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BSA News

May 20, 2020

A Message from the President and Chair

Dear BSA Community,

For the past several months, the BSA/AIA and the BSA Foundation boards have worked closely with Eric White and BSA staff to support the membership, industry, and communities where we live during the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Eric’s update last week, some difficult decisions were made to respond to the current situation and to position the organization for a strong and sustainable future. That future will continue to have a laser-focus on membership support and expand the role architecture plays in our communities in a meaningful and responsible way. We are confident that we will continue to be a strong leader, and that the steps we have taken ensure the viability and sustainability of the BSA.

We are moving forward in a balanced way, managing the resources and our strong endowment to support the present and future of the organization. We are excited to announce that in addition to engaging DiCicco Gulman & Company to manage our accounting and Resilient Philanthropy to help lead our fundraising, we hired Karma Agency to lead our communications efforts. Working with outside consultants enables us to stay focused on our mission and goals, engage with experts in key support areas, and reduce our expenses.

As we continue to concentrate on core areas for our members and communities—professional knowledge, advocacy, design policy, community design, and public design education—we are happy to share that we received a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation in support of our design education efforts in Boston schools.

We want to take a moment to specifically address ArchitectureBoston and the decision to pause its production through the end of the year. Design thought leadership is a critical part of the BSA’s culture and AB has been one of the key vehicles for sharing our ideas. This is not the end of AB. We will be working with the AB editorial board, the boards, membership, staff, and others to reimagine the publication and to create a publishing platform that is thoughtful, compelling, engaging, and sustainable. Stay tuned for more information regarding the timetable and plans with AB.

The strong relationship between the BSA/AIA and the BSA Foundation is core to our future and a model for other AIA components. We are proud to be one of the oldest and the second largest chapter of AIA with 4,500 members. Even in these trying times, we still have one of the largest budgets of any AIA chapter due to the support of our membership, our donors, and our programming. BSA members are highly regarded nationally for their innovation and leadership. AIA National and many other chapters of the AIA have adopted many BSA initiatives, including the Women’s Leadership Summit. The Foundation’s work providing access to design education for Boston-area youth and community design resources to under-resourced neighborhoods elevates the role architects play in building sustainable, equitable, and vibrant cities for everyone. Our commitment to applying design to the regional challenges of climate change, housing and equity are further evidence of our impact. This work continues to thrive through the support of our individual and corporate donors, Rising Philanthropists, and grant funding. The commitment of our professional and public arms will lead us through challenging times and continue to build a better region through design. For all of this, and more, we say thank you to our stakeholders for continuing to support us through these unprecedented times.

We are also mindful of not losing practicing architects or those entering the profession as we did in 2008/2009. With this awareness, we are working with firms to support and create work sharing opportunities and are collaborating with the architecture schools to connect new/recent graduates with programming and mentoring opportunities.

Since March, we have created nearly 20 new initiatives in direct response to COVID-19, from the BSA Firms Best Practices Guide during COVID-19 to middle-housing workshops with MIT and iLab to create mid-density affordable housing, and much more. See a complete list of our responsive efforts here.

Moving forward, our 43 knowledge communities are back stronger than ever with virtual meetings and we are developing programming to enhance our current and future needs as a profession and for the broader future of Boston. Some of these initiatives include task forces on timely issues of climate change and affordable housing, student mentoring programs, and many more. Some of these initiatives can be found here.

With all of these ongoing and future initiatives, we are certain that the BSA will not only survive this pandemic, but will be a stronger organization in the future. Thank you for your continued support and engagement. Now more than ever, we encourage you to be involved with the programs mentioned in this letter as a BSA member, a member of our city and our community, and as an active voice for our profession.


Natasha Espada AIA
2020 BSA/AIA President

Ted Touloukian AIA
BSA Foundation Chair

BSA Firms Best Practices Guide during COVID-19

Webinars to support the Membership during COVID-19

• Building Industry Associations Collaboration Group during COVID-19

Resources for Design Practitioners and Public on COVID-19

• Task Force on COVID-19 Support for Colleges and Universities

Make/Shift Space Program for Alternative Hospital Sites

COVID-19 PPE Assistance Effort via the Make Tank Knowledge Community

Town Hall meetings

NCARB licensure workshops for young architects & meeting with MA Licensing Advisors

• Firm Work Share Program

Online Design Education for Teachers, Parents, and Youth

• Dudley Square Design Housing Initiative for the Homeless with the BAC

• Partnership with Boston Green Ribbon Commission on Zero-Over-Time Buildings

• Webinars on DND Zero Emissions Buildings Guidebook

• Boston Zero Emissions Standards

Middle-housing workshops with MIT’s and iLab to create mid-density Affordable Housing

Emerging Professionals Mentoring Program

• Task Force on Best Practices

• Task Force on Policy and Advocacy

View the full collection of resources and assets related to the COVID-19 virus response here.

• AB Task Force and Design Thought Leadership Programs

“Discourse” Platform as a community building virtual program/blog

• Webinar Series on the Future of Design

• Webinar Series on the Future of Practice

Professional Series on Embodied Carbon

• Equity Diversity and Inclusion Webinar Series on AIA Guides for Equitable Practice

• Task Force on Climate Change

• Task Force on Affordable Housing

• Student Competition

Student Mentoring Program

Student ARE Training

• Student Externship and Research Opportunities

• BSA Joint Strategic Task Force

The Harborkeepers Chelsea Creek Visioning project

• The Patio Café Pilot program with businesses in under-resourced neighborhoods

• Case Studies in Best Practices for Public Meetings in the digital age

• Conference on Practice-Based Research

An array of BSA/AIA awards programs

• Continued support for Members during COVID-19