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053: Immigrant Architects
Episode 5330th September 2021 • Practice Disrupted with Evelyn Lee and Je'Nen Chastain • Evelyn Lee and Je'Nen Chastain
00:00:00 01:02:50

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Episode 053: Immigrant Architects

Leaders of the profession share diverse perspectives on equity and architecture.

Expanding our diversity series, this week we learn about the lived experiences of individuals who immigrated to the United States.


Originally from Colombia, Graciela Carrillo, AIA, LEED AP, immigrated to the United States in 2003. She recently joined Nassau BOCES Facilities Services as a Senior Manager where she is managing school operational and capital projects. Graciela has committed a decade of volunteer leadership service to the AIA. Currently she is serving as the President 2020-2021 as well as the Chapter’s Women In Architecture Co-Founder and Co-Chair. Graciela was the past 2017-2018 NY Regional Director (YARD) for the Young Architects Forum (YAF). She is also the Co-Founder of the Immigrant Architects Coalition, a group committed to helping and providing resources for immigrant architects to achieve a prosperous career in the US. In 2019, Graciela was the recipient of the AIA NYS Young Architect Award.

Gloria Kloter, AIA, NCARB, CODIA, is founder and CEO of Glow Architects. A practicing architect both in her home country of the Dominican Republic and in the US, she has dedicated her career to helping other young architects grow. She is the founder of the Foreign Architects, a private community in Facebook where she mentors young and aspiring immigrant architects on how to obtain their architect license in the United States. Gloria also serves as the Architect Licensing Advisor of the State of Florida through AIA Florida. She is a part of the Board of Directors of the AIA Tampa Bay where she is the chairperson of the Women in Architecture committee. She was also honored for the 2019 Sho-Ping Ching Women’s Leadership Summit Scholarship, a recognition to mid-career women architects who are advancing toward leadership roles and are making a positive impact within their communities. 

Shahad Sadeq, Assoc. AIA is an Iraqi immigrant architectural designer at Smithgroup. She is an active member of the AIA in her local chapter in Dallas, Texas. Shahad is passionate about amplifying diverse voices in the profession and developing sustainable workplace culture. She currently is co-leading the immigrant architect coalition and sits on the J.E.D.I. committee board of Smithgroup. She previously helped found an Equity in Architecture effort through the AIA Kansas City Chapter.

Yu-Ngok Lo, FAIA, CDT, LEED AP is the founding principal of YNL Architects, Inc. His work received numerous design awards such as the NAHB Best of American Living Awards, Gold Nugget Awards, Aurora Awards, American Residential Design Awards, and various AIA Design Awards. The projects of his firm have been published in ArchDaily, Hinge Magazine, CONDE, CommArch Magazine, and Hospitality-Interiors Magazine. Yu-Ngok is a past recipient of the AIBD Designer of the Year, AIA Presidential Citation, AIA National Young Architects Award, BD+C 40 Under 40, 2015 ENR 20 Under 40, and the AIACC Young Architect Award. He was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2020.

Show Links:

📍 Immigrant Architects Coalition

📍 Foreign Architects

📍 Glow Architects

📍 Smithgroup

📍 YNL Architects, Inc. 

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