BECAUSE PEACE IS JOB ONE #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut In the early 1980s there was a widespread concern that total nuclear war was not only possible but imminent. It was in this atmosphere of fear and anxiety that architect Sidney Gilbert began organizing his fellow architects as well as planners and designers to take a stand against this imminent danger. It was the height of the Cold War, and many considered speaking out against nuclear proliferation to be highly unpatriotic. Warheads were being built and deployed, Star Wars defense systems were being designed—“mutually assured destruction” was US policy. Gilbert was a sought-after architect with his own architecture and interior design firm in highly competitive New York. His career was in full swing, requiring all his attention, but Gilbert believed that he and his fellow creators of beautiful spaces should take a stand against the proliferation of these dreadful weapons. Gilbert moved his profession to action, founding Architects, Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR). He was harshly criticized by many for taking a stand against his own government’s policies; his business suffered for the loss of his time and energy. But Gilbert went on, insisting that there was no point in creating beautiful buildings if they, and the people in them, could be vaporized by nuclear weapons. In the decade that followed, Gilbert engaged architects and designers in the Soviet Union in dialogues with their US counterparts. US and USSR professionals visited each other’s countries, engaging in high-quality and rigorous professional exchanges. It had never happened before; attitudes and lives were changed. Gilbert received numerous acknowledgments for his extraordinary efforts. He was not only in the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, he was also elected to full membership in the Moscow Union of Architects, an unprecedented honor. Nevertheless, he told family and friends that the Giraffe Commendation he received in 1986 was the recognition he most prized. Update: Sidney Gilbert died in 2001. His social responsibility work goes on at http://adpsr.org/home/index Like this Giraffe? LIKE this Page!