J Carrier

The inspiring women-led initiatives featured in these pages this month certainly fulfill Louise Blanchard Bethune’s words: “The future of woman in the architectural profession is what she herself sees fit to make it.”

Whether it’s innovative design, promoting inclusion, civic engagement, or countless other priorities, women are making an impact and leading on all fronts in the architectural profession.

Sustainability is no exception. As AIA steps up its efforts to deploy climate solutions, we’re building on a solid foundation of knowledge and action; and women have shown leadership every step of the way.

Susan Maxman, FAIA, wasn’t just AIA’s first female president. She was also one of the first to pioneer green design and to champion sustainability as an AIA priority. AIA’s conference during her tenure in 1993, titled “Architecture at a Crossroads,” drew green architects from across the globe to discuss sustainability. It’s remembered as the first green convention, and the momentum she spurred three decades ago still energizes our climate efforts today.

Last year’s conference represents another sustainability crossroads, and, once again, a woman provided pivotal leadership. By spearheading a landmark climate resolution, Betsy del Monte, FAIA, initiated AIA’s next era of climate action.

With our membership’s overwhelming vote in favor of climate leadership, we’re poised to elevate our sustainability and resilience efforts to new levels and make a meaningful impact.

Leading the way are members like 2019 Committee on the Environment (COTE) chair Marsha Maytum, FAIA, whose firm, Leddy Maytum Stacy, is one of only three to have ever received eight AIA COTE Top Ten awards. Other COTE leaders like Angela Brooks, FAIA, whose advocacy encourages peers to participate in AIA’s 2030 Commitment, and Julie Hiromoto, AIA, who launched CASE (Center for Architecture Science and Ecology) are also leading by example.

Kate Simonen, AIA’s seminal research on embodied carbon, highlighting a more holistic approach to the built environment, launched the Carbon Leadership Forum. Also contributing vital sustainability research in their firms are Allison Anderson, FAIA, Andrea Love, AIA, and Billie Faircloth, AIA, whose innovative investigations are providing solutions and tools for progress.

There are many more women who are sharing their talents to turn AIA’s sustainability goals into reality. I hope this shortlist of examples inspires us and, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, recognizes the role of women in shaping architecture’s future.