Architecture Exchange East 2022 boasts a three-day agenda with top-tier speakers, events meant to foster meaningful engagement and education under the banner of “Rebuilding Community.” The annual event, which offers both virtual and in-person ticket options, offers the kind of interactions that the profession has craved over the last couple of years, with organizer AIA Virginia forging its theme centered on rebuilding communities by reconnecting architects and industry professionals from around the Commonwealth.

The keynote event on Nov. 4, “Changemakers Working to Create a More Just & Equitable Society,” brings together four change agents from around the country who are working in the justice and equity spaces. The conversation is expected to go beyond architecture to identify proven ways that architects can facilitate and generate community growth and vitality.

Within the profession, (Re)building Community is about how best to make density and urban planning work for everyone, including underserved populations. At the heart of this, what we’re really talking about is empathy. Aside from the psychosocial aspects of community-based design, there’s functional aspects too. Architects have the power to design spaces to foster a more equitable and just environment.

The four speakers participating at this year’s event are advocates with a tremendous dose of personal agency who have positively committed their careers to talk about social justice and equity in design. They are experts who have broadened the definition of what it means to be an architect.

Bryan C. Lee Jr. of Colloqate Design is a national design justice advocate with over a decade of experience practicing architecture. Aside from his award-winning design programs for high school students, he is always actively working in communities to give other people and practices the tools to pursue design justice themselves.

Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA, is the Michael Sacks Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship and founding director of the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University. Under his leadership, the School of Architecture became one of the nation’s leading programs focusing on engagement, applied research and tangible contributions to community well-being. In addition to his design and education work, Kenneth served as a planning commissioner and member of the Board of Architectural Review for the City of Charlottesville, focusing on design and preservation issues in the community.

Kevin Sullivan, FAIA, president and CEO of Payette, believes that the fusion of design and performance are essential for successful high technology buildings. Outside of the traditional architecture practice in which his experience includes seminal healthcare, science and campus planning projects, Kevin is also an adjunct professor at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design where he is the Director of the OpenLab Boston Studio.

Katie Swenson, senior principal of MASS Design Group, experience and background work explores how critical design practice can promote economic and social equity, environmental sustainability, and healthy a talented global public speaker and thought leader whose authored books cover the topics of activist architecture, like affordable housing and community design.

Don’t miss the opportunity for an important discussion with these four esteemed professionals who bring vital perspectives that will leave practitioners and designers feeling motivated and inspired in their own communities.

Register and view the agenda for ArchEx.

Team Three is an editorial and creative consultancy based in Washington, DC.