Last year, as the pandemic kept many housebound, artist and architectural historian Esther Choi found herself fielding a lot of requests from BIPOC students and young professionals looking for advice. She noticed several of the same concerns cropping up, specifically those having to do with the stresses of studying or working in environments that were overwhelmingly white. So, as one will do these days, Choi took to social media, where she announced virtual information sessions in which she would talk about her professional experience in an attempt to help others. The success of these initial, informal get-togethers led Choi to plan a series of events where BIPOC design students and young professionals could pick the brains of established BIPOC architects, designers, and writers about their careers and ways to navigate often unsupportive fields. The conversations would be casual, frank, and encouraging. Choi named the initiative Office Hours.
Jack Balderrama Morley
New York–based design writer and the managing editor of The Architect's Newspaper.