Kimberly Dowdell has been chosen to lead the American Institute of Architects for the next 100 years (AIA). She is the first person of African descent to hold this job.
The delegates at the 2022 AIA Annual Meeting, which happened about a month ago, voted for Dowdell, according to The Architect's Newspaper. Dowdell's one-year term will begin in 2024. Dowdell will be the First Vice President of the AIA, and in 2024, he will be the next president. Emily Grandstaff-Rice, who is currently the First Vice President, will become president and take over from Dan Hart, who is the current president.
Dowdell went to Cornell University and got her Bachelor of Architecture in 2006. She also helped start the school's Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) program, which works to set standards for economic, social, and environmental justice around the world.
The person who went to an Ivy League school is now a principal at HOK in Chicago.
Dowdell said in a statement, "I am excited to help young women and people of color because I am the 295th living Black woman in the US to get a license to be an architect. I do think that representation is important, and I would be proud to give young women and people of color a new set of options."
Dowdell is also on the board of the Architect's Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the AIA. She was also president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), where she started a campaign called #AllinforNOMA. The campaign's goal was to make minorities more "visible" and give everyone more chances to lead and leave a mark.
As AIA president, Dowdell will continue to stand up for architects of color. She will also work hard to make architecture more accessible, to fight climate change, and to promote green energy and technology.
"Buildings are a big part of the public realm," she said. Dowdell said, "I also want to help my fellow architects and other professionals do a better job of protecting the health, safety, and well-being of the public."