Boston Society of Architects President Tamara Roy has condemned the American Institute of Architects’ initial support of Donald Trump’s election as president. (The BSA is the local chapter of the AIA.)
In a letter dated Nov. 14, Roy wrote to AIA CEO Robert Ivy “to share our shock and disappointment with last week’s post-election statement expressing the Institute’s willingness to work with President-elect Trump and members of the 115th Congress.
While we support the need for design professionals and AIA members to work together to move the country forward, and the country’s need to address failing infrastructure, this statement fails to acknowledge the serious contradictions between the Trump campaign and the AIA’s own mission and values. The conciliatory and congratulatory tone of last week’s message in response to the election is at odds with the very goals and values articulated by the AIA.
The BSA was not alone in its condemnation of Ivy’s letter—numerous architects, designers, academics, critics, institutional organizations, and other AIA chapters also criticized it sharply.
The general consensus was that however pragmatic such a letter to an incoming federal administration might have been, it was a little too soon and too sunny given candidate Trump’s remarks and proposals regarding Muslims, undocumented immigrants, Mexican-Americans, women, and people with physical challenges, among others.
Also, some noted that Ivy’s letter seemed to assume that Trump’s infrastructure-improvement proposals included specific plans when, in fact, they do not.
In response to the criticism, the AIA’s Ivy as well as the association’s national president issued a pair of apologies this week; and announced a listening tour to hear members’ concerns. Presumably, that tour includes a stop-in with the BSA.