Clichés abound when it comes to making meaningful change in our world from, “it takes a village” to “think global, act local.” The common thread infers that effecting change is an overwhelming prospect only achieved by a vast movement or a brave (and organized) few willing to devote their lives to it. The panel discussion “Changemakers Working to Create a More Just & Equitable Society” on Friday, Nov. 4 at Architecture Exchange East (ArchEx) will help to dispel these notions and demonstrate how community benefit can happen simply by embodying the change one wants to see and doing what one does best. 

The panel will feature individuals who are (re)building their communities through design that is innovative and impactful. Hear from Bryan C. Lee, Jr., Design Principal at Colloqate – a national Design Justice Advocate and founding organizer of the Design Justice Platform and the “Design as Protest National Day of Action.” Bryan has led award-winning architecture and design programs for high school students through the Arts Council of New Orleans and the National Organization of Minority Architects. He will be discussing how he works to give others the tools to pursue Design Justice themselves.

Also featured on the panel is Katie Swenson, Assoc. AIA, Senior Principal with MASS Design and 2021 recipient of the AIA Award for Excellence in Public Architecture. Katie’s work explores how critical design practice can, and should, promote economic and social equity, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities. She authored Design with Love: At Home in America, and co-authored Growing Urban Habitats: Seeking a Housing Development Model with William Morrish and Susanne Schindler. She is a contributing author to Activist Architecture: Philosophy and Practice of Community Design and Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism. All these bodies of work deliver lessons in how we can work together to improve the lives of our neighbors. 

Joining the discussion will be Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA with Tulane University.  Under Kenneth’s leadership, the Tulane University School of Architecture became one of the nation’s leading programs focusing on engagement, applied research and tangible contributions to community well-being. Working in close partnership with neighborhood and nonprofit organizations throughout New Orleans and beyond, the school also became the academic home for the interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE). Moreover, Kenneth guided the growth of the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, the School of Architecture’s applied urban research and outreach program that provides design services to communities who are consistently underserved in the field. 

Rounding out the Changemakers Panel is Kevin Sullivan, FAIA, President & CEO of Payette. Kevin’s designs are consistently conceived through the lens of social equity, diversity and inclusion and he is passionate about serving the needs of those who occupy his buildings. His body of work includes seminal healthcare, science and campus planning projects which have been consistently recognized nationally for their attention to detail, use of color, natural light, social geometry, and the integration of the landscape into transformative spaces.

About Architecture Exchange East
Nov. 2-4, 2022 in Richmond, Va. at the Greater Richmond Convention Center

Celebrating more than 30 years, ArchEx continues to be among the mid-Atlantic’s largest annual educational events for architects, featuring educational sessions, behind-the-scenes architectural tours, engaging special events, and cutting-edge vendors in our expo. We typically welcome between 400-700 architects and allied professionals to our 3-day program.

Registration is now open. View the complete agenda or list of speakers.