Yiselle Santos Rivera Receives 2022 AIA’s Young Architects Award

The AIA has honored Yiselle Santos Rivera, global director of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at HKS, with a 2022 Young Architects Award.

The Young Architects Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the design profession in the early stages of their careers. Santos Rivera joined HKS in 2015 and has transitioned from medical planner to senior medical planner and more recently to director of HKS’ J.E.D.I. initiatives. She is also a principal at the firm.

In a letter supporting Santos Rivera’s nomination for the Young Architects Award, AIA Strategic Council Member Patricia Acevedo Fuentes wrote that the Puerto Rico native’s work centers around making space for everyone and building platforms of support for those who have systemically been excluded from the design profession.

“She approaches design and community-building in the same methodical way she approached the development of her career—starting off college as a biology major, sinking herself into the technical aspects of life, and then turning to architecture because of the impact it has on human behavior,” Acevedo Fuentes wrote in her letter.

Santos Rivera’s desire to advocate for underrepresented design professionals led her to form Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design in 2017 to inspire and empower the next generation of design leaders. WIELD won the 2019 AIA Diversity Recognition Program Award.

In 2018, Santos Rivera received the AIA Associates Award, which recognizes leaders and creative thinkers for the contributions they make within their communities through the architecture profession. She is also an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects.


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Posted April 13, 2022

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