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The Role that Purpose Driven Firms play in the Industry, and your part in it!

Nowadays, more than ever, the role of Purpose Driven Architecture firms is crucial in understanding the State of Architecture Profession. At AIA ’18 NYC, Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), highlights the growth of new kinds of firms that are being created to focus on inclusion and collaboration. As humanity takes on new challenges and forms of interaction, so too should architecture firms.

In the presentation by Robert Ivy at AIA ’18, titled “The State of Architecture Profession” he starts off by talking about how workplace cultures must straddle between now and what will be next.

“Architecture is visceral, buildings in public spaces affect how people feel, and thus empathy and understanding the other is important.”

As the dark cloud of COVID-19 covers the entire globe, it is important to remember the role of empathy and understanding other’s perspectives in society. Social distancing creates a new way of interacting with others, and the highly infectious nature of the virus creates new barriers for collaboration and cultural exchange.

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Purpose driven firms put social values first instead of a relentless focus on cashflow, “their role is to do good for the people translating into doing well.”

Although this speech was written for a different time, the purpose driven firms he highlights have a key role to play during these changing times. While the impact of the virus on society and the economy is yet to be determined, our reality has changed, and so too must architecture firms. Robert Ivy mentions that, “Increasing social, political, and professional turmoil means new blueprints must take these concerns into account.” 

Architecture must represent the society we serve, Ivy views AIA and all architecture firms’ role as one that must shape the future, rather than be shaped by it. Citizens must be able to voice their opinions and concerns, and not be priced out by the highest bidder. Citizen architect is on the rise! As COVID-19 forces people to make tough decisions, all voices must be heard when trying to tackle this challenge head on.

The Architect Magazine asked architecture firms across the USA, how they are dealing with the impact of COVID-19. In this article, principals at a variety of firms talk about how they are overcoming barriers to collaboration to continue pushing forward. We have a lot to learn from these firms and how to promote collaboration and representation during these trying times.

Please reduce your time outside to combat this virus, and lower the probability of spread to others who are weaker and have compromised immune systems. We must fight this common enemy together by helping one another, and staying at home. Practice social distancing and wash your hands!


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