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Architecture and Abortion: Design of Politicized Spaces

August 18, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PDT

Architecture and Abortion: Design of Politicized Spaces

This is a FREE virtual event. Please register using the link below.

Event Partners:
AIA|LA’s Women in Architecture Committee
AIA|LA’s J.E.D.I Committee

CES Units: 1 LU (applying)

What can we as architects do to constructively address changes to public access of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade by SCOTUS? Please join AIA|LA and ACLA on Thursday, August 18, at 5:00 pm, for an Online Town Hall to discuss how architects can become more engaged in the design of politicized spaces.

California has for decades been at the forefront of abortion rights.[1] Since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, California has pledged to be a ‘sanctuary state’ and adopted measures to proactively protect abortion rights and access including Assembly Bill 1666 which protects abortion providers and their patients that come from other states from civil actions in other states. The number of people seeking reproductive care in the state is estimated to increase from 46,000 to 1.4 million.[2] Researchers estimate that California could see a nearly 3,000% increase in the number of people traveling to the state for care, by those whose nearest legal abortion provider is in the state or others from much farther away.[3] Health clinics across California are and will need to expand capacity as people across the nation are looking to California to access the care they need.

This moderated discussion brings together Lori Brown, FAIA, and Nina Briggs to address how architectural design, policies and legislation of the built environment impact physical access to spaces, why architects and designers should involve themselves at all stages of the political process, how laws affect providers’ facilities, and the ways that architects can act.



Photo credit: Laura Heyman

Lori Brown, FAIA – Professor, Syracuse Architecture
Lori Brown is an architect, author and professor at Syracuse University whose work emerges from the belief that architecture can participate in and impact people’s daily lives. Her research explores the social, political and institutional arenas where architects are not typically present. She is author of Contested Space: Abortion Clinics, Women’s Shelters and Hospitals, and the article “Private Choices, Public Spaces. Field notes from Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic,” where she investigates how legislation affects politicized and securitized spaces. Co-founder of ArchiteXX, a group dedicated to transforming the architecture profession for women, her research focuses on architecture and social justice issues with particular emphasis on gender and its impact upon spatial relationships. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Association of University Women.


Photo Credit: Skye Moorhead

Nina Briggs – Associate Professor, Cal Poly Pomona
Nina Briggs is an educator and designer and founding principal of THE FABRIC. Nina seeks to elevate and redefine design to positively affect inhabitants psychologically, while solving spatial problems. Her interdisciplinary analysis of architecture and design in the context of culture, draws from anthropology, psychology and human geography, thinking beyond the traditional boundaries of space-making. Through ethnographic research, via cognitive and human behavioral mapping, Nina observes and analyzes the psychological responses to space, producing empirical data and theories, generating hypotheses that inform design more effectively and sensitively. As design becomes increasingly interdisciplinary, she explores how these shifts in paradigms transform design pedagogy and practice.


Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, FAIA – Vice President, ACLA; Co-principal, W-ROAD; Dean Emerita
Ingalill is professor, co-principal of the architecture firm W-ROAD, and serves as Vice President of Architecture for Communities Los Angeles, a non-profit organization that advocates for architecture education and community building, with a mission of empowering everyone to create a better Los Angeles through K-12 educational programming, mentorship platforms, and civic engagement partnerships.

Learning Objectives:
+ Participants will understand how architectural design of the built environment, policies and legislation impact physical access to spaces.
+ Participants will gain insight into ways that architects and designers can involve themselves at all stages of the political process.
+ Participants will learn about laws that affect the design of, and access to, providers’ healthcare facilities, and why building codes are not doing what they profess to do.
+ Participants will learn how architects can engage with reproductive healthcare providers to mainstream the design of clinics.
+ Participants will learn other ways that architects and designers can act to support sexual and reproductive healthcare in Southern California.


August 18, 2022
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PDT
Event Categories:


AIA|LA Women in Architecture Committee (WiA)
AIA|LA JEDI Committee