#MyEXPerience: Adam Ahrens
At EXP, architects and designers share their passion for the industry through stories of enriched human experiences by thoughtfully designed infrastructure. The commitment of our professionals in gaining a deeper understanding of effective design is endless. For example, EXP’s architectural designer, Sara Fetterolf, recently helped to facilitate AIA (American Institute of Architects) Chicago and NeoConnect’s ‘Gender Neutral Design: Restrooms and Beyond’ program.
As the co-chair of AIA Chicago’s LGBTQI+ Alliance and a respected designer at EXP, Sara has participated in conversations around shaping the built environment to transcend historical and cultural norms to design purposeful projects for all. For the program, Sara continued this discussion by gathering distinguished leaders from academia, consultancy, architecture and design and a building official from the City of Chicago to discuss varying components of gender-neutral design, including the historical context, current examples of projects and how architects and designers can continue to encourage equitable designs for the built environment.
When asked about her role in helping to bring this program to fruition and the program’s impact on her role as a designer at EXP, Sara noted, “As the co-chair for AIA Chicago’s LGBTQI+ Alliance, I have the opportunity, and responsibility, to advocate for a diverse design community and education is a very important aspect of advocacy. For this specific program, leaders in the gender-neutral design space discussed a common design element, restrooms, and how it is and can be, positioned in architecture. This program was an opportunity to hear from experts in gender-neutral approaches for the built environment, as well as welcome varied viewpoints. Challenging our understanding of design can result in doing our jobs with increased efficiency and in a manner that offers comfortable spaces for everyone.”
She added, “At EXP, I have the opportunity to work on large-scale public projects that impact many lives. Information from this program helps further my ability to think creatively and deliver innovative solutions, multidimensional design approaches and design excellence to clients and communities. I am truly humbled to be working with leaders who are enriched with diverse experiences, backgrounds and viewpoints. They have taught me, regardless of age or experience, you will always be a student of architecture and should seek, advocate and explore to achieve a stronger architectural system.”
The highly anticipated event had over 800 attendees, including many EXP employees who are also AIA members. Congratulations, Sara, on your contributions to a successful program and your commitment to the industry.
Find out more about AIA Chicago LGBTQI+ Alliance’s recently hosted ‘Gender Neutral Design: Restrooms and Beyond’ program here.