The American Institute of Architects has elected Kimberly Dowdell as the 100th president of the organization, making her the first Black woman to hold the position in AIA’s 165-year history. Delegates at the AIA’s annual meeting voted Dowdell to serve first as vice president for 2023. Afterward, she will become president in 2024.
During her campaign for president, Dowdell has expressed her support for minorities, while also making clear that she wants to be an AIA president for all. Her platform is based on four key areas of interest: supporting architects in practice, creating a sense of belonging and ensuring access to the architectural profession and education, addressing climate concerns, and designing for the future, considering rapid technological advances. “I firmly believe that the AIA has the power and potential to better serve our profession” she declared in a video made prior to the election.
I do believe that representation matters, and I would be honored to demonstrate a new set of possibilities for young women and people of color in particular. - Kimberly Dowdell
Dowdell is an AIA member since 2007 and is currently working as a principal at HOK in Chicago. She graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2006 and received a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University in 2015. At the beginning of her career, she co-founded SEED, Social Economic Environmental Design, an initiative intended to supplement the LEED rating system to advance the right of every person to live in a socially, economically, and environmentally healthy community. From 2019 to 2020, Dowdell was president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), where she started #AllinforNOMA, an initiative focused on building greater access, leadership, and legacy opportunities for all. Additionally, Dowdell sits on the board of directors at the Architect’s Foundation, the charitable arm of the AIA. In 2020 was awarded a Young Architects Award by the AIA for her exceptional leadership and professional advancement.
My journey from very humble beginnings to a dynamic career in architecture is highly improbable, but that's what's so special about being an architect. We have the ability to not only see the future, but to design a better one. We make things possible. - Kimberly Dowdell
News via AIA.