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Partner Spotlight: Zaida Basora

William Howell, Jr. “Architecture is beauty and beauty must be accessible to everyone.”

-Zaida Basora

During Architecture Month, the CTE Department had the honor of interviewing industry partner Zaida Basora, Executive Director of the American Institutes of Architects (AIA) in Dallas. She is a registered architect and sustainability advocate with over 35 years of experience in design, construction, contracting and public policy. Zaida is also an active member in Dallas ISD’s Industry Leadership Council (ILC) and is a great support and advocate to Dallas ISD campuses that offer the Architecture and Construction career cluster.

How important is it for high school students of today to become architects of tomorrow?

Studying architecture at the high school level is great for design thinking and problem-solving skills. This career area is known as a minority compared to any other industry with only 100,000 architects in the USA. Having more architects join the workforce can impact the community and we have a need for architects in government to bring in different points of view and solutions to everyone’s needs. If we have more architects, we can address community issues from a holistic lens. This includes better designs of the community, parks, transportation, neighborhoods and shopping areas. Students must learn how to make the community thrive through the study of architecture.

What do you look forward to in growing the next generation of Architects?

Children need to be exposed to this career at an earlier age. There is not a lot of knowledge out there about what architects do and what architecture is. Also, how do people perceive architecture and making people more aware of what we do. Our profession can come across as if there is not a lot of inclusion and we need to increase the diversity in architecture. We are looking to increase the pipeline of architects from every ethnic group and gender so that all students will know that this is a career path for everyone. There is a need to have a presence and voice in all the communities where we have architects to help people learn about who we are and how we bring value to all communities.

Through efforts of the Education Outreach committee, we are seeking resources in architecture education to include learning the gaps and how can we successfully fill these gaps with spring break and summer camps, as well as quality collaborations in the classroom.

What would you say to any student who is interested in Architecture?

If you want to learn more, contact and visit us and AIA will be happy to have discussions about this area. Our organization is willing to conduct one-on-ones with student who want to learn more about architecture. Studying architecture prepares students for a variety of careers. If through the journey they discover that the traditional design in the architecture path is not the right path for them, the knowledge and skills gained will serve them for additional careers.

What is an interesting fact about Architecture that students should know?

You don’t need to be good at drawing to be an architect! There are preconceptions that you must be good at math, you must be good at art, or you must be good at drawing. None of these are necessarily true or false, however, they can be learned. Students must have a curious mind and bring that one thing that is special about them to architecture. If students are creative and think they can improve their world and/or improve the world of others, architecture may be the right pathway. There are a lot of technical skills that can be learned, but students’ imagination, creativity, being inquisitive, and having a growth mindset to learn about architecture is a great way to contribute to this career.

How important is it for industry partners to commit to supporting students in Dallas ISD with growing the future workforce?

It is critical for students to see themselves in a professional role. When students get exposed to professionals, they know that what they are doing is important. There’s that feeling if someone from the workforce is coming to look at your work and give you feedback, then your work is important. For example, many of the partnerships that we have with City Lab High School allow students to participate in AIA summits, in which architects provide feedback and advice on student projects. This exposure prepares students to present to others and students understand they are preparing work that will be represented and viewed by professionals. The most important thing about industry partners committing time to Dallas ISD students is the ability to become a role model to others, the ability to share your knowledge, and the ability to give students continuous opportunities to know that they are important. Overall, students are producing work that is relevant to the world of architecture.

For more information about AIA, visit the website HERE.