Beyond the Built Environment
Beyond the Built Environment serves to represent marginalized people - both within the profession and within communities most underserved by the profession. We aim to involve everyone (from preschoolers to practitioners and pundits) as critical stakeholders and advocates for just, diverse environments.
Beyond the Built Environment uniquely address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline. We promote agency among diverse audiences and advocate for equity in the built environment through our approach which utilizes a method I termed "the triple E, C".
The triple E, C method is a strategy to: Engage, Elevate, Educate, and Collaborate. We engage diverse audiences through programming promoting intellectual discourse and exchange. We elevate the identities and contributions of women and diverse designers through exhibitions, curated lectures, and documentaries that testify to the provided value of their built work and its spatial impact.
We educate the masses through formal and informal learning opportunities that introduce architecture as a bridge to fill the gaps of inequity. We collaborate with community stakeholders and organizations to crowdsource information and amplify opportunities to advocate for equitable and reflectively diverse environments.
Our belief is that strong and healthy communities, rich in diversity make strong nations. As architects and designers, we have the power to represent more than ourselves and representation is quintessential to achieving equitable diversity.
There are three facets to Beyond the Built Environment: SAY IT LOUD, SEE IT LOUD, LEARN OUT LOUD.
SAY IT LOUD
Beyond the Built Environment has emerged on an international platform using its foundation of engaging and elevating; we accomplish this by expanding our collaboration with institutions such as the United Nations. To date, our SAY IT LOUD exhibitions have been viewed by estimate total 25,000 visitors since January 2017. From inception, multiple online publications (such as Curbed and The Architects Newspaper) with large subscription bases have helped promote the exhibitions further expanding its impact. Featured firms expressed an increase in business which they attributed to the exhibition and reporting on SAY IT LOUD.
The SAY IT LOUD Exhibition is not a traveling exhibition rather a traveling activation. Each SAY IT LOUD exhibition cultivates and elevates the contributions of women and diverse designers of that state. Raising the visibility of their contributions to the built environment.
I often quote Dr. Adelaide Sanford, discussing Albert Shanker (president of the United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1985 and president of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997, who controlled our nation's public-school system in his capacity) in her Afro Centric Education as a human right speech. Written in his biography he states "Never let them connect to the continent of Africa. Never let them know their history and their language. Teach the teachers how not to keep the history……Never let the African American child learn his or her history because if they do they will relate to their ethnicity and they will not become an American." Her point was that our education system is still modeled by the same ideology set by Mr. Shanker.
The textbooks only listed a singular gender and ethnicity as great architects. This significant omission in my education gave me a purpose to seek out and elevate architects that not only bare resemblance but hold our communities and values as design priorities. Qualities that are evident in the distinguished diverse designers whose work I exhibit.
SAY IT LOUD was exhibited at the AIA New York, in Center for Architecture gallery, AIA Nationals A'18 Convention and NOMA 2018 Unbounded conference which were all paired with relevant programming speaking to the mission. The SAY IT LOUD - United Nations Visitors Centre, exhibition created tremendous opportunity of exposure and echoing the call to action to the leaders of our world. After my speech, the UN offered to turn my exhibition into an international exhibition. I redesigned my exhibition into posters and collaborated with their translators and created 8 versions. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Kiswahili, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic SAY IT LOUD posters were then distributed to the United Nations Information Centers worldwide.
To date the SAY IT LOUD exhibitions has been displayed internationally in Bujumbura, Geneva, Harare, Lagos, Lome, Nairobi, New Delhi, Minks and Yaounde!! Read more about SAY IT LOUD here.
SEE IT LOUD
There are many languages that make up the vernacular of architecture and built environment that consequently make the profession inaccessible to the general community. We often use hyper specific technical terms and speak to the concept of the design in descriptive analogies. Graphically we require the capacity to spatially interpret architectural drawings such as plans and sections, and the understanding of various scales. We will leverage augmented reality as a tool to educate and empower as a design mechanism for the youth in the form of an app that can be easily downloaded to their mobile devices.
LEARN OUT LOUD
Through the international SAY IT LOUD Exhibitions we’ve been able to gather work from over 80 profiles of diverse designers from all over the united states. It is a traveling activation, that cultivates local talents in the states in-which host exhibitions. As more exhibitions are displayed and gather a substantial quantity of profiles are collected we can develop state specific LEARN OUT LOUD Books. By featuring current diverse designers we are ensuring tangible mentors for children interested in the professional to access for guidance and direction.
The kids would say “I CAN TOO” out loud whenever they were on a pop up page. The purpose of this affirmation is to get the students comfortable and familiar with encouraging them in this path, that when they are faced with adversity or those who say they do not have the capacity because of their gender or race, they can dismiss the ignorance of that voice.