The two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination clearly illustrate that America is changing. Look around the American workplace or the adjacent seat on mass transit. Demographics and personal observation prove that the monolithic culture many of us knew as children has shifted to a polyphonic blend of peoples and cultures. Architecture remains woefully behind the power curve, however.
Theodore Landsmark, the president of Boston Architectural College, recently reiterated a fact that some of us had regrettably become familiar with, because it has not appreciably changed: Only 1.5 percent of America’s architects are African-American (at a time when the U.S. Census shows that African-Americans comprise approximately 12 to 13 percent of the total population). Latinos and Asians share low numbers in architecture, too, though not at the 1 percent level. Speaking at a plenary session on diversity in St. Louis called by the AIA in April, Landsmark pointed out that the profession has not kept pace with the demographic changes in our larger society.