July 5, 2018

New York, NY, July 5, 2018 – The Center for Architecture is proud to announce the opening of A Call to Act!ivism: Echoing Whitney Young 50 Years Later on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:00 pm. The exhibition, organized by the AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&I) and curated by D&I co-chair Danei Cesario, AIA, assesses the state of the architecture profession against the historic backdrop of Young’s speech.


Civil rights activist Whitney M. Young, Jr’s critical keynote address at the 1968 AIA Convention in Portland, Oregon challenged architects to address issues of diversity and social responsibility in the profession. Young called out architects for their “thunderous silence” in the face of entrenched inequalities across American cities. 50 years following the speech, the profession still has a long way to go.


According to 2015 estimates from the US Census Bureau, 38% of the US population identifies as either non-white or Hispanic. However, 90% of NCARB Certificate holders, those who are eligible for licensure, across the US are white. Only 19% of NCARB Certificate holders are women.


While data on representation in architecture is available at a national level, there is no benchmark demographic data for professionals in New York City. To address this gap, the D&I committee launched the 2017 AIANY Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Member Survey, a research initiative funded by an AIANY Committee Excellence grant. The aim of the survey was to quantify current representation in the chapter, to capture certain perceptions about equity in the profession, and to build on existing local, state and national efforts.


A Call to Act!ivism serves as a catalyst for future dialogues around equity, diversity, and inclusion in architecture. The exhibition includes a brief history of Whitney Young, placed within the larger context of the 1960s, accompanied by excerpts from his speech. This content is juxtaposed with a selection of data from the 2017 AIANY EDI Member Survey. To jumpstart these conversations, four industry leaders were invited to share their experiences and what they have done to contribute to Young’s call.


Members of the press are invited to the opening on Tuesday, July 10, 6-8 pm.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



About the Center for Architecture

The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience. www.centerforarchitecture.org