Diversity in the Design Fields

Published: May 31, 2024

In our latest From the Tap podcast, we speak with Kristine Anderson, the managing principal/designer of PKA Architecture in Minneapolis about tackling the diversity gap in design practices.

The conversation starts with Kristine recapping an experience she had as a design intern. A conversation with a supervisor revealed some assumptions about her future in the field, which were based on her gender. She made a mental note of the issue and moved forward, undeterred and with a new perspective, with her education and career.

Next, Kristine talks about how diversity awareness can benefit design firms – and in turn, their clients. She cites how PKA’s residential work has been enriched by its employees’ different perspectives of how people live, how people process, how people think about things. “There’s so many things that people from different groups can bring to the table,” she says. “Different people, collaboration, open mind, respect. It creates great ideation for every project.”

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The subjects shifts to ways design firms can improve diversity at the hiring level. Kristine notes that PKA has no formalized program for this, and observes that the scope of applicants has organically become more inclusive over time. She draws an analogy with a city block, populated with modern, historic and transitional architectures.

The conversation comes to a close with Kristine describing the mentorship program at PKA.

To hear more from Kristine Anderson, listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Pandora and other outlets.

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