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Architecture And Race: The Latest Architecture and News

Presenting British Architecture as Progressive, but Practicing Through Exclusion

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Presenting Architecture as Progressive, but Practicing Through Exclusion."

For a profession that likes to congratulate itself about how well-meaning it is, and sees itself as liberal, diverse, open, and progressive, British architecture has a serious problem with diversity of pretty much every kind. It is dominated by people from well-off backgrounds. It trains a lot of brilliant female architects but doesn’t pay them as much as men, and loses many of them after 30 when they are not supported in balancing work and family life. Its ethnic makeup is very, very white, considering that it’s 2020. A supposed beacon of success is the acceptance of the LGBTQ community within the field, but as with women and those from and religious and ethnic minorities, stories of unprofessional comments, inappropriate jokes, and insidious forms of jovially “innocent” othering and the diminution of identity-specific concerns abound.

Works by David Adjaye, Daniel Libeskind, and More for Bid to Support Black Women Architecture Students

Architecture for Change (ARCH), a newly launched nonprofit initiative dedicated to addressing systemic racism in the architecture and design industry, is kicking off with an online auction featuring donated works—sketches, models, plans, photographic prints, and more—from a host of notable architects including Sir David Adjaye, Daniel Libeskind, Michel Rojkind, David Rockwell, Jennifer Bonner, Trey Trahan, and others.

More Than a PR Campaign—Diversity and Inclusion Through Action in Architecture Firms

Every company across the country is talking about “diversity” and “inclusion”—but what actions are actually being taken to address the issues? In May, following the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, conversations were had, statements issued, and boxes checked. But achieving diversity and inclusion will involve addressing long-term, systemic issues that cannot be solved with a black square on Instagram or a carefully crafted statement from a PR department.

The first step toward diversity and inclusion is recognizing that talking about it is not enough, and the path to real change is going to be a process.

Landscape Architects of Color on How to Combat Erasure

Over two days, approximately 500 online participants together set the agenda, formed and dissolved discussion groups, and shared knowledge and resources. With the assistance of an “open space” facilitator, this is how Cut|Fill, a virtual "unconference” on landscape architecture, unfolded.

Organized by the Urban Studio and Ink Landscape Architects, Cut|Fill was meant to “raise questions we all want to discuss,” explained Andrew Sargeant, ASLA, a founder of Urban Studio. One of those important questions: “how can landscape architects design with empathy and end dismissive behavior towards people of color?”

Hidden Figures: The Historic Contributions of Black Architects in the United States

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.

Reflecting on the African American Experience at the Harvard GSD

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police, the United States erupted in protests and demonstrations. The fervor generated by that event reached the world of architecture education a couple of weeks later, when two groups at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)—the African American Student Union (AASU) and AfricaGSD—posted a public statement, Notes on Credibility, calling for reforms at the school. Four days later, Dean Sarah M. Whiting posted a response, Towards a New GSD. Shortly after, I reached out to the groups, and they put me in touch with two of their members: Caleb Negash, a second-year student in the MArch program, and Andrew Mbuthia Ngure, a third-year student in the same program.

Remnant Schools: Faculty Are Repurposing the Legacy of Jim Crow Across Louisiana

Throughout the south of the United States, hundreds of mid-century “equalization schools”—public schools built in the 1950s following Brown vs. Board of Education in a desperate effort to maintain segregated “separate but equal” schools in southern states—sit empty, abandoned, and crumbling.

A New Urban Model for a New Project of Society: An Interview with Tainá de Paula

Tainá de Paula. Image: Publicity Photo
Tainá de Paula. Image: Publicity Photo

Approaching the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities. A new spatial contract. Learning how will we live together. These thoughts brought by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Biennale 2021, may raise important questions about how architecture crosses and materializes social and political conflicts. To understand a more decentralized point of view, which indicates possibilities other than those dictated by normative mindsets, we interviewed Tainá de Paula, a Brazilian architect and community mobilizer in poor suburban areas.

Wandile Mthiyane on Why Dignified Housing is at the Foundation of a Community

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions. A wide array of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina are joined by Wandile Mthiyane to discuss growing up in Durban, South Africa, Christians building classrooms, the apartheid, becoming an Obama Foundation Leader, the subtleties of racism and how it differs from the United States to South Africa, hiring locally, and more. Enjoy!

NCARB Releases 2020 Numbers Featuring First Results on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The ninth edition of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) annual report has been released, in the midst of new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting major information about the architecture profession in 2019. Focusing on different parameters, such as licensing, education, experience, and demographics, the study explores the evolution and transformation of the field, encompassing also findings on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Harvard GSD Students and Alumni Launch Design Yard Sale for Racial Justice

Students and alumni from the Harvard Graduate School of Design are launching an online Design Yard Sale to raise funds in support of the movement against systemic anti-Black racism. The team will sell and auction creative works donated by the design community, and all net proceeds will go towards the Bail Project and Colloqate Design. Among Design Yard Sale’s offerings will be works donated by renowned designers, artists, and scholars such as Toshiko Mori, Oana Stanescu, Rachel Israela, Jeanne Gang, Billie Tsien, Snarkitecture, Jerome Byron and VERV LONDON.

Virgil Abloh™️ x IKEA MARKERAD Chair. Image Courtesy of Design Yard SaleUntitled 05 by Kyat Chin. Image Courtesy of Design Yard SaleOana by Rachel Israela. Image Courtesy of Design Yard SaleConcrete Stool by Jerome Byron. Image Courtesy of Design Yard Sale+ 7

Racism and Cities with Mabel O. Wilson, Akira Drake Rodriguez, and Bryan Lee

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions. A wide array of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina are joined by Mabel O. Wilson, Bryan Lee, and Akira Drake Rodriguez to discuss racism and cities, how the built environment can be an instigator of racism, protests, the tearing down confederate monuments, housing, blackness and whiteness, the key changes needed for a more equitable society, and more. Enjoy!

Bryan C. Lee on Design Justice and Architecture’s Role in Systemic Racism

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In the rage, furor, and sorrow that followed the murder of George Floyd, one voice in the architecture community managed to put the nation’s centuries-overdue reckoning with race into the larger context of the built environment. Earlier this month, CityLab published architect Bryan C. Lee Jr.’s essay “America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress,” an impassioned polemic on design and race that also had the great virtue of offering up specific solutions.

Lee is the founder and design principal of Colloqate, a New Orleans–based design and public advocacy firm that was named an Emerging Voice in 2019 by the Architectural League of New York. Colloqate led the Paper Monuments project in 2017, a public art and public history campaign that was launched in conjunction with the successful fight to remove the Confederate statues in New Orleans. In addition to its advocacy work, the firm is currently working on architectural projects in Portland, Toronto, and New Orleans. Last week I talked with Lee about his essay, the charged moment that we’re in, and where the nation goes from here.

NOMA Releases Public Statement on Racial Injustice

Kimberly Dowdell, 2019-2020 NOMA National President, recently issued a statement on behalf of the National Organization of Minority Architects on the nature of NOMA's advocacy and mission. Her words follow protests seeking justice for the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd in the United States.

Stephanie Ribeiro on how "Architecture Must Recognize the Debate Around Race and Gender"

My decision to study architecture was a naive one, made after having taken several vocational tests I found on Google. When I found out it was one of the toughest courses in Brazilian public universities, I thought about giving up. But I was already hooked by the history of architecture and its social role.

However, nothing is perfect. Architecture and Urban Planning is one of the most elite courses in the most renowned Brazilian universities, something that is reflected outside of the classroom as well. The architects went on to serve the rich, casting aside the needs of the cities and the poor.