An update to AIA Seattle members about COVID-19

Dear AIA Seattle Members,

AIA Seattle as an association exists to do together, as an architecture community, what individual members and firms cannot do as easily or as well on their own. Our mission depends on bringing people together. In these unprecedented times, our work will need to look very different, but our goals will remain the same.

What our board and staff most want you to know in this moment – in the midst of these unprecedented times – is that our focus remains on you.

We will cooperate fully with the guidelines of public health officials. Architects pledge to uphold the health, safety and welfare of our community, and those values must also guide our chapter’s actions.

  • The Center for Architecture and Design will remain closed as long as needed to enable our employees to work from home. We will regularly update our websites – and – with closure information. If you need to check on our status, please contact Megan Harmon. Staff are still working and available via email.
  • Committees will continue to meet virtually. All member groups have the tools to meet remotely, and most will begin doing so in April. Watch our websites for the most current updates.
  • Education and events through the spring will be delivered online or rescheduled. AIA Seattle has some powerful education planned through many hours of volunteer effort, and we are committed to offering it despite the challenges.

Community is more important than ever. AIA has always been fundamentally about bringing people together. Although we can’t convene in person, that sense of connectedness has never been more valuable. We are actively looking for new and engaging ways to co-create, share knowledge, and support one another. Seattle Design Festival planners are converting upcoming Design Jams into virtual collaboration opportunities. We are currently evaluating tools to connect members to each other around shared concerns and interests.

We must be adaptive and patient with one another. Things will not be the same for a while. AIA Seattle staff are working hard to adapt on the fly, and inevitably we will stumble and struggle sometimes, as will you.

  • Members, please be patient as we learn new systems and ways of working, explore tools to create virtual community, and adapt our programming to the times. But please do continue to participate. Upcoming programs represent countless hours of volunteer effort, and they deserve an audience.
  • Sponsors and donors, your support is more important than ever. We are committed to delivering on our promises, but that will look different now than what it did two weeks ago. Thank you for your patience as we pivot to respond to current circumstances.
  • Leaders and volunteers, all of us are dealing with the same extreme stressors and demands on our time. We recognize that you have lots of important things to attend to – caring for young children at home, conducting business virtually, ensuring the health and safety of your families – and it may seem hard to prioritize involvement in community institutions. But even in challenging times, working together for common cause is affirming and enriching, and we are committed to finding ways for our work together to continue, recognizing the challenges we all face.

We must be proactive in addressing the new needs of our firms and our broader community. AIA Seattle’s purpose also manifests in anticipating and responding to new challenges facing members. The disruption to the operations of architecture firms and industry partners will be significant. AIA Seattle has already been hearing from members suggesting specific actions we can take to assist members. For example, thanks to a member query, our board sent a letter to SDCI asking that the implementation of the city’s 2018 codes be delayed to provide greater flexibility during the crisis. If you have additional ideas for how our chapter can be helpful, please share them. We will consider every idea and respond based on the resources we are able to marshal.

At the same time, we cannot lose sight of our core mission: champion the central role of architects in creating and sustaining a better built environment.

Thank you for sticking with us. Great members, supporters, and volunteers have made AIA Seattle a model chapter, and we thank you. While there are inevitably big challenges ahead of all of us, our city is resilient, our community is strong, and our organization will weather the storm.

Know, beyond all else, that we care about each and every one of you. We know that your professional and personal lives are being affected by this situation. As you take on new challenges as an individual, spouse, partner, parent, caregiver, neighbor, community member, or friend, know that we are thinking of you. Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay in touch. We are here for you.

Lisa Richmond
Executive Director
AIA Seattle + Design in Public