Diversity by Design:
Equity in Architecture

AIA Seattle’s Diversity Roundtable’s Diversity by Design has exhibited the works of underrepresented architects since 2013.  From its early inception the exhibit has been a travelling display of local and Northwest Regional partners that featured individuals and businesses whose work in architecture reflects the inclusive spirit that has energized the Roundtable since its origins in 1986.  With the intention of encouraging current and future generations to explore and manifest the power of diversity in their design careers, the exhibit is still relevant today.  Despite people of color making up 45% of early career unlicensed designers, only 10% of licensed architects are people of color.

Additionally, people of color are only 12% of architects in leadership roles.  Diversity by Design offers an opportunity for these architects to showcase their work, specifically highlighting their community impact or experiences as architects of color in the design of the building. While the general intent of Diversity of Design is to offer space to these leaders to showcase their importance in Seattle’s built environment, it is also part of a broader sustained effort to shift mindsets of who an architect is and who can be an architect. By continuing to promote and share our impact and experiences as underrepresented designers, we hope to encourage not only youth but currently practicing professionals to see people who look like themselves in order to dismantle existing misconceptions about architecture.

Shifting the mindsets of those within and outside the community requires time, collaborative effort, and a platform. Although the last time this exhibit was showcased for one day, the feedback was both palpable and necessary. With the ability to showcase the exhibit for long term display, Diversity by Design and KSSA can engage with a larger inclusive and authentic audience than either could reach alone. The Diversity by Design exhibit at KSSA not only offers a longer-term space for display, but also helps us be able to engage with a larger audience than we have typically been able to reach. As Diversity Roundtable members often volunteer our time and limited resources through our firms, without compensation, KSSA’s unique compensation model ensures an authentic process that levels the playing field while alleviating the concern of money.

We invite you to participate in this exhibit but more importantly to continue to acknowledge and celebrate the works of BIPOC designers, designers of all genders, LGBTQI + designer, designers with disabilities, immigrant designers and more.  

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