February 26, 2020

An open letter to our industry’s digital content providers

CannonDesign joins our AIA Large Firm Roundtable peer firms in signing this important letter asking digital content creators (including our own) to include more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in renderings of design work.

Racism pervades our culture in ways that are conscious and unconscious—it is systemic and pernicious. As architects and designers, we know we must do more to address this problem. We need to be vigilant in our work, to be mindful of the diverse society we serve, and to ensure our designs reflect the best we can be. This commitment to equity and inclusion must extend to every detail of what we do, including the ways in which we visually present our designs.

As leaders of the architectural community, we call on you our industry’s digital content creators to include more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in your catalogs of digital entourage, starting immediately. Renderings of our design work must represent the racially and ethnically diverse communities we serve. By having more BIPOC figures in the entourage, we can depict our projects in a fair and inclusive way—indeed, in a more honest and accurate way.

The AIA’s Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) is comprised of the 60 largest design firms in North America, representing more than 100,000 design professionals committed to making a difference. We are optimistic that many of you share our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we stand ready to work with you to make these necessary corrections. In the coming weeks, we will be inviting you to a forum in which we can share ideas and chart a path forward toward measurable, meaningful change.

It is our professional and ethical imperative to set the tone for our studios, our clients, and society at large. We must lead by example.

Respectfully, The AIA Large Firm Round Table Members

Pictured is a rendering of North Carolina A&T State University’s new Student Center, designed by Vines Architecture and CannonDesign