An Open Letter to our Industry’s Digital Content Providers

Lumpkins Jail Site Museum Richmond National Slavery Museum Architecture Exterior Cultural SmithGroup Washington DC Richmond Virginia
The Richmond National Slavery Museum at the Lumpkin's Slave Jail Site, designed by SmithGroup.

As a member of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, SmithGroup along with 60 peer firms signed an open letter requesting that digital content creators make a concerted effort to include more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in renderings of design work. By becoming allies and working together, we can address these types of issues within our industry that will create new opportunities to design a better future for everyone.

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 ensure our designs reflect the best we can be. This commitment to equity, diversity 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 are calling on 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.

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 equity, diversity 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.


The AIA Large Firm Roundtable Members

AIA Roundtable open letter firms listing SmithGroup