A little less than two years after the onset of a global pandemic, inclusion in the architecture profession is unfortunately still a limited conversation. A 2020 survey by the UK’s Architects' Journal revealed a sobering amount of obstacles for Black architects in the UK, and in the United States, prominent Black practitioners such as Mabel O. Wilson of Studio & have questioned the Eurocentric nature of a large amount of architectural study.
Black History Month, celebrated in the US in February and in the UK in October, remembers and recognizes people and events in the African diaspora, providing a useful opportunity to conceive of a more equitable future.
In the almost 200-year-old history of the RIBA, it was only last year that a Black architect won it - David Adjaye. Architecture history courses taught in a large number of architecture schools still, unfortunately, feature a largely white canon. A history of colonialism on the African continent and systemic racism in the United States and the United Kingdom has meant that now, more than ever, architectural figures, concepts, and ways of thinking from the African diaspora deserve their rightful recognition – not just in isolated months but continuously throughout the year.
Figures such as Francis Kéré, Mariam Kamara, and Germane Barnes are just a fraction of Black designers driving bold architectural strategies in contemporary practice. Running parallel to Black architects designing buildings are also collectives such as Matri-Archi, crucially cultivating space for Black women in spatial education.
Below is a curated list of articles published on ArchDaily throughout the years on Black architects, on black figures taking up space in meaningful ways in architectural discussions and strategies from Joseph Bartholomew to Lesley Lokko.
Hidden Figures: The Historic Contributions of Black Architects in the United States
The Chase Residence: The History Behind One of Texas' Most Radical Houses
Rethinking History: Democratising Architectural Heritage
Once Racially Discriminated From His Own Architecture, Joseph Bartholomew is Overlooked No More
Remnant Schools: Faculty Are Repurposing the Legacy of Jim Crow Across Louisiana
Exploring Structural Inequalities
Spatial Education and the Future of African Cities: An Interview with Matri-Archi
Stephanie Ribeiro on how "Architecture Must Recognize the Debate Around Race and Gender"
“Universal Representation Is Utopian”: Erica Malunguinho Talks About Urban Equity
Bryan C. Lee on Design Justice and Architecture’s Role in Systemic Racism
Intersectional Design: Rethinking Architecture for the Future
In Conversation: Black Designers
"It’s Not Because You Are Limited in Resources That You Should Accept Mediocrity": Interview with Francis Kéré
"Cultural Identity is Central to Architecture": In Conversation with Lesley Lokko
A New Urban Model for a New Project of Society: An Interview with Tainá de Paula
"I Grew Up Where Architecture Was Designed to Oppress": Wandile Mthiyane on Social Impact and Learning from South Africa
The Pursuit of an Identity for Angolan Architecture: Interview with Grupo BANGA
Radical Repair: Log 48 in Conversation with Mabel O. Wilson
Sir David Adjaye Wins the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal
The 30 Most Influential Architects in London
Critical Round-Up: The National Museum of African American History and Culture
Black and Gold: How Paul Revere Williams Became the First African-American to Win the AIA's Highest Honor
Envisioning a Hip-Hop Urbanism in Washington DC
FIRST 500 Celebrates the Achievements of Black Women Architects
Living in Dakar, A Study of Senegalese Housing & Future Development