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DISCUSSIONS

 

NOTE: All online ticket sales end two hours prior to the start of program unless otherwise specified.

 

Thursday, September 12, 6:00 – 8:00 PM 
Building a JUST Practice  
David Baker Architects, 461 Second Street, Loft c127 
AIA Member: $15 | General: $25 

 
“Building a JUST Practice” will be an introduction, deep dive, and discussion about the International Living Future Institute’s JUST Label initiative, described as “a nutrition label for socially just and equitable organizations.”  This relatively new transparency platform is a tool for architecture firms to systematically evaluate the equity and diversity of their practice.

 

There will also be a comparison of the JUST Label to another established equity certification, B-Corp, which is for for-profit companies that believe businesses can be a force for good while also doing well. It is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. 

The panel will include representatives from David Baker Architects, WRNS Studio, and Stok, local architecture and design firms that have received the JUST Label, as well as a representative from Gelfand Partners. As the only two architecture and design B-Corps in San Francisco, Stok and Gelfand Partners will shed light on that process as well. The firms will share their inspiration to seek and secure these voluntary certifications. They will compare their initial sense of the equitability of their practice with their results and will reflect on the impact of the certifications.   
 
We will walk through the JUST indicator metrics and discuss the steps taken toward meeting the requirements as well as how questions raised by the metrics encouraged us to look at our practice. We will review differences between JUST and B-Corp Certification and consider the benefits and shortcomings of both.   

 

Tuesday, September 17, 6:00 – 8:00 PM 
The "Free Solo" Practice:
How Architecture Entrepreneurship Strengthens Communities 

Zetta Ventures, 473 Jackson Street
AIA Member: $15 | General: $25 

Small businesses form the backbone of communities, an integral part of a vibrant business ecosystem.  How do locally-based firms help shape the regional economy, culture and society?  What does it take to be an entrepreneur? How do local entrepreneurs benefit their communities and activate the urban fabric? Hear from Matthew Bowles, Tiffany Redding, LEED AP and Rob Zirkle, LEED AP on the role of entrepreneurial firms as incubators for design innovation, critical thinking and social justice in San Francisco and beyond.  The panel – who have in common big firm experience – will share their motivations for working outside the traditional corporate structure, from the need for creative expression and

experimentation to a desire for life-work balance and meaningful social impact as well as the realities, risks, rewards and responsibilities of having a locally-owned business.  The panel will also discuss how technology enables a digital practice; leadership, mentorship and the pipeline for design and architecture talent; and how small firms are helping to reimagine architecture practice. Architect, business strategy consultant and leadership coach Elisabeth Sporer, AIA, CIC, will moderate.  Her multi-faceted professional experience spans design and architecture to business strategy, business operations and practice management in her native Germany and in the US for firms such as EHDD, SMWM and STUDIOS, among others.  She holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architecture Design from Columbia University in New York, as well as a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture, both from TU Berlin.

 

Thursday, September 19, 6:00 – 8:00 PM  
Architects Forum 
Room & Board, 685 Seventh Street  
AIA Member: $15 | General: $25 | Free: Home Tours ticket holders 

Join us for this lively presentation and meet this year's architects whose projects will be showcased in this year’s San Francisco Living: Home Tours. Moderated by John Lum, AIA, founding principal, John Lum Architecture; Speakers: Geoff Gibson, Winder Gibson Architects; Michael Kao, MAK Studio; Andy Rodgers, Rodgers Architecture; Neal Schwartz, S^A | Schwartz and Architecture; Sarah Willmer, Studio Sarah Willmer Architecture.

 

Wednesday, September 25, 6:00 – 8:00 PM 
Diversity in Practice: How Diversity and Inclusion Inform Design Thinking 

HOK, One Bush Plaza, Suite 200

AIA Member: $15 | General: $25 


As architects and designers, we are experiencing a significant period of transformation, acknowledging that we have not been a uniform body of practitioners for a while, and we need to evolve to make room for the changing face of the practice. This is increasingly clear in the industry’s efforts to address equity and justice, not only within the AEC industry but also in facing the most pressing challenges of the communities and people we serve.  But how exactly do we leverage that diversity, enrich the design dialogue, and in turn enhance our design solutions?  

 

At this event, emerging design professionals from the HOK San Francisco studio share their perspectives and insights on how they are living this transformation and the challenges and opportunities they encounter in the practice of design. While research has indicated that diverse teams show

improved creativity and decision-making, navigating through different sets of perspectives and cultural backgrounds on a day-to-day basis is a learning challenge for all those involved. With this in mind, the speakers will discuss practical and concrete ways to incorporate cultural differences in design exchange and how to mitigate cross- cultural miscommunication.  
 

At the same time, the event explores how cultural competency and empathy inform global, integrated design practice. A diverse practice (of complementary design services) and workforce presents the opportunity to develop an inclusive culture, seek out different paths to leadership, and grow a more cohesive practice. Speakers will also examine the initiatives HOK has used to engender cultural awareness, appreciation, and respect for different backgrounds and experiences. Expanding opportunities for emerging talent to succeed in within our studio and our larger industry moves us toward an equitable practice which will thrive in the future.