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Emily Grandstaff-Rice

Emily Grandstaff-Rice

Senior Associate


Boston, MA

I design and think about a range of academic, hospitality, institutional, and commercial projects. A building is more than its shell; it is an experience. I am fascinated by the future of architectural practice. I am an architect, mother, and troublemaker.



Senior Associate

Arrowstreet is an architecture firm reinvigorating design in Boston. We continuously evolve, challenging ourselves to reimagine typical building typologies. Today, we seek to enhance the quality of the built environment, participating in some of the region’s most exciting projects from our location at the forefront of the new creative economy in the Financial District.

We are progressive, collaborative, and fresh in our approach. Our staff of architects, interior designers, planners, and graphic designers are astute observers who bring diverse perspectives to every venture. This translates to a spirit of equity on our project teams, where the combination of experience and talent has allowed us to stay at the forefront of the profession. Here, interdisciplinary in-house teams sit side-by-side, harnessing their depth of knowledge and creative thinking to solve the most complex building challenges.

American Institute of Architects

Board Director At-large Elect

At the 2017 Conference on Architecture, I was elected by AIA delegates to serve on the AIA Board of Directors for three-year terms beginning in December 2017. I am very excited to begin this new adventure.

Equity in Architecture Commission

Make EDI Core Value

The AIA Board of Directors and Strategic Council should consider equity, diversity, and inclusion among the evaluation criteria for future actions. Those actions include resolutions, business items, and member-led initiatives that make the AIA an even more relevant and socially-conscious organization. By consistently considering EDI, the Board and Council will ensure that future efforts are evaluated for their societal impact and ability to bring people together.

Measure + report how EDI permeates

As well as embracing EDI as a core value, the Institute must measure and report how that value is influencing demographics, behavior, attitudes, awareness, retention, recruitment, culture, and engagement within the AIA. The Commission urges that compilation of the data start with AIA staff, volunteers, and elected and appointed leaders on national, regional, local, and component levels.

Launch EDI training

In order to elevate awareness of the societal and business case for greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in the profession of architecture,the Commission recommends that the Institute create customized EDI training for AIA volunteers and leadership. This could be a combination of in-person sessions at large AIA events such as the AIA Conference on Architecture, Grassroots Leadership Conference, and Knowledge Leadership Assembly; materials and guides for interested groups to facilitate local sessions; and on-demand learning that can be used for components.

Create equitable practice guides

The Commission recommends that the Institute create and provide members and their firms with guides on best practices in observance of equity, diversity, and inclusion principles, and how those principles ca nbe a part of any architectural practice. The guides would address such issues as career progression, work culture, leadership development,talent recruitment and more. The guides could be accessible on demand publications.

Create a EDI position paper

The Institute now has extensive data on demographic trends within the profession. But it can’t always answer the question of why those trends occur. There’s a need for more specific understanding of the issues and implications in the quest for full equity, diversity, and inclusion.The Commission recommends that the AIA commission an academic study to document and research the impact of EDI in architecture. This study would rigorously analyze and interpret available data and provide qualitative evidence to support a broader knowledge base.





"Architects have the power to change the world with their ideas, advocacy, knowledge, connections and communities. We are at a pivotal point in our economy, the health of our cities and the environment, and as a profession. Architects make change through your work." -Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA at the 2017 Conference on Architecture
"Changing architecture culture will take time and effort... The concept that there is one perfect pathway to practicing architecture denies the experience of those of us who have charted our own path for flexibility, significance, and team camaraderie that frankly keeps us in architecture." - Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA at 2014 Equity by Design