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.


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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