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Making Diversity Happen!

SALEM, MA, September 17th, 2019 – During the last several months, we have been involved in many events regarded as the top of our industry in architecture, design and construction. The NCARB summit in Atlanta, the 2019 AIA Conference in Las Vegas, and the Licensing Advisors Summit (LAS) in Minneapolis are some that come to mind. During these events we became aware of the self-evident and almost laughable lack of diversity among the top representatives and board of directors in the industry.

The remarkable part is that almost in all of the events we attended, CEOs and board members themselves acknowledged the issue. AIA 2019 President, William J. Bates, although a minority himself, mentioned such issue in a very provocative way. A similar conversation took place with NCARB’s CEO Michael J. Armstrong during the NCARB Committee summit last year (2018) and during this year's LAS in Minneapolis.

I acknowledge and give credit to the mere fact that the community is aware of the problem we have. It has taken many years to get to this place, where we can openly say there is an issue. It becomes evident when looking at the board of director’s photo of the National Council of Architectural Registration Board. Now what? Are we stopping here?

Since non minority architects and designers are acknowledging the problem, we thought it made sense for a minority architectural firm to take the ball closer to touch down. We have learned that the decision to become a designer, architect or engineer begins to emerge very early in once life; almost too early to be fostered and fueled at times. This is why, when middle school art teacher Michael Eder of the Boston Collegiate Charter School in Dorchester, MA contacted us regarding his desires to have an architect teach young middle school and high school students about architecture, we were thrilled. We tittle the class Inspired by Architecture. Inspired by Architecture, was an incredible opportunity to increased awareness about the profession and instigate passion among a diverse pool of students.

The look in their eyes was remarkable. Their faces alone described what perhaps their thoughts were. “I can relate to them. They look like me, were raised like me and they are architects.”

In May, 2019, we also became involved with a rather appealing opportunity to bring architecture to our own home town of Salem, MA. IM|MIGRATION, took place in the Point Neighborhood of Salem, MA where we had the chance to work with community officials and change makers such as artist Stephanie Benenson, North Shore Community Coalition CEO, Mickey Northcutt and Mayor Kimberly Driscoll. This event had an architectural minority team representation that cared. We were more interested in chatting with young adults and children than anyone else. They played with our models and asked us about architecture and design. Most of them, had never met an architect at all. Now because of us, they did and we looked like them and lived in the neighborhood. This is us becoming the change we seek.

Every semester we get an email from the Boston Architectural College asking if we want to continue to teach and to do portfolio reviews and such. Often, our answer might be the first one they get; A bold YES.

Why? Well, maybe we are tired of the sameness we see in our built environment. Maybe as the owners of Flow Design Architects, we pursue and desire such diversity around us. Maybe we know there is power in diversity. and we have had it with the alienation and seclusion. At last, we personally just want to help others who have very little chances and opportunities or simply can’t find them.

We think the AEC industry has had a hard time finding us. They have their reasons. We need to find ourselves and help each other. We need to be bold, loud and be present. This is our time and this is our opportunity. Would you talk the talk and walk the walk with us?

Flow Design Architects is a visual, art and space design studio serving public and private clients. The studio is rooted in creative and innovative ideas that can solve some of today’s challenges regarding space, art, form and culture while merging the lines between architecture and art. Darguin Fortuna and Marcos Severino both founders of Flow are from the Dominican Republic where they initiated their education in architecture. They both hold a Bachelors of Architecture NAAB Accredited Professional Degrees from the Boston Architectural College and have over 10 years of educational and professional experience in the creative industry of design.

“For more information about our services, process and what we stand for, contact us at 978-818-5109, or come visit us at 50 Grove St. Suite 226, Salem, MA 01970”

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