Tiara Hughes, SOM senior urban designer and project manager, is a recipient of the 2021 AIA Associates Award. The award recognizes individual Associate AIA members who are outstanding leaders, creative thinkers, and have made significant contributions to their communities and the profession.
Hughes is a devoted activist, educator, and advocate for underrepresented communities and voices. Based in Chicago, she currently serves on the national board for NOMA. Her personal experiences in the industry and her passion for advocacy led her to establish a national research initiative called FIRST 500 in 2018. As the founder and executive director of FIRST 500, Hughes travels the country to raise awareness of the importance of Black women architects and their contributions to the built environment.
Hughes is also an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), a Commissioner with the City of Chicago Landmarks Commission, and a real estate professional.