AIA NAMES DCO A 2019 DIVERSITY PROGRAM HONOREE
AIA’s Diversity Recognition Program advances equity, diversity, and inclusion within the architecture profession.
WASHINGTON – June 3, 2019 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced the 2019 honorees of its Diversity Recognition Program, which celebrates architects and organizations actively committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the architecture profession. This marks the eleventh year of the program.
Contributions and objectives of this year’s honorees are as follows:
Designing in Color
Designing in Color (DCo) is a collaborative architectural platform that amplifies the voices of minority designers. It seeks to celebrate multicultural creativity and encourage young minority professionals to thrive in challenging environments. To serve underrepresented designers and communities, DCo hosts workshops and lectures to facilitate discussions about architecture. To promote knowledge sharing, DCo documents and makes available its programs via website and social media.
THEY REMINISCE OVER YOU: A LOOK BACK AT DESIGNING IN COLOR’S “FOR US, BY US” WORKSHOP ON NOMA 2018
The most impactful phrase of the workshop by far - the one that drew the kind of stunned silence only something profound tends to elicit - was, “a choice you don’t know, is a choice you don’t have.” Y’tasha Womack’s succinct description of Afrofuturism expanding the mind resonated with the hundred or so architects and designers in the audience. Many jotted it down, excited to bring up the architectural implications of Afrofuturist thought as soon as the members of Designing in Color (DCo) were finished speaking. Framed between the past of Floyd McKissick’s Soul City case study and the evocative future of Afrofuturism, DCo’s workshop, “For Us, By Us,” was a challenge to generate the idealized city block. Such an exploration was well within the central ethos of DCo: amplifying the voices of minority designers and fueling the growth of generational wealth. A well-designed city block, built for the community rather than wealthy interlopers, is one of the key engines for insuring the prosperity of the underserved who live there. And so, the members of Designing in Color converged in Chicago - hailing from Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle - and kicked off the NOMA workshop series.
DESIGNING IN COLOR FEATURED IN ARCHITECT MAGAZINE
May 13, 2019
To be accredited by NAAB, an architecture program must address in its curriculum the profession’s role in ensuring “equity of access” to the built environment. How meaningfully and broadly programs comply can hinge on the instructor makeup. “If the faculty who can bring that to the table isn’t being hired, it won’t exist in the curriculum,” says Los Angeles–based ZGF associate Christopher Locke. While studying at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, he was able to travel to Brazil to study the country’s Afrocentric culture and roots in the slave trade. A diverse curriculum that “challenges the traditional practices and education of architecture is necessary for the profession to evolve,” he says.
Students investigating the minority experience also require faculty members with a level of cultural competency. The 2017 NAAB report also finds that design faculty in the U.S. is 71 percent white, 8 percent Latinx, 7 percent Asian, and 3 percent African American. This disconnect in demographics can become clear at crit time when students may “have to work harder to justify [their] ideas,” Locke says
THE NEXT 1460 DAYS: AN ERA ABOUT US
Culture is indigenous to place as architecture is about the creation of space.
The way we speak, what we eat, and how we pray helps derive who are from day to day
Buildings, monuments, and constructed environments
reflect a holy practice to express an inner divine
There is no denying the effect human manifestations have on our world,
These change and sculpt the appearance of a vast amount of people
From the magnificent structures of Ancient Egypt to the utter destruction of historical monuments in Aleppo, Syria in modern day
JOB HUNT REFLECTION 01: INTERVIEWING FOR WORK WHILE BLACK
Traversing from Detroit to Seattle.
With every accomplishment I listed breathlessly into the phone, I paused to listen for her reaction. Each time I was met with the worst possible sound: silence. Not a “Wow,” not an “interesting,” not even a measly, barely interested, “huh.” After a few more unenthused responses, I checked the volume on the phone; maybe it was just set too low, and she had actually been riveted and cheering and whispering six-figure sums into my ear the entire time. The interview ended as quickly as it began. The interviewer managed a distracted, “Thank you. We’ll let you know,” before hanging up and fading out of my life for the foreseeable future. I placed the phone down, sighed deeply, rubbed my eyes, and logged back on the job boards to continue my hunt.
JOB HUNT REFLECTION 02: THE BEAUTY OF TAKING RISKS
The Journey from Hartford to Los Angeles.
Life is a marathon. Being the first one out of the gate does not guarantee your victory. This is the reality of life and hurdles and falls along the path. Young millenniales fear the transition from school to the workforce because it has been portrayed to be a difficulty that will manifest itself overtime. As a first generation student however, this divide that is created between academia and the professional world in my opinion represents a farce that is only present to enable fear in the relatively inexperienced. The mentality that academia and professional conditions do not transfer to one another defeats the point that school is all about preparation for taking risk. It begs the question, how is $100,000 worth of education not a real world condition? The late hours of work overtime, the expectations laden by superiors, and criticism from instructors who are supposed to be much more experienced than you are all conditions of what makes professional settings volatile. The ability to build your comfort zone through practicing actions of being uncomfortable will allow you to navigate the unseen or unheard thresholds that create new hurdles in life daily. This embodies my one-way ticket move to Los Angeles.
The launching of the Designing in Color platform began last month at the 2016 NOMA Conference in LA. The theme of this year's conference was "Express Yourself: Unleashing the Power of Diverse Design." How fitting for our initiative! Personally, we thought the conference was an overall amazing experience and brilliant networking opportunity. Not only that, there was an overwhelming sense of joy and pride being among a collective of professionals who look, act, and share many of the same experiences, both personally and professionally, as you do. As a first time NOMA conference attendee, I felt like I was surrounding by individuals who wanted my success as bad as they wanted their own. It was like being among family.
Hello and welcome to the Designing in Color digital platform! Through this blog, our goal is to connect and create a community for design students and professionals. Each blog post will challenge and open up dialogue on a variety of topics impacting the design community, both historical and current. Our objective here at DC is to diversify the way architecture is taught and practiced to include the identities of people of color. Professors and employers are usually white males whose everyday experiences differ from that of people of color. Designing more socially conscious projects that directly affect and represents your experience, is commonly met by subtle dismissal or persuasive redirection to a "safer" topic. Let's challenge these norms and open up conversation on how to effectively navigate these redirections.
Let's start off by getting to know the Designing in Color creators.