096: Addressing Mental Health in Architecture

Episode 096: Addressing Mental Health in Architecture

How do we expand mental health support to professionals across the industry of architecture?

Peter Exley, FAIA, RIBA, NOMA, a former AIA National President, Gregg A. Garmisa, J.D., Principal and General Counsel at Studio Gang, and Korey D. White, AIA, NCARB, Senior Associate at DLR Group and a member of the AIA Strategic Council join us to address the growing concerns related to the mental health and well-being of individuals working in the profession of architecture. 

“As the industry continues to transform and grapple with inequities, workforce diversity, labor challenges and climate change, among other current issues, we challenge our colleagues to join in a collective and inclusive commitment to expand mental health support throughout our profession.”

Peter Exley, Gregg Garmisa, and Korey White, “We Need a Safe Place to Address Our Mental Health,” Chicago Architect, Summer 2022. 

In this episode, we’ll discuss the problem we’re facing related to mental health in the profession of architecture and steps we can take to start to address this challenge.

This episode is dedicated to anyone who is currently or has previously struggled with burnout, mental health, addiction, substance abuse, or related mental health challenges. You are not alone. There is a community of allies who seek to destigmatize, raise awareness, build acceptance, and build better overall well-being practices within our profession.


Peter Exley’s career is committed to an equitable and inclusive built environment for children, families, and communities.

As co-founder of Architecture Is Fun, he uses the power of design to build places and spaces that reflect the values, ambitions, and purpose of every stakeholder on myriad civic, cultural, private, and not-for-profit agencies.

As a teacher, he is nurturing future architects as the primary and credible resource with the explicit training and qualification to lead the creation of healthy and equitable net-zero place-making.

As the 97th President of the American Institute of Architects, he led AIA’s delegation to COP26 in Glasgow, and advanced the AIA Headquarters renewal project embodying the urgent need for climate action alongside a dramatic transformation for workplace, member, and community experience.

Gregg Garmisa is Principal and General Counsel at Studio Gang, based in the Studio’s Chicago office. Gregg interacts with clients, consultants, and our design teams on all projects to establish and maintain productive and collegial professional relationships.

Immediately prior to joining the Studio, Gregg was Vice President and General Counsel at a national engineering and sustainability consulting firm, where he became one of Studio Gang’s earliest collaborators. Before that, he practiced law and provided public policy guidance to clients in Washington, DC, and Chicago, and served as a legislative advisor to a US senator on Capitol Hill.

Gregg is an invited member of the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, a former board member of the American Institute of Architects Chicago, and a former trustee of the Chicago Architecture Center. He is an experienced lecturer on current topics at the intersection of the design profession and the law, which he has delivered at undergraduate- and graduate-level architecture programs as well as conferences across the US and abroad.

In 2019, he accepted an academic appointment as a Lecturer in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since then, he co-teaches each Fall semester “Foundations of Practice”, a required course for M.Arch I degree candidates that examines models and issues that define the modern architectural profession.

Gregg earned his J.D. from Georgetown University, where he was a law review associate editor and his undergraduate degree from Stanford University.

Korey White is driven by her zest for the built environment, bringing open-mindedness and creativity to her role as an architect and urban planner. She applies her dual master’s degrees in architecture and urban and regional planning to an interdisciplinary approach that creates impactful outcomes for her clients and the community. Korey currently works for DLR Group in the Chicago office, focused primarily on educational facility master planning for K-12 school districts and leading the planning discipline. 

Korey is recognized for her leadership within architecture by her recent election the AIA Board of Directors as an At-Large Director for 2023-2025. She has most recently served as the AIA Strategic Council 2022 Moderator and was awarded the 2018 AIA Young Architects Award, the 2017 BD+C 40 under 40 and the 2016 AIA Colorado Leadership Award. She is currently enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the iMBA program. She is a Forte Fellow and will graduate with her MBA in Fall 2022.

📍 Show Links: 

Peter Exley, Gregg Garmisa, and Korey White, “We Need a Safe Place to Address Our Mental Health,” Chicago Architect, Summer 2022. 

Reposted on LinkedIn

Program Referenced: Lawyers’ Assistance Program

📚 Continue Learning:

Katherine Flynn, “The Burnout Problem in Architecture,” Architect magazine, April 01, 2022.

Sean Joyner, “Debunking Architecture’s Mythological Work Culture,” Archinect, April 04, 2022.

Ian Volner, “Paradigm, Interrupted,” Architect magazine, April 14, 2022.

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