As Black History Month is under way in both the United States and Canada, we recognize that this year feels different. In the words of ZGF principal and urban planner Steven Lewis, “I would be less than candid if I did not voice my, and many others’ feelings about the concept of designating a single month to highlighting historic accomplishments of Black Americans and Canadians. Nevertheless, we will take advantage of the space created during this month to share knowledge that will hopefully inspire us to aspire to that more perfect Union rooted in Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – JEDI!”
With that, nine Black designers from around the firm have shared their experiences and insights into the past, present, and future of Black history in our industry—perspectives that enrich their work and the culture of our firm.
Yomi Adeyemi, an architectural designer who has been with ZGF for two years in our Seattle office, reflects on what led him to be an architect and imagines a more equitable future.
I was always a creative kid. I remember doing a seventh-grade book report on the Eiffel Tower accompanied by a drawing. I thought my sketch was awful but, my dad thought it was great. As a civil engineer who had taken some… READ MORE.
?Nicholas Awori, associate principal and architectural designer who has been with ZGF since 2000 in our Los Angeles office, reflects on an influential Black architect from his hometown in Nairobi, Kenya.
One of my greatest influences that paved the way before me as an architect is my next-door neighbor growing up in Nairobi Kenya, Stan Webb. He is currently a retired American Black architect and Howard University School of… READ MORE.
Jerry Bryant, associate principal and architectural designer who joined ZGF’s Los Angeles office in 2004, reflects on the words and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that have influenced his approach in life and career.?
Reflecting on Black history in America and looking back on my career, how I set out to establish my professional identity and character, where I am today and where I plan to go from here, there’s one figure from our American history that has… READ MORE.
Architectural designer Kennedy Carter joined ZGF in Washington D.C. last year, and here considers how the Black Lives Matter movement is influencing her way forward as an architect.
After 2020, I’m looking at the world and my future differently. When I graduated from Howard University two years ago, I was both inspired and discouraged. Howard has produced so many great designers, but it can be disheartening when… READ MORE.
?Nicole Dodier, an interior designer who’s been with ZGF for two years in our Portland office, sends a message to all Black architects and designers who are just embarking on their career.
To all the black students sitting in architectural history class wondering why the works of their ancestors are not reflected on the pages they read, I see you. To all the black designers who were the one or two in your graduating class…READ MORE.
?Matthew Joseph, an architectural designer who joined ZGF’s Vancouver office in 2019, encourages a commitment to our local minority communities all year round.
One of the most impactful ways to recognize, support, and celebrate Black history (and futures) is by engaging with local Black communities year-round, not just during Black History Month. Here in BC, there are a number of…READ MORE.
Nolan Lienhart, a principal and urban planner with ZGF for 15 years in our Portland office, speaks about the power of urban planning to design more equitable communities.
The historical relationship between cities and the Black community is a complicated one. While the Black community has contributed instrumentally to the growth,?identity and?vitality?of urban places, those places have not always supported… READ MORE.
?Architectural designer Zachariah Petett has been with our Portland office since 2019. He expresses the struggles he faces as a Black professional and the rewarding nature of overcoming these challenges to create change.
Being Black in architecture is no different, one imagines, from being Black in any other profession. Meaning that you must do more for the same recognition and opportunities as your peers. This is not news to my Black colleagues, present… READ MORE.
Camilla Watson, associate principal and interior designer who has been with ZGF’s Seattle office for eight years, speaks about the importance of diversity for the future of design as a tool to drive innovation.
?Architecture is a reflection of culture and values. Where and how we practice reflects our commitment to community-building and sustainability. Every generation, a small, privileged group helps shape the built world we collectively live in…READ MORE.