Diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental to the values reflected in our code of professional ethics and must be fostered throughout our organization, the profession, our workplaces, and communities. We strive to cultivate a sense of safety and belonging for all individuals while creating an atmosphere of deep collaboration that cuts across demographic and hierarchical lines.
As architects, we must understand the role we play in perpetuating systems of oppression and commit ourselves and our firms to practicing, designing, and building for racial justice and equity. Understanding where past biases and motivations stem from before taking new actions will help us to shape future policies and create structural changes in our profession, our communities, and our society.
Leadership in design and construction requires collaboration. Architects must encourage and celebrate the contributions of those who bring diverse experiences, views, and needs into the design process.
SAR+ believes that equity work is essential to change the workplace to reflect the culture to which we aspire. It is our mission and policy to provide equitable opportunities in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, training, compensation, benefits, and working conditions.
We recognize that leaders who are diverse in gender and racial identity can have a transformative impact as mentors and role models. SAR+ has undertaken several strategies to provide this mentorship and increase minority and women architects, engineers, and design professionals, including:
Commitment to Local Schools and Students: SAR+ and its employees volunteer in Denver Public Schools and surrounding school districts to expand awareness and access to architecture. And we hire local high school students for summer internships further expand access and awareness.
Supporting Our Communities. SAR+ is committed to helping solve the housing crisis in Denver. +Connect, the community change making group in our office, seeks to improve our community through direct engagement and thoughtful design – especially as it relates to housing challenges. We’ve worked with organizations like Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver to help provide affordable housing in Elyria-Swansea, Colorado Village Collaborative to help design tiny home prototypes (that have now been built and implemented for two villages), and West Denver Renaissance Collaborative (WDRC) to develop an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) pilot program. We’re always looking for ways to plug-in to existing or emergent efforts to improve Denver by sharing our expertise in architecture and design.
College Scholarships: SAR+ and its employees actively support first-generation student scholarships through the University of Colorado at Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning.
College Internships: SAR+ promotes full paid summer internships so that burgeoning architects can see all phases of architectural design and pursue a personally defined project that can strengthen their professional portfolio.
Sponsoring Immigration: SAR+ has sponsored two future architects whose place-of-birth is outside the US by committing to their employment, providing legal counsel, and supporting the time off required by the immigration process.
Equitable Hiring: SAR+ has a structured hiring process to mitigate bias by consistently looking for desired skills and values in candidates, like redacting names and photos from resumes. During the interview process we ensure that a diverse cross-section of our office meets with candidates to ensure that both candidates and interviewers have an opportunity to explore opportunities to grow SAR+’s diversity.
We worked with the Colorado Village Collaborative, the City of Denver and students at the Cherry Creek Innovation Center to design and implement the second tiny home village in Denver, which provides homes for women experiencing homelessness.