AIA Seattle Diversity History

AIA Seattle Diversity History:  Making a Place at the Table
empowering people of diverse backgrounds in the architecture profession since 1986
at left: November 2018 Lowell's gathering of originators Johnpaul & Marga w/ veterans Alex, Donald, & Jim & current leaders Margaret, Meredith, & Susan
Beginning in 1986, a group comprising David Fukui AIA, Johnpaul Jones FAIA, Tom Kubota AIA, Marga Rose Hancock Hon. AIA, and Mel Streeter AIA began meeting informally, usually over breakfast at Lowell's in the Market at a round table on the 3rd floor, to ponder the reasons for the under-representation of women and minorities in architecture. By 1990, the group formalized as the AIA Seattle Minority Membership Committee, and grew to include Steve Arai AIA, Nancy Callery AIA, Keli Hagen Parrett Assoc AIA, Henry Hardnett FAIADenice Johnson Hunt AIA, Donald King FAIA, Rena Klein FAIA, Teresa Rodriguez AIA, Sharon E. Sutton FAIA, and Jim Suehiro FAIA – among others.
The group, known as the Diversity Roundable, organizes programs of activism, education, and outreach around a commitment to bring diversity into the architecture profession, in a uniquely inclusive manner that continues to draw together and empower women, ethnic/racial minorities, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and others of unique background.  In 1997, the Roundtable began observing the Summer Solstice/JuneTeenth with a celebration of diversity and to raise funds to support scholarships for diverse students at the University of Washington Department of Architecture, supporting many over the years.
Pictured above: 2011 Solstice reunion at the Lowell's roundtable:  Mario, David, Marga, Johnpaul, Donald
At left:  Roundtable founder Mel Streeter (1931-2006)

In 1992, the national AIA established the AIA President's Task Force on Equal Rights and Proactive Action (later known as the Diversity Task Force), with members from across the country including Marga Rose Hancock.

The efforts of Roundtable members have made a sustained contribution in these areas:
* to AIA Seattle leadership, with several Roundtable alumni/ae among AIA Seattle Presidents: Cynthia Richardson AIA 1994-95 (Anacortes City Councilmember 2001-13), Denice Johnson Hunt AIA 1995-96 (pictured here, the first African-American woman elected to serve as President of an AIA component), Jim Suehiro FAIA 1998-99, Steve Arai AIA 2001-02, Rena Klein FAIA 2002-03, Randy Everett AIA 2005-06, Rico Quirindongo AIA 2013-14, and numerous Board members;

* to scholarship and other support for students at the University of Washington College of Built Environments.  Through funds raised at the annual Solstice event, the Roundtable has supported more than 30 UW BE students through the Marga Rose Hancock Diversity Scholarship, the Denice Hunt Internship/Endowed Fund, the Sharon Egretta Sutton Endowed Architecture Fellowship, and the Mitsu & William O. Fukui Memorial Endowed Diversity Scholarship -- all endowed by the Roundtable and Roundtable participants.  Rico Quirindongo AIA (pictured here), the first recipient (1994-95) of Roundtable support for his UW studies, joined the Roundtable and later won election to serve as AIA Seattle President 2013-14;

* to bringing youth from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds into the profession through K-12 activism.  One example of K-12 outreach:  in 1997, Roundtable participants in a program facilitated by "Honorary Mayor Pro Tem" Sharon Sutton FAIA engaged K-12 youth from schools throughout Seattle in a program to develop "Messages from Young Leaders to a New Mayor," culminating in a Town Meeting and a set of recommendations presented to Paul Schell Hon. AIA at the outset of his term as Mayor of Seattle and documented in a 95-page publication (cover at left).  More recently, Roundtable participants have worked with students via the ACE Mentor program;

* and to AIA Seattle programming through the Summer Solstice/Juneteenth, an annual program since 1998 celebrating diversity in design and raising funds for Roundtable initiatives including scholarships supporting UW architecture students.

Diverse Achievements/Thought Leaders:  The AIA honored Sharon E. Sutton FAIA (pictured here) with the Whitney Young Award in 2011, acknowledging her efforts to increase minority participation in the design professions and her advocacy on behalf of environmental and social justice.  Roundtable participant Dr. Victoria Kaplan authored Structural Inequality: Black Architects in the United States (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).  In 2010, President Obama appointed Karen Braitmayer FAIA to the US Access Board, and AIA Seattle recognized Henry Hardnett FAIA with its Community Service Award.  In 2011, AIA Diversity and Inclusion commissioned the development and publication of AIA Diversity History, by Marga Rose Hancock Hon. AIA.  Also in 2011, the University of Oregon honored Johnpaul Jones FAIA -- previously recognized by the 2006 AIA Seattle Medal -- as the Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Visiting Professor in Architectural Design; and President Obama presented Johnpaul with the 2013 National Humanities Medal.

AIA Diversity: The Roundtable also has an ongoing influence in the AIA national Diversity agenda – including hosting the AIA national Diversity Conference, "Beyond the Rainbow / Changing Views," in Seattle August 1997 (as noted in AIA national Diversity History).  Several Roundtable activists have had roles with AIA national Diversity programs, originating with Marga Rose Hancock 1987-93 on the AIA Diversity Task Force and more recently M. Mario Campos FAIA and Clarence Kwan AIA.   In 2010, Roundtable Chair Guido C. Seoanes-Perla Assoc. AIA prepared the application, with the support of NOMA NW President Leon Holloway, which resulted in AIA's honoring the AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable among four recipients of Diversity Recognition.

Summer Solstice Tradition:  The Roundtable's annual Summer Solstice/Juneteenth celebration has welcomed numerous distinguished contributors to diversity, beginning in 1998.  Guest speakers have included several AIA national Presidents, and also such dignitaries as scholar Dr. Kathryn Anthony, author of Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession [U. of Illinois Press, 2001] in 2002.  Solstice service projects have applied design services to sites including Marra Farm in Seattle's South Park neighborhood (2005).  See links/attachments below referencing previous Solstice celebrations.

Roundtable Chairs have included Keli Hagen Parrett Assoc. AIA, Steve Arai AIA, Rena Klein FAIA, Jim Suehiro FAIA who went on to serve on the AIA national Board of Directors beginning in 2006, Alex Rolluda AIA, M. Mario Campos FAIA, Clarence Kwan AIA, Yong Sun Lee AIA, Guido Seoanes-Perla Assoc AIA, Matt Aalfs AIA, Jen Lien AIA, Ka-Chung Kwok AIA, Doug Jennings AIA, Rachael Kitagawa and Titus Uomoto, Lauren Hirt 2014-15, and M. Mario Campos FAIAMeredith Everist 2015-16, & Susan Frieson & Margaret Knight 2016-18, and Marijana Cvenček & Margaret Knight 2018-19 (pardon any errors or omissions). 

2018 Diversity Statistics:  The Directory of African American Architects currently lists the number in Washington State at 24, 7 of them women.

Previous Solstice observances:
*Summer Solstice 2016 / 30th anniversary
*Summer Solstice 2015
*Summer Solstice 2014
*Summer Solstice 2013
*Summer Solstice 2012
*Summer Solstice 2011
At left: Mario, David, Marga, Johnpaul, Donald at the Lowell's roundtable, 2011
Below:  Rachael Kitagawa, Lauren Hirt, Donald King, Mario Campos, Raul Hirsh at the roundtable March 2014

Marga Rose Hancock,
May 17, 2013, 11:40 AM