Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-05
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



AIA Chicago to create LGBTQ architect group
by Ariel Parrella-Aureli

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

As the executive vice president of the American Institute of Architects' ( AIA's ) Chicago chapter, Zurich Esposito always has his hands full.

Throughout his 12-year career with AIA, Esposito has created many programs for members, helped start the Chicago Architects magazine in 2007 where he is now publisher and was this year's honorary member for notable contributions and service of people outside of the architecture profession. Now, the architecture ambassador is helping to create the first LGBTQ group at AIA Chicago to increase the organization's diversity and inclusion.

"There are groups in Chicago that are supportive of women in architecture, Latinos in architecture, African-Americans in architecture; yet there is no specific group made up of and supporting the LGBT members of the community," Esposito said.

As part of both communities, Esposito said this alliance is necessary to help eliminate any perceived and real barriers LGBTQ architects face. While it may look as though the architecture and design community is headed by white, straight men, he said the reality is there is a lot of diversity in the industry. But seeing it is not so visible or accessible, so he hopes the group will make that clearer and show successes of LGBTQ architects and designers. Being a resource and inspiration for aspiring LGBTQ designers is an important piece of the group, too, Zurich added. Representation in the industry will help open doors for new, diverse professionals.

"If a young, emerging architect can see that there is a place for them in the architecture community that is largely perceived as a profession headed by white straight men, [they can say], 'Oh, there's a place for me in the profession of architecture,'—maybe something they didn't see before," he said.

The group is still in the development stage and has no name or specific practices. Esposito, who has served on the national council of diversity for the AIA, said it came out of discussion with other AIA members who questioned the chapter's involvement with LGBTQ professionals. The AIA aims to showcase diverse individuals and adhere to equality and inclusion for the betterment of the industry and has been taking steps to make its organization more diverse, according to its website.

Who will be part of the Chicago group, what kinds of events or goals it will address and its leadership are all still up for debate, Esposito said. However, he wants to make sure the group will be foremost a support and networking community for LGBTQ architects and provide mentorship, education and resources. He also wants the alliance to help LGBTQ professionals with leadership and career opportunities and make sure that access and awareness is present. These discussions are similar for other minorities in the field, he said, like making sure women and ethnic professionals are well represented and can climb the career ladder to higher levels of the profession.

"The field is diversifying," he said. "The student bodies enrolled in architecture schools are diverse groups, and we are going to watch the profession become more diverse as those individuals become employed."

Esposito said that he wants everyone to feel welcome in the industry and is happy he has never felt any disrespect or discomfort for being gay. He acknowledged his past career in finance was not as open to letting him fully express himself and be comfortable at work, which is crucial to any career that one devotes their life to, like architecture. He said part of his decision to switch trajectories was so he could feel comfortable being his full self—an issue that some LGBTQ designers face, and one the group wants to change.

To better understand how this group can support the LGBTQ architect and design community, Zurich will host a meeting Oct. 5 to discuss what AIA members want the group to be. He said it is crucial to hear everyone's voice and work together to create the group's backbone. He said members are excited about the new initiative and he hopes more will attend the meeting and make their voice heard.

The chapter has about 3500 architects in its organization, and in a strong LGBTQ community like Chicago, Zurich sees this group as being beneficial on multiple levels. It is a melding of architecture and the LGBTQ community, just like the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St.

"Initiatives like the Center on Halsted, a very thoughtfully-designed building, communicates value to the people who use it and it says they are valued," Esposito said. "Architecture can be communicative and powerful. We are lucky to be in a city with great architecture and people who appreciate it. I know that is strongly felt in the LGBTQ community."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

ARCHITECTURE New UChicago building gets assistance from Theaster Gates 2019-06-16 - An open forum with ample natural light, historic exposed quartz beams and polished woodworked benches greet the eye when entering the new Harris ...

Gay News

Chicago Architecture Center rolls out events for summer and fall 2019 2019-05-24 - CHICAGO ( May 22, 2019 ) —The Chicago Architecture Center ( CAC ) is the city's exciting new cultural attraction which is both ...

Gay News

Restored Frederick C. Robie House house opens to public March 29 2019-03-26 - CHICAGO, IL ( March 26, 2019 ) — The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust announced the reopening of the Frederick C. Robie House on ...

Gay News

ARCHITECTURE AIA Chicago starts LGBTQI+ alliance with reception 2019-03-03 - A packed crowd of architecture professionals celebrated the launch of a new LGBTQI+ alliance by the Chicago chapter of American Institute of Architects ...

Gay News

Endangered building list released 2019-02-27 - Preservation Chicago has released its 2019 Chicago 7 Most Endangered buildings list, covering some of the most vulnerable sites. "This year's threats were ...

Gay News

Lakeview group to create new public art destination, seeks artists for murals 2019-02-06 - Friends of Lakeview—a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and partner of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area (SSA) 27—has announced a call ...

Gay News

2019 Wright Plus Housewalk on May 18 2019-02-04 - The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will present its 2019 Wright Plus Housewalk on Saturday, May 18, in Oak Park. Wright-designed buildings on the ...

Gay News

Auditorium Theatre restores Louis Sullivan-designed stencils 2018-12-27 - ( CHICAGO, IL ) The Auditorium Theatre, a National Historic Landmark that celebrated its 129th birthday on Dec. 9, 2018, recently restored intricate, ...

Gay News

Wrightwood 659 celebrates social justice, architecture 2018-12-12 - The Chicago Architecture Center isn't the only major new venue dedicated to celebrating architecture in the city. A new space in Lincoln Park, ...

Gay News

City approves $13M financing for Uptown Theatre Rehabilitation 2018-11-13 - ( November 13, 2018 ) Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the Community Development Commission voted to approve a $75 million rehabilitation of ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.