Keynotes, instructors, & more

As the economy rebounds, the architecture profession is confronting a new business landscape, a zero-carbon imperative, and indisputable demands for equity in the workforce. Hear from some of the biggest names in architecture, design, and beyond who are harnessing their passions to find new ways to thrive and reshape the future.

Keynote events

Each day will have two keynote events.

José Andrés

Opening keynote June 17: José Andrés

Chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés has achieved independent success in a competitive industry, which he has parlayed into a values-driven enterprise. Keynote host Roman Mars will interview José about using the power of core values to drive creative and business goals.

Venus Williams

Closing keynote August 19: Venus Williams

Tennis champion and entrepreneur Venus Williams has always been a steadfast advocate for equality. Keynote host Roman Mars will interview Venus about the need for change, purpose-driven leadership, transformation, and resilience.

Day 1 Keynote panel

June 17 Keynote panel

Kim Yao, AIA, Sheela Søgaard, Deryl McKissack, and Gregg Pasquarelli, AIA, are leaders from the breakout firms of this generation. Don’t miss their keynote panel on transforming the business of design, where they’ll talk with keynote host Roman Mars about firm resilience and the future of architecture.

July 8 Opening Keynote Panel

July 8 Keynote panel

It’s one thing to learn sustainable design strategies. It’s another to convince clients to pay for them. Laura Lesniewski, FAIA, leads a conversation with Antoine Bryant, Assoc. AIA, and Kim Yao, AIA, on how to move from “not in my budget” to “gotta have it!”

Robert Bullard headshot on turquoise box

July 8: Dr. Robert Bullard

Race and class map closely with pollution, unequal protection, and vulnerability. In his keynote, Dr. Bullard will address environmental racism, climate justice, smart growth, and regional equity.

Shelley Halstead headshot on blue block

July 29: Shelley Halstead

After attending law school, Shelley Halstead launched Black Women Build – Baltimore, a homeownership and wealth building initiative. Shelley will share how she’s creating intergenerational wealth by empowering women and communities.

Gabriella Gómez-Mont

July 29: Gabriella Gómez-Mont

Gabriella Gómez-Mont is transforming Mexico City into a nexus for the kind of architecture cities demand. Her newest project, Experimentalista, will debut in Amsterdam, London, and Mexico City this summer. Don’t miss Gabriella’s take on what architects need to understand to design creative solutions.

Keynote panel day 4

August 19 Keynote panel

What external forces will shape architecture and design over the next year? Jonathan Jones, Liz Haggerty, Phil Bernstein, FAIA, and  Tiffany Hosey will dive into the new tech, business models, social pressures, and more that will shape the built environment in this exclusive one-hour “tour.”

Roman Mars

Keynote host: Roman Mars

Roman Mars is the host and creator of 99% Invisible, one of the world’s most popular podcasts about architecture and design. He’s back at A’21 to host several keynote events and introduce the topics and big ideas our remarkable speakers will share with you.

All speakers & instructors

Every year, some of the most creative architects and firms share proven insights, project takeaways, lessons learned, and new ways forward. Browse the list below to see who’s leading sessions at A’21!




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