Letter from the Chair- October 2020

By Julie Hiromoto FAIA posted 10-16-2020 10:59 AM


Dear COTE members,

We are entering the home stretch of 2020; a year filled with enormous tragedy, resilience, and learning.  At a time of such change within the AIA and the world, COTE has reviewed and revised our mission and goals for the coming years.  We have come a long way since our founding 30 years ago. The adoption of COTE tenets into the AIA’s definition of Design Excellence and integration of these into the 2021 Honor Awards for Architecture beg the question “what’s next for COTE”?

Since March, we’ve been working to clarify and simply the message of what COTE stands for and what we will do to elevate the power of design to accelerate climate action and realize climate justice.  We shared drafts with former Chairs and Advisory Group members for review and comment, as well as other members of the COTE network of local chapters and members of the AIA Board and the Strategic Council.  The final draft was peer reviewed by Renée Cheng, FAIA (Dean, University of Washington College of Built Environments), Kevin Singh, AIA (Director, Louisiana Tech University School of Design’s Community Design Activism Center), and Past President of the AIAS, Sarah Curry (DIGSAU).  We’ve also reached out to NOMA leaders for review and comment.

AIA COTE Mission & Goals: 2020-2025 


The Committee on the Environment (COTE) is an American Institute of Architects Knowledge Community working for architects, allied professionals, and the public to achieve climate action and climate justice through design. We believe that design excellence is the foundation of a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future. Our work promotes design strategies that empower all AIA members to realize the best social and environmental outcomes with the clients and the communities they serve.



COTE will expand its partnerships, actively listen, and act collectively.

We ENABLE transformation.   

COTE will help architects transform their practices for climate action and climate justice.   

We CHRONICLE design excellence.  

COTE will elevate stories about people, buildings, and positive change. 

We ADVOCATE for change.   

COTE will promote policies that advance the AIA’s mission and ours.

We STRENGTHEN our network.   

COTE will connect and empower the COTE community and allies.

The AIA call for Knowledge Community leadership roles is now open through November 6.  If our mission and goals align with your passions and expertise, please apply and let us know how you can help us fulfill them.  Please also consider applying for other AIA National leadership positions. We need like-minded folks across the entire organization, not just within COTE, and given the AIA’s commitments to climate action, we need more leaders with your expertise!

Finally, don’t miss out on Architect Magazine’s full coverage of the 2020 COTE Top Ten winners!  Check out our free, on-demand AIAU course (2 HSW LUs) exploring their accomplishments, with jury member Bob Berkebile, FAIA.  Join us for a live virtual Toast on Thursday, October 29, 4-5:30pm ET / 1-2:30 PT; register here.  Join us for engaging small breakout sessions and learn more about what we are up to.

Julie Hiromoto
2020 AIA COTE Chair