“The center of architecture is shifting and cannot hold,” writes guest editor Bryony Roberts in Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice. This moment of change, in which issues of inequity and intersectionality are coming to the fore, represents “an invitation to think differently, a chance to reask the questions that haunted the 20th century.” To that end, Roberts conducted a series of interviews with experimental architects exploring new forms of practice, including this conversation with Mabel O. Wilson. Mabel O. Wilson is a scholar and designer who has become a leading voice in discussions on space, politics, and memory in black America. She is the Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, as well as a professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies and the associate director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies. Her books include Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums. Her interdisciplinary practice Studio & is part of the architectural team that designed the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia. She is also a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA), a collective that advocates for fair labor practices on building sites worldwide. We talked at an outdoor cafe near Columbia on one of the last warm days in fall 2019.
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