it even better. The same thing happens with a story. You develop it and then the publisher takes it and gets an illustrator on board and all of a sudden the illustrator is bringing ideas to the table that you wouldn't have thought of. That's why a publisher keeps you apart from an illustrator in children’s books. They want the artist to bring their own magic to the process.

 

7. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 24 year-old self?

I think as you master a craft, you can go one of two ways. You can go in the direction of becoming more regimented, or you can go in the direction of allowing yourself more freedom. I think that creative writing gave me the permission to loosen up a little bit and have more confidence and mastery.

The other thing that writing taught me is you really need to work from your heart. You need to work on things that you care about. In the beginning of my career I felt so grateful to have a job, and later, while raising three sons, I found a niche that was useful to my company and focused on accomplishing whatever needed to be done. As the kids got more independent I could get more creative and expand my range.

So my advice is to be brave! Grab the marker and draw! Listen to the quiet, intuitive voice inside, trust your ideas, and let the creative process unfold.

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8. What is the best advice that you ever received and how does that apply today?

Stand up straight. Even if you are tired or clueless or confused. Let your body convince your mind to pay attention.

 

9. How do you see Architecture changing in the next 10-20 years? What would your role be in the future? 

Building architecture may become more prototyped; for example, look at trends in small, fantastic modular homes. Landscape will always be organic, though. As a planner I will be looking for ways to keep people connected to nature and place. Technology-free zoning?

 

10. We have heard that while the general public respects Architects, they have little knowledge about what we do. Do you have any thoughts about how we can bridge the gap?

Maybe a children’s book series? Hmmm…


On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, Mia Scharphie will be running a free online session on how to set Ambitious & Creative Goals, and will be giving a preview of her course, Double Vision, which features Elizabeth Shreeve as a guest speaker. Find out more and RSVP here for the free session.

 

Help design the 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey!

Equity by Design is gearing up for our 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey, and we want your input! This project builds on previous survey research conducted in 2014, and 2016, and promises to set the stage for progress towards equity within the profession in the coming years.

There are a number of ways to get involved:

  1. Members of the Survey Design Committee will become subject matter experts on one or more research topics, and will be the most intimately involved in the survey design process. This group will work closely with the EQxD Research Chair, and the rest of the core committee to review Equity by Design’s research work to date, as well as outside research, to identify research questions within specified topic areas.  Each member of this group will be asked to focus on one-two topics, and will advise the rest of the team on the most pertinent research in those areas. This commitment will last from October-December of 2017, with the possibility of joining the Research Committee for 2018  in January.
  2. Focus Group Participants will participate in one-hour long feedback sessions on one or more research topics of their choosing (see list of topics in the form below). Focus Group participants will be asked to offer their input on research topics and questions developed by the Survey Design Committee. Participants are welcome to participate in as many or as few of these calls as they wish. Calls will be held weekly from October to December of 2017.
  3. The Survey Outreach team will help the core team organize outreach to potential survey distribution partners, including professional organizations, schools of architecture, and firms to encourage these entities to participate in the survey by sharing it with their mailing lists. This group may also assist with promotional efforts including press releases and blog articles. This commitment will last from November of 2017 through February of 2018.
  4. Beta Survey Takers will take the survey approximately a week before it is formally launched, and will then take a follow-up survey indicating questions that were confusing, glitches, etc. As we would like a small, but representative group of Beta Survey Takers from all areas of the profession, not all volunteers will necessarily be asked to pilot the survey. This commitment will last 1-2 hours in late January or early February of 2018.

In addition to these opportunities for participating in EQxD’s research project, there are a number of other ways to get involved. Please feel free to use the form below to let us know if you’d like to be contacted for other volunteer opportunities (symposium planning, communications, monthly meeting organization, etc) as they arise.

We hope that you’ll join us in planning for the next phase of the Equity in Architecture Research Project! Please use the form below to tell us how you’d like to participate.

Name *
Name
How would you like to volunteer? *
How familiar are you with equity research, and the Equity in Architecture research project? check all that apply:
Which of the following research topics interest you the most (select up to 3)?