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  • Writer's pictureJaden Faunteroy

Seismic Change in Architecture

On Friday September 28th I joined 35 young adults and many others at the National Museum of African American History and Culture for the Shifting the Landscape Symposium. The symposium specifically focused on black architects and planners from 1968 to now. As many of us know, 1968 was the most eventful year in history. Along with the Civil Rights movement, assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, rebellion, war, and devastation worldwide it was also a defining year for architects and planners. Harry G. Robinson III said it best, “The change in how architecture was practiced after 1968 was seismic.” Whitney M. Young Jr delivered a speech to AIA, American Institute of Architect calling for more diversity in the profession and challenges architects to act on critical issues facing urban architecture. Doors were opened for minority students to pursue their dreams in architecture and planning degrees following her speech. J.Max Bond Jr who became a teacher at Columbia University in 1968 was instrumental in the mentoring of many students and soon to be professionals. Their commitments were pointed to community needs. He and his students imagined architects as “a bridge to the community,” which was a huge focus of the symposium and one of many points that further strengthened my want to be an architect. I specifically want to build and design homes and have desired to do so since I was about nine years old. I used to sketch the homes outside of my bedroom windows when I was put on time outs, or buildings and new places that I’d venture to. Homes are a special place, they are where you should feel safest and provide a sense of relief from the world. I want to be able to give someone that place of peace and through architecture and design I can do that. I want to build nice homes that people can afford because everyone deserves a space to call their own. Architecture has always been my dream and the many speakers, especially the black women whom spoke, helped me to solidify in my mind that I can make this dream become my reality. Gabrielle Bullock was one person that truly inspired me. She is a licensed architect and is therefore apart of the two percent of black women in the field. Her passion and drive to be an architect didn’t allow the negative people or the feeling of being the only person who looked like her in the room stop her from accomplishing her goals. Someday I will join her in that two percent and help to fulfill the community’s needs and social wants, not only as black licensed architect, but as a women. I believe that the things I will someday the little things i will create and build will benefit the lives of hundreds and thousands of people in a big way.

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