BOSTON—The incoming president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the largest professional organization of architects in the U.S., has joined Perkins&Will. Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA, will use her national platform to advance equity, decarbonization, research, and evidence-based design across the industry. She says she was drawn to Perkins&Will because of a clear alignment between her values and the firm’s—and sees Perkins&Will as an industry leader with the power to effect widespread positive change.
“Perkins&Will’s focus on climate action, social equity, and research is unparalleled in the industry, and I feel strongly that by joining the firm, I’ll be able to translate my passions into meaningful action on a national and even international scale,” says Grandstaff-Rice, who is based in Perkins&Will’s Boston studio. “I envision this next stage of my career as one in which I collaborate with interdisciplinary teams in support of creating safer, healthier, and more responsive architecture.”
A Love for Learning Environments
Grandstaff-Rice’s portfolio includes work for a wide range of clients. Her most recent projects focus on K-12 and higher education learning environments; she is drawn to them for their ability to change students’ lives and prepare them for the future. Her most notable projects include Hildreth Elementary School in Harvard, Massachusetts; UMass Lowell Health and Social Sciences in Lowell, Massachusetts; and Boston Children’s Museum in Boston.
“Emily’s experience in the education market will beautifully complement our Boston studio’s K-12 and higher ed practices, and I’m sure our clients will love her contributions,” says Yanel de Angel, managing director of Perkins&Will Boston member of the board of directors. “Additionally, her forthcoming national role as AIA president—combined with her 2014 role as president of the Boston Society of Architects—has cemented her role as a highly influential voice in the industry. We’re delighted she’s chosen Perkins&Will as her new professional home.”
In addition to her interest in educational typologies, broader themes around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) motivate Grandstaff-Rice and inform her design philosophy. She is a stalwart champion of J.E.D.I. in the design profession and in the communities architects serve, and as former chair of the AIA’s Equity in Architecture Commission, she was instrumental in creating “Guides for Equitable Practice” that outline actions design firms can take to achieve equity. She vows to continue advocating for best practices in J.E.D.I. during her AIA presidency.
“Emily’s passion, voice, and rigor have found the perfect home at Perkins&Will, where we are committed to diversifying the design profession and making progress on our goals every day,” says Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, Perkins&Will’s director of global diversity. “Her amplification of our J.E.D.I. values will no doubt reassure our clients, attract diverse talent, and help us stay competitive.”
Timing is Everything
Grandstaff-Rice’s arrival to Perkins&Will comes at a time when Perkins&Will’s Boston studio is earning accolades for its work, which is grounded in research, sustainability, and equity.
“Emily is attuned to national and local insights about the future of our profession, and she is resolute when it comes to the architect’s role as planetary steward,” says de Angel. “We look forward to amplifying her voice, supporting her in the role as AIA president, and introducing her as a trusted advisor to our clients.”