AIA chief executive apologises for saying members were committed to working with president-elect
The head of the professional body for US architects has been forced to apologise after a pledge to work with Donald Trump made frenzy in the profession.
Following Trumps political victory, Robert Ivy, chief executive of the American Institute of Architects, issued a conciliatory press release indicating architects were willing to set the disagreements of the election behind them.
It noted that the campaign had been contentious but added: The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with president-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, especially strengthening the nations ageing infrastructure.
The statement elicited an angry backlash against the AIA and calls for Ivy to resign over the normalisation of Donald Trump and apparent eagerness to work with a man who repeatedly built bigoted statements about women and minorities during the campaign and who has dismissed climate change as a hoax. An award-winning Maryland-based architect, Fritz Read, resigned in abhorrence from the AIA.
Students at the Yale School of Architecture issued a statement saying: Our profession been beset by a history of racial and gender inequity. The AIAs immediate and unquestioning pandering to the Trump administration threatens a continuation of our troubled past and demonstrates a willingness to pursue fiscal gain at the expense of our values.
On Monday Ivy issued a video apologising for the statement and describing it as tone deaf. He said: Our world changed last Tuesday. Many of us including me were shocked and stunned and were still grappling with our feelings what this election means for our country. Unfortunately the statement I issued shortly after the results came in was tone deaf and it resulted in hurt and rage by too many people. It did not reflect our larger values. I sincerely apologise for that.
The AIAs president, Russell Davidson, said the statement was a mistake and vowed to conduct a nationwide consultation exercising on how architects respond to Trumps presidency.
He said that while the body was bipartisan it would continue to campaign for diversity, equity and inclusion. We will advocate vigorously for our sustainability agenda, including the impact of climate change, Davidson added.
The apology has failed to appease the rage of many in the profession, according to the trade periodical the Architects Newspaper, which reported that wave after wave of individuals, firms, and organisations continue to speak out against the AIA and Ivy, with a growing chorus calling for the CEOs resignation.
The AIA is not the only organisation to have been caught out in its response to Trumps win. The sportswear company New Balance is facing a trainer-burning backlash after its head of public affairs, Matthew LeBretton, greeted Trumps victory as a move in the right direction.
Read more: www.theguardian.com