2018 Fall Conference





Save the date for our 2019 Conference!


OCTOBER 22–26, 2019

The US Grant, A Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego
326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101 USA

In recent years, the Academy of Architecture for Justice has gathered to discuss architecture and social justice, interdisciplinary practice, and most recently enlightened approaches to mental health and treatment.

In 2019, we will come together in San Diego to have a conversation about communities, and how architecture can be supportive of initiatives that address longstanding social fractures and move us forward, together, as we take on new and increasingly difficult challenges.

Alternatives to detention, innovative courts focused on therapeutic or restorative justice, increased focus on outward facing community services, and community policing are all reshaping the way consider the design and impact of justice facilities.

Law enforcement priorities are too often impacted by a resource limited environment, in which the competing demands of addiction, homelessness, and mental health crises have made policing more varied and challenging than ever.

In San Diego, we will meet in the shadows of prototypical sections of a vast physical barrier, inherently a symbol of division and difference. With the wall as a backdrop, we will also consider the unseen borders that often divide our communities in highly visible ways.

The most notorious social divides in our country: Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis, 9th Avenue in Louisville, Troost Avenue in Kansas City, and 8 Mile Road in Detroit are all examples of how underserved communities struggle as essential resources are diverted, and where a lack of trust in the justice system has become pervasive. In San Diego, more than five million people live together at the border, under very different circumstances. How we, as planners and designers, address these inequalities will have a profound impact on our future, and provide an opportunity for innovation related to social impact that has become an essential component of architectural practice.

Please, come and join us in San Diego, where we will explore opportunities that arise when we choose to consider our borders as what unite, rather than divide us.

Gregory Cook, AIA 2019 AAJ Leadership Group Chair


Registration for 2018 is now closed.


Enlightened Justice: Advancing Treatment

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, it is estimated more than 2 million arrests in the US involve people with serious mental illnesses.  The National Conference of State Legislatures acknowledges an important and intersecting area of criminal justice and health policy is how to better handle a person with a mental illness who becomes involved in the criminal justice system. People who are experiencing a mental health crisis are more likely to encounter police than get medical help, again, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  As a result, 64% of jail inmates have a mental health problem, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Agencies and officials at many stages of the criminal justice system face the challenge of responding effectively to these needs. State legislatures are interested in how policies can achieve better results for individuals and both systems.

The 2018 Academy of Architecture for Justice Conference will provide a venue for us to rethink and reassess.  We will carry on and integrate what we have been exploring at our national conferences the past several years. Just as we want our politicians to cross the aisle and work together, we need to tear down silos and partner with our fellow knowledge communities, such as the Academy of Architecture for Health and other allies, for their expertise.  Together, we can disrupt and redefine how we as architects, owners and affiliates address our mental health crisis with our justice facilities.

Meet Your 2018 Conference Planning Committee

Melissa Farling, FAIA, LEED AP
As a Principal of the Gould Evans Phoenix Studio, Melissa provides leadership to the firm and within the profession, focusing primarily on the ways in which architecture impacts people. In an effort to create positive impact, much of her 30-year career has focused on justice, educational, and behavioral health facilities of all sizes.  She has successfully applied research to design, resulting in measurable outcomes.
Melissa is the current chair of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice leadership group and is a member of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture Advisory Council.  She also served as an AAJ Research & Technology Committee co-chair from 2006-2015 and has contributed to many publications and gives frequent presentations on evidence-based design applications.

Nina Gladstone, AIA, LEED AP
Nina Gladstone is an Associate Director and the regional practice coordinator for the Civic and Government practice for the New York office of SOM. As a project manager with over 25 years of professional experience in the justice sector, she has successfully delivered projects from programming through construction administration services. Nina’s experience includes major built projects totaling more than 6 million square feet. Some of her more recent projects have been recognized through national and regional awards and publications.
Nina has led several panels at the AAJ conference focusing on her work with courthouses through the construction process. Over the last three years, her practice has focused on developing new therapeutic approaches for housing individuals with mental and physical illnesses in the correctional environment. 

Kristine Johnson, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP 
Kristine Johnson is an Associate Principal and the Justice Market Lead for the DC Metro region of AECOM. With nearly 20 years of experience in the justice sector, her experience ranges from planning through construction administration of courts, detention/correction, and public safety facilities. As a judicial planner and project manager, Kristine focuses on engaging stakeholders to understand their organization's operations and maximize efficiencies. 
Kristine is a frequent speaker at AAJ events. She served as a Courts Track Chair at the 2012 conference in Toronto and was featured as an AAJ Emerging Professional in 2014.


Melissa, Nina, Kristine, and the entire planning committee are excited for the conference this year. We have assembled a diverse group of speakers to share their research and experiences. We  look forward to hosting members of our peer community, the Academy of Architecture for Healthcare. We encourage you to join us in Jersey City this November and prepare to be part of the solution!

  • The theme of the conference is Enlightened Justice: Advancing Treatment. What kind of treatment specifically and why the term “enlightened”?  Please explain.
    "Merriam-Webster defines enlightened as free from ignorance and misinformation, as well as based on full comprehension of the problems solved. There are staggering statistics on the high instances of mental illness within our justice system. This conference is intended to provide a forum to listen to the problems that continue to plague our justice system, discuss solutions that our colleagues and healthcare practitioners are implementing, and explore our roles in elevating the message. Advancing treatment means many things – challenging the status quo to act as champions for healing environments, lobbying our government to change policy, and surrounding those affected by mental illness with the support to live productive lives. "
  • Why is Treating Mental Health within Justice Design important for practitioners? How does collaborative inter- and transdisciplinary work help us?
    "As practitioners, it is important for us to challenge mental health policies and practices within our justice system because they color the landscape of the mission of our justice system. Collaborating with healthcare practitioners, educators, and community support organizations, among many others, allows us a broader understanding of the problems to be solved. This conference will afford us the opportunity to engage with many of these professionals to harness our respective thought leadership and positively disrupt the current state. "
  • Can you tell us a bit about the track Chairs that will be organizing the Courts, Detention/Corrections, and Law Enforcement Sessions?
    "We are not using the AAJ’s traditional track categories of Courts, Corrections, and Law Enforcement for this conference. We have grouped panels by theme instead of traditional building typologies, as this more appropriately captures the theme of Advancing Treatment. Our goal in selecting presentations was to deliver a conference that addresses mental health in our justice system through a wide lens. The track chairs will be leading sessions that align to their areas of expertise as well as topics they are passionate about."
Tom Perica, AIA, LEED AP BD+C 
Tom Perica is a justice and civic architect with 24 years of experience in the planning and design of courts and complex public projects. He has a deep understanding of the technical process needed to deliver courts facilities tailored to the specific needs of clients while always advocating advancement and challenging the status quo of established building types. As the justice system changes, his interest lies in hybrid facilities that overlay healthcare programming with traditional justice building types. 
Tom was the 2015 AAJ conference chairman and he challenged his cohorts at the conference’s closing plenary to advance the mission of this Knowledge Group by increasing cross-pollination with the mental healthcare field. The work over the last three years is representative of that 2015 call for change and is the theme of this year’s conference. 

Tom is chairing this year’s track, Inclusive Processes, where we will look at four approaches to inclusive Justice Design with well-being as a focus.
•    Applying The Equity Lens: Public to Private Sector
•    Officer and Inmate Wellness with Post Occupancy Data
•    Shaping Tribal Well-being
•    One Commonwealth: Two Approaches to Designing for Youth

Jeff Hyman, AIA
Jeff has dedicated the majority of his 25 years in architecture to the design and construction of justice, cultural, and educational facilities. He currently serves as a Vice President and Senior Project Manager in the New York office of CGL. Jeff has a deep-rooted belief in combining and advocating for Social Justice Principles, operational understanding, and technical knowledge. He has led the planning and design of county, state, and federal courthouses, and both juvenile and adult detention centers. Many of his projects have been recognized for their design excellence, including the Staten Island Courthouse in New York City and the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver, Colorado.  Jeff was a guest speaker at the 2015 AAJ Conference advocating for the importance of courthouse design guidelines. 

Jeff is chairing this year’s track, Evidence-Based Approaches, where we will discuss changing strategies in Justice Design with well-being as a focus, including:
•    The Design of Mental and Behavioral Health Facilities
•    Mentally Ill Offenders: Who is "My Keeper”?
•    Reducing Trauma/Meeting Needs:  Environments that Restore Health
•    Thin Blue Line: Mental Health & Mental Illness

Larry Hlavacek, AIA, S.E.
Larry Hlavacek has over 25 years of experience in architecture and project management with a specialization in Justice Architecture and Law Enforcement Design.  He currently serves as Senior Associate and Senior Project Manager for the Justice practice for HOK in Chicago. He leads the development of innovative, functional, and cost-effective design solutions with award-winning results. including the Hanover Park Police Headquarters.  He has led recent projects including the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center in downtown Nashville and the Joliet In-Patient Treatment Facility for the Illinois Department of Corrections, which focus on mental health treatment and rehabilitative programs, and the Oswego, Illinois Police Headquarters, which features an extensive training area and community spaces to encourage community involvement.
Larry speaks frequently as an expert on Law Enforcement Design at local and national conferences, discussing topics including best practices, design trends, and community policing. He also serves as a member of his local Citizen’s Police Academy.  

Larry is chairing this year’s track, Case Studies, where we will examine four case studies with different approaches to Justice Design with well-being as a focus, including:
•    Re-Entry Programs & Diversionary Strategies, Recovery of Mentally Ill 
•    SB863 (CA) Adult Mental Health: A Case Study 
•    Shrinking Corrections
•    NJIT Studio - Two Newark Precincts Critical Analysis

Jeff Purtell, Assoc. DBIA
Associate Principal
Jeff Purtell is an Associate Principal and oversees business development activities for the Justice Architecture sector for Dewberry, which includes segments in Corrections, Courts, and Public Safety. He is the point contact for Dewberry’s vertical design-build initiative, with a focus on best practices and efficient project delivery.  He formerly represented a manufacturer of building systems for correctional facilities.   

Jeff is an Associate Design-Build Professional (Assoc. DBIA) and a Justice Partners Committee member of the AIA-AAJ.  His affiliations also include the American Correctional Association, California State Sheriffs Association, and California State Association of Counties. 

Jeff has organized two tours scheduled for Friday in Brooklyn. One tour will be located at the Kings County Supreme and Family Courthouse, which was completed in 2005 and is also the home to the Brooklyn Mental Health Court. This court offers community-based treatment in lieu of incarceration to defendants with serious mental health diagnoses. The other tour is planned for the Red Hook Justice Center, a program of the Center for Court Innovation. 

  • What do you hope will be the biggest takeaway or issue to consider for the attendees once the conference is underway?
    "Our biggest hope for this conference is to share and expand our knowledge and challenge each other to expand our view. We are an influential membership with a moral obligation to engage a greater field of stakeholders to develop facilities that more effectively serve the needs of our justice system and our communities"

Thank you to our Sponsors and Exhibitors. Questions about sponsoring or exhibiting can be directed to: lindseymullarkey@aia.org



Sponsors and Exhibitors


Hotel and Travel