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Mar 11, 2024

Carole Wedge FAIA

Carole Wedge Photo courtesy of Shepley Bullfinch 1

Photo courtesy of Shepley Bulfinch

Former President and CEO at Shepley Bulfinch

Professional or personal website:


BEnvD from Univ. Colorado and BArch from BAC

Professional interests:

Design and Art in all its forms; inclusion; nature

BSA/AIA involvement:

AIA 2008 Local Chair

BSA Board Member and Secretary


Women Principals Group

Architecture Boston Magazine Board

Several Committees over the years: housing for homeless, education, large firms, DEI, NOMA Project Pipeline

AIA – WLS Founder with six others


AIA Board

When did you first become interested in architecture as a possible career?

In college when my friend in my dorm was studying Environmental Design and I thought that looked MUCH more interesting than Chemistry and Biology.

How do (or how did) you explain to your parents what you do for a living?

They sort of understood from being in Real Estate and Business. The town I grew up in had many houses designed by architects and we liked to drive around and talk about what we liked and what designs were more interesting.

If you could give the you of 10 years ago advice, what would it be?

Listen more deeply to everyone around you.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?

It takes a village – and yet – I think we are each responsible for our own success. Appreciate your mentors and be a sponge – learn everywhere you can. Appreciate the family and colleagues who support you.

What is your favorite Boston-area building or structure?

John Hancock Tower – for it’s impact on the skyline of Boston

Christian Science Center – for successful urban space

People volunteer for a variety for reasons, what did your volunteer path look like, and what motivated you to become involved??

Richard Fitzgerald (past BSA Executive Director) encouraged me to get involved – to advocate for the changes I wanted to see in the profession. Basically, for it to be more diverse and inclusive. I told him I thought the AIA looked “old and white" and he said – "Why don’t you get involved to change that?”

Have you had a memorable experience while working on a BSA initiative that you would like to share?

The founding of the Women Principals group by Sho-Ping Chin and the creation of the Women’s Leadership Summit with other members of the BSA / WPG. We helped to create a movement and network for women in design – so many valuable relationships have come from this event and our work together over the years. Now in its 15th year – it is empowering all kinds of women to create the careers in design that they want – and to use WLS as a supportive network.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?

So many places – so many people!

I didn’t expect to become a leader and really did not know what that meant. I think I lead with ideas about the future and how we could be better – as people, firms, profession, communities.

Austin Central Library Nic Lehoux

Photo by Nic Lehoux

Which one of your current projects excites you the most?

Learning to coach people to design the career that they want to have. And University of Houston Law School being recognized by PreLaw Mag as one of the best law school buildings! And Austin Public Library – in Time Magazine as “One of the World’s Greatest Places”!

What do you hope to contribute from your work?

More confident designers and more impactful sustainable projects.

How do you believe architecture/design can have the greatest impact shaping a community?

By listening to the community and helping them get what they need. I love Sharon Sutton’s concept that “the community knows what it needs – it just does not know how to go about getting what it needs.”

Who do you most enjoy partnering with on community projects?

People who care about the outcome of a project and are committed to the long process of achieving the goal.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the profession, who would it be and why?

I feel very lucky to be on the AIA Board with Kim Dowdell as President. She has an energizing vision for the future. Sharon Sutton is also an inspiration for me and role model.

Have you won any award(s) from the BSA or another establishment that you are particularly proud of? What elements from that project would you like to see shape the future of the profession?

Fellowship, The Kemper Award and the Architects Foundation Award for being a founder of Women’s Leadership Summit. And – the Honor Award from BSA in 2024!

WLS Photo courtesy of Shepley Bullfinch

Photo courtesy of Shepley Bulfinch

What has been your most proud moment as an architect/designer?

So many – the success of Women’s Leadership Summit tops the list.

What does equity mean to you?

We notice who is and is not in the room. Inclusion – that we approach processes and collaboration with the philosophy that everyone is important and relevant to the exploration and conversation.

What do you see as the largest barrier to equity in your profession?

Firms taking it seriously and being willing to notice and research equity. The ability for all to make a reasonable living being an architect.

What are some changes that you have implemented in your firm (or for yourself) to address issues of equity in your profession?

Measure equity in opportunity, compensation, encouragement and invite ideas from all members of the firm.

If you identify as a minority, what are some ways your colleagues could help you feel more empowered at work and as an architect/designer?

I am a gender minority as a woman and am truly surprised that the AIA has not made more progress with women members in the last 30 years.

What is the most effective step you’ve taken in your work toward a more sustainable built environment?

Educated clients about sustainability and made a sustainability action plan part of the conceptual design process for our work.

What policy from another city sets an example you think Boston could successfully follow?

The energy requirements that NYC has implemented – that have encouraged developers – in particular – to reach for ambitious net zero or net positive energy goals.

What do you see as the largest barrier to a zero-waste building, city, and world?

Lobbying from the fossil fuel industry and governments that are afraid to implement rigorous requirements to meet necessary climate goals. We need to educate our community and show them how they can make a difference.

If you could redesign anything, what would it be?

How students get into and pay for college. The eliteness of the process shuts out so very many people. The power of education is remarkable in its ability to change someone’s life.

What would you like to see change about Boston’s built environment?

More interesting buildings – more ambitious developers

Affordable housing – for all income levels

Rigorous energy standards

Moving the grid to sustainable sources

So – many things!