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Bipoc: The Latest Architecture and News

The Chase Residence: The History Behind One of Texas' Most Radical Houses

The following text is excerpted from John S. Chase — The Chase Residence (Tower Books, 2020) by architect and University of Texas professor David Heymann and historian and Rice University lecturer Stephen Fox. Richly illustrated with archival materials and new drawings, the book is the first devoted to Chase, who was the first Black licensed architect in Texas. The study is divided into two parts, with Heymann examining the personal, social, and architectural significance of Chase’s own Houston house and Fox describing Chase’s architectural career.

This excerpt draws on Heymann’s analysis and highlights the first incarnation of the Chase Residence (Chase substantially altered its architecture in 1968). It places great emphasis on the house’s remarkable courtyard, a modernist innovation, and a singular statement about domestic living at the time. New section, elevation, and perspective drawings prepared for the book help illustrate the ingenuity of the house’s configuration. Finally, the excerpt was selected in part to honor Drucie (Rucker) Chase, who passed away in January of 2021.

Second Season of Esther Choi's Office Hours Promises More Opportunities for Young Bipoc Designers

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.

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.

How Recycling Existing Buildings Could Solve the Urban Housing Crisis in the United States

Newly built houses, with their sizable carbon footprints, don’t just contribute to climate change. For many Americans, they’re also too expensive—a bitter irony in cities rife with vacant buildings and record evictions.

Given the urgency of both issues, projects that retrofit livable housing into existing low-carbon shells (the initial embodied carbon was spent long ago) might be worth a closer look. We searched for them and came across a handful that promise a cure for housing insecurity and excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

The Getty and USC Launch Talks Shedding Light on the Impact of Architect Paul R. Williams

Paul Revere Williams, the late architect who was the first black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), has recently been receiving some long-overdue recognition. The AIA awarded him a posthumous gold medal in 2017; a PBS documentary “Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story” aired in February, and a book titled “Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View” was published in September.

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.

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.