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Black Architects: The Latest Architecture and News

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.

Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces 2021 Edition, Entitled “The Available City”, and Under Artistic Direction of David Brown

Reflecting on the current global situation, Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) has reinvented its 2021 edition, in order to generate conversations about the “intersection of architecture and design and such critical issues as health, sustainability, equity, and racial justice”. The Biennial has also announced the appointment of David Brown, designer, researcher, and educator, based at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as the Artistic Director of the fourth edition, entitled The Available City.

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.

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!

Radical Repair: Log 48 in Conversation with Mabel O. Wilson

“The center of architecture is shifting and cannot hold,” writes guest editor Bryony Roberts in Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice. This moment of change, in which issues of inequity and intersectionality are coming to the fore, represents “an invitation to think differently, a chance to reask the questions that haunted the 20th century.” To that end, Roberts conducted a series of interviews with experimental architects exploring new forms of practice, including this conversation with Mabel O. Wilson.

Mabel O. Wilson is a scholar and designer who has become a leading voice in discussions on space, politics, and memory in black America. She is the Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, as well as a professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies and the associate director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies. Her books include Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums. Her interdisciplinary practice Studio & is part of the architectural team that designed the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia. She is also a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA), a collective that advocates for fair labor practices on building sites worldwide. We talked at an outdoor cafe near Columbia on one of the last warm days in fall 2019.

Once Racially Discriminated From His Own Architecture, Joseph Bartholomew is Overlooked No More

In 1979, the Pontchartrain Park golf course was renamed the Joseph M. Bartholomew, Sr. Municipal Golf Course by the City of New Orleans. While perhaps not the ‘catchiest’ of title changes, the event was a posthumous chapter in the legacy of one of the most celebrated golf course architects of his time. Joseph Bartholomew (1888-1971) began life as an African-American in racially-segregated Louisiana only 23 years after the end of the American Civil War; fought in large part over the legality of African American slavery. But his life, chronicled in the latest New York Times’ Overlooked series, would see him reach the pinnacles of golf course architecture, and design nationally-celebrated landscapes that Bartholomew, because of his race, was himself not allowed to play on.

When Ivory Towers Were Black: Sharon Sutton on the Dual Fronts of Gender and Ethnicity

In this third episode of GSAPP Conversations, Columbia GSAPP Associate Professor Mabel O. Wilson speaks with Sharon Sutton about the publication of her new book, When Ivory Towers Were Black, which tells the story of how an unparalleled cohort of ethnic minority students earned degrees from Columbia University’s School of Architecture (GSAPP) during a time of fierce struggles to open the ivory tower to ethnic minority students.

Architecture City Guide: London

Courtesy of <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>Wikimedia</a> Commons / Diliff
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Diliff

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to London. This is our second stop in Europe, and once again I had to capitulate and double the number of buildings that we normally feature. We could not feature all of the suggestions, and will be adding to the list in the near future. We really appreciate those readers who offered their suggestions and the use of their pictures to make up this list.

Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” As home to a long tradition of kings and queens, the Royal Society, and the roots of the Industrial Revolution, it is not surprising that there is a rich tension and collaboration between the historic and contemporary architecture in London. This reflects a city and culture that has a strong history of celebrating the past while also moving forward. Conflicts often emerge, as the goals of one side clash with those of the other. This relationship, however, is why I find walking the streets of London so appealing - those beautiful moments when history and progress collide.

Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help. We encourage you to add more of your favorites in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: London list and corresponding map after the break.