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Inspiring Others and Impacting the World through Architecture and Lessons Learned

Paola Moya, Associate AIA and CEO of Marshall Moya Design, shared her life journey and her lessons

learned during the National Organization of Minority Architect (NOMA)’s 2014 annual conference. She was the featured Keynote Speaker for the conference in Philadelphia on October 3, 2014. The theme of the conference was “For the Love of It: Community, History, Design.” Paola’s speech received a standing ovation, and it included content regarding her success story, her journey from Colombia to the U.S., lessons learned, and advice for all professionals. Her key takeaway for her speech was, "I encourage each of you today to reflect on what you are truly passionate about and define your long-term goals. What is your calling as a professional? What is the purpose of your actions? My advice to you is to celebrate your short term goals and stay committed to your long terms goals. Appreciate life to the fullest, and make something meaningful of your profession. As architects and designers, we can contribute to other people’s quality of life through the built and designed environment…and that is a gift. Giving back to your community develops you as a professional but also as an individual. Understand the needs and challenges of other people, and brainstorm how your talents can help others." The week after her keynote speech, she put her advice into action when she presented in Geneva, Switzerland an architectural solution and prototype to solve an international crisis. Michael Marshall and Paola Moya shared an architectural proposal for a solution for internally displaced people. Internally displaced people (IDP) are people displaced and homeless within their own countries due to internal war, natural disasters, famine, torture, extortion, etc. There are 40 million IDP in the world today. The prototype is designed for urban contexts and takes the shape of a mixed-use development that would involve public/private partnerships between developers and governments. The objective of MMD’s proposed project is to provide an economical, social, and architectural solution for housing IDP around the world. The main goal is to generate housing solutions in urban settings by channeling government funds for physical infrastructures, and to establish incentives for private developers to create mixed-income projects. Organizations in attendance for the presentation include, but are not limited to: The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) & the Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN), who are preparing a joint report on housing practices that have promoted the achievement of durable solutions for internally displaced people (IDPs) in urban areas. They are featuring MMD’s proposed plan in their report.

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