Nathaniel Hudson, AIA, is a native Nevadan whose career spans teaching, art, and architecture. He currently works to provide dignified affordable housing in Reno and hopes to take advantage of the unique landscape of northern Nevada to develop region-specific architecture. Hudson is also expanding the architect’s role in local government and state legislative agendas while leading emerging professionals in fundraising efforts for ArchiPAC and advocating for the National Design Services Act.
Architects bring unique values and skills to society, so I don’t view advocacy as something purely political. I’ve worked to address issues relevant to architects, designers, and artists at various levels of government, but also within my communities directly.
One of the beauties of living in a smaller U.S. city is that people remember you; a handshake really does mean something. Those of us that are passionate about something are afforded many opportunities. As a member of AIA Northern Nevada, I helped to establish their first Advocacy Committee, and our first big task is working in Reno to establish an architectural review committee within the local city government. It will be a legitimate governmental body that impacts the architectural possibilities in this community. I’ve also assisted the cities of Reno and Sparks with rezoning and master plan development, and I believe it’s a substantial honor to have architects participating in that work.
At the state level, AIA Nevada is adamant about using opportunities to meet with legislators on Capitol Hill about our issues. We have a good track record of success when it comes to introducing white papers and bills to our representatives, some of whom have sponsored legislation we recommended. That’s a powerful thing, and I get a lot of charge from seeing a manifestation or result of those acts.
On the national scale, I recognize and deeply value the mission of ArchiPAC. The PAC is a very important component to our overall legislative capacity as an organization. You can have a bunch of legislative items—and governmental advocacy committees can set priorities and targets—but if you don’t have a PAC, you can’t really get into the conversation. I intend to spread this message to future AIA leaders, who can build on our momentum and continue breaking ground in architectural advocacy.
You can’t be a passive advocate, and I believe that contributing to the community that my family calls home is my guiding principle. If I’m not an active member in society and in life, then I don’t feel as though I’m doing what I need to be. —As told to Kathleen M. O’Donnell