As designers of projects that benefit the public good, engaging our community stakeholders is crucial to ensure that we not only design to meet user needs, but more importantly, we strive to create the capacity in communities themselves to thrive. During this roundtable discussion, three architects at different stages in their careers and working in different sectors—community/civic projects, affordable housing, and healthcare—will share stories and lessons learned, overlaps between our practices, and how empowering clients through a community engagement process helps support the health and well-being of our neighborhoods.
Janet Tam, FAIA, is a founding partner of Noll & Tam Architects in Berkeley, CA. Janet’s work focuses on the design of projects in the public realm striving to make a visible and positive difference within their communities. She has led dozens of community projects in some of the most diverse municipalities in California. Janet’s 40 years of practice have been dedicated to helping translate diverse community aspirations into architecture for the common good.
Kate Conley is a licensed architect in California and Washington State and principal at OJK, with a focus on affordable housing to build sustainable communities. Improving equity and justice in the design and engineering professions is an area of emphasis for Kate, leading her to participate in the AIA Silicon Valley Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force and serve as Events Director and next year’s Chair for the Women in Architecture Committee.
Cierra Higgins is a native of Kansas City, MO, and recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with her dual Masters in Architecture and Masters in Urban Design. Shortly after graduation, she was awarded the E. Todd Wheeler Health Fellowship with Perkins and Will, and is now based in their Seattle office, where she is exploring her interests in public health as it pertains to social and environmental determinants that disproportionally affect marginalized communities.
Moderated by Annika Dukes, Noll & Tam Architects