The American Institute for Architects (AIA) has come under fire the past week from architectural professionals and beyond regarding a statement the organization issued pledging it would support President-elect Donald Trump and his administration.
Published by AIA CEO Robert Ivy on Wednesday, November 9, the day after the election, the statement assumed a conciliatory tone toward the polarizing figure, angering members of the architectural community. “The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure," said the statement.
Critics of the address were particularly frustrated by the organization's assertion that it spoke for the entirety of its constituents in committing their support of the president-elect. The statement has catalyzed a widespread backlash against the AIA, from its national chapters, members and beyond, which has taken to social media with the hashtag #NotMyAIA.
As a double minority & former president of AIA Minnesota, *my* AIA is a place of informed dialogue and inclusion. Bob Ivy is #NotMyAIA— Renee Cheng (@RChengArch) November 14, 2016
The full statement reads:
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today issued the following statement on the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, as well as the incoming 115th Congress. Please attribute to AIA Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA.
“The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure. During the campaign, President-elect Trump called for committing at least $500 billion to infrastructure spending over five years. We stand ready to work with him and with the incoming 115th Congress to ensure that investments in schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure continue to be a major priority.”
“We also congratulate members of the new 115th Congress on their election. We urge both the incoming Trump Administration and the new Congress to work toward enhancing the design and construction sector’s role as a major catalyst for job creation throughout the American economy.”
“This has been a hard-fought, contentious election process. It is now time for all of us to work together to advance policies that help our country move forward.”
Critics are shocked by the statement’s assertion that the AIA and its constituents "stand ready to work with him and with the incoming 115th Congress," as much of the president-elect’s commitment to infrastructure spending is directed toward deportation methods — including the much-publicized border wall between the United States and Mexico — and the mass incarceration of illegal immigrants.
As the AIA has previously claimed its dedication to improving the opportunities and conditions for minorities working in the field, many of its members feel dramatically let down by its pledge to a president and administration that spews hateful, prejudiced rhetoric and white nationalist sentiments.
In response to the criticism, Robert Ivy along with AIA President Russell A. Davidson issued a statement yesterday via Vimeo, claiming the original statement to be a "mistake." Davidson asserts that the AIA remains "bi-partisan and committed to our values. We will continue to be at the table and be a voice for the profession, especially when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion." You can watch the full apology here:
Many remain unconvinced and unimpressed by the apology. You can find additional criticisms from the #NotMyAIA campaign below:
Shocked @AIANational would evoke Obama to excuse its thoughtless pandering to Trump. When will profession own up to its ethical obligations?— Michael Kimmelman (@kimmelman) November 13, 2016