‘Transitions’ symposium explores contemporary role of multicultural designers
‘Transitions’ symposium explores contemporary role of multicultural designersFebruary 13, 2009Elaine Wackerowedwacker@syr.edu
The Syracuse University chapter of the Society of Multicultural Architects and Designers (SMAD), the National Organization of Minority Architect Students (NOMAS) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Zeta Chapter, will present the symposium “Transitions: Progressing Across a Shifting Cultural Landscape” on Friday, Feb. 27, in the Syracuse University School of Architecture’s Slocum Hall Auditorium. The event explores the issues of multiculturalism and architecture, and features prominent academics and minority practitioners. The event will focus on topics of race and ethnicity within the design fields and what it means to represent another culture through design.
“We hope to inform both participants and the audience about the new possibilities at stake and encourage students to do more to ensure we create a better professional climate in architecture for people from all backgrounds to succeed,” says SMAD president and architecture student Danielle Christina Segovia-Burke.
The day will include an afternoon of panel discussions beginning at 1 p.m. Participants include Raymond A. Dalton, executive director of Cornell University’s Office of Minority Educational Affairs where he was instrumental in developing programs and services to support recruitment and retention of underrepresented students; Angel David Nieves (B. Arch. ’94), associate professor of Africana studies at Hamilton College whose scholarly work and community-based activism engage with issues of memory, heritage preservation, gender and nationalism at the intersections of race and the built environment in cities across the global south from New Orleans to Johannesburg, South Africa; Bradford Grant, professor and director of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science at Howard University and former chair and Endowed University Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture at Hampton University with extensive experience in housing and community design; and Mabel Wilson, associate professor of architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation where she directs the program for Advanced Architectural Research.
The day will conclude with a keynote lecture at 5:45 p.m. by Craig Wilkins, University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning lecturer and director of the Detroit Community Design Center. Wilkins received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit School of Architecture, a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. He has worked as a designer, project architect and urban designer in Washington, D.C., New York, Houston and Minneapolis. He has written and lectured on a wide range of topics, from hip-hop architecture at the University of Michigan to the prospects of globalization on African spaces at the University of Witswatersrand.
Wilkins’ work in the areas of space, race and music culminated in his most recent publication, “The Aesthetics of Equity: Notes on race, space, architecture and music” (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), winner of the prestigious 2008 Montaigne Medal for Best New Writing. His forthcoming book, “Activist Architecture: A Field Guide to Community-Based Practice” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), will focus on the philosophy and practice of community design centers.
The symposium is the culminating event of Design Diversity Week, which takes place from Feb. 23-27. Sunil Bald and Yolande Daniels of Studio SUMO in New York City will present the lecture “Breaking the ICE” on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m., in Slocum Hall Auditorium; the event is co-sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Delta Zeta Chapter. Formed in 1995, SUMO has received recognition from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Young Architects Program of the Museum of Modern Art/PS1 and the Architectural League of New York.
Other events during Design Diversity Week include:
- a student design competition for a small temporary outdoor exhibition space showcasing African culture in celebration of Black History Month, with designs on display in Slocum Hall from Feb. 23-27; and
- a design charrette for the program “Go to High School. Go to College.” in which architecture students and members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity will conduct a workshop with students at the Southside Academy in Syracuse for a new design for the White House.
Events are free open to the public and will take place in Slocum Hall, home of the Syracuse University School of Architecture, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information, visit http://soa.syr.edu.