This article was originally published on Common Edge. Designer Paul Wellington, based in Milwaukee, United States, is the author of Black Built: History and Architecture in the Black Community, a book that documents more than 40 works of architecture around the country by Black architects that have had a direct impact on communities of color. He’s now working on a new book that will focus on Black women architects in a field dominated by white males. I spoke with Wellington about the new book, what he learned through his research on Black architects and their work, and the future of increasing the ranks of Black architects in the U.S. Michael J. Crosbie: What motivated you to write Black Built? Paul Wellington: I studied architecture in school at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and I was one of three Black students to graduate from the undergraduate program, and the only one to graduate with a master’s degree in architecture. At that time I was not really aware of the work of Black architects in the U.S. I started researching on my own to learn about them, and it was incredible—there were a lot of Black architects, some of whom had designed prominent buildings. I started a blog post on various Black architects and buildings designed by them from the 19th century to the present. The blogs seemed well received on social media, and I continued to uncover work. I had been blogging about it for about nine months before I thought that this might make a good book. It needed to find a larger audience, to demonstrate that Black architects have made important contributions to American architecture. I decided to self-publish through Amazon. It’s been well received—people have told me they had no clue about these architects and their work.
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