Design library: African-American perspectives on architecture

Doggerel is always on the lookout for good books. Dr. Craig Wilkins, a lecturer on architecture, urban design, and community development at the University of Michigan and winner of a 2017 National Design Award, shared his recommendations for this edition of Design Library. Focusing on the often-overlooked contributions of people of color to the built environment, he divided his list into three categories: history, theory, and narrative.

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History (objective)

Building on the recently published books and essays on Paul Williams, essays and articles on Julian Abele, and forthcoming publications on Hilyard Robinson, these works rightfully add long-ignored practitioners of color to architecture’s official narrative, for a fuller account of practice in America:

Robert R. Taylor and Tuskegee: An African American Architect Designs for Booker T. Washington by Ellen Weis

Cap Wigington: An Architectural Legacy in Ice and Stone by David Vassar Taylor with Paul Clifford Larson

Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums by Mabel O. Wilson

Theory (speculative)

Into the exclusive, monochromatic realm of architectural theory comes an anomaly: a treatise on architectural production from a decidedly African-American perspective:

Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity by Mario Gooden

Narrative (experience)

Two books that recount the extraordinary personal journeys of architects of color through the study and practice of architecture:

Structural Inequality: Black Architects in the United States by Victoria Kaplan

When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story about Race in America’s Cities and Universities by Sharon Egretta Sutton

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