Julie Hiromoto, FAIA, is a Partner and Director of Integration at HKS in Dallas. Julie is a recognized leader in the local and national sustainable design community, and was elevated to the College of Fellows in 2021. Learn more about Julie in the Q&A below!

What has been your involvement with AIA and TxA?

I’m relatively new to Texas and Dallas, but I did have a chance to participate in TxA’s Architects Day in 2023 in Austin, as well as present and moderate locally with AIA Dallas’ EMPOWERING Conference and a WiA event on service. Nationally, I’ve had the privilege to serve as AIA National COTE Leadership Group Chair in 2020, an inaugural Committee on Climate Action and Design Excellence (CCADE) Committee member, and current Building Committee member, responsible for overseeing the renovation of the HQ building in Washington, D.C.

What is a professional accomplishment you are proud of?

Representing the more than 93,000 AIA members in our first UN Climate Change Conference delegation at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, and testifying before the U.S. Congress Energy & Commerce Committee

What was your first job, and what did you learn?

Teaching ballet and tap dance lessons to third graders was so much fun, and at the time really intimidating. It was my first real responsibility for others. It was the first time I was viewed as an “expert.” From that early experience, I learned we all progress at varying speeds and lean into our natural talents and unique strengths differently.

What is something you are passionate about?

Environmental and social advocacy for just and regenerative futures. I’m privileged to serve as the Dallas mayor’s appointee to the Environmental Commission. You can read more about the importance of local advocacy and its impact in this piece for Architecture 2030, reflecting on my role as a COP28 delegate.

How can the profession improve and grow?

Don’t be afraid to commit to something you are curious about and personally invest in your own growth. Over time, you will develop your own critical point of view and unique solutions to some of the most pressing challenges. I share my story of how I accidentally became a sustainability expert by asking questions in this amazing podcast featuring women leading the way toward a better built world.

“Don’t be afraid to commit to something you are curious about and personally invest in your own growth. Over time, you will develop your own critical point of view and unique solutions to some of the most pressing challenges.”

Julie Hiromoto, FAIA

What advice would you give to someone starting their path in architecture?

Advocate for yourself and tell everyone who will listen what you are curious about. Sometimes you must do this again, and again, and again. It’s not because people don’t care about you, or they are not listening. There is a lot going on in the world, and if you are at the front of someone’s mind, the opportunities will come to your first. The more you clearly and simply express interests, the more things people will share with you. Kira Gould, Hon. AIA, recently coached the Living Future community that talking about our work and celebrating our successes is just as important as doing the work itself.

What legacy do you want to leave?

A wider spread recognition of diversity in our profession, not only in terms of the value architects can bring and what we do, but the unique perspectives that will help us lean into this.  For example, last year, I sponsored Adele Houghton, FAIA, for fellowship. She is a consultant, green building and health pioneer, researcher, Ph. D. in public health, and a translator identifying co-benefits of good (green, healthy, equitable) design who lives in Houston — check out her alignment playbook for community-centered design supported by an AIA UpJohn grant.

Any final thoughts?

It is more important than ever before to connect the dots and translate our knowledge across disciplines, sectors, and other traditional boundaries of practice — I love my job! Our society and industry are changing too rapidly to risk status quo. Sometimes, we get to our collective goals faster and more effectively when you dive into something that you know nothing about and adopt a novice perspective.

Our world and work are incredibly interconnected and built upon systems. I’m learning that our brains and the built environment could be the next lever to unlock some of the most significant challenges of our time, like climate (in)action. Research in anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience demonstrate our physical environment has real impact on our physical health, mental health, and now cognitive health — how we think clearly about complexity, learn, and make decisions. I’m proud to be a part of this new frontier, including hosting a United Nations General Assembly Science Summit day on Brain Capital in New York City last year.

This post is a part of our “Member Spotlight” series, which highlights TxA members who are making amazing contributions to the architectural community. If you know a TxA member who exemplifies our mission of supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, sustainable environments, you can nominate them to be featured here.

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