From the neo-gothic skyscrapers of New York, via the of avenues of Paris, to the neon-lit metropolises of Asia,
Architecture marks out and represents the communities it embodies. At its best, it can play a pivotal role in franchising people in society. Our diverse societies benefit greatly from an urban landscape that engages them, communicates with them and understands them.
As architects, we design spaces – we don’t expect them to occur naturally – and fostering a culture of inclusion is no different.Stephen Drew, Head of
Buildings are the creations of people and if our
How do we currently measure up?
So where do the businesses – design practices, developers, investors – that build our cities currently stand on diversity within the profession?
Although there have been several very high profile BAME and LGBTQ architects who have risen to prominence over the past decade, representation remains low.
According to Macdonald & Company’s most recent global rewards and attitudes survey, 80% of those in
As the first black architect to be awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, David Adjaye’s recent comments on the topic has attracted plenty of attention:
“architecture is now realising its importance to the discipline and to the discourse.”
Steps we can take to promote diversity in
Much like good
As such, the RIBA Inclusion Charter is to be welcomed by asking
- Acknowledge the urgent need for inclusion in the
architectureprofession and wider construction industry
- Commit to setting inclusion targets and an EDI action plan for their practice
- Commit to developing their workplace culture, talent pipeline and ways of working to support inclusion
- Commit to publicly reporting on progress of their EDI plan – transparency and accountability are vital to drive cultural change
- Commit to embedding inclusive design in all projects, and contributing to the development of inclusive environments
The charter speaks to David Adjaye’s comment that the profession is entering the discourse in earnest but, as well as speaking about it, diversity must also be actively sought.
Measures like blind tenders and selection processes can be useful, but passive procedures alone are unlikely to be enough to bring about significant change.
For example, in one recent initiative in London, Southwark council failed to select a single firm led by a black architect amongst a panel of 110 firms despite the assessment process being blind and more than half of the evaluation panel being BAME.
This is, without a doubt, a stark indication of the problems faced by the profession, but we shouldn’t be too surprised. As architects, we design spaces – we don’t expect them to occur naturally – and fostering a culture of inclusion is no different.
Diversity can raise our profession’s standards
Architects are not alone in grappling with this topic and almost all parts of society have a way. It’s right that we should ask why it’s taken this long for a black architect to win RIBA’s top prize and it’s appropriate to shine a light on the lack of diversity in public tenders. However, it’s encouraging that the profession has recognised David Adjaye’s incredible talent and I can only hope it’s the start of much greater recognition for minorities in
The rewards of a more diverse