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BSA News

Sep 08, 2022

BSA to host panel on architecture, race, and the academy

BSA 10

Photo by Paige McWhorter Photography

At the end of the month, the BSA will host a panel on the connection between architecture and race and the ways this link is explored—or underexplored—in the academy today.

Originally part of the BSA's Summer Sessions series, this rescheduled event will consist of a conversation between Yolande Daniels, Associate Professor at MIT, Jasminka Udovicki, Ph.D, Professor at MassArt, Laura Schmidt, Adjunct Professor at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Matthew Akira Okazaki, Assistant Teaching Professor at Northeastern University. Danyson Tavares Assoc. AIA, Adjunct Instructor at Wentworth, will moderate.

The panel, “Architecture & Race: A Panel Discussion,” will take place in-person at BSA Space on Wednesday, September 28 at 6 PM.

“Attendees can expect to take away an understanding of topics being taught in schools surrounding the issues of identity as it relates to architectural pedagogy,” said Tavares.

Identifying himself as a student, educator and professional of color in a predominately white field, Tavares says he will draw from his experience while taking part in the event.

“I hope that I can bring to the table ways that architecture education can be a venue to test out ways in which architects and designers can work to create designs based on equity,” Tavares added.

As architecture programs in schools across the country welcome a more diverse set of students and heightened social awareness of inequity prompts more critical reflection about practice among academics, firm leaders, and others, discussion of architecture’s role in furthering or fighting inequity is already becoming more commonplace.

“I think you have to use real historical analytical tools to examine this feature of architecture, race and power. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience of teaching with those tools,” said Schmidt, who has a background in history and currently teaches a course titled “Race, Segregation, and Urban Development” at Wentworth. “When and how does architecture show awareness of its power and the limitations on space that history and social relations impose?”

Udovicki will bring her experience as a social scientist and seasoned academic, with 30 years of experience teaching courses at MassArt. She is particularly interested in the ways housing and urban planning have historically furthered systemic inequity.

“Housing had two enduring, antithetical, effects at once: It vastly expanded the white middle class, and it entrenched segregation, and thereby, white supremacy,” she said.

A Q&A will take place after the panel, and refreshments will be available. RSVP for the event in advance of attending.

As part of programming around Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture since 1968, the BSA is hosting a a program on October 1 geared towards high school students interested in architecture school and current architecture students. See more information on the event page.