• JustDesign
    The Architecture Lobby

The Architecture Lobby protest at the AIA National Convention in Philadelphia, 2016

JustDesign is one of the most important campaigns of The Architecture Lobby. JustDesign’s goal is to bring firms with strong labor practices to the attention of a broad audience. Phase one of firm nominations, confirmations, and publications was completed in July 2019. Phase two envisions capturing and publishing more firms with good labor practices, offering certification to firms that are determined to be “exemplary.” This phase also includes the launch of a new website and a new methodology for evaluations. The JustDesign questionnaire that the campaign relies on to determine exemplary firms is not a survey; it is a nominating vehicle.  At the same time, it also identifies the issues that every firm should prioritize and every employee should expect. The questionnaire is a prompt for instituting better work conditions.

Peggy Deamer is professor emerita of Yale University’s School of Architecture and principal in the firm of Deamer, Studio.  She is the founding member of the Architecture Lobby, a group advocating for the value of architectural design and labor. She is the editor of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present (Routledge, 2013) and The Architect as Worker: Immaterial Labor, the Creative Class, and the Politics of Design (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), and the author of Architecture and Labor (Routledge, 2020). Articles by her have appeared in Log, Avery Review, e-flux, and Harvard Design Magazine, amongst other journals. Her theory work explores the relationship between subjectivity, design, and labor in the current economy. Her design work has appeared in HOME, Home and Garden, Progressive Architecture, and the New York Times amongst other journals. She received the Architectural Record 2018 Women in Architecture Activist Award.

Quilian Riano, the campaign coordinator for JustDesign and an equal author/artist with Peggy Deamer in this initiative. Riano is an architectural and urban designer, researcher, writer, and educator committed to creating designs that support public and civic ideals. He is the associate director of Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), and founder of DSGN AGNC, a design studio exploring political engagement through architecture, urbanism, and art. His design work has been featured at the Venice Biennale, Queens Museum of Art, Harvard University, Parsons New School of Design, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the New Museum, among others. Riano is a fellowship recipient of Queens College, the Institute for Public Architecture, the J. Max Bond Jr. Center for the Just City, and the Design Trust for Public Space, among others. He has held leadership roles within The Architecture Lobby since 2013.

The Architecture Lobby, Inc. is an organization of architectural workers advocating for the value of architecture in the general public and for architectural work within the discipline. Founded by Peggy Deamer in 2013, the organization  believes that the work architects do—aesthetic, technical, social, organizational, environmental, administrative, fiduciary—needs structural change to be more rewarding and more socially relevant. As long as architecture tolerates abusive practices in the office and the construction site, it cannot insist on its role in and for the public good. Believing that neither professionals nor the public are served by an under appreciation of labor, The Architecture Lobby draws the connection between labor abuse and an out-of-date and socially irrelevant discipline.