The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) recent rejection of a proposed amendment to its existing ethics code has sparked debate over the issue of design and human rights violations. The proposed addendum was drawn up late last summer by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), a nonprofit organization advocating social consciousness in the design field. It stipulated that all AIA members would refrain from designing spaces involving human-rights violations, specifically those "intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement." This would include execution chambers, interrogation rooms intended for torture, and "supermax" security prisons in which prolonged solitary confinement take place.
However, the main controversy arose when considering whether or not the amendment would be an attainable goal for the AIA. Although the content of the amendment was never in question, its clarity and ability to be enforced were.
Read more about the AIA’s decision to reject the ethics amendment, after the break.