Stephen Voss

I should begin this apologia with an apology, for the silly headline. Referencing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy isn’t always a good idea, but it just seems fitting, somehow, at this surreal moment in history. And at least I’m not signing off with a pun.

Yes, signing off. June 1 is my last day with ARCHITECT.

The world has changed since I got the gig to create the brand back in 2006. Much of it for the better: Our country elected its first black president, marriage equality became the law of the land, and architects cracked the code for net-zero carbon and net-zero energy.

Of course, much changed for the worse: Income and wealth inequality grew, corruption and polarization deepened, the climate kept warming, and a pestilence landed on our shores. Suddenly, devastatingly, my grandparents’ stories about the Great Depression feel totally immediate.

Throughout it all, my colleagues and I endeavored to serve the profession. We determined from the outset to place commodity and firmness on equal footing with delight. We resisted (not always with success) the hollow charms of celebrity and consumer culture. We amplified (never enough) the voices of the brave, ethical, and underserved. We tried to help architects find success through the upheavals.

Mistakes were made: Not least, I should have clamored for climate action sooner and more fiercely, provided a steadier platform for equity, and spent less time gazing inward and more time learning from you.

A resounding thank you to everyone at AIA—the passionate leadership, staff, and members, past and present—for taking a chance on a fledgling publication, for suffering the impolitic opinions that occasionally found their way onto this page, and above all, for being such smart, committed partners. We work better together, and much remains to be done.

If you haven’t worked at Hanley Wood, feel free to skip this paragraph: A warm hug or a firm handshake—whichever feels right—to Braulio Agnese, Sal Alfano, Rizwan Ali, Aubrey Altmann, Lori Anderson, Frank Anton, Selin Ashaboglu, Ayda Ayoubi, Christie Bardo, Mike Bender, Mike Bendickson, Bob Benz, Gillian Berenson, Kriston Capps, Joe Carroll, Pat Carroll, Jen Castenson, Dave Colford, Dan Colunio, Claire Conroy, Caitlin Conville, Maggie Coulter, Madeleine D’Angelo, Clay DeKorne, Nickie Denick, Denise Dersin, Jean Dimeo, Elizabeth Donoff, Russ Ellis, Matt Flynn, Bridget Forbes, Mike Gilbert, Maggie Goldstone, Peter Goldstone, Dan Goodman, Tim Gregorski, Jeannette Haislip, Sheila Harris, Nick Hayman, Kim Heneghan, Curtis Hine, Alex Hoyt, Amanda Kolson Hurley, Sara Johnson, Katy Keane, Ron Kraft, Todd Latham, Wanda Lau, Jeff Lee, Kate Light, Deane Madsen, Olivia Martin, Hannah McCann, Rick McConnell, John McManus, Jeff Meyers, Greig O’Brien, Robb Ogle, Dana Pace, Bill Palmer, Jennifer Pearce, Andy Reid, Bill Richards, Bryan Rippeon, Tom Scala, Jim Schneider, Cliff Smith, Ron Spink, Glenn Stevens, Paul Tourbaf, Cathy Underwood, Joel Walters, Craig Webb, Katie Weeks, Andrew West, Eric Wills, Mike Wood Jr., and all who made me think and laugh.

To those who have written complaining that the type is too small, I say with great feeling and growing empathy: Get a better prescription.

It is time for fresh vision. I leave you in the supremely capable hands of a beloved friend and longtime partner in crime: Katie Gerfen. Fare thee well.