#NotMyAIA: Architects reject AIA statement pledging to ‘work with’ Trump

Posted On Tue, November 15, 2016 By

Posted On Tue, November 15, 2016 By In Architecture, Policy

Promises and reality: Trump’s failed attempts to build the world’s tallest buildings in NYC.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) issued a statement last Wednesday pledging that “The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with president-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure.” The statement issued by organization chief Robert Ivy assured that the country’s architects would help the incoming president and congress with construction industry-related matters: “During the campaign, president-elect Trump called for committing at least $500 billion to infrastructure spending over five years,” said Ivy–possibly providing an imperative for the message. But that does not appear to be reason enough for members, who say they do not necessarily “stand ready to work with him and with the incoming 115th Congress.” A swift and indignant backlash led to an apology by Ivy released early this week.

A number of the trade organization’s 89,000 members mentioned in the message are less than enthusiastic about being included. “This has been a hard-fought, contentious election process,” said Ivy, restating the obvious, and some members feel the statement does not represent their sentiments at all. Streetsblog reports that architects around the country are speaking out against the AIA with the hashtag #NotMyAIA representing how they feel about the pledge.

The editors of the Architect’s Newspaper also published a statement saying AIA’s official missive abandons some of the organization’s stated principles such as promoting diversity and environmental sustainability, alluding to the President-elect’s references to wall-building rather than investments in much-needed public infrastructure. “Furthermore, the memo’s imprecise language, uncritical stance, and congratulatory tone not only willfully misunderstand the stated policy objectives of the President-Elect, but in committing such a lapse in judgement, submit the 89,000-member profession to the willful service of the destructive goals stated above. All the while, it condones the violence and oppression due to be inflicted upon the communities singled out by Trump’s rhetoric—which will likely impact the AIA’s own membership as well…Simply put, Ivy’s memo does not speak for these professionals.” The AN statement also mentions that the AIA has long been struggling with issues of diversity and inclusion within its ranks.

Following the backlash to his initial statement, Ivy and AIA president Russell Davidson released a video (above) in which they offered an apology, admitting the statement was “tone-deaf” and “did not reflect our larger values.”

Earlier, Dezeen columnist Aaron Betsky warned in an opinion piece that the real estate mogul hadn’t explained how he intended to deliver on his promises and offered no plans outlining how how the aforementioned money for improvements would actually be spent.

[Via Streetsblog; via AR]

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