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Intersectionality / Intercultural Intelligence Workshop 2.0

  • AIA San Francisco 130 Sutter Street San Francisco, CA, 94104 United States (map)
Photo by Wanda Lau

Photo by Wanda Lau

Back by popular demand, we will reconvene our discussion on Intersectionality and Intercultural Intelligence as essential skills towards advancing equitable practice and more successful design outcomes in the built environment.

Stay tuned for full Workshop Agenda in the coming weeks. We will also bring out the Intersectionality Role Plays scenarios to hone our skills for greater understanding.

Intersectionality—a theory by renowned civil rights expert and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw that social categorizations such as race, class, and gender interconnect and create overlapping and interdependent systems of disadvantage—is a fundamental framework for rethinking and redesigning power structures after #MeToo.

Intercultural Intelligence -, or ICI, is a term that is used for the capability to function effectively in culturally diverse settings and consists of different dimensions (metacognitivecognitivemotivational and behavioral) which are correlated to effectiveness in global environment (cultural judgement and decision making, cultural adaptation and task performance in culturally diverse settings).[1]


This 1.5 hour session will be learning about the evolving mindset of intersectionality and intercultural intelligence in advancing equitable practice. We will explore the theory of intersectionality and understand its importance in disrupting bias and the erasure of complex identities - (ie., mixed race, transgender/gender queer, etc). We will also learn about the theory of intercultural intelligence, which creates a framework for developing understanding, empathy and importance of understanding the complexity of culture in a context beyond race/ethnicity. We will shape the session around relevant storytelling of intersectional identities and then have a workshop Role/Play to directly explore how intersectionality and intercultural intelligence can inform equity activism, encourage dialogue, and promote inclusivity.


We will be offering 1.5 CEU’s for this Session and Light Evening Refreshments

$15 for AIASF Members

$20 for General Registration

Panelists Bios

Helen Bronston, AIA

Associate and Architecture Discipline Lead at SmithGroup


Helen serves as Director of Architecture for the San Francisco office of SmithGroupJJR, where she is an associate.  Raised in Wisconsin, she holds a BA in Anthropology from Yale, and an MArch from Harvard, where she was awarded the AIA Adams Medal. Over her 26-year career she has worked exclusively for non-profit educational, healthcare, and governmental organizations, for that is where she has felt she can do the most good for the greatest number of people. She is currently serving on the board of directors for Joan’s House, a newly-forming shelter for transgender women who have been incarcerated. Her experience transitioning gender as an architect was profiled in the San Francisco Business Times on 12 June 2015. Unable to leave school behind, Helen is also very slowly writing a PhD dissertation in History of Architecture at UC Berkeley.

Mani A. Farhadi, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Senior Facilities Planner, Stanford University


A global thinker and creative thought leader, Mani Ardalan Farhadi brings three decades of experience in architectural planning. In her current role as Senior Facilities Planner at Stanford University, in the Office of Facilities Planning and Management (OFPM) within the School of Medicine, Mani is combining her passion for education, with her extensive planning skills. Her prior experience includes Taylor Design in San Francisco, Steinberg Hart in San Jose, and Sasaki Associates in Boston. Using analytical skills, she is integral to campus projects, collaborating on design and planning strategies with public and private educational clients throughout the US. Described as ‘the client in the room”, Mani’s keen ability to listen builds consensus within user group settings. Leveraging her expertise, Mani enjoys leading workshops, stakeholder presentations, and conferences nationwide (SCUP, AIA, EQXD, CCFC, CCLC, A4LE, SPUR).

Prescott Reavis, NOMA, LEEP AP, SEED

Founding Director of Anomili Design + Planning

Prescott Reavis is an Oakland based Spatial Activist, designer, planner and award-winning educator who has merged over 20 years of experiences in architecture, planning, and education to develop and construct inclusive communities internationally with a focus on equitable design and planning justice. Prescott leads, Anomili Design + Planning, providing community engagement, planning, design and youth design education for non-profits, small business, and community-based organizations, projects include Planning, Community Engagement and Design for The Oakland Black Cultural Zone, and Community Planning/education in collaboration with The Center for Cities + Schools at UC Berkeley, Y-PLAN program throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mr. Reavis previously served as the Director of Community Planning and Project Manager for national renowned Public Interest Design Organization AND Architecture + Community Planning, an Associate at Anshen + Allen Architects. Prescott is accredited in Sustainable Design, certified in Social Economic Environmental Design, he earned his Bachelor of Architecture with a minor in education from Howard University and is currently completing his Masters in Urban Planning from San Jose State University with a focus on integrating youth in the planning and design processes.

Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C

Principal, Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion SmithGroup / AIASF Immediate Past-President 2018


Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA is a Principal at SmithGroup and Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion. She is also AIASF President and Founding Chair of Equity by Design. As a licensed architect with 23 years of experience in architecture and design, Rosa has led a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple’s original high-profile retail stores, to the innovative and sustainable LEED NC Gold–certified Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Most notably Rosa has led a national movement for equitable practice in Architecture - catalyzed by ground-breaking research, engaging platforms and public speaking outreach nationally and abroad. National press coverage of Rosa’s work with Equity by Design include Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TEDxPhiladelphia and KQED/NPR.