Everyone Is Included: Celebrating Diversity in Architecture

At the 2016 AIA National conference, a simple action was recommended for improving productivity and revenue as well as the strength of the profession as a whole: "Women thrive when men are engaged and see gender diversity as a win-win." Page agrees with that statement and is working to take diversity and inclusivity to the next level as seen in the gallery of images.

Page Principal and owner Wendy Dunnam Tita is chairing both AIA Austin's newest committee, Women in Architecture, as well as its inaugural three-week event Shape the Conversation intended to increase awareness of the breadth of women designers in the built environment and thus diversity and inclusion in the profession. While the focus is on women, Wendy has been adamant that inclusivity means everyone. 

The panel of female architects presenting at AIA National cited data from the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the AIA itself showing that while 45 percent of architecture graduates are women, and 53 percent are either Associate AIA or AIA members, only 17 percent of principals and partners in AIA firms are women. 

Overall, this data is promising in a historical context given that in the mid-1970s, women only made up one percent of all licensed architects. However, as a multidisciplinary firm Page is also interested in diversity among its engineers, commissioning specialists, planners and consultants. One of every 2.5 employees at Page is female, and a number of owners are women. 

Additionally, Page tracks ethnic diversity among its employees and one of every four employees self-identifies as non-white. Page believes that diversity in cultures and backgrounds results in unique experiences and perspectives applied to client projects for the benefit of all. In fact, architect Devanne Pena has been featured on NPR, NCARB and most recently Austin Woman Magazine for her efforts to raise awareness of diversity in the profession. 

As one of three licensed African-American women in Austin, one of the top 35 largest  cities in the U.S., Devanne notes that gender equity and diversity are two different things. She encourages the architecture community to work toward increased diversity through strategic and deliberate acts of partnership, promotion and platform. Devanne also credits Page with supporting her involvement with NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects). 

Shape the Conversation is a fund raiser for an AIA Austin Leadership Series that will be open to both male and female applicants starting in 2018.

To read more about the 2016 AIA National presentation on gender diversity, click here

To learn more about the AIA Austin "Women in Architecture" exhibit, click here.